Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mohler: Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?; Powers: Becoming a Christian Ruined My Love of Christmas...more

Kirsten Powers: Becoming a Christian Ruined My Love of Christmas  ...Ironically, after all of this, Christmas lost its luster for me. The rank materialism became too much to bear, and the Christmas season morphed from being a time I savored into something I tried to survive each year. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, the holiday jingles—they all felt like pagan oppression. When people complained about a war on Christmas I often smirked and thought to myself, Where do I sign up? Honestly: When a sale at Crate and Barrel gets entangled with the birth of Jesus Christ, something has gone horribly wrong.

But then I realized that I had allowed the secular celebrations of Christmas to crowd out its transcendent meaning. As theologian N. T. Wright points out, it’s Christmas that is the moment when God launched a “divine rescue mission” of humankind.

God didn’t just condescend to come to earth as a human. He came as a helpless infant. The King of Kings was born amid barnyard animals and piles of hay after His lowly parents were turned away from better lodgings. When the Magi came to see the Lord, there was no security on hand to judge whether they were worthy. The Messiah was approachable.

He was both one of us, and at the same time, “God with us.” He was flesh. He would hunger, He would bleed, He would love, He would thirst, and He would die. None of this could have happened had He not been born fully human...Don't miss this!

Mohler: Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?
Hard times come with hard questions, and our cultural context exerts enormous pressure on Christians to affirm common ground at the expense of theological differences. But the cost of getting this question wrong is the loss of the Gospel...

6 Presidential Candidates Pledge to Support Bill to Protect Gay Marriage Opponents  ...Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee have signed onto the Project's pledge in support of FADA.

GOP candidates Donald Trump, former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky have expressed support for FADA but did not sign the pledge...

Since Chile’s ban on abortion, not only has maternal health improved but the number of women seeking illegal abortion has plummeted! Since Chile banned abortion in 1989, the number of maternal deaths decreased from 41.3 to 12.7 per 100,000 women (69.2% reduction). That puts Chile in second place for the lowest maternal mortality rate in the Americas (that’s right, even better than the United States)...It’s not sheer coincidence that Malta, The Republic of Ireland, and Chile, all of which have prohibited abortion, have lower maternal mortality rates than the United States...

Chinese Christian Says He and His Church do Not Fear Government Persecution ...China is reportedly increasing its crackdown on churches and Christians, but Zhang says, “As a Christian and a member of Huoshi Church, I would say that we do not fear. We accept that God blesses us; we also accept that God allows suffering to happen.”

Friday, December 18, 2015

Berlin police shut down mosque; Europe, Multiculturalism, and Nihilism...more

Europe, Multiculturalism, and Nihilism
... The idea of a superficial multiculturalism, in which everything is conformed to State nihilism and secularism without reference to any religious reality—especially the Christian one—has miserably failed. The golden rule of assimilation led only to the cultural attitude of “dissembling” or lying about one’s true beliefs; this is the practice of “taqiyya” that is not only permitted but often required among Shiites. In recent decades, an increasing number of young Muslims have rebelled against the pressure to assimilate to the secular culture in this way, and they have refused to conceal the true nature of their religious beliefs. They want to live their faith in every sphere of their lives. Some of them choose the Jihad as a way to freely give testimony of their faith.

European totalitarian secularism is strong, and a discriminatory, violent attitude against religion is spreading...

Christians could be excluded from refugee resettlement plans, says Cardinal ...Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said there are fears that few if any Christian families fleeing Isil militants will be offered sanctuary in Britain because the scheme is aimed at refugees registered through the UNHCR, rather than church-run centres where most of the persecuted Christians are concentrated.

He said it was an “unintended consequence” of the plan but a “point of deep concern” for Catholic and Orthodox and other Christian churches with a stake in the region...

Berlin police have shut down a mosque with suspected links to ISIS German authorities raided a mosque in Stuttgart that is allegedly supporting Isis as well as a number of addresses in Berlin as part of anti-terror operations.

Police seized computers, data storage devices, smartphones and documents from the Islamic Educational and Cultural Center Mesdschid Sahabe in the southwestern city of Stuttgart, said interior minister of Baden Wurttemberg state Reinhold Gall...

Parents Outraged after Students Practice Writing in Arabic 'There is No God but Allah' Some Virginia high school students’ parents were outraged after a class assignment involved writing the Muslim statement of faith. Charisma News reports a geography assignment at Riverheads High School in Staunton asked students to practice calligraphy by writing, “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” in Arabic.

The message was not translated to English.

Students were also shown a quran and female students were also invited to try on a headscarf while learning about the modest dress of Islamic cultures...

The End of Internet Advertising as We’ve Known It
Millions of people are refusing to let intrusive, distracting, or irrelevant ads load on our devices. Consumers should seize the opportunity to demand a more mutually beneficial relationship with online advertisers...

Christ-Centered Silence for the Noisy Advent Season
...In brief, here are three ways I build worshipful silence into my days. I commend them to musicians in the church, but they can also be valuable for non-musicians in the sound and fury of the season.
  • Retreat. Take a day during Advent and go on a personal retreat for prayer and quiet biblical reflection.
  • Take long walks. This isn’t walk for exercise; it’s time to breath the cool air and observe God’s handiwork. Slow down and meditate on his Word and his world.
  • Visit an empty sanctuary. For those who have access to a church sanctuary where reverence is expected, being alone in a quiet, dark house of worship forces us to be still and silent. It’s a great place to go for moments of reflective, private worship.

Archbishop Wabukala: What is at stake in Canterbury

17 Dec 2015

Archbishop Justin Welby has called the Primates of the Anglican Communion to meet in Canterbury 11th-16th January to find a way to resolve the spiritual and moral crisis that has beset the Communion throughout the opening years of the twenty first century.

This is a courageous initiative and the GAFCON Primates will attend in the hope that Archbishop Welby will, like them, stand firm to guard the gospel we love, knowing that we cannot rewrite the Bible to suit the spirit of a secular age.

Many orthodox Primates did not attend the last Primates Meeting in 2011 under the chairmanship of his predecessor, Rowan Williams. They were not prepared to share in fellowship with provinces like The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) which had rejected the clear teaching of Scripture and the collegial mind of previous Primates Meetings and the Lambeth Conference 1998 by pressing ahead with the blessing of same sex unions and ordaining those in such relationships.

This time, GAFCON and the other orthodox Primates are willing to attend, but they know that after many years of debate, action is needed to restore the spiritual and doctrinal integrity of the Communion they care for so deeply. They are clear that their continued presence will depend upon action by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a majority of the Primates to ensure that participation in the Anglican Communion is governed by robust commitments to biblical teaching and morality...
the rest
It has been suggested that the way forward is for the Anglican Communion to abandon the idea that there should be mutual recognition between the provinces and that it should instead find its unity simply in a common relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

This is not historic Anglicanism; the See of Canterbury is honoured and respected as the Mother Church of the Communion, but the unity of the Communion does not depend upon the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rather, it depends upon the various provinces being able to recognize each other, with all their differences of culture, as truly apostolic and committed to the faith as it has been received. Tragically, that recognition has now broken down and affection for Canterbury is no substitute. As the GAFCON movement affirmed in the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008.

Eliud Wabukala writes to Gafcon clergy about the forthcoming Primates gathering

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets rave reviews; Bob Beckel-new life in Christ...more

Cameron 'warned ISIS run camps' from where UK is getting 20,000 Syrian refugees The Prime Minister has come under under fire after the International Development Committee, which is investigating the Syrian refugee crisis, received evidence that ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups were running the camps within the war-torn country, but also in Lebanon and Jordan where the majority of the 20,000 heading for the UK are currently based.

A report by Barnabas Fund, an organisation which helps persecuted Christians across the globe, said Mr Cameron was told there were Islamic extremists within the refugee camps for displaced Syrians in Lebanon when he visited them in September, weeks BEFORE any of the refugees began coming to the UK.

Mr Cameron announced the extended number of asylum seekers in September after the harrowing image of the Syrian boy who drowned trying to get to Europe went around the globe...

Bob Beckel: Around for a reason
A political operative who ‘should be dead’ instead found life in Christ... Amazing!

Wheaton College Suspends Hijab-Wearing Professor ...Wheaton College said the disciplinary action was taken not because Hawkins was wearing a hijab, but "in response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that [Hawkins] made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam." Hawkins will receive “the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member,” the college stated...

Yale students sign petition calling for repeal of 1st Amendment College students at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, were purportedly caught on camera signing their names to a document that said the First Amendment of the US Constitution ought to be repealed.

Ami Horowitz appears in the footage, speaking with students on campus and asking for their signatures.

The students' faces have been blurred out...

High School Seniors Now Prefer Marijuana to Cigarettes
More students in the 12th grade said they smoked pot every day, compared to those who smoke daily cigarettes, finds a new federal report. It’s the first time since the survey began in 1975 that daily marijuana use surpassed cigarettes.

The “Monitoring the Future” survey released on Wednesday shows that 6% of 12th graders used marijuana every day—about the same rate as last year—while 5.5% of seniors reported smoking cigarettes daily. (That’s a drop from 2014, when 6.7% of high school seniors smoked cigarettes every day.)...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets rave reviews
The first full reviews for the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens have hailed it as "a triumph" and "a classic".
 
UK newspapers were happy with the movie, with many awarding it five stars.
The Times critic Kate Muir wrote: "Adults will be floored by tearful nostalgia because this is a classic."... BBC

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Teach Is To Pray"

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bp. Julian Dobbs: Advent teaching Part III


Advent 2015 | Part 3 from Julian Dobbs on Vimeo.

ISIS orders killing of children with Down's Syndrome; Merkel to 'drastically decrease' number of refugees...more

ISIS orders killing of children with Down's Syndrome in latest sickening attack on the innocent ...Iraqi activist group Mosul Eye says the ISIS Shar'ia Board issued a savage "oral fatwa (an Islamic term for a religious decree)" to its members authorising them to "kill newborn babies with Down's Syndrome and congenital deformities and disabled children".

If true - and reports from the war-torn region are difficult to verify - it means ISIS has taken a leaf from the Nazis, who murdered disabled children it perceived to be a "burden on the state"...

One Christian Slaughtered Every Five Minutes
Report: Muslim Persecution of Christians: September, 2015

Angela Merkel to 'drastically decrease' number of refugees coming to Germany Angela Merkel has said she wants to “drastically decrease” the number of refugees coming to Germany amid criticism from her party over her management of the crisis.

The German chancellor, who will address a congress of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) today, has faced criticism from allies within her party after she refused to place a cap on the number of refugees accepted, a figure expected to total 340,000 this year.

“At the same time we took on board the concerns of the people, who are worried about the future, and this means we want to reduce, we want to drastically decrease the number of people coming to us,” she told radio station ARD...

America and Africa after Obama
...“If the medical injunction of ‘do no harm’ is the measuring stick,” writes Nicolas van de Walle in Foreign Affairs, “Obama’s record in Africa can be characterized as a success… But if judged by a more ambitious standard, Obama’s policy towards Africa has been something of a disappointment.” The Obama administration’s lackluster engagement with Africa is the result, according to Mr. Van de Walle, of at least four factors: budgetary constraints as a result of the recession, America’s thin diplomatic and intelligence presence in Africa, African affairs’ small effect on American interests, and the African continent’s sheer size and complexity...


DHS Official Struggles To Answer Basic Security Questions

Gutfeld: Fight Radical Islam With 'Radical Americanism' ..."I'm sorry, Mr. President, that this era couldn't be about rising sea levels. But the crisis of today chooses our leaders, not the reverse. It's radical Islam versus radical Americanism, and the polar bears will have to wait."

To End Campus Tantrums, Treat Young People Like Adults We’re finding out what happens when youngsters grow up after having been shielded as much as possible from every obstacle and uncomfortable situation...

The New Campus McCarthyism It’s getting deadly serious because the chronically aggrieved have federal law on their side...

Planned Parenthood sends aborted babies’ bodies to landfills, violating state law: Ohio AG Every Planned Parenthood office in Ohio violates state law by sending aborted babies to landfills and treating them like "common...trash," the state attorney general announced today...

Feds Expected To Announce Registration Process For Drones An announcement is expected Monday about a federal plan to register drones that is aimed at helping the Federal Aviation Administration keep track of the growing number of drone owners.

The new rules come after more than 240 close-call collisions between drones and planes nationwide over the last two years, including nearly 90 in the Tri-State area, according to a report released Friday.


Stormscapes 3

The History of the Christmas Card
Borne out of having too little time, the holiday greeting has boomed into a major industry...

A.S. Haley: Episcopal Abuses Turn Inward

December 13, 2015

In a development that few Episcopalians of four or five years ago could have imagined, the Episcopal bishops of the most powerful and financially secure dioceses have begun to turn on their own once-strong, but now severely weakened, parishes. Having driven out all the dissenters at enormous expense to their coffers, these dioceses are increasingly trying to make up their losses by sacrificing valuable real estate -- even if it means turning out previously loyal congregations from their hard-won property. And -- who could have foreseen it? -- the parishes most harmed by the continuous litigation were precisely those with the most valuable properties.

A prime example is the Diocese of Los Angeles, led by the litigious J. Jon Bruno -- he of the forkèd tongue. For nine years he waged war in the California courts against four dissident congregations to prevent them from keeping title to their own parish properties. Using the notorious Dennis Canon, he was singularly successful in having California courts impose an irrevocable trust on the local parishes' real estate, so that when they voted to withdraw from the diocese, they necessarily forfeited all rights to their property.

But his victories came at a tremendous cost: the Diocese had spent more than eight million dollars as of last year, and was still incurring more costs to subsidize two of the remnant congregations in their newly recaptured sanctuaries. Bishop Bruno negotiated sales of two of the properties: the parish of All Saints Long Beach was allowed to purchase their property on a long-term contract, and he sold the church of St. David's in North Hollywood to a private school... the rest (updated)

Kenya reaffirms break with TEC
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Kenya has reaffirmed that it remains in a state of impaired communion with the Episcopal Church of the USA. At its September 2015 meeting, the synod adopted Resolution 15 “On Mission” expressing disappointment with the decision by the June 2015 meeting of General Convention to authorize rites for the blessing of same sex marriages...Anglican Ink

Sudan break with TEC
The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and the Sudan have voted to sever ties with the Episcopal Church of the USA and have asked their primate, the Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul to recognize in its place the Anglican Church in North America. In a communique released at the close of their 25-28 Nov 2015 meeting in Juba, the Sudanese bishops said the June decision by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to authorize rites for the blessing of same-sex marriages placed the Episcopal Church beyond the boundaries of fellowship. “In our view such innovations are not in conformity with the Scriptures,” the bishops wrote. The break with the Episcopal Church is not complete, however, as the Sudanese church continued to recognize and support those dioceses in the Episcopal Church that had rejected the innovation...Anglican Ink