Friday, September 19, 2014

Boko Haram Attacks Nigerian College; Ebola aid workers reportedly killed 'in cold blood'; Scots stay put...more

God may not be dead, but considering the imago Dei in philosophical discourse and public policy certainly is.  ...Today’s dominant cultural voices argue that an individual’s moral worth should be predicated upon his or her individual capacities of the moment. This view is most acutely expressed in bioethics, the field that wields tremendous influence over health-care public policies and in the ethical protocols of medicine...

 ...These deaths are believed to be the first resulting from resistance to international efforts to curb the Ebola outbreak in the region, Reuters reported. Other aid teams have been forced to turn back by crowds in several locations, and a treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia was attacked and looted.

"The eight bodies were found in the village latrine," Albert Damantang Camara, a spokesman for Guinea's government, told Reuters on Thursday, adding that they had been "killed in cold blood by the villagers."...

Not Even Close: Scots Reject Independence, For Now -- 55%-45%  ...The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to Britain's economic and political establishment, including Prime Minister David Cameron, who faced calls for his resignation if Scotland had broken away...

 ...In the Lumina survey, only 33 percent of business leaders agreed that colleges are producing graduates with the skills their organizations need.

On the other survey, though, nearly all academics (99 percent) claimed their institutions were “at least somewhat effective at providing a quality undergraduate education, with 72 percent saying they are very effective in this area.” Oh, they know something’s wrong overall—38 percent of college leaders admitted that academic rigor has fallen in higher education generally—but not at home: Only 10 percent admitted it had fallen at their own schools. While 44 percent agreed that grade inflation has affected higher education generally, only 14 percent said so for their own schools...

Eric Metaxas on 'The New Witch Hunt'
Eric Metaxas has written best-selling biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce, and is one of the most popular speakers in America. The headline of his recent BreakPoint commentary caught my eye: "The New Witch Hunt." Here's the story.

Boko Haram Suicide Bombers Attack Nigerian College, 15 Dead ...The Christian Post reports that the militants stormed the school; two of the terrorists were wearing explosive vests. When the militants started shooting, one of the vests detonated, killing the wearer instantly.

Kano State police commissioner Adelere Shinaba said, "They were obviously suicide bombers. One of our officers shot at one of the gunmen and the explosives on him went off, killing him on the spot."...

Satanist Group in Orlando Plans to Provide Public School Students with Activity Books A Satanist organization in New York is planning to distribute activity books to children in Orange County, Florida public schools. The books, provided by The Satanic Temple, feature a variety of activities that are intended to teach children about Satanism and counteract the teachings of Evangelical Christians in the region.
 
Orange County Public Schools allows Christian groups to provide students with Bibles and other religious materials, which prompted the Satanist group to push for an alternative... (Get your kids out now)

GAO Abortion Findings a Wake-Up Call for Lethargic Chrisitans  ...Caught red handed, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that Americans’ tax dollars are subsidizing abortions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare. At least 1,036 plans cover abortions despite President Barack Obama’s promise that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

Are we really shocked? Christian citizens cannot expect honesty, morality and courage from our elected leaders and their policies if we refuse to elect honest, moral and courageous leaders at the polls. Don’t forget that in 2012, 6.4 million Evangelicals voted for President Obama, an outspoken supporter of abortion on demand, tax-payer funded abortions, partial-birth abortions, and the list goes on...

The Irony of California's Ousting of Campus Christian Groups
A disturbing story came and went, barely noticed a few weeks ago. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is being unceremoniously booted off the campuses of California's 23 state universities. This begins with a process of "derecognizing" these as legitimate campus groups.

Why? Though everyone is welcome at their ministry events, ICVF reserves leadership only for those committed to their goals and creed, just as a homosexual group would presumably reserve leadership for gays or those who affirm its pro-gay agenda. Or a Muslim group for Muslims...

Cases of Enterovirus EV-D68 Confirmed in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut Officials Wednesday confirmed cases of enterovirus EV-D68 in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut as the unusual and potentially severe respiratory illness continues to sweep across the U.S.

Officials said that at least one of the 12 confirmed cases of the virus previously confirmed in New York state is in New York City, and another case is on Long Island. Cases have been reported in more than a dozen states nationwide...

Alibaba Overtakes Amazon as Most Highly Valued Online Retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is knocking Amazon.com Inc. off its perch as the world’s largest online retailer by market capitalization, signaling the ascendance of a global rival for investor and consumer dollars.

Alibaba begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange today after pricing its initial public offering yesterday at $68 a share, putting the Hangzhou, China-based company’s valuation at $167.6 billion. That exceeds Amazon’s market capitalization of $150.2 billion, as of its closing price in New York yesterday of $325...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Albert Mohler: Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis

Open Bible
September 16, 2014

Western society is currently experiencing what can only be described as a moral revolution. Our society’s moral code and collective ethical evaluation on a particular issue has undergone not small adjustments but a complete reversal. That which was once condemned is now celebrated, and the refusal to celebrate is now condemned.

What makes the current moral and sexual revolution so different from previous moral revolutions is that it is taking place at an utterly unprecedented velocity. Previous generations experienced moral revolutions over decades, even centuries. This current revolution is happening at warp speed.

As the church responds to this revolution, we must remember that current debates on sexuality present to the church a crisis that is irreducibly and inescapably theological. This crisis is tantamount to the type of theological crisis that Gnosticism presented to the early church or that Pelagianism presented to the church in the time of Augustine. In other words, the crisis of sexuality challenges the church’s understanding of the gospel, sin, salvation, and sanctification. Advocates of the new sexuality demand a complete rewriting of Scripture’s metanarrative, a complete reordering of theology, and a fundamental change to how we think about the church’s ministry.... the rest image
Biblical theology is absolutely indispensable for the church to craft an appropriate response to the current sexual crisis. The church must learn to read Scripture according to its context, embedded in its master-narrative, and progressively revealed along covenantal lines. We must learn to interpret each theological issue through Scripture’s metanarrative of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. Specifically, evangelicals need a theology of the body that is anchored in the Bible’s own unfolding drama of redemption.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What’s Behind Germany’s New Anti-Semitism; ISIS' workplace accident; We’re All Subsidizing Abortion...more

The spread of Rocky Mountain jihad
Something’s fouling Colorado’s crisp air — and I’m not talking about the pot smoke.

In my adopted home state, the toxic fumes of Islamic jihad have penetrated the most unlikely hamlets and hinterlands. Obama administration officials are vehemently denying plots by ISIS operatives to cross our borders. But the lesson here is clear: Thanks to laptop recruitment, reckless visa policies and homegrown treachery, the U.S.-based jihad export-import business is and has been thriving.

Don’t Kid Yourself, We’re All Subsidizing The Abortion Industry  ...There was a time, you’ll probably remember, when contending that Obamacare subsidies would cover elective abortions was considered a “myth”– pure fear mongering, cooked up by the fringiest crackpots of the right. Well, as with some other alleged conspiracy theories about the administration, annoying facts keep popping up to bolster them.

In a report requested for by eight Republicans House members, the GAO found that 18 insurance providers in 28 states made no attempt to limit access to abortion coverage. And though the Office of Personnel Management is theoretically tasked with making sure at least one insurance plan in each exchange does not cover abortions at all, in states like Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont, every insurance plan on the exchanges offered elective abortion. Yes, it’s against the rules. What are you going to do about it?

Much like the administration, it seems the private sector is free to interpret the law in a way it feels comfortable...
Feds: Obamacare covers elective abortions

Watering Down Religious Freedom to ‘Freedom to Worship’ ...Perhaps the most egregious example of this whittling away of religious liberty is Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate. The legal showdown over the now famous rule entered a new round last week. The federal government continued its fight to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity dedicated to caring for the elderly poor, to cover abortion-inducing drugs and contraception in violation of their faith. While the Supreme Court stopped enforcement of the mandate against some family businesses, non-profit religious organizations like the Little Sisters remain in danger of devastating fines for not complying with the coercive rule.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s HHS mandate is hardly the only assault on religious freedom and the right of conscience in the United States.

Obamacare is finding new ways to force individuals and families to pay for health plans that cover elective abortions. The law’s lack of transparency about abortion coverage, coupled with a mandatory abortion surcharge, is so serious an affront to conscience that it has led at least one family to file a federal lawsuit.  The health care law also only includes limited protections for medical professionals who decline to participate in, perform, or refer for abortion because of their moral or religious beliefs...

What’s Behind Germany’s New Anti-Semitism
...Until recently, Germany has been unwilling to discuss this trend. Germans have always seen Muslim anti-Semitism as a less problematic version of the “original” version, and therefore a distraction from the well-known problem of anti-Jewish sentiment within a majority of society.

And yet the German police have noted a disturbing rise in the number of people of Arabic and Turkish descent arrested on suspicion of anti-Semitic acts in recent years, especially over the last several months. After noticing an alarming uptick in anti-Semitic sentiment among immigrant students, the German government is considering a special fund for Holocaust education...

Satanic Temple To Open 15 New Chapters Across the United States The Satanic Temple says it will open 15 new chapters nationwide, as well as several internationally.

In an interview with Aleteia, Jex Blackmore, a leader of the Satanic Temple’s new Detroit chapter and a member of the group’s executive ministry team, said her organization’s view of Satan is not the same one presented in the Bible as the “Father of Lies.”

“Satan, to us, is not a deity or entity, but rather a symbol of the ultimate revolutionary iconoclast exemplified by Milton, William Blake and Anatole France," Blackmore said, likening her group’s variety of satanism to a humanist philosophy that hopes to give its followers a sense of identity, community, and shared values.

Blackmore added that her group is a “non-theistic religious organization” that does not subscribe to “supernaturalism,” and does not participate in animal sacrifices and other rituals often attributed to satanic groups....

Fourteen ISIS Terrorists Die in Workplace Accident Trying to Load Chlorine Gas Into Rocket  ...At least 14 members of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group were killed Tuesday near Baghdad when a rocket whose warhead they were filling with chlorine gas exploded.

Iraqi security officials said seven more IS militants were injured in the incident, which occurred near the town of al-Dhuluiya, about 90 km north of Baghdad...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Agnus Dei!

Christ Crucified  07
The cross for the first time revealed God in terms of weakness and lowliness and suffering; even, humanly speaking, of absurdity. He was seen thenceforth in the image of the most timid, most gentle and most vulnerable of all living creatures—a lamb. Agnus Dei! ...Malcolm Muggeridge image

Math is ‘the domain of old, white men’; CDC issues Ebola checklist; Porn Use Among Christians...more

Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress
Once a week, members of a Wellington, New Zealand, book club arrive at a cafe, grab a drink and shut off their cellphones. Then they sink into cozy chairs and read in silence for an hour.

The point of the club isn't to talk about literature, but to get away from pinging electronic devices and read, uninterrupted. The group calls itself the Slow Reading Club, and it is at the forefront of a movement populated by frazzled book lovers who miss old-school reading.

Slow reading advocates seek a return to the focused reading habits of years gone by, before Google, smartphones and social media started fracturing our time and attention spans. Many of its advocates say they embraced the concept after realizing they couldn't make it through a book anymore...

Teacher group: Math is ‘the domain of old, white men’
...The site, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Teach for America, says that because math is seen as a domain for old, white men, many students cannot identify with it. Therefore, educators should find ways to relate math to the lives of their students.

Judging from the math curriculum recommended, this TFA group, like all other social justice educators, wants minorities to believe that what relates most to their lives in America is racism and oppression.

For example, the site recommends “Critically Conscious Mathematics” and “Radical Math.”...

Porn Use Among Christians Higher Than Non-Christians
No sooner had I finished writing about the connection between Christians supporting homosexuality and supporting other forms of immorality and I come across a new study showing the epidemic porn use among Christians...

The Great Unraveling
It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?
It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright sunlight, a Muslim with a British accent cut off the heads of two American journalists and a British aid worker. The jihadi seemed comfortable in his work, unhurried. His victims were broken. Terror is theater. Burning skyscrapers, severed heads: The terrorist takes movie images of unbearable lightness and gives them weight enough to embed themselves in the psyche.
 
It was a time of aggression. The leader of the largest nation on earth pronounced his country encircled, even humiliated. He annexed part of a neighboring country, the first such act in Europe since 1945, and stirred up a war on further land he coveted. His surrogates shot down a civilian passenger plane. The victims, many of them Europeans, were left to rot in the sun for days. He denied any part in the violence, like a puppeteer denying that his puppets’ movements have any connection to his. He invoked the law the better to trample on it. He invoked history the better to turn it into farce. He reminded humankind that the idiom fascism knows best is untruth so grotesque it begets unreason... Don't miss this...
 
CDC issues Ebola checklist: 'Now is the time to prepare'
...While the CDC does not believe that there are new cases of Ebola in the United States, the assumption in the checklist is that it is only a matter of time before the virus hits home...

Meriam Ibrahim: 'I knew God would stand by my side'  ...
She said she was given three days in prison to renounce her faith, while imams visisted her in an "intervention" to help her recant by reciting the Qur'an to her.

"My faith was the only weapon that I had in these confrontations with imams and Muslim scholars," she said.

Interviewer Megyn Kelly asked: "Did you believe they would kill you?"

To which Ibrahim responded: "Faith means life, if you don't have faith, you're not alive."
She highlighted that there are many Christians suffering the same persecution. "I am not the only one suffering from this problem," she said. "There are many Meriams in Sudan and throughout the world. It's not just me. I'm not the only one."...