Friday, April 04, 2014

The Real ‘Divergents’: Young Adults Lead Defense of Traditional Marriage

Millennials support God’s plan for family life at events, as well as through outreach and example.

From college campuses to city centers, young adults are defying their peers and standing up for the Catholic conception of marriage, through their words and their example, bucking dominant cultural trends.

Michael Bradley is one of the emerging leaders of this “resistance movement.” While many of his fellow students were out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a decidedly un-Catholic fashion, the University of Notre Dame senior was leading an event that would make the non-Irish eyes of Ireland’s patron saint smile: a conference devoted to the Catholic understanding of marriage.

The event featured a panel of experts who established the theological, philosophical and political foundations of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, while also exploring the potential consequences of redefining the institution.

“My peers are ill-equipped to respond to the aggressive and radically uncivil rhetoric with which they are faced as supporters of traditional marriage,” said Bradley, referring to the fact that Millennials — those who were born between 1980 and 2000 — have grown up in an era when traditional marriage has already been challenged by sky-rocketing divorce rates and a rise in birth control and cohabitation.

“Even on Notre Dame’s campus, there’s a hesitation to speak very publicly about this. I hope the panel was the first step in really combating that dynamic.” the rest

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness...

Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness, but a life in the world. It is not an idea in the air but feet on the ground, going God’s way. It is not an exotic to be kept under glass, but a hardy plant to bear twelve manner of fruit in all kinds of weather. Fidelity to duty is its root and branch. Nothing we can say to the Lord, no calling Him by great or dear names, can take the place of the plain doing of His will. We may cry out about the beauty of eating bread with Him in His kingdom, but it is wasted breath and a rootless hope, unless we plow and plant in His kingdom here and now. To remember Him at His table and to forget Him at ours, is to have invested in bad securities. There is no substitute for plain, every-day goodness. ...Maltbie D. Babcock

Around the web...April 3, 2014

Massive voter fraud in North Carolina
** 765 voters with an exact match of first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in N.C. and the other state in the 2012 general election.
** 35,750 voters with the same first and last name and DOB were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in both states in the 2012 general election.
** 155,692 voters with the same first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state – and the latest date of registration or voter activity did not take place within N.C....

7.6-magnitude aftershock strikes off coast of Chile ...Chile is one of the world's most seismic countries and is particularly prone to tsunamis, because of the way the Nazca tectonic plate plunges beneath the South American plate, pushing the towering Andes cordillera ever higher...

World Vision President Deals with Aftermath of Same-Sex Marriage Decisions  Stearns has taken heat for the loss of approximately 5,000 orphan sponsors. He spoke out about the aftermath of flip-flopping decisions in an interview with Religion News Service...

What Worship Style Attracts the Millennials?
...Millennial Christians, and a good number of seekers among their generation, are gravitating to churches where the teaching and preaching is given a high priority. They are attracted to churches whose focus is not only on the members, but on the community and the world. Inwardly focused congregations will not see many Millennials in their churches.

And you will hear Millennials speak less and less about worship style. Their focus is on theologically rich music, authenticity, and quality that reflects adequate preparation in time and prayer.

But they will walk away from congregations that are still fighting about style of music, hymnals or screen projections, or choirs or praise teams. Those are not essential issues to Millennials, and they don't desire to waste their time hearing Christians fight about such matters.

Metaxas: Does Archaeology Disprove the Bible?
...Speaking of facts, in the latest issue of Biblical Archeology Review, Lawrence Mykytiuk of asks and answers the question “how many people in the Hebrew Bible have been confirmed archaeologically?’

The conservative answer is at least fifty.

The most famous of these is King David who, until relatively recently was believed by many scholars to either be a “shadowy, perhaps mythical ancestor” or a “literary creation of later biblical authors and editors.”

All of this changed, however, in 1993 when archaeologists found a stele dating from the ninth century B.C., commissioned by the king of Damascus with the inscription “House of David.” The issue of David’s historicity was laid to rest.

In addition to David, archeologists have been able to independently corroborate the existence of kings such as Hezekiah. The water tunnel he used during the Assyrian siege, described in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, has been discovered in Jerusalem...

5-Year-Old Rebuked for Praying at School, Parents Call 'Religious Discrimination' ......The letter from the Liberty Institute Lawyers explains that the child bowed her head in prayer, but was told by a lunchroom supervisor to stop.

The girl said, “But it’s good to pray,” to which the supervisor responded, “It is not good.” When the girl tried again to bow her head and pray silently, she was stopped again...

How Well Should Pastors Be Paid?
...So what’s the bottom line? I’d encourage a church to aspire to these goals, in this order. First, give freely and joyfully. The pastor is not spending the church’s money when he is paid. Tithers are not buying stock in the man and do not become a board of directors managing his household budget. Don’t determine where and how he should give by paying him little. Second, aspire to free your pastor from financial pressure. A shepherd should not be spending his time and energy worrying about how he will pay the electric bill. Third, give the man some dignity. He has studied long. He works hard. “Worthy of double honor” (I Timothy 5:17) may be difficult to define precisely but it should at least mean that the pastor is paid well enough that he can pick up a check from time to time, and is not always dependent, like a servant, on the occasional, unexpected generosity of his friends. Fourth, pay him well enough that he is able to give with great generosity...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Are we living in a holy relationship with God?

Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?

Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work-work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. -Oswald Chambers

Around the web...April 1, 2014

An atheist’s case for religious liberty
I am an atheist, which puts me firmly on the secular right. There aren’t a whole lot of us, but we’re out here, in some surprising places.
Yet I consider the current campaign against religious liberty—the attempt to coerce Christians into providing service to gay weddings or to provide abortifacient drugs to their employees, against the dictates of their faith—to be a deep cultural crisis.

Why? Above all, because the sight of a bully using a club to force someone else to violate his conscience is inherently repugnant. As a humanist, what I regard as “sacred” is the power of the human mind to think and make judgments. To put this in terms borrowed from religion, when someone uses coercion to overrule the judgment of their victim’s mind, they are defiling my temple.

But there is another, more practical reason. History shows that the only way to fight for freedom of thought is to defend it early, when it comes under threat for others—even people you strongly disagree with, even people you despise. So I’m willing to fight for it for people who are much worse, by my standards, than your average Christian...

Thus, in The Daily Beast, Gene Robinson lectures us that “being pressed to conform to…a change in majority opinion” is not really a “violation of religious freedom”—even though he acknowledges that the “pressing” is being done by force of law. Oddly, Reverend Robinson is an Episcopal bishop. But I guess that just shows that syncretism isn’t dead, it’s just operating in the opposite direction. The forms and institutions of the old faith, belief in God, are being subsumed by the new faith, belief in society.
The Biggest Healthcare Scandal You’ve Never Heard About  ...The Cover Oregon debacle is the biggest healthcare scandal you’ve never heard about. It is also perhaps the biggest government IT failure in U.S. history. The federal healthcare website ( cost at least three times more but at least it’s now operating. No such luck for Cover Oregon.

More than $200 million was spent on building the Cover Oregon website and healthcare exchange. No one appears to confidently know the exact figure since generally accepted business practices were not rigorously followed.

The lead vendor for the project was software giant Oracle, although the process to select a vendor wasn’t very competitive. By the time the entire procurement process was over, Oracle was the only company in consideration. Other potential vendors dropped out of the bidding when the scope of the project became known...

Confirmed: Independent Peer-Reviewed NIPCC Report Finds No Link Between Man and Climate Change
The latest independent peer-reviewed NIPCC scientific report found no link between human activity and climate change.
“The human impact on global climate is small, and any warming that may occur as a result of human carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions is likely to have little effect on global temperatures, the cryosphere (ice-covered areas), hydrosphere (oceans, lakes, and rivers), or weather.  
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, the subject of this Summary for Policymakers, examines the scientific research on the impacts of rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels on the biological world. It finds no net harm to the global environment or to human health and often finds the opposite: net benefits to plants, including important food crops, and to animals and human health.”
Three Quarters of Enrollees in Obamacare to See Premiums Rise
In June of 2008, Barack Obama promised, “It's time to bring down the typical family's premium by about $2,500. And it's time to bring down the costs for the entire country.” Moreover, four months later in October he said, “The only thing we're gonna try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed on to you. And we estimate we can cut the average family's premium by about $2,500 a year.” 

Indeed, Obama promised it many times, but Dr. Toby Cosgrove says it’s simply not true. “About three-quarters of them find that their premiums are higher than they had been previously with other insurance,” Cosgrove told Fox News.

Furthermore, Dr. Cosgrove asserted that Obamacare is having a  “major effect” upon health care providers. “We know for example that we’re going to get paid less for what we do,” the doctor explained. “Hospitals are going to be paid less for what they do. We also know that insurers are paying less for what we do.”...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Do not run impetuously before the Lord...

Do not run impetuously before the Lord; learn to wait His time: the minute-hand as well as the hour-hand must point the exact moment for action. ...Mrs. Charles E. Cowman image

Around the web...March 31, 2014

Should The Church Pander to Millennials?
This week and beyond, Millennials on IRD’s staff will be addressing this issue in their own blogs as part of a series. They merit hearing. Here’s the first one, from Brian Miller, himself a law student. Look forward to more from others!

SYMPOSIUM: What Does Liberal Christianity Offer Millennials?
This is Part 1 in an IRD Symposium on Millennials in the Church
...Orthodoxy and traditional teachings on sex are not turning young people away from the Church. The frequently cited statistics about liberal congregations in decline and conservative denominations on the rise are, I think, over relied upon. Especially in light of statistics that show all denominations are on a decline overall. However, that conservative denominations have weathered the storm better than their liberal counterparts cannot be discounted. Being an Anglo-Catholic in the Washington D.C. area I find myself in a variety of churches. The Roman Catholic young adult ministries are full of devout and conservative millennials, and most of the events are standing room only. In the evangelical Anglican Churches, the congregations are overwhelmingly young, perhaps too young. My own Church is composed mostly of young families. But whenever I sneak into the notoriously liberal Episcopal Churches for Evensong or daily mass, I find I am the youngest attendee by approximately thirty-years...

Surprised by N.T. Wright
People who are asked to write about N. T. Wright may find they quickly run out of superlatives. He is the most prolific biblical scholar in a generation. Some say he is the most important apologist for the Christian faith since C. S. Lewis. He has written the most extensive series of popular commentaries on the New Testament since William Barclay. And, in case three careers sound like too few, he is also a church leader, having served as Bishop of Durham, England, before his current teaching post at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

But perhaps the most significant praise of all: When Wright speaks, preaches, or writes, folks say they see Jesus, and lives are transformed. A pastor friend of mine describes a church member walking into his office, hands trembling as he held a copy of Wright's Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. "If this book is true," he said, "then my whole life has to change."
The superlatives are striking, considering Wright's goal in his teaching and writing is to massively revise the way Christianity has been articulated for generations...
Street preacher accepts £13,000 compensation after wrongful arrest
...John Craven was preaching in Manchester city centre in September 2011 when he was approached by two homosexual teenagers who asked him what he thought about gays.

Craven says that when he explained the Bible's stance on homosexuality, the two teenagers responded by kissing each other and making sexually suggestive acts.

When they complained to a police officer that they had found Mr Craven's comments insulting, he was arrested by Police Constable Alistair McKittrick for a public order offence and was detained for over 19 hours.

He was arrested under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986, which criminalises the use of insulting words with the intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress.

While the police claim it was necessary to arrest him in order to conduct "a prompt and effective investigation" into the complaint, Mr Craven said this was not conveyed to him at the time.

The Christian Institute, which provided him with legal assistance, said he went nearly 15 hours without access to food, water or his medication for rheumatoid arthritis...

Albert Mohler: Drowning in Distortion—Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”

March 31, 2014

In Noah, the existence of humanity is a blight upon the earth. Rather than suggesting that humans had misused and abused the dominion mandate of Genesis 1:28, human dominion is depicted as the fundamental problem. This leads to a horrifying anti-humanism in the movie that cannot be rescued by the (finally) rather hopeful conclusion, with Noah and his family depicted as placidly agrarian and vegetarian, restarting human civilization on a placid hillside. The covenant God made with Noah in Genesis 9 explicitly gives humanity animal flesh to eat, and the dominion and stewardship granted to humanity in Genesis 1:28 and re-set in Genesis 9:1-17 is a function of human beings made in God’s image. Image-bearing assigns dominion. The real question is what we will do with that dominion.

Aronofsky introduces Noah as a kind and caring family man, but his divine assignment turns the movie’s Noah into a sociopathic monster. At this point the movie veers into a radical distortion of the biblical account. Noah is now depicted as a madman ready to murder his own grandchildren in order to end humanity and rid creation of the human threat. This kind of distortion of the story is what led Christopher Orr of The Atlantic to refer to Aronofsky as “more Old Testament than the Old Testament itself.” The Old Testament, we might say, is Old Testament enough, on its own.

This not only misses the point of the Genesis narrative, it corrupts it. Aronofsky is telling a truly fascinating story in these segments of the film, but it is not the story of Noah as found in the Bible. Totally missing from the movie is the understanding that God is simultaneously judging and saving, ready to make a covenant with Noah that will turn the biblical narrative toward Abraham and the founding of Israel. God is spoken of in the movie, but he does not speak. He is identified only as “The Creator,” and he appears to be driven by an essentially ecological fervor. The entire context of covenant is completely absent.   the rest