Thursday, November 21, 2013

Surprised By Sacraments; Kirsten Powers on her conversion; NYC hospitals not covered by Obamacare....

Obama Honors Gay Socialist, Lesbian Astronaut with Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Barack Obama on Wednesday awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – to 16 people, including a homosexual who led the socialist party in the United States and astronaut Sally Ride, whose partner “outed” her as a lesbian in Ride’s obituary last year...

Thomas Sowell on the 'Knockout Game'
...Attacks of this sort have been rampant in St. Louis. But they have also occurred in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and elsewhere. In Illinois the game has often been called "Polar Bear Hunting" by the young thugs, presumably because the targets are white.

The main reason for many people's surprise is that the mainstream media have usually suppressed news about the "knockout game" or about other and larger forms of similar orchestrated racial violence in dozens of cities in every region of the country. Sometimes the attacks are reported, but only as isolated attacks by unspecified "teens" or "young people" against unspecified victims, without any reference to the racial makeup of the attackers or the victims — and with no mention of racial epithets by the young hoodlums exulting in their own "achievement."

Despite such pious phrases as "troubled youths," the attackers are often in a merry, festive mood. In a sustained mass attack in Milwaukee, going far beyond the dimensions of a passing "knockout game," the attackers were laughing and eating chips, as if it were a picnic.

One of them observed casually, "white girl bleed a lot."...

Surprised By Sacraments
I love being part of ecumenical dialogues because I always learn as much about my own family of churches as I do about the other traditions represented. A few years ago I was involved in an ecumenical conversation as one of five representatives of Pentecostalism. The team members were from various parts of the world with two being from lands traditionally Orthodox.

At one point in the conversation the Pentecostal team was asked about our views of the sacraments: Do Pentecostals believe in the sacraments and how many? One of my fellow team members immediately responded in the affirmative and said that we Pentecostals had seven. After recovering from a bit of shock at this answer, I interjected that this perspective did not hold true for most Pentecostals in the United States.

At the first break I inquired further about this view among Pentecostals in former Communist nations. Did they really hold such a view of the sacraments? Much to my surprise I was told that in lands historically Orthodox, Pentecostals had drunk deeply from Orthodox life and this affected their theological development. While it remains true that many Pentecostals still function with a Zwinglian view of the sacraments, there is a small, but growing effort by some Pentecostal theologians and church leaders to recover a more robust sacramentalism. These efforts remain part of a broader dialogue with Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Patristic thinkers as well as an extension of the spirituality central to Pentecostal life and witness...First Things

Kirsten Powers: Fox News' Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower
Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I'd be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion—especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy. It was borrowed from my archaeologist father, who was so brilliant he taught himself to speak and read Russian. When I encountered doubt, I would fall back on the fact that he believed.

Leaning on my father's faith got me through high school. But by college it wasn't enough, especially because as I grew older he began to confide in me his own doubts. What little faith I had couldn't withstand this revelation. From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real...

New health plans sold through exchanges not accepted at some prestigious NYC hospitals
...As of this week, not one of the plans for sale on New York’s health benefit exchange would cover treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s largest and most respected cancer hospitals.

That could mean that the 615,000 individuals and 450,000 small business employees expected to eventually get their insurance through the exchange would have to go someplace else for treatment, or pay the bill out of their own pockets...

Cancellations are coming for millions more

Largest ever number of HIV diagnoses in UK gay men – due to increased testing and new infections
...Improved HIV testing practices have therefore likely contributed to the greater number of HIV infections which are diagnosed. But Public Health England also believe that HIV transmission continues at high levels – their estimations of HIV incidence using a back-calculation analysis suggest that there have been 2300 - 2500 new infections in gay men each year over the past decade. The large majority of transmissions originate in men unaware of their own infection...


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