Showing posts from June, 2006

vacation reading

no blogging for a few days. no computer, just a couple books. A bible and Forever Free : The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction by Eric Foner and Joshua Brown. I've started a couple Christian books and couldn't wait to put them down. i couldn't get past some unexpectedly terrible exegesis early on in Eugene Petersen's Christ Plays in 10,000 Places. i was bored with Ray Pritchard's In the Shadow of the Cross. i am trying to overcome the guilt of not finishing those 2 books. Now I'm back to American history. I also got from the libraryDavid Brinkley's The Great Deluge about New Orleans and hurricane Katrina and The Good Americans: The Loyalists in the American Revolution by Wallace Brown.

Persecution of Christians on the Rise

ASSIST News Service
The number of persecuted Christians is on the rise worldwide, according to Professor Thomas Schirrmacher, director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the German Evangelical Alliance.

Three in four cases of severe persecution are targeted at Christians, said Schirrmacher in a lecture at a gathering of the Protestant Association of the Christian Democratic Union in Dresden.

According to Schirrmacher at least 55,000 Christians are killed each year for religious reasons. Christians in India, Indonesia and Pakistan run the highest risk of losing their lives.

Schirrmacher encouraged politicians to increase their efforts for religious freedom. They were often reluctant to address the persecution and discrimination of Christians in Islamic countries in case this may jeopardize religious dialog.

Schirrmacher is convinced that interest in religion is rising worldwide: “The Communist atheistic realm has shrunk to small countries like North Korea”. Christianity is experiencing…

Hopegivers Schools Reopen in India

ASSIST News Service
Emmanuel Mission's schools, bank accounts and offices reopened on Wednesday, June 28, in Kota, Rajasthan, India, after being closed for more than four months.

According to a news release issued jointly by Mission Network News and Hopegivers International, the operating licenses for all of their institutions in Rajasthan have been temporarily restored, pending a judicial hearing on July 4 at the High Court in the state capital of Jaipur.
"We urge all Americans to join the churches of India in prayer on July 4, asking that the licenses will be permanently restored," said Michael Glenn, Hopegivers International executive director.
An appeals court judge on the Jaipur High Court Monday (June 26, asked the Rajasthan State Government to appear in court next Tuesday (July 4) and show just cause for canceling the licenses of EMI/Hopegivers International institutions in Jaipur.
Hopegivers had its bank accounts frozen and licenses to operate their humanitarian ou…

Pastor Jon's blog: Combat

Pastor Jon writes good stuff

The call to stand against the devil.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in
the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you
may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Paul’s exhortation to be
strong in the Lord and in the power of His might is rightly prefaced by
“Finally.” We can only walk in the glory of Ephesians 1 through 3 and live
in the integrity of Ephesians 4 through 6 by doing it all in the God’s
Literally, Paul says strengthen yourselves in the Lord. He
probably takes the idea from 1 Samuel 30:6, where it is said that David
strengthened himself in the Lord his God. We will find strength, as David did,
in the Bible and prayer. This is the source of our strength in the Lord.
you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil: We express the strength
we have in God by standing against the wiles of the devil. Satan’s schemes
against us come to nothing when we stand against them in the power of God. We
must …

the American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War

collecting some research into this topic.

The United Empire Loyalists
US Anabaptists in the Rev War
the BBC, was the war inevitable?
from the UEL website...
Over two hundred years ago the American Revolution shattered the British
Empire in North America. The conflict was rooted in British attempts to assert
economic control in her American colonies after her costly victory over the
French during the Seven Years War. When protest and riots met the British
attempts to impose taxes on the colonists, the British responded with political
and military force. Out of the struggle between between the Thirteen Colonies
and their mother country emerged two nations: the United States and what
would later become Canada.
Not all the inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies opposed Britain. The United
Empire Loyalists were those colonists who remained faithful to the Crown and
wished to continue living in the New World. Therefore, they left their homes to
settle eventually in what remained of British North America.
A Sh…

Who Should Run the Church?

Daneil Wallace from argues, A Case for the Plurality of Elders...
his introductory points follow, you'll have to click the link to read the developed argument...
(1) Presbyters (also translated "elders") and bishops (also translated "overseers") were apparently the same individuals. That is to say, the two terms were synonymous.

(2) The leadership of the church from the earliest period always had elders, even if it did not have deacons. Young churches only had elders; more mature churches had both elders and deacons.

(3) Elder and pastor are not the same thing in the NT.

(4) For elders, the one qualification that is other than moral is the ability to teach. (5) The consistent pattern in the NT is that every church had several elders.

Fight the good fight of the faith

a commenter on an earlier post regarding Indian Christians rioting in opposition to the showing of the Da Vinci Code writes,

Are you waging a type of war??
India is a secular country.
I am not taking any sides but I condemn all fanatical christians who are waging this "War" [shows arrogance and superiority of one religion's philosophy] . I also condemn some isolated fanatical Hindus who may have involved in some kind of violence.

i had many thoughts on this on my bike ride in this morning...

the easy things first...a secular country would have no interest or business in legislating against religious conversion. a secular government wouldn't have police who stand aside and watch fellow Hindus beat Christians to near death. it only takes a few to do the violence while many to agree with and tacitly, if not actively, support the violence. if you read this blog regularly you'll see frequent posts to violence agasint christians in India from several news sources.

the hard …

video church

interesting discussion at "Out of Ur" regarding Megachurch 2.0, the video venue. don't stop at the article but read the comments. my slippery slope fear is why not just meet with a couple friends at home in front of your TV and watch a webcast or a televangelist and call THAT church? i'm not sure that is right or wrong, but is there really such a famine of the gifts of the Spirit such as teaching? on the mission field some believers gather around a radio broadcast to listen to someone who knows nothing about them or their needs. some are listening to translators reading the sermon of an American. what if we just sit around and read the sermons of dead preachers? who needs technology? really all you need is 2 or 3 gathered in His name. how bad is atomization? if friends keep splintering off into smaller and smaller flavors of church, could it be another means to the end that God accomplished during the persecution of the Jerusalem church in Acts which dispersed the be…

Cerulean Sanctum: Dude, where's my church

Dan Edelen is up in arms about the Supreme Court's granting of power to my town to seize an entire blighted neighborhood by eminent domain. He writes It troubles me that we Christians are failing to consider how easy it is for our church buildings to be seized by local, state, and federal governments for any and all purposes.

There's a difference between conspiracy theories and preparedness. Land grabs against churches are increasing yearly (see this post for a few instances). To ensure the maximum possible tax revenue, towns are also blocking the building of new churches in areas of prime development. A quick Google search will turn up plenty of instances for these kinds of strong-arm tactics.

So why aren't we Christians as a whole doing anything about it? Are our church leaders making plans in case we have to go underground? It hasn't come to that yet, but it's better for us to be thinking now about how we do church in a hostile social environment rather than late…

Smart Mom Tools

my beautiful blogging wife has a few new posts...
God is good to me

How to overcome the common myths of leadership. by Dr. John C. Maxwell

My post on duties of a pastor generates many, many hits. I thought this by Maxwell is very helpful also. jpu
hat tip: Blanchard Family

Leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less. When you become a student of leaders, as I am, you recognize people's level of influence in everyday situations all around you.


There are plenty of misconceptions and myths that people embrace about leaders and leadership. Here are five common ones:


A widespread misunderstanding is that leading and managing are one and the same. Up until a few years ago, books that claimed to be on leadership were often really about management. The main difference between the two is that leadership is about influencing people to follow, while management focuses on maintaining systems and processes. As former Chrysler chairman and CEO Lee Iacocca wryly commented, "Sometimes even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog, waiting to see where the dog …

Obesity and Christian Discipline

yesterday, i suggested that we can solve our obesity epidemic by
encouraging everyone to smoke. that was tongue in cheek, a joke,
thinking more about it on this morning's bike ride, i wondered about
the high concentration of Christians in this country and the neglected
discipline of fasting."Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
will be filled." Jesus, Beatitude, Mountain Sermoni know when we hear this verse we often think of it in terms of
desperately craving righteousness, but it can also mean fasting in
anticipation of righteousness. Jesus' statement seems like a condensed
version of what God was telling Isaiah in chapter 58... 2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them. 3 'Why have we fasted,' they …

10 New Obesity Causes

i am not kidding when my thinking turned toward obesity on my bike ride home, partly because i was riding shirtless. and i concluded that the rest of the world isn't as fat as the US because they smoke like chimneys. anyone who comes back from Europe will assure you that our tobacco industry is not at risk of bankruptcy anytime soon. so i came home and felt i had hit on the answer. i googled obesity epidemic and smoking and this is out on the news today...maybe i have an AM transmitter in my brain. so if you don't want to be fat and don't mind shortness of breath, well obese people already have that, and risk of heart attack, oh that's the same too, try smoking...after you've tried eating less and exercising more of course. i did smoke for a year in college and quit when i had a bad cold and thought, "this is stupid."
Study Suggests 10 New Obesity Causes, America’s Weight Problem Not Due To Gluttony And Sloth Alone, Researchers Say - CBS News: "4. Dec…

the last Harry Potter book

a fun, but long, essay by the Hogwarts Professor anticipating the seventh and last book by Rowling. he writes, I think alchemy is key to understanding the Harry Potter saga, obviously, but I
beg you to note I am not married or even very closely attached to the various
plot event theories I put forth above or in other posts. Stoppered Death, Evil
Slughorn, Draco Wolf-boy, and Half-Vampire Severus, frankly, are as
inconsequential as the shipping debates and other Fandom squabbles. The
necessary thing when talking about Harry Potter is getting at what makes these
books so good, why we like them so much. Fighting about plot points won’t get us
to that answer.

Examining the tradition of English literature for
an appreciation of Rowling’s artistry and the meaning carried by her stories
that so stir our hearts and engage our minds - this, I think, is the road to
travel to get at what Harry Potter is about. Literary alchemy is dreadfully
important in this understanding because it is the radical and tradi…

Fun with the Church Sign Generator meme

"WARNING: If you are easily offended by funny things, stop now and don’t read this post. You’ve been warned ;)"

A Sad Death and a Christian Response

John H Armstrong : A Sad Death and a Christian Response: "When I read such news accounts I wonder how Christians should respond. I would guess some might say, “You really do reap what you sow. We ought to make this clear.” Still others might say we ought to appeal to “justice being served” since she appears to have shown a particular kind of favoritism that is reprehensible to most people. I bowed my head and prayed for Dr. Denton’s family and her many friends as they try desperately to make sense of this tragedy. I also prayed for Grethcen Kalonji, that this sad news might cause her to seek God for grace in Christ the Savior of all. In the end I realize that as much as I hate the sin of people like the late Dr. Denton I am also reminded: “There but by the grace of God go I.” I am the chief of sinners and a debtor to grace alone. This does not make me wink at Dr. Denton’s ungodly ways if I am concerned about culture and morality. But it does make we want to be more human, and thu…

Pakistani woman raped for converting to Christianity

"Attacked by her own family, one Muslim’s decision to convert to Christianity highlights the precarious situation of Muslims in Pakistan who leave their faith. Sehar Muhammad Shafi, 24, has fled her home city of Karachi with her husband and two young daughters after being attacked and raped for changing her faith...."
only insecure believers resort to violence on others. if someone apostasizes from Allah, why can't Allah defend himself? is he so weak?

The s8intcom Blogger

i came across this creationist blog. it's interesting. has another noah's ark discovery claim.

Violence halts Da Vinci Code screening in H'bad- The Times of India

"HYDERABAD: The screening of controversial Hollywood movie 'Da Vinci Code' was suspended at a theatre here after a group of Christians, protesting against the release of the film, ransacked the theatre.

The movie was to be released at Prasad Imax following a direction by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, quashing the state government's order to ban its screening.

However, dozens of activists under the banner of the Christian United Front raided the theatre and damaged the property extensively forcing the management to suspend the film's screening."

a reader pointed to this article in the comments yesterday. this behavior by these Christians is wrong and unacceptable in the kingdom of God. as the epistles tell us, our war is not with flesh and blood but powers and principalities. we are to tear down arguments not monuments. at least our scriptures have statements agains these actions. i don't know if the Hindu scriptures condemn raping Christians or beating them…

Colson: Abortion and the Didache

Chuck Colson writes:

If I were to tell you about an ancient document that sheds fresh light on Christianity, your first reaction might be to run for the hills. Most of us have had just about all we can handle of the spurious “Gospel of Judas” and The Da Vinci Code, right?

Well, I’m not talking about The Da Vinci Code. Unlike the Gnostic gospels that inspired the novel, the ancient document I’m talking about sheds some real light on Christianity. It’s called the Didache, and it’s one of the earliest non-scriptural Christian writings, written toward the end of the first century. As Christianity Today explains in an excellent article last month, “While no one believes that any of the twelve apostles wrote it, scholars agree that the work is a faithful transmission of the apostles’ teaching, intended primarily for the training of Gentile believers.”

So this is no mysterious subject of an ancient conspiracy, just a practical guide to discipleship and obedience—maybe not as thrilling to many…

Raped Indian Christians Oppressed Further

Rape Victims Charged with ‘Forced Conversion’ in India

Hindu extremists have filed a counter-complaint of “forced conversion” against two Christian women who had lodged rape charges against Hindu villagers in Madhya Pradesh state. The women had filed the charges on May 31 after being gang-raped in Nadia village on May 28. The counter-complaint of “forced conversion” against the women and their husbands was supposedly lodged on June 1, but Indira Iyengar, a member of the Madhya Pradesh Minorities Commission, told Compass she suspected it was actually filed later and registered with a backdate entry. “The administration is taking advantage of the fact that the victims are illiterate. How can they talk about their religious freedom or defend themselves?” Iyengar said. A member of a National Commission for Minorities team sent to probe attacks on the Christian community in Madhya Pradesh reportedly said the administration had allowed the forced conversion charges in order to protect the ra…

Hopegivers India update

State to Take Over EMI Institutions in Rajasthan, India

The Rajasthan government last Wednesday (June 14) announced plans to take over five institutions operated by Emmanuel Mission International (EMI). The organization leads a native church movement that serves more than 10,000 children through the humanitarian and educational work of Emmanuel Anath Ashram (Orphanage), Emmanuel School Society, Emmanuel Chikitsalaya (Hospital) Samiti, Emmanuel Believers Fellowship and Emmanuel Bible Institute Samiti. EMI attorney Mohammed Akram said the state High Court on Tuesday (June 13) dismissed five writ petitions filed by EMI challenging the Registrar of Societies’ decision earlier this year to revoke registration for these institutions. “The state social welfare minister, Madan Dilawar, has said the state government will take over all five institutions,” Akram told Compass Direct.

Indian Pastor Murdered and Mutilated

"Pastor Prem Kumar (on the right with the mustache) of Nizamabad’s CSI Church in Andhra Pradesh, India, was murdered on June 8th with the same brutality typical of earlier radical Hindu attacks. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians, the 67-year-old pastor’s body was found mutilated with his head crushed, in the hills near Rampart in Kotagiri Mandal of Nizamudeen district. Kumar’s body was so disfigured that Kotagiri sub-inspector, Ch. Anjaneyulu had to identify his remains from a description of his clothes.

Family members report that several people planned to pick Kumar up in the city of Bodhan after inviting him to pray over a newly constructed church in Kotagiri on the eve of its opening. When Kumar arrived at the meeting place, unidentified men ushered him onto their two-wheeler and drove off. Kumar called his family on his cell phone, telling them he was picked up by people he was not familiar with―not those who had invited him. Sensing danger, he asked his fam…


JUNETEENTH WORLD WIDE CELEBRATION: "Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the sto…

Church as a movement, rather than an institution

The M Blog: Church as a movement, rather than an institution: "What is hindering is not so much that we do not have the needed personnel or resources; rather, what is lacking is a true understanding of what the church was intended to be. The church must become a missionary movement. We need to get away from the idea of church as somewhere we 'go' and get back to the NT concept of 'being' the church in today's world.

The idea goes something like this...

* existing churches train/commission all their people to go out and be on mission with God in today's world
* those 'sent ones' evangelize and gather new believers for discipleship
* the new disciples are established into indigenous churches, leadership arises within the new church as the new believers begin to discover their spiritual gifts
* this new indigenous church trains/commissions their people to go out and be on mission with God in today's world
* the process is repeated over an…

More Christian Satire - Holy Observer

Larknews has competition. The emerging church takes too many funny hits here...

Katrina Patina: On Our Own

Katrina Patina: On Our Own: "The Georgia Power crews had already cleared most of the main arteries, so the going was much easier than the day before. I ran into two other friends biking with the same mission and we pedaled on together. They’re members of the Baptist church in Old Town and told me that a relief center was already being set up in the building. We marveled at the fact that the churches and the power companies had hit the ground running, while there was no evidence of government help anywhere."

opposition to torture

is there anyone FOR torture?

"Fuller seminary’s Glen Stassen, a leading ethicist, declared: “Evangelicals are Christ-centred. Not that nobody else is, but we are; and the cross was humiliation and torture. This is an important reason why we are against torture.” "

Slate blogs the Bible. By David Plotz

So, what can I possibly do? My goal is pretty simple. I want to find out what happens when an ignorant person actually reads the book on which his religion is based. I think I'm in the same position as many other lazy but faithful people (Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus). I love Judaism; I love (most of) the lessons it has taught me about how to live in the world; and yet I realized I am fundamentally ignorant about its foundation, its essential document. So, what will happen if I approach my Bible empty, unmediated by teachers or rabbis or parents? What will delight and horrify me? How will the Bible relate to the religion I practice, and the lessons I thought I learned in synagogue and Hebrew School?

this isn't pretty, but its good to hear an outsider voice.

a softball story

this is from a speech i gave at my toastmaster's meeting last's true.So what is our reward for this work? This dinner banquet once a year?
A dinner you still had to buy a ticket for? No we volunteer for that
ephemeral sense of JOY. We have learned the truth of the axiom, "'Tis
better to give than to receive." We come into such difficult
situations. We roll up our sleeves and we start to dig. We endeavor to
remove the layers of indifference or neglect that hide untapped
potential.But boy…it takes a lot of work. I was a camp counselor one summer
during my college years. For 2 weeks I lived with a dozen 9 and 10
year old boys. Anyone who attempts to stop them from talking all night
of from having burping contests at the dinner table will quickly lose
most favored counselor status, even male counselors with hair down to
their shoulders and multiple piercings. 9 year old boys know "cool" in
substance is better then "cool" in appearance. This camp wa…

houses built with fiberglass

In my research into alternative home construction i came across these guys. the customer service guy, Dan Goodman, was quick in responding to my email inquiries. Here is the sales pitch...
Competitive Cost - AffordableNon-toxic - Environmentally SafeWill Not Decay or Rot - Higher Resale ValueWill Not Burn - Lower Insurance RatesTermite and Rodent Impervious - No Monthly Poison Treatments 350 mph Wind Resistance - Insurability and Protection Against Hurricanes and TornadoesResistance To Earthquakes - Built-in Flexibility Engineered To Withstand Forces Greater Than The Kobe and San Francisco EarthquakesNon-conductive - No Interference With Satellite, TV, Phone, Computer or Radio SignalsWater Impervious - Will Not Support Black Mold or Mildew GrowthVapor Impervious - Insulation Will Never Wet-out or Lose EfficiencyWind Impervious - Tighter Homes Have Less Loss and Lower Cost Heating and Air …

Utah Attorney General - Polygamy

this is a depressing read. jpu
Polygamy is illegal in Utah and forbidden by the Arizona constitution. However, law enforcement agencies in both states have decided to focus on crimes within polygamous communities that involve child abuse, domestic violence and fraud. The Utah Attorney General's Office and the Arizona Attorney General's Office also worked together to produce "The Primer---Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities." This manual provides basic information about various polygamous communities that will assist human services professionals, law enforcement officers and others in helping victims from these communities. The Primer will be updated regularly to reflect modifications in the law and …

Free Seminary Classes

Who doesn't read Justin Taylor. He comes through with the free seminary classes today. First courses from Covenant Seminary, "Covenant Worldwide's mission is to provide ready access to grace-centered, high-quality theological training by minimizing the barriers of distance, cost, and language. This mission recognizes our part in stewarding the resources of theological education to the Church, which is growing most rapidly in areas of the world where ministry training is often least available." "You may download, use and share courseware at no charge for non-commercial purposes. Lectures are in MP3 format, and study guides are available as PDFs. The lectures are currently available in English but are being transcribed to facilitate the translation of these materials into multiple languages."
and then courses from
of which the Introduction to Islam one looks very interesting. i can't dive into these as i'm slowly digesting another c…

church titles?

another perspective by David Alan Black posted at a commenter's blog,

This is a long article but here is the teaser. Black writes, "...The array of ecclesiastical titles accompanying the names of Christian leaders today is completely missing from the New Testament, and would have appalled the apostles and early believers.

In light of what we have said above, there is a great need for reformation within local churches in the way we view leadership. Traditional pastoral ministry promotes an unbiblical one-man model of leadership under the self-styled “pastor.” In contrast, the New Testament teaches oversight by a plurality of men called elders. Some elders might be gifted differently and may even excel in specific pastoral tasks, but there is no biblical warrant for dividing church leaders into separate “offices” with honorific titles.

Traditional concepts of “pastor” are clearly unscriptural. The New Testament does not speak of two classes of Christians, as we do today. According…


i came across this last night online but without attribution. It
sounded like the voice of Wilmington's Guide to the Bible, but i
didn't find this in there. anyone know where this is from? it's very
interesting and provokes MY thinking.I.DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. Titus 1:5&7 show the offices of Elder and Bishop are the same
2. Acts 20:17&28 show the offices of Elder, Pastor, and Bishop are the same.
3. In Acts 20: 17 Paul is speaking to the ELDERS of the church at Ephesus
4. In Acts 20:28 he tells them to "Take heed therefore unto
yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made you overseers(BISHOPS), to feed(PASTOR) the church of God, which
he hath purchased with his own blood."
5. The Gk. word "episkopos" (Acts 20:28) is translated overseer or bishop.
6. The Gk. word "poimaino" (Acts 20:28) is translated feed, shepherd, or pastor.
7. 1Pet 5:1-2 "The ELDERS which …

A quote from Slavery and Freedom by Willie Lee Rose

"Thus the free black community emerged, and its importance through the entire slave era would be hard to exaggerate. Not only did its existence inspire flight in slaves, but also it became a center for the development of institutions very important to the entire black population after 1863 and the Emancipation Proclamation. Here the black church experienced its first vigorous semi-independent growth, and in the free black communities the fraternal organizations flourished. The African church became the significant social unit, beyond the home, of the free black community, and at least one able scholar has concluded that blacks had a higher proportion of church membership in the antebellum period than whites did. One function of the church was educational, for nearly all the churches conducted Sunday Schools, and through the churches came the largest cadre of black leadership that was to become so significant a resource in the Reconstruction that followed the Civil War. Had there …

Hindus in India are free to rape Christians...

LOCAL LEADER THREATENS CHRISTIANS AFTER RAPESand those Christians better not whine either...its like letting the mafia run a country...
Minorities commission rebukes vocal member for defending assaulted women.June 9 (Compass Direct) – The headman of 12 villages in Madhya Pradesh state, including Nadia village where two Christian women were raped on May 28, has asked Christians to renounce their faith or leave the village, a local source said. Pandya Patel sent two representatives to Nadia village on Tuesday (June 6) to ask the Christians to give up their faith or leave immediately – without any of their belongings. “Patel also warned other villagers that if anyone spoke to the police about himself or about the rapists, they would be expelled from the village – regardless of their religious background,” the source, who requested anonymity, told Compass...

Is Jesus the Answer or the Question?: rediscovering the role of mystery in our faith

I call this flavor of nonsense affiliated with emergent church grunge theology (Pearl Jam, Alive specifically) with a twist of REM, or maybe SNL deep thoughts with Jack Handy theology. only if you drank deeply from popular culture in the 90's do you hear these echoes in odd paragraphs like this from a book. the commenters have no mercy. why are they so mean? because ideas have consequences and the commenters point this out over and over again.

"Ed Gungor’s new book, Religiously Transmitted Diseases (Nelson Ignite, 2006), equates definitive answers with “dead religion.” In this excerpt from the book, Gungor affirms the life-giving role of mystery within our faith.

Religion may be attractive on one level, but it always strives to remove all the mystery that congests life. It has answers for everything, because questions are way too untidy. “Jesus is the answer.” Right? But what if Jesus isn’t the answer? What if He is the question?"

his website, in the "words" secti…

2nd century youth ministry

The Way of the Fathers is a Catholic blog with an appeal to the old days, the really old days. Their secret seems to be the expectation of responsibility instead of passivity.

"Tarcisius was a boy of third-century Rome. His virtue and devotion were so strong that the clergy trusted him to bring the Blessed Sacrament to the sick. Once, while carrying a pyx, he was recognized and set upon by a pagan mob. They flung themselves upon him, trying to pry the pyx from his hands. They wanted more than anything to profane the Sacrament. Tarcisius’ biographer, the fourth-century Pope Damasus, compared them to a pack of rabid dogs. Tarcisius “preferred to give up his life rather than yield up the Body of Christ.”

Even at such an early age, Tarcisius was aware of the stakes. Jesus had died for love of Tarcisius. Tarcisius did not hesitate to die for love of Jesus.

What made the Church attractive in the third century can make it just as attractive in the twenty-first. In the ancient world and in …

28 House Church Christians Detained

Welcome to China Aid Online: "CAA learned that a Chinese House church in Henan was raided and 28 Christians were arrested. At 11 am, May 28, during a Christian worship service at a home at Xiguan Ma Jia Chang, Fugou County, the PSB raided the gathering and took 28 church members to the police station. Twenty-three were released later that evening. One Christian lady, 59-year-old Ms. Liu Yuemei, was released June 1, after her family was forced to pay a fine of 1600 Yuan (US $200). Another lady, 35-year-old Ms.Lu Xinhong, was released June 8, after she promised to pay her fine in cash.

Three Christians still remain at Ba-Yi Prison, Fugou County, Henan Province. They are 58-year-old Ms. Chen Xuelan, who hosted the gathering, 55-year-old Ms. Cao Yan, and 52-year-old Pastor. Li Shunmin.

According to those familiar with this case, during the raid, the police produced no ID, summons, or detention papers. Bibles and notebooks belonging to the church members were confiscated by the police a…

in order to live, "Churches must learn to die"

This a provocative piece, and its so short, and i fear a quote might not be enough to entice a click to read the entire article, so, i pasted the whole thing here, by Darryl Dash...
Three years ago, I heard a pastor talk about how to make Church attractive. His church provided different musical styles in different rooms concurrently to appeal to different tastes. I could relate to his desire to make Church attractive. Churches face pressure to meet people’s needs and keep them in the pews. After 30 years of the church growth movement, churches are more contemporary and relevant than before. But as he spoke, my mind filled with questions. Despite more relevant churches, overall attendance is plummeting. Statistics Canada reported this month that Canadians are practising their faith at home, but increasingly staying away from religious services. The study says Canadian-born residents are losing their faith. Perhaps these trends would be accelerated without the help of the church growth …

Are housechurches the seedbed of heresy?

The Ministry Report: Special Commentary: Heretics @ Home?: "Although far from being a 'biblical form of government,' democracy reflects the biblical principle that a lot of power in the hands of a few sinners can lead nowhere good. This same egalitarian notion is at the heart of the house church movement. It's the conviction that doctrine (like political power) should not be preserved by an ecclesiastical elite. It must be articulated, taught, transmitted and understood by the laity."

Use of House Churches to Extend Sanctuary-Style Churches

A hybrid proposal worth consideration. instead of institutional churches
planting the same, why not empower small groups to be simple
churches? The man is humble and the whole article is worth your time
yet this is good attention grabber...Though I would love to promote the initiation of as many house
churches from scratch as possible, I know that most church leaders
inherited existing churches with buildings to maintain and a
traditional institutionalism of some sort in place. These may function
with varying levels of effectiveness. Some of your churches, no doubt,
are model examples of what church life should be in many respects.
Should you even entertain the possibility of using the house church
model to extend your work? I want to suggest that this should be
considered for the following scenarios: * When the church is growing, the meeting space is limited, and
you do not wish to invest more money in buildings.
* When a pocket of members live in a town or neighborhood some
distance from th…

Rescued – the Pakistan children seized by Islamist slave traders - Sunday Times - Times Online

Rescued – the Pakistan children seized by Islamist slave traders - Sunday Times - Times Online: "Akash woke up in a dark room with a bare brick floor and no windows. The heat was suffocating. As he languished there over the next month, 19 other panic-stricken boys were thrown into the room with him.

The children, all Christians, had fallen into the hands of Gul Khan, a wealthy Islamic militant and leading member of Jamaat-ud Daawa (JUD), a group linked to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Khan lives near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, but when in the Punjab he stays at the JUD’s headquarters in Muridke, near Lahore, where young men can be seen practising martial arts with batons on rolling green lawns patrolled by guards with Kalashnikovs. Osama Bin Laden funded the centre in the late 1990s.

The JUD, which claims to help the poor, says that it has created a “pure Islamic environment” at Muridke that is superior to western “depravity”. Khan’s activities explode that myth. He plann…

15 questions for Joseph Smith columnist Mike Adams has been researching Mormonism over
three articles now. At first he seems to be of the persuasion that
Mormons and Christians are cut from the same cloth. But by this third
article he has some questions. The really interesting stuff is in the
interaction in the comments by Mormons, ex-Mormons, Christians, etc.
He asks1. True or False. Among your 33 well-documented plural wives, there
were close to a dozen unions in which the wife was already married to
another man.
2. True or False. In your lifetime, you married four different pairs of sisters.
3. True or False. You once married a young woman and also married her mother.
4. True or False. At least one of your plural wives was as young as fourteen.
5. True or False. Some of your marriages were the result of religious
coercion secured only after you told the prospective bride that
marrying you would ensure the bride's place in heaven.
6. True or False. You also coerced teenagers into marrying you by
promising thei…

The EC: can it be all it can be?

One of my readers from Australia has a great post that starts this way....

"I have great hopes for the Emerging Church. I would like it to be a force from vitalization of the Christian movement in the West and beyond. But I think there are a number of critical issues it must come to grips with if it is to be all it can be. Here are my concerns:
1 The EC is drawing a false dichotomy between Secularized Spirituality and New Religious Movements. I don’t know why I need to keep saying this but try as you might, you cannot separate the commercialisation of Yoga from the westernization of Hinduism, the commercialization of meditation from the westernization of Buddhism or the commercialization of Enneagram therapy from the re-branding of western esotericism, that is, the occult. Both are intimately related. ...

2 If the EC wants to become seriously missional it must develop a robust theology of other religions that is BOTH respectful AND challenging. ...

3 If the EC wants to develop a trul…

Open theism is garbage theology

here is one article

Happy Campers

My wife is doing a great series on family car camping. this is the first of a few posts she has already put up.

Indian Hindus use rape to persecute Christians

With the encouragement of a local chief and the apparent backing of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, villagers in the north-central state of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday (May 28) gang-raped two Christian women after the husband of one refused to deny Christ. At 3 p.m. villagers had beaten up Gokharya Barela, the husband of one of the victims, and took him to Sirvil village, near Nadia, where the village court demanded he forsake Christianity. When he refused, the village head, Pandya Patel, had villagers force Barela to drink wine and told them they could feel free to rape Christian women. Barela’s wife was raped by three men that evening, and before that two other Hindu villagers went to the house of Garsia Barela, also a Christian, and dragged his wife onto the verandah and raped her. Both women attend prayer meetings of the Indian Evangelical Team (IET). The BJP has filed “forced conversion” cases against nearby Christian missionaries and are planning to accuse an IET member of t…

Further charges against Hopegivers in India

Compass Direct: "The administration of Rajasthan state’s Kota district has leveled fresh charges of “exciting . . . disaffection towards the government of India” against Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) founder Archbishop M.A. Thomas and his son, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Thomas, EMI president.

EMI attorney Mohammad Akram said he feared that the additional charges could lead to the re-arrest of Samuel Thomas – released on bail under previous charges – and other workers, and the re-issue of an arrest warrant against the senior Thomas. The elder Thomas had been granted anticipatory bail on previous charges.

Akram said Kota police had reportedly added the charge that the map of India shown on the website of Georgia-based Hopegivers International, which funds EMI, excluded Jammu and Kashmir states. The accusation was made under Section 124(a) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which outlaws “bringing or attempting to bring into hatred or contempt, or exciting or attempting to excite disaffe…