Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Murmuration of Starlings

Jan 23, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bishops block transgender prayers; What Right Not to Be Offended?...more

Bishops block transgender prayers
Following the debate and vote at General Synod in July 2017 on Welcoming Transgender People, the House of Bishops has prayerfully considered whether a new nationally commended service might be prepared to mark a gender transition.

The Bishops are inviting clergy to use the existing rite Affirmation of Baptismal Faith. New guidance is also being prepared on the use of the service.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, said: “The Church of England welcomes transgender people and wholeheartedly wishes for them to be included in the life of the Church.

“On the matter of whether a new service is needed, the House of Bishops has decided that the current service that is used to affirm baptism can be adapted.... Anglican Ink

Church of England Sneaks Transgender 'Re-Baptism' into Liturgy
The Church of England has rejected a proposal for a new service to mark a congregant’s sex change – but has given the nod to using an existing ‘reaffirmation’ baptism service, instead.

The decision by the Anglican House of Bishops to reject proposals for the development of a new special service to mark gender transitions was criticised by LGBT activists within the church.

The ruling, revealed on Sunday, comes after the General Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of introducing such church services in July...

What Right Not to Be Offended?
...But the segment of the interview that grabbed the public’s imagination wasn’t Peterson’s discussion of the wage gap or the biology of hierarchical relationships. It was a very simple exchange over the value of truth. Newman questioned Peterson on why he refused to go along with the trendy Leftist cause du jour: using pronouns chosen by individuals rather than pronouns that describe their biology. “Why should your freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?” Newman asked. Peterson, ever the gentleman, answered the question without guffawing: “Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable.”

Newman misdirected: “Well, I’m very glad I’ve put you on the spot.” But Peterson pursued: “Well, you get my point. You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.” Newman had no answer.
Point to Peterson...

A Healthy Dose of Religious Freedom-New HHS Division to Protect Medical Professionals
For healthcare providers facing restrictions on their rights of conscience, reinforcements are on the way.

On January 18th, the Trump Administration announced the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of Health and Human Services.

According to Roger Severino, the head of the Civil Rights Office at HHS, the division’s purpose is to protect doctors, nurses, and other health care providers “from being coerced into participating in activities that violate their consciences, such as abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide.”

This is very good news...

Monday, January 22, 2018

Church of England bishops block new transgender prayer; A Tale Of Two Movements...more

A.S.Haley: From Doubt to Certainty: Luther's Transformation
Despite all the tumult and clamor, the year 2017 did not mark the "500th anniversary" of the Reformation movement begun by Martin Luther. At most, it marked the 500th year after Luther sent off his Ninety-five Theses to the Archbishop of Mainz, to protest the manner in which indulgences were being offered and awarded under that eminence's authority.

(As Richard Rex shows in the opening pages of his recent work, The Making of Martin Luther, the notorious incident of Luther's nailing the theses to the wooden doors of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on All Hallows' Eve of 1517 is in all probability a myth that was loosely fabricated, just after Luther died, by his colleague Philipp Melanchthon. Its vividness has gripped the popular imagination ever since, but it never happened in that way in 1517. Instead of posting them publicly, Luther quietly mailed his theses, and a fawning covering letter, to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, who in due course referred them to the local university for advice. They did not see print, translation (from Latin into German), and wider circulation until January 1518.)

As noted, the Ninety-five Theses were directed against the offer and award of indulgences, which in Luther's case had been authorized by Pope Leo X and (in his territory) Archbishop Albrecht for contributions made toward the cost of building the massive edifice that would become St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Ironically, Luther's own sovereign, the Elector Frederick, did not authorize them in his territory of Wittenberg, due to the fact that he already enjoyed a steady stream of pilgrims coming to view the huge collection of saints' relics he had amassed over the years, and did not want to contribute in any way to a lessening of that trade...

New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Growing Stronger
...New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.

Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”...

What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right  ...The Ten Commandments were not disobeyed – they were unknown.  The value system was the exact opposite.  You were supposed to steal everything you can to give to your own relatives.  There are some Westernized Africans who try to rebel against the system.  They fail.

We hear a lot about the kleptocratic elites of Africa.  The kleptocracy extends through the whole society.  My town had a medical clinic donated by international agencies.  The medicine was stolen by the medical workers and sold to the local store.  If you were sick and didn't have money, drop dead.  That was normal.

So here in the States, when we discovered that my 98-year-old father's Muslim health aide from Nigeria had stolen his clothes and wasn't bathing him, I wasn't surprised.  It was familiar.

In Senegal, corruption ruled, from top to bottom.  Go to the post office, and the clerk would name an outrageous price for a stamp.  After paying the bribe, you still didn't know it if it would be mailed or thrown out.  That was normal...

Pussy Hats And Church Hymns: A Tale Of Two Movements
There could not be a starker contrast than that between the March for Life and the Women's March...

Church of England bishops block new transgender prayer
-Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, implored members to vote for the motion
-But the bishops rejected the move at a private meeting at Lambeth Palace
-Dr Beardsley, of transgender group Sibyls, said many Christians would be hurt

California to automatically register illegal aliens to vote for any who have driver's licenses issued

Thursday, January 18, 2018

3 reasons for optimism at the March for Life; Massive Child Molestation Cover-Up In USA Gymnastics...more

3 reasons for optimism at the March for Life
Tomorrow will be the 44th annual March for Life, where hundreds of thousands of people will gather on the National Mall, then march on the Supreme Court to protest the 1973 Supreme Court decision making abortion a constitutional right.

More so than at previous marches, this year the protesters have reasons for optimism. Here are three reasons why...

7 Things I Love about Liturgical Protestant Worship
Sometimes the idea of “formal worship” scares people. I hope to make that less scary. The Protestant traditions include Anglicanism, Lutheranism, the Reformed, and Presbyterianism. Although these traditions have important differences, they reflect important similarities in the way they worship. I could feel more or less at home in any of these traditions. A liturgy is an order of worship in which God gives grace in the gospel and we respond in faith, hope, and love.

100 Victims Testify In Court Over Massive Child Molestation Cover-Up In USA Gymnastics Nearly 100 women will read victim impact statements this week, sharing their accounts of the horrific sexual assault they endured when they were young girls, at the hands of Larry Nassar—and in doing so, they are also revealing that USA Gymnastics enabled the predator...

VIDEO: James O'Keefe EXPOSES Twitter Bans Users Under Pressure From Chinese Government   ...On January 1st, Conrado Miranda, a former senior software engineer at Twitter admitted to Project Veritas that the social media giant routinely bars users at the behest of the Chinese government...

Ex-C.I.A. Officer Suspected of Compromising Chinese Informants Is Arrested   A former C.I.A. officer suspected by investigators of helping China dismantle United States spying operations and identify informants has been arrested, the Justice Department said on Tuesday. The collapse of the spy network was one of the American government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years.

The arrest of the former officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, capped an intense F.B.I. inquiry that began around 2012, two years after the C.I.A. began losing its informants in China. Investigators confronted an enduring mystery: How did the names of so many C.I.A. sources, among the agency’s most dearly held secrets, end up in Chinese hands?...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Out of the hillsides of humiliated pride...

Hexham Abbey, Hexham, Northumberland, England
Out of the hillsides of humiliated pride; deep in the darkness of crushed despair; in the fretting and dusty atmosphere of little cares; in the hard, cruel contacts that man has with man; wherever souls are being tried and ripened, in whatever commonplace and homely ways;—there God is hewing out the pillars for His temple. ...Phillips Brooks image

Twitter Engineers To “Ban a Way of Talking” Through “Shadow Banning";Top 50 Worst Countries for Christians...more

UNDERCOVER VIDEO: Twitter Engineers To “Ban a Way of Talking” Through “Shadow Banning,” Algorithms to Censor Opposing Political Opinions ...This video release follows the first undercover Twitter exposé Project Veritas released on January 10th which showed Twitter Senior Network Security Engineer Clay Haynes saying that Twitter is “more than happy to help the Department of Justice with their little [President Donald Trump] investigation.” Twitter responded to the video with a statement shortly after that release, stating “the individual depicted in this video was speaking in a personal capacity and does not represent of speak for Twitter.” The video released by Project Veritas today features eight employees, and a Project Veritas spokesman said there are more videos featuring additional employees coming.

On January 3rd 2018 at a San Francisco restaurant, Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter Software Engineer explains a strategy, called “shadow banning,” that to his knowledge, Twitter has employed...

 Top 50 Worst Countries for Christians
As many as 215 million followers of Christ around the world are being persecuted because of their faith, according to Open Doors USA's annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday. The report identified the top 50 nations where Christians are most targeted.

"It's easy to move through life disconnected from what happens to believers in other parts of the world. But this report helps us close the gap between us," said David Curry, CEO of Open Doors, in the full report...

Canadian group announces “naked swim day” at public pool, encourages children to attend  Locals say nudist event that encourages children to attend is like ‘Christmas’ for pedophiles...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait...

If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people. ...CH Spurgeon image

Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy; Making School Lunch Edible Again...more

Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down? ...Add it all up and North American users spend somewhere between three and five hours a day looking at their smartphones. As the New York University marketing professor Adam Alter points out, that means over the course of an average lifetime, most of us will spend about seven years immersed in our portable computers.

These companies have persuaded us to give over so much of our lives by exploiting a handful of human frailties. One of them is called novelty bias. It means our brains are suckers for the new. As the McGill neuroscientist Daniel Levitin explains, we're wired this way to survive. In the infancy of our species, novelty bias kept us alert to dubious red berries and the growls of sabre-toothed tigers. But now it makes us twig helplessly to Facebook notifications and the buzz of incoming e-mail. That's why social media apps nag you to turn notifications on. They know that once the icons start flashing onto your lock screen, you won't be able to ignore them. It's also why Facebook switched the colour of its notifications from a mild blue to attention-grabbing red...

Making School Lunch Edible Again 
...The Act’s directives called for lowering calories, portions and sodium through whole grains and non-fat milk and increasing fresh veggies and fruit — a one size fits all approach that resulted in the first decrease in the $13.6 billion National School Lunch Program participation in decades. Although the Obama administration never published the number of schools dropping the program, the media was full of such reports and social media exploded with memes, tweets and videos made by disgusted, hungry children.

It ignored schools’ regional and cultural differences. Asian students didn’t like brown rice and Hispanic children wanted normal tortillas that didn’t crack when rolled. It set the same calorie limits for an 85 pound gymnast and a 250 pound linebacker. Its sodium restrictions were too low for athletes or a child in Texas walking home in June. The student in East L.A. does not necessarily share food favorites with a kid in Manhattan or one in rural Tennessee. Cafeteria creativity and local food preferences flew out the window with its mandates...

Snow is falling in the Sahara desert for the third time in 40 years

Massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake strikes in the Caribbean
Islands escape major damage after one of the most powerful tremors ever to hit the region...

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Bibles read without prayer...

Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows them to have a tremendous fall. ...J.C. Ryle image

The New Normal for Church Security; What, Indeed, Is the Quran?...more

The New Normal for Church Security
...We reached a second major tipping point in November 2017 with the church shootings at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Among the 26 people killed were nine members of one family. Church leaders and members across the nation began to realize that if it can happen in Sutherland Springs, it can happen anywhere.

I recently conducted a social media survey to ask church leaders and members to share what their churches were doing for church security. I then went to the Church Answers community (ChurchAnswers.com) for more in-depth responses. Here are some realities of the new normal as articulated by these respondents...

Mohamed 3rd most popular name for baby boys in Minnesota town  ...The vast majority of Muslims in Minnesota are refugees from Somalia, and the Somalis have large families. Just since 2002, the U.S. State Department, in cooperation with the United Nations, has distributed more than 54,000 Somali refugees into Minnesota cities and towns.
Refugees qualify for full U.S. citizenship within five years of their arrival on U.S. soil, but the babies they birth are immediately granted citizenship...

What, Indeed, Is the Quran?
...Most people know that the Quran (Qur’an, Koran) is the holy book of the Muslim religion, hence of about a fifth of the world’s population. But knowing this much, we still must grasp the peculiar nature of this famous book, if, indeed, because of its origins, it can be called precisely a “book.” If we ask just when this book was written, or even, who exactly wrote it, we soon run into difficult issues.

First, we have to ask: “What do Muslims think the book is?” Then we have to ask: “What does it look like considering the empirical and historical analyses of its origins and content?” The effort to understand what the Quran is becomes doubly difficult because Muslims themselves will not allow any investigation into, or questioning of, its original sources if it contradicts what the religion insists that it is, namely, a direct revelation from Allah, the Muslim name for what it calls “God.” Any significant divergence from the classic Quranic text will be met with the accusation of blasphemy, which can result in serious legal and even penal repercussions.

Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend
...Not only did your letter contain many strawmen misrepresentations of what Christians actually believe but some of the articles you share on social media refer to Christians as ‘homophobes’ and ‘haters’ for simply believing what Christians have almost always believed―that marriage is a sacramental covenant between a man and a woman. Even in your letter to me, you refer to this aspect of Christian faith as a ‘murderer’. I expect such hostile pejoratives and misrepresentations from the world around me. I don’t expect that from someone who names Christ.

By being willing to ‘hear your story’ (as you say in your letter) you imply that I was disingenuous and only wanted to use you for some insincere end, to gain social capital. No. I was trying to give you every possible chance to explain why you would be promoting an ideology that is an enemy to our faith. I was hoping against hope that you had somehow misunderstood the issue. But as you explained over your latte how you now see the Bible as a ‘general guide and not as a strict rulebook’ it became clear that you understood the issues just fine...

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder...

Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see: heaven on earth, earth in heaven, man in God, God in man, one whom the whole universe cannot contain now enclosed in a tiny body.

As they look, they believe and do not question, as their symbolic gifts bear witness: incense for God, gold for a king, myrrh for one who is to die. ...Peter Chrysologus image

Religious Liberty Is Eroding in Canada; Homeschoolers Get a Lump of Coal from Congress...more

Religious Liberty Is Eroding in Canada. Here’s What Americans Should Learn   ...Last month, Alberta’s Child and Family Services barred a Christian couple from adopting a child because their religious views about sexuality—views shared by orthodox Jews and Muslims—were incompatible with “the official position of the Alberta government.”

The Ministry of Children’s Services stated that the couple’s belief that sexuality should not be experienced or explored until a person is married, would not create a “safe, healthy, loving, and inclusive home.”

And in June, Ontario passed a law that gave state agencies the power to prevent families from adopting or fostering children if the parents would not affirm the child transitioning their “gender identity” from male to female or vice-versa, calling such a denial “child abuse.”...

University Researcher Suspended for Selling Body Parts From Aborted Babies ...A researcher at the University of New Mexico was suspended for selling the body parts of aborted babies to a company in Michigan.

Yesterday evening, the Albuquerque Journal released a story after receiving an internal memo from the University of New Mexico (UNM) stating that UNM researcher Dr. Robin Ohls was suspended and barred from her lab. It was discovered Ohls sent baby body parts acquired from Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) and transferred them to a Michigan company...

 Health Insurance Premiums Rising as High as 265 in Virginia This Year
Health insurance premiums in Virginia’s individual marketplace are set to rise as high as 265 percent in this new year.

According to the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Affordable Care Act filing data, the maximum allowable premium hike for Optima Health Plan customers is 265.5 percent, which represents the largest increases in the Virginia individual market next year. Some Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company health plans on the individual market are set to rise 168.6 percent in 2018.

The maximum allowable increases for Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. customers will be 213.2 percent in 2018, and some CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc. customers will be paying 162.5 percent more than they did in 2017....

Homeschoolers Get a Lump of Coal from Congress
The tax system overhaul passed just before Christmas hit an unexpected bump just hours after House lawmakers finished celebrating their historic vote. Several items ran afoul of Senate procedural rules and had to be pulled from the bill before final approval. One of those directly affected homeschooling families.

Under the bill, lawmakers expanded 529 educational savings accounts to include private K-12 schooling. They also attempted to include homeschool expenses, a tax benefit the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has lobbied for since 2000.

“We were an inch away from victory,” said William Estrada, HSLDA’s director of federal relations...

Fixer Upper Stars Announce 5th Child, Cue the Backlash
The couple just revealed that they’re expecting their fifth child.

Cue the backlash. Because...leftists...

Friday, January 05, 2018

Insistence on security is incompatible with the way of the cross...

Le Jour ni l’Heure 4799 : Eugène Delacroix, 1798-1863, Crucifixion, 1835, dét., musée de la Cohue, Vannes, Morbihan, mardi 28 octobre 2014, 14:59:50
Insistence on security is incompatible with the way of the cross. What daring adventures the incarnation and the atonement were! What a breach of convention and decorum that Almighty God should renounce his privileges in order to take human flesh and bear human sin! Jesus had no security except in his Father. So to follow Jesus is always to accept at least a measure of uncertainty, danger and rejection for his sake. ...John R.W. Stott image

How Europe Built Its Own Funeral Pyre, Then Leapt In; Major chip flaws affect billions of devices...more

How Europe Built Its Own Funeral Pyre, Then Leapt In
The single most significant issue of our time is not North Korea’s drive to develop long-range nuclear missiles. It is not the threat posed to Europe by the Russian land power or the threat posed to America’s Asian dominance by Chinese sea power. It is not Iran’s growing Mideast influence, nor the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections and possible “collusion” by the Trump campaign.

No, the defining issue of our day is mass immigration into the nations of Western heritage. This growing inflow threatens to remake those nations and overwhelm their cultural identity. This is the issue that played the largest role in getting Donald Trump elected. It drove Britain’s Brexit vote. It is roiling the European continent, mounting tensions inside the EU and driving a wedge between the elites of those nations and their general populations.

Indeed, the central battlefront in the immigration wars is Europe, which accepted a trickle of immigrants in the immediate postwar era due to labor shortages. But over the years the trickle became a stream, then a growing river, and finally a torrent—to the extent that ethnic Britons are now a minority in their own capital city, refugee flows into Germany went from 48,589 in 2010 to 1.5 million in 2015, and Italy, a key entry point, received at one point an average of 6,500 new arrivals a day...

Governors Pardon Immigrants Convicted of Serious Crimes to Halt Deportation While the nation was preoccupied celebrating the holidays, the governors of two major states pardoned immigrants convicted of serious crimes to shield them from deportation. First, California Governor Jerry Brown pardoned two men on the verge of being deported for committing crimes in the U.S., according to a Sacramento news report. Days later, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo pardoned 18 immigrants convicted of serious crimes so they could remain in the country. The foreigners had obtained legal immigration status in the United States but committed such abhorrent crimes that they faced removal after the completion of their criminal sentence. An official statement issued by the governor’s office refers to the pardoned as “contributing members of society” who face the “threat of deportation and other immigration-related challenges” as a result of their crimes...

Major chip flaws affect billions of devices
Two major flaws in computer chips could leave a huge number of computers and smartphones vulnerable to security concerns, researchers revealed Wednesday.

And a U.S. government-backed body warned that the chips themselves need to be replaced to completely fix the problems.

The flaws could allow an attacker to read sensitive data stored in the memory, like passwords, or look at what tabs someone has open on their computer, researchers found. Daniel Gruss, a researcher from Graz University of Technology who helped identify the flaw, said it may be difficult to execute an attack, but billions of devices were impacted...

New College Opens in Boston to Combat Loss of Faith in Students  A new college is opening in Boston this fall, with one distinct purpose. Founder Finny Kuruvilla expressed his hope that the new Sattler College will be “a solution to an ongoing epidemic occurring in the United States today: Christian students losing faith after they go off to college,” says The Christian Post.

Kuruvilla, a Harvard educated businessman, began Sattler because, as he says, "[Today's colleges] are producing, despite being raised in the church environment, people who have very little knowledge of the Word of God and who are struggling to articulate even the basics of the faith.”

He wanted to do something about it.

Woman explains why she left ‘super wild’ lesbian lifestyle to follow Christ

I Couldn’t Call God ‘Father’-An Iranian woman’s journey of faith
In Islam there are 99 names for Allah. Not one of them is “Father.”  I am from a family of six children. My father never showed us love. Whenever I heard of people speak about the love and support of their fathers, I had no idea what they meant.
My father was an angry man. He abused us, especially my mother, emotionally and physically. She was beaten several times to within an inch of her life. Yet she put up with this in order to protect us children.  I also remember the day when my father tried to kill my brother, forcing him to run away barefooted into the street.  When I was old enough, l left Iran so that I could be free of my father and have a better life. I ended up in the UK.....

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Beware in your prayer...

Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. ...Andrew Murray image

New Study: Women Say Their Abortion Was Not Liberating; Largest group of Mennonite churches leaves denomination...more

Physicians Cannot Serve Both Death and Life
...Consider the following analogy. It is both illogical and impossible for a runner to aim simultaneously to win a marathon and to lose a marathon. One’s actions must be in accord with one’s willed end. The runner cannot act in order to reach the finish line while also acting in order not to reach the finish line. If the runner wants to win the marathon, he will choose to run well; if he does not want to win, he will choose to run poorly. He cannot choose both of those ends at once.

Nor can the physician serve two ends simultaneously. He cannot truly and wholeheartedly work toward bringing his patient to health if he can choose at any time to give up that pursuit and suggest rather that the patient choose death instead. Health requires life. A dead man can be neither healthy nor unhealthy. The two ends—to bring health to the patient or to bring death to the patient—are in opposition. The physician cannot serve both ends...

Trump ditches Obama’s LGBT global agenda by replacing gay ambassador with family man The The Trump Administration recently installed a new Ambassador to Spain. The former Obama appointee who was a pro-LGBT openly gay man ‘married’ to a man was replaced with a family man who has a wife and three children.

Juan María Piñero of Spain’s Actuall.com reports that Trump’s new Ambassador to Spain signals that the U.S. president has “cut” with Obama’s plans to “impose the LGBT agenda in the world through diplomatic pressures."

Richard Duke Buchan III has taken the place of former Ambassador James Costos, ‘husband’ of interior designer, Michael Smith, who redecorated the executive mansion for the Obamas...

Planned Parenthood: We Did 321,384 Abortions; Got $543.7 Million in Tax Dollars  Planned Parenthood says its affiliates did 321,384 abortions in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2016, according to its newly released 2016-2017 annual report.

In the same report, Planned Parenthood says its affiliates received $543.7 million in payments from government—“Government Health Services Reimbursements & Grants,” the report calls them—in the year that ended on June 30, 2017...

New Study Proves Feminists Wrong: Women Say Their Abortion Was Not Liberating 
A new study of post-abortive women across the United States found that women suffer from long-term negative emotions after aborting their unborn babies.

The research was based on an anonymous online survey of 987 women who contacted a crisis pregnancy center for post-abortion care. The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons published the study in its Winter 2017 edition.

Led by Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor at Bowling Green State University, the researchers asked women about the “most significant positive and negative aspects” of their abortions.

“… their responses were far from simple, echoing themes that are not reflective of contemporary feminist rhetoric,” the researchers wrote. “Women generally did not speak of empowerment, the ability to control their reproductive destinies, liberation from abusive partners, the need for abortion in order to be competitive in the workplace, etc....

Largest group of Mennonite churches leaves denomination
The Lancaster Mennonite Conference, the largest group of Mennonite congregations in the U.S., has officially separated from the broader Mennonite community after a long-term disagreement over sexuality and the church.

The LMC, with 179 churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, voted to leave the Mennonite Church USA, the umbrella organization of Mennonite congregations, in November 2015. The decision to leave went into effect Monday (Jan. 1).

The two groups fractured over the definition of marriage — an issue roiling virtually every U.S. religious denomination in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The LMC opposes same-sex marriage and members were increasingly uncomfortable with some Mennonite Church USA policies that affirmed it, including hiring policies that address LGBT people...

Bombshell Study: Migrants Caused 92% Violent Crime Increase In Germany  Migrants are responsible for a 92% increase in reported violent crimes in Germany during 2015 and 2016, according to a university criminologist study.

The study, carried out by criminologists at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, researched the increase in violent crime in Germany over the past two years.

Integration options are the best chance of preventing violent crime, “such as language courses, sports, and practical apprenticeships,” say the researchers...

A 10-year-old drag queen has founded a drag club for kids

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Winter Scene and Sundogs

Raymond took this picture driving home from the observatory on January 1, 2018
Raymond took this amazing picture of sundogs a few days ago.

At least 9 killed in attacks targeting Egypt's Coptic Christians; Trashing megachurches ...more

At least 9 killed in attacks targeting Egypt's Coptic Christians
In the latest assault on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, at least nine people were killed Friday in a shootout outside a church and an attack on a nearby store, security and health officials said.

The extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility in a statement carried by the affiliated Amaq news agency but offered no evidence to support the assertion...

Archeologists uncover more proof of Jewish rule in Jerusalem during First Temple era  ...
A rare, well-preserved piece of clay dating to the First Temple period with the Hebrew inscription “governor of the city” was recently discovered during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.

“The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2,700 years ago,” said Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, excavator of the site on behalf of the IAA.

The relic, dating from the 6th to 7th centuries BCE, was unearthed during a joint dig with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation in the northwestern section of the Western Wall Plaza….

Ten Critical Trends for Churches in 2018
Never in my lifetime have I seen local congregations at such a critical juncture. Cultural Christianity is all but dead. The “Nones,” those without any religious preference, are increasing. Many of the communities are no longer friendly to local churches; some have become adversarial.

But in the waves of these seas of negativity, are mercy drops of hope and possibilities. Look at these ten major trends carefully. See how God would have your church respond...

Trashing Megachurches
Trashing megachurches is often popular. According to the standard stereotype, they’re big exurban factories resembling car dealerships with giant parking lots and giant American flags, catering to rich, socially irresponsible SUV driving Sunbelt Republicans anxious to hear superficial, self-serving health and wealth sermons from huckster preachers in flashy suits.

A recent article by Jonathan Merritt cites a liberal advocacy group report asserting that, of the 100 largest congregations in America, none are LGBTQ affirming, over 90% have white pastors, and only one has a female pastor. Merritt calls this report “explosive” without directly condemning the churches. But many on social media have predictably issued their disapproving tut-tuts. The originating advocacy group wants to shame these churches...