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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

M-blog: Jesus' missions policy

Jesus still provokes doesn't he?

Oct 31 roundup

i actually neglected this topic last year. i had much fewer RSS feeds to look at last year too. i have three kids. as a child, i enjoyed walking around trick-or-treating. i dressed in various outfits from humpback monster to WW1 pilot. i had even read all the Jack Chick tracts, but still enjoyed dressing up in order to earn my haul of candy which i could make last into december, unlike my brother. but i deny my children that experience and bring them to Chrisitan "harvest" parties. harvest parties are more than a semantic distinction. first of all, they aren't scary, and scary or slutty costumes are discouraged. are they so bad off that they will still have scary dreams when watching some videos that other 5 year olds no longer flinch at? i don't think so. but i also don't want them crawling into my bed for the next week because some guy with a bloody cleaver in his head greeted them at a house to give them candy. i don't want them desensitized to the creepiness. i also want to sleep. harvest parties are also a fun place to evangelize. parties are great, even greater in the acknowledgment of the King of kings.

however, we aren't going to any reformation day parties. it's pretty boring when everyone dresses up like martin luther.

so is it so bad for believers to put a positive spin on a secularized day? i don't think so. why do the Christians not get to celebrate? so what do we celebrate if not scary things? we could celebrate that we won't spend eternity with scary things because we are saved from our sins to eternal life. so we celebrate life.

Friday, October 27, 2006

India:why let truth get in the way of politics?

"Allurement" is an illegal method of conversion in India but apparently not an illegal method to harass and frame Christians. I guess what's good for the goose isn't applicable to the gander there.


Dilip Akodiya of the Bethel church told Compass that officer Malvi informed him that he was under tremendous political pressure to charge Thakur.

Viju Varghese, Global Council of Indian Christians coordinator in Madhya Pradesh, told Compass that the RSS had offered Thakur 25,000 rupees (US$552) to implicate Pastor Bharti in a charge of “allurement” to convert.

Indira Iyengar, a former member of the Madhya Pradesh State Minorities Commission, told Compass “The harassment of the Christians just keeps spiraling upwards. Pastor Jagdish and Ramesh Thakur have been continuously harassed by the police, as well as by the Bajrang Dal.”

Bharti and 15 other Christians had been arrested on June 4 after a mob of Hindu extremists stormed their home prayer meeting in Mayapuri and dragged them to a nearby temple to force them to bow before local gods.

Pastor Bharti was charged with insulting religious beliefs “with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging” religious feelings. (See Compass Direct News, “Pastor in India Arrested after Attack by Hindu Extremists,” June 7.)

EO: an honest pro-choice conversation

Jan: "Marsha! How are you girl? I haven't seen you in ages."
Marsha: "Hey Jan, you're looking great. How've you been?"
Jan: "Just peachy. Hey, guess what? I'm going to have a fetus!" ....

go to Joe Carter's site to read the rest of this conversation

another resource for NT exegesis

great resources, well described, especially cool is this Greek NT site.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Embryo response ad

a rebuttal by MJ embryo to MJ Fox's ad in support of a pro-embryonic stem cell research politician

Top Ten Reasons Singles Aren't Marrying

a sad list, but one the church can address...

EO's political scorecard

its worth consideration

Killing Embryos to help MJ Fox

Get Religion helps parse some of the issues

Anyway, my real beef with this and almost all other stories dealing with embyronic-destroying stem-cell research is that they fail to distinguish between stem-cell research and embryonic-destroying stem-cell research. To wit:

The actor, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, has done a series of political ads supporting candidates who favor stem cell research, including Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin, who is running against Republican Michael Steele for the Senate seat being vacated by Paul Sarbanes.

That is not true. What reporter David Montgomery means to say is that Fox is campaigning for candidates who favor embryonic stem-cell research.

Everyone, more or less, favors stem-cell research. Stem cells are considered very exciting avenues for research these days because of their remarkable potential to develop into different cell types in the body (muscle cell, brain cell, skin cell). Some stem cells come from adults while other stem cells come from embryos. Each type has various advantages and disadvantages.

Some people don’t think advances in science should come by destroying embryos. Others think destroying embryos is a price you have to pay for the possibility of developing cures to diseases.

Characterizing people who oppose destroying embryos as opponents of all stem-cell research is unconscionable. It’s one thing if Michael J. Fox does it in a campaign commercial. It’s another if a reporter for a publication like The Washington Post does it.

deacons/waitstaff

doind a little research and enjoyed this Wiki entry...

The word deacon (and deaconess) is derived from the Greek word diakonos (διάκονος), which is often translated servant or more specifically waiter. Some believe that the office of deacon originated in the selection of seven men (among them Stephen) to assist with the pastoral and administrative needs of the early church. (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 6). Deaconesses are mentioned by Pliny the Younger in a letter dated c. 112 (see Historicity of Jesus#Pliny the Younger).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Funk's Greek Grammar online

for you Greek geeks, it's almost complete. i found one broken link.

mega pastor for micro churches

Bob Roberts Jr. writes
Let’s just dream for a minute! Pretend we have an unlimited supply of money and 1,000 of the most gifted preachers, organizational guru’s, and team builder’s all built into one. Let’s start 1,000 churches over the next ten years where each one will grow to at least 2,000!!!!! Those churches would change America overnight! WRONG – WE JUST DID THAT!!!!! In the past ten years, that very thing has happened and yet there are numerically less people in church than ten years ago.
I pastor a “mega-church” and I believe in “church-multiplication” so it may sound wrong to you that I would say that shouldn’t be our primary strategy – but it shouldn’t. We’re building a new 2,000 seat auditorium, have a large staff, and do a lot of the things that come with a mega-church. But, we must be clear, there has never been a church planting movement begun and sustained and replicated by mega-churches! I still believe in mega-churches – I believe in all churches and each one has a critical role. I believe mega-churches can produce mega-churches AND smaller churches that give scale, leverage, and resources to movements – not that it happens often here in the West as much as in the East. ..
If the focus on church planting is only planting mega-churches then we dramatically limit who can be involved and who can plant. We wind up with a pool of 1200 churches to start a movement. HOWEVER, if we focus on units of 100 or less, we wind up with 350,000 potential players! Let the other 348,800 play! The answer to a movement is not looking for a handful of guys to start relatively speaking a handful of churches – but looking for a mass of guys to start a mass of churches at the smallest reproducible unit available!...
We will have a movement when we focus the strategy not on a handful of rising stars who get media, marketing, etc. but when average people are planting churches of a few dozen. This is why I believe so much in house churches and smaller churches. This is why I am so passionate that the motives be based on reaching the lost versus being anti whatever.

stem cell cancer

from World Mag Blog
Reuters reports that human embryonic stem cells may cause tumors in Parkinson's disease patients. Amazing how little progress there has actually been in embryonic stem cell research, as opposed to other things like adult stem cell research, especially when you consider the infinite number of embryos scientists are willing to destroy in the effort.

Abortion byproduct or murdered baby

how depraved is the human soul that can simultaneously abort a child and then be offended when the body is not treated with dignity.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pro-choice college editor writes

My alma mater is no Christian school, but i'm pleased with those who comment on anti-life editorials. One commenter opposed to abortion is Muslim.

Susan B. Anthony opposed abortion

Marjorie Dannenfelser is quoted at Apologia Christi
An op-ed appearing in the New York Times last week said of Anthony, "She cast her vote always for tolerance, acting from a simple conviction: 'For a people is only as great, as free, as lofty, as advanced as its women are free, noble and progressive.' The bottom line is that we cannot possibly know what Anthony would make of today's debate."

Really?

Then how do Feldt and the author of the New York Times column explain an 1869 article published in Anthony's newspaper, The Revolution, which denounced abortion as "child murder" and went on to say "No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death."

Liberal scholars are now claiming Anthony didn't write the article.

celebrity God talk

a quiz to identify who is talking about God in the more-famous-than-you world.
HT: Get Religion

Hilary at Get Religion

great summary of a cool story of repentance and reconciliation linked to be Get Religion. could Mrs. Clinton be using the D.C. prayer group for political means? sure, but couldn't God be using that sinful desire for His own desire to save her?

overheard at the EO

quotes at the Evangelical Outpost

All traits in existence across the entire animal and vegetable kingdoms get the same seven word explanation: Whatever needs an explanation "arose by accident and was selected for." How did the elephant get its trunk? It ABAAWSF. How did ants appear? They ABAAWSF. How did the leopard get its spots? ABAAWSF. Etcetera, ad infinitum.

-- Tom Bethell summing up the "faith" of neo-Darwinists.

°°°°°°
Being hostile to virginity is the ultimate misogyny. It means sneering at the innocence of children, and laughing at women who want sex to mean something more than just a hookup.

-- Wendy Shalit, quoted in Rachel Kramer Bussel's Village Voice column, "Like a Virgin: The Case Against Having Sex." (HT: The Dawn Patrol)

Joe Carter on Embryonic Stem Cells

Joe Carter writes

In other words, embryonic stem cell research will start producing cures as soon as we figure out how to cure cancer. Sherley thinks that “the public largely believes that developing therapies from human embryonic stem cells may be difficult, but not impossible” and that if they if they only “understood that no wonder therapies were likely to come from embryonic stem cells, the discussion would be over, and human embryos would be safer.”

Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen. Because the scientific evidence clearly weighed against ESCR, the issue had to be reframed as a political issue: the fundamentalist pro-lifers who choose embryos over sick people versus the progressively minded acolytes of science who wish to pursue research that has great biomedical “potential.”

This misuse of “potential” has reached the level of Orwellian doublespeak. Imagine if in the 1960’s scientists at NASA had advocated spending less money on Saturn V rockets in order to use the funds for the an anti-gravity device because it held more “potential.” A similar absurdity is occurring now where adult stem cells—which are being used for treatment of diseases-- are considered to have less “potential” than ESCs which have never advanced to the human testing stage – and likely never will.

Empirical evidence against ESCR is all but ignored in favor of the hype and faith-based speculation over its miraculous potential. Just today I watched political campaign ads that trumpeted how the candidate would spend millions of taxpayer dollars on ESCR while in the Washington Post an article noted that “Scientists have long feared that human embryonic stem cells could turn into tumors, because of their pliability.” Contrary to Lincoln’s claim, as long as people choose to be willfully ignorant, you can fool most all of the people all of the time.

Partners blog: Burma's war on its own people

Partners is one missionary group I met last week with a focus on...
Our mission is to demonstrate God's love to victims of oppression and natural disaster...
Refugees, internally displaced people, and victims of natural disaster are all on the partners radar. Special emphasis is given to women and children, who are most vulnerable in times of conflict and crisis.

They bring supplies and hope and Jesus into the jungles of Burma...

Legally, the junta is responsible for genocide against the ethnic minority groups. Rape is used as a weapon of war (an allegation upheld by the US State Department). Landmines are widely used - killing more people in Burma in 2002 than any other country in the world. Millions of Burmese have been pressed into forced labour - what the International Labor Organization, calls "a modern form of slavery". Even the former UN Special Rapporteur on Burma Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah QC, stated in 1998, '[I am] deeply concerned about the serious human rights violations that continue to be committed by the armed forces in the ethnic minority areas. The violations include extrajudicial and arbitrary executions (not sparing women and children), rape, torture, inhuman treatment, forced labour and denial of freedom of movement.'

They can facilitate a family's survival for a month with 50 dollars (US)
The stories are so painful, that it makes the Christians' experiences in India look like child's play. Pray for the Burmese.

CSM: economics as a means to reconciliation in Rwanda

BUTARE, RWANDA - A tall, slender Tutsi woman named Jeannette Nyirabaganwa has at least 100 perfectly good reasons never to speak to Anastaz Turimubakunzi again.

That's how many of Jeannette's relatives, including her husband, parents, and baby, were killed during the 1994 genocide that raced through her hometown here in Africa's midsection. Anastaz is a confessed killer who, Jeannette says, helped murder her husband.

Yet Jeannette does, in fact, speak to Anastaz regularly. She even pays him - along with other Hutus who killed her relatives - to work on her coffee farm. Increasingly, their uneasy partnership is paying off: The beans they grow and pick together are being sold, along with those of many other Rwandan coffee farmers, to Starbucks and other high-end US coffee purveyors, creating growing prosperity for her, him, and others...

priorities

Eric talks about the tough decisions he makes in choosing his family over church planting events.

Monday, October 23, 2006

India: Where it is a criminal offence to convert to Christianity ...

George Thomas writes in an Autralian e-journal about Christianity and Christians in India

The Indian constitution penalises Dalits who convert to Christianity. While India provides special rights and privileges for Dalits, even for those who convert to Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, or Sikhism, these are denied to Dalit Christians.

In Karnataka, the government has targeted Christian charities which are seen as covert fronts for conversions. Many Hindu law enforcement officials are sympathetic to the Hindu nationalist’s anti-Christian cause. They are unwilling to take action against those responsible for attacks on Christians, thereby encouraging further attacks. The anti-Christian Hindu agenda is exemplified in the various postings on some radical Hindu blogs and websites, such as Hindu Unity, Christian Aggression, and The Conversion Agenda...


Now consider the treatment of Christians in India by Hindu nationalists. An increasing number of Christians in some of the states of India (Gujerat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in particular) are fearful of going to church, fearful of being discovered as Christians. Not only have they been attacked for being Christian, but when they try to hide their Christian identity, they have been arrested. Such Christians have started to change their Christian names to Hindu names for security.

According to the Indian census of 2001, the total population was 1.028 billion. Hindus (including Scheduled Castes and Tribals) numbered 827 million or 80.5 per cent, Muslims 138 million or 13.4 per cent, Christians 24 million or 2.3 per cent, Sikhs 19 million or 2 per cent, Buddhists 8 million or 0.8 per cent and Jains 4 million or 0.4 per cent. "Others" numbered 6.6 million or 0.6 per cent.

But the Hindu numbers and percentages are misleading. About 25 per cent, or 24 million, of those Hindus belong to Scheduled Castes and Tribes. About 40 per cent, or 400 million, are "Other Backward Castes”. About 20 per cent, or 200 million, are religious minorities leaving only 15 per cent belonging to the three upper castes. Consequently the anti-Christian Hindu nationalists come from the three upper castes who constitute about 10 per cent of the total Indian population of 1.1 billion...

Christians in turn have provided education at all levels to other religious groups without prosyletisation. By far the best schools and colleges in India are run by Christian institutions, either Catholic and Protestant, where the student populations are more than 90 per cent non-Christian. According to Tahir Mahmoud, an Indian Muslim journalist, “The 2.3 per cent Christians in the Indian population cater to 20 per cent of all primary education in India, 10 per cent of all the literacy and community health care, 25 per cent of all existing care of destitutes and orphans, 30 per cent of all the handicapped, lepers and AIDS patients etc”...

Untouchability (and even “Unseeability” in some parts of India where the sight of these people could pollute Brahmin purity) was a system of both extreme physical and mental enslavement from which there could be no escape in the Hindu social order. Much of this image was rejuvenated and atmosphere regenerated after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gained power between 1996 and 2004.

Together with its ideological sponsor, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and the growth of its radical paramilitary wing, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), and other radical Hindu organisations constitute a standing threat to the well-being of about 24 million Indian Christians, or just 2.3 percent of the Indian population of 1.1 billion as registered in the 2001 census.

While allegations of mass conversions to Christianity continue, the fact is that the Christian minority population of India has come down from 2.8 percent in the 1951 census, to 2.3 percent in the 2001 census.

The RSS is the most dangerous member of the Hindu nationalist group. They are anti-democratic, anti-secular and fascist in their ideology. The BJP may no longer be in power, but their followers in India and abroad continue to think and act as before. Hindu nationalists believe there is a conspiracy, especially by American evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church, to convert the impoverished and uneducated 300-million strong Dalits to Christianity, thereby transforming the Hindu character of India.

Their concern is not to alleviate the 4,000-year-old plight of Dalits under Hinduism, but only to prevent their conversion to Christianity by all possible means.



LJ: House Churches that Complement "Big Church"

cool article in Leadership Journal:

Small churches don't start their meeting with a song, nor end with a benediction. These fellowships of 6-10 people may start out with conversation around the dinner table or a backyard barbecue. Laughter and stories are shared as they talk over life's challenges or daily bungles, something not as easily done in the rush of a Sunday church service, which Highlands calls "big church."

As they bond and study the Bible together, the groups become a spiritual family, where members identify and cultivate their unique gifts, such as hospitality or wisdom.

Beckman says that maturing process is more difficult in a big church format, where sometimes only the public gifts, such as leadership or teaching, are acknowledged and developed.

In home church families, each person is expected to learn directly from Scripture and share their insights.

"Robbie and I aren't Bible scholars," Dawn Walker says. "We were worried about that at first, but then we thought, 'We're just here to keep the group on time.'"

"Each small church family is every bit a church," says lead pastor Hal Haller. "We want them to be missional in reaching out their neighbors, whether or not they ever come to a Sunday morning gathering."

While big church can be a place for people to check out God at a safe distance, Highlands doesn't want visitors to feel like they have to join its programs in order to connect with Christ.

"If they have time to participate in only one thing, I tell them it should be the small church group because that is their family," Beckman says.

a prominent house churcher on the EC

"I’m often asked what I think of the emergent church movement and in answering I’ve reminded people that I’ve had very little firsthand touch with it. Thus my conclusions have come from reading some of its authors and what others have said so that my conclusions can’t be construed as definitive. But I have said that I think the movement is asking better questions than many traditional congregations and in many cases has a better message that focuses on relationships with each other and a more relevant engagement with the world.

On the downside, however, they seem to be compressing that into the same institutional structures that will eventually subvert their message. They are still caught up in building, leadership and services. Also, I’ve not found that the ever-present Christ is an important part of the conversation. It is more a movement driven by principles and ideology that find identity in the movement and its leaders, rather than finding a deeper intimacy with the Father, Son and Spirit. Certainly God is referenced a lot, but it doesn’t seem to me to be the language of a growing relationship with him, but an exploration of ideas and practices that might be more relevant."

Erasable Bible

a joke to make you think...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

God's Story

one organization that i hadn't encountered before was this one, The God Story. They provide an 80 minute summary of the key stories in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, something New Tribes Mission has been doing for awhile. They claim a high success rate with their material where Jesus alone stories haven't inspired many. I'm wondering if any M's who read this might have used this material.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Larry Linguist

Challies disapproves,
Church: You know the church is in a sad state when it relies on this
kind of gimmicks to draw people in and keep them there!


I think they are fun to watch.

a lesson in forcing a theology on a resistant passage

it is a sad day that Paul's explanation of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians is so horribly wrestled to the ground and denied its meaning when leaders from the Southern Baptist missions board, IMB, come up with stuff like this (PDF)

HATLEY: Paul would have no problem serving with the IMB. We based
this policy on his teachings. My own interpretation of his work is to use the
more simple and obvious interpretation in the context of that day, not ours.
As such I substitute the word “language” everywhere the word “tongue” or
“unknown tongue” appears. That is because the word used by Paul was
glossa (from which we receive our word glossary). Paul spoke in many
languages, known by his own studies and perhaps was, as a missionary,
given the supernatural ability to speak to new language groups encountered
on the field. In such an instance he would not understand the language he
used but would know the Gospel was being given through his lips by a
miracle, which also served to give authority to his message before the new
crowd. He used these tongues in evangelism, which is the primary use of the
gift of languages he lists in 1 Corinthians 14. Whether naturally, by study,
or supernaturally if someone were to exhibit such great ability to
communicate the gospel, then we would gladly skip the required year of
language school and send them straight to the field.
I do not think Paul restricted the use of the gift to private use unless there
was no opportunity to use it in evangelism or edification (in the church). In
such private instances no one would be present who knew that language; so,
the gift would remain private and not disrupt or add confusion to a public
meeting.
This IMB policy does not restrict the miracle of Pentecost, where real
languages were spoken. Today we can identify language through
technology. If someone has the gift of tongues they should not restrict it to
the closet. What a waste that would be. If it is of the Lord, then find the
language or languages you have and take a one way flight to the country
where that language is spoken. The IMB will send you there if you can pass
the body/mass index standards and health exam.
Please read 1 Cor 14 and decide for yourself, my notes are here, Pastor Jon's are here. God is so good though, in that, the gospel is still proclaimed and many are gathered into his kingdom despite our inadequacy and weaknesses.

Paul clearly states that tongues is not for evangelism. v.23 "So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?"

Does Hatley think bilingual people should speak in their learned language during the morning service? v.27 "If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. v.28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God." But then, why would a bilingual person need an interpreter? Why is interpretation considered a separate gift? v.13 "For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. v.14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. v.15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind."

Were there no other bilingual speakers in the Corinthian church? v.8 "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you." How does Paul know he speaks in tongues more than all of them? Wouldn't the Corinthians speak Greek and Latin at the least?

Would my Baptist readers be willing to defend this exposition? Privately is fine, jumland at gmail

India: do well, make BJP jealous, lose your facility

October 19 (Compass Direct News) – Accusing a Christian-run health center of forcible conversions, the Chhattisgarh state government has ordered the takeover of the facility and fired 17 of its employees.

Chhattisgarh, controlled by the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ordered the takeover of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in Lundra village on October 10. The government program had been assigned in 1995 to the Raigarh-Ambikapur Health Association (RAHA), a Catholic voluntary health service of the Ambikapur diocese in the eastern part of the state.

“The BJP government is determined to dislodge RAHA from the ICDS Lundra, and allegations of conversions are an effective means to do so,” said Sister Emilina Xess, child development project officer. “We will approach the Bilaspur High Court for a stay order.”

Xess told Compass that the government action stems from jealousy of the esteem and popularity of Christians at the ICDS in Lundra. The state government has taken steps to terminate the services of Xess and Sister Lucy Barat, deputy child development project officer, on grounds that they were improperly appointed.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Convert from Islam, get killed

"Police believe that after the girl told her Muslim family of her conversion, her father grabbed a kitchen knife. They suspect the mother stepped between the father and the daughter resulting in the mother's death."

Che Guevera wasn't cool?

from the A-Team


The most popular version of [the] Che t-shirt, for instance, sports the slogan "Fight Oppression" under his famous face. This is the face of a man who co-founded a regime that jailed more of its subjects than Hitler or Stalin's and declared that "individualism must disappear!"

Some of his other fine accomplishments (quotes from the article):

  • Declared, "A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate."
  • Said, "I don't need proof to execute a man. I only need proof that it's necessary to execute him!"
  • Boasted that he executed from "revolutionary conviction" rather than from any "archaic bourgeois details" like judicial evidence.
  • Urged "atomic extermination" as the final solution for those American "hyenas," saying, "We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims."
  • Provoked one of the biggest refugee crises in the history of this hemisphere.
  • Rounded up Cuban rock & roll fans en masse, and herded them into prison camps for forced labor.
  • Put effeminate male youth in prison camps with "Work Will Make Men Out of You" in bold letters above the gate.
  • Jailed or exiled most of Cuba's best writers, poets and independent film-makers.

Back from Send the Message

Went to a Calvary Chapel Missions Conference at CC Spring Valley in Las Vegas this week. Good stuff to think about. As i pull out all the material and review it, i'll share some links and notes and reflections.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The KKK Disbands

Charles Potter is a local columnist who lives 2 blocks away from me...(free reg required)

Published on 10/14/2006
IN THIS BUSINESS, ONE CAN never be sure of the motives of people who send us tips, notes or suggestions. Still, when I received the e-mail with a headline that began: “The KKK Disbands,” it caught my attention.

When I read further, I became downright curious.

“The KKK Disbands: Leaves Their Job To Black Folks.”

And then, even before I read another word, I knew where the thing was going. I knew, because, coincidentally, I've had a few chats lately with my sons about black-on-black crime contributing to the socio-political weakness of the race.

Before I get too far into that, though, you should know more about the e-mail. First understand that the commentary appears to be a spoof. The Klan is still in operation. Their Web site has a message that it is down, but there are links to two sites selling KKK collectibles.

The e-mail also appears to be written by an African American. I find it hard to believe the KKK would put forth any effort to inspire black unity or progress, even satirically.

It reads in part:

The KKK leader stepped to the podium, his hood lowered around his shoulders and a look of disgust on his face. He said, “Sorry guys but this will be our last meeting; we're going out of business.”

A member stood up in back. “But why sir?”

The leader sighed, “Well, reverend, the (black people) are doing a better job getting rid of themselves than we ever did, so we are no longer needed.”

There were rumblings and protest. The leader raised his hand to silence the Klan members, and said, “Their rap music says more vile things about black women than we ever thought of.”

So, the e-mail appears to be a not-so-veiled attempt to inspire African Americans to some collective introspection.

They shoot each other constantly,” he continued. “And as a group, they spend a huge amount of money on cars, liquor, that stuff they call bling, and the proliferation of rap music. Nobody needs us to talk about how a lot of them keep playing the race and victim cards while complaining that other groups are surpassing them in economic development and supposedly getting more attention in schools.”

...

“We have got to take better care of ourselves, as males,” Rucker said. “It's become so hard for black males to get through 15 to 28 years old. They're either getting killed by each other on the streets, going to jail, or getting sent off to wars.

“Where are we going? We're destroying ourselves, and I just don't know what will turn it around.”

His message was clear. It is a message that should be delivered more often, more resoundingly and by more black leaders.

Black leaders include clergy, teachers at all levels of education, corporate leaders, politicians and anyone else who cares about the future of American black people and who has the attention of black citizens....

anti conversion laws: India's future in Malaysia

the difference being Malaysia is a Muslim country, where interfaith marriages are forbidden but conversion has to be approved by a religious court. Guess how often that gets approved?

women's speech in church 1 Cor 14

Pastor Jon has a helpful interpretation here...
4. (34-35) Women should not judge prophecy or disrupt meetings.
Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.

a. Let your women keep silent in the churches: Paul has already assumed the right of women to pray or prophecy publicly (as stated in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16). Here, he probably is saying women do not have the right to judge prophecy, something restricted to the male leadership of the church.

i. Instead of judging prophecy, women should be submissive to what the leadership of the church judges regarding words of prophecy.

b. If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home: In the ancient world, just as in some modern cultures, women and men sit in different groups at church. Among the Corinthian Christians, there seems to have been the problem of women chattering or disrupting the meetings with questions. Paul is saying, “Don’t disrupt the meeting. Ask your questions at home.”

i. In the Jewish synagogues, men and women would sit apart. But if a woman chattered or called out to her husband sitting far off, she would be dealt with severely. The Corinthian church may have adopted the same kind of seating arrangement, but with many women from Gentile backgrounds, they did not know how to conduct themselves at a church meeting. Paul is teaching them how.

c. It is shameful for women to speak in church: Again, because Paul assumed the right of women to pray and prophesy under proper authority in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, the context suggests speak refers to either the judging of prophecy (something for the leadership of the church to do) or to disruptive speaking.

i. Alan Redpath points out that Paul uses the Greek verb laleo, which means, “to talk, question, argue, profess, or chatter.” Redpath says, “It has nothing to do with prophecy or prayer; it is not public speaking as such.”

human then vegetable for 2 years now back to human

Boy in So-Called "Persistent Vegetative State" for Two Years Awakens
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 11
, 2006
Yamhill, OR (LifeNews.com) -- A 11 year-old Oregon boy who entered into a coma after he was diagnosed with a mysterious illness has awoken from the incapacitated state. Devon Rivers isn't unique but his case is typical of the battle hopeful families fight with doctors who are quick to declare patients in a persistent vegetative state and say there is no hope of recovery...

HT: CC

Friday, October 13, 2006

fear and loathing in India

the question is who is afraid of who?

October 11 (Compass Direct News) – A church in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district cancelled its weekly meeting yesterday (October 10) due to tensions in the region following false reports of conversions in newspapers. The reports led to two attacks in the past week.

A local Christian who requested anonymity told Compass that tensions began on October 4, when local editions of national Hindi dailies Hindustan, Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagran published reports on the supposed forced conversion of 350 Hindu villagers to Christianity in Belahta village.

Reporters of these newspapers had on October 3 come to the weekly prayer meeting of the Belahta village branch of the Abundant Life Church. More than 1,000 people, mostly believers from Belahta and nearby villages, were praying and worshipping in a tent pitched outside the house of a convert, Sanju Singh.

“On October 4, when a few Christian families of the village were sitting in the tent, which had not been removed yet, local villagers along with extremists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or the World Hindu Council) and police came and vandalized the structure,” said the source, a church leader.

The VHP accused Singh of forcibly converting Hindu villagers, breaking idols of Hindu gods and goddesses and throwing them into the village well.

They threatened that if the meetings continued or any Christian from outside the village was seen again, they would resort to unprecedented violence...

Due to tensions in the area, the main branch of the church in Line Bazar asked the Line Bazar police station to deploy officers for Sunday worship. “The police simply signed the letter and gave it back to the Christians without providing them protection,” said the source.

Condemning the harassment of the Christians in Jaunpur, the New Delhi-based Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) said in a statement, “The police too seem to be working hand in glove with fundamentalist groups, and have been regularly detaining local Christians, pressuring them to return to Hinduism.”

The EFI denounced the role of the local press in making “matters worse for Christians.”

Out of the total population of more than 166 million, only 212,678 are Christian in Uttar Pradesh...

In neighboring Madhya Pradesh state, Hindu extremists last night (October 10) attacked the annual convention of a Pentecostal church in Jabalpur, vandalizing the facility in spite of police presence.

The extremists also threatened that if the meeting continued, they would launch a bomb attack.

The incident took place at 9 p.m. at the Pentecostal Church in Khamaria Ordnance Factory Estate area of Jabalpur before the first day of the 53rd annual convention concluded with prayer and benediction. The convention, attended by about 150 people, continues until Sunday (October 15).

“About 70 people belonging to the Dharam Sena (Army for Religion) tried to enter into the tents where the convention was going on, but the police deployed for our protection stopped them on the main road,” Augustine Rao, senior pastor of the church, told Compass. “Angry with the police, the extremists broke the church’s signboard put up on the road and tore the convention banners.”


Book of Zelph

a Book of Mormon parody by an ex-Mormon(?). the point is, by what criteria can Mormons reject this but keep J. Smith's?

The Coming Forth of The Book of Zelph

While pondering certain passages in The History of the Church, Volume 2, Josh Anderson came upon a passage that mentioned a great white Lamanite warrior named Zelph. This seemingly insignificant event would lead him on a journey to Zelph's final resting place. It was there, in a grove of trees, that Josh would come across the greatest archeological find since Joseph Smith purchased Abraham's writings from Michael Chandler. Josh was led to a hand cart overflowing with metal plates, which were the Lamanite records. He translated the abridgment of these plates, given to him by Zelph, into the Book of Zelph. For the entire story of the coming forth of the Book of Zelph, read Josh Anderson's testimony here.
My enemies say The Book of Zelph sucks. They claim that any third grader could have written it, and that the mentality of the narrative is at the same level as mine. Well, I take that as a compliment because The Book of Zelph is an epic masterpiece. Do you really think an ignorant high school dropout like me could have written it? Others have accused me of plagiarism. I challenge all my enemies to prove the Book of Zelph is not true. The enemies of The Book of Zelph have challenged me to produce the leather plates from whence the Book of Zelph came. They say that if the Book of Zelph is true, I should be able to produce the original source material to be examines by experts. These people are so caught up in little nitpicky details like ancient leather plates that they fail to see the truthfulness on the pages of the actual translated Book of Zelph. Who cares about the leather plates? The important thing is the resulting translation, which we have in The Book of Zelph. Even members of my own family became impatient with me. During the translation process, my cousin, Travis would say hurtful things like, “Do you realize how gay you look with your face in that baseball cap?” He thought I should get a real job, as did many of my other relatives. Too bad for Travis, because I had other friends and relatives who believed in me and trusted that The Book of Zelph was true, and would be a big hit. Because these people believed in me, I allowed them to “see” the original leather plates. Those of you who doubt that I ever had an old leather Indian book can eat your hearts out by reading the statements of the four witnesses and nine witnesses. After reading these statements, you probably wish you believed in me so that you could have seen the leather plates too. Well, too bad for you. The witnesses are proof that the leather plates actually existed and if the leather plates are true, that means The Book of Zelph is true also. If you still don't believe the Book of Zelph is true, I challenge you to take the Book of Zelph Challenge. I bear you my testimony, and promise in the name of Zelph that the Book of Zelph is true.

Broken education

this rant is just as important to homeschoolers who see the system is broken but still try to please the system instead of improve on it.

more perspective on North Korea

There are two worlds in North Korea: One is the world of senior military officers, Communist Party members, and the country's ruling elite. They enjoy a lavish lifestyle, fancy restaurants, diplomatic shops with European foods, nightclubs, even a casino. The world for ordinary people in North Korea is completely different. In their world, one can see young children, undersized, undernourished, mute, with sunken eyes and skin stretched tight across their faces, wearing uniform blue-and-white-striped pajamas. Anyone who's seen pictures of Dachau or Auschwitz would find the scene distressingly familiar.

Most of the patients in the hospitals suffer from psychosomatic illnesses. They're worn out by compulsory drills, innumerable parades, mandatory assemblies beginning at the crack of dawn, and constant, droning propaganda. Clinical depression is rampant. Alcoholism is common. Young adults have no hope, no future. Everywhere you look, people are beset by anxiety.

Everyday workers and farmers are starving and dying.

Unwarranted arrest and detention are common, and one can only imagine what the conditions are like in the so-called "reform institutions" where entire families are imprisoned when any member does or says something to offend the regime. These camps are closed to all foreigners, even to stringently non-confrontational organizations like the International Red Cross.

Iranian House Churches Request Prayer

From the persecution blog


Iranian house-church contacts have asked for prayer for the following:

A satellite radio program is directed toward reaching those under 30, pray for fruit.

Growing underground churches; ninety-five percent of the members are under age 30.

Safety and support for pastors

Underground churches strengthened in God's Word and safe places to meet

Seminars and training for house-church leaders and servants

An Iranian family currently facing persecution

Pray God will be glorified in every person and situation.

Abortion Politics

more babies die than soldiers every year. what's the priority driving you this election?

short slideshow on US slavery

got 3 minutes to remember the sins of our country?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

All-in-one on-line Bible resources

Mark Goodacre of the NT Gateway has put together a ton of resource addresses with search fields.

free international calling

a nice feature for those of us who want to stay in touch with missionaries...
HT: evangelical outpost

Dan Kimball questions pews

i remember visiting the massive Orthodox Church in Helsinki Finland and being amazed at the lack of seats, then shocked to find out that people would stand for hours at a time. In this post, Dan Kimball notices that standing wasn't the only option but also kneeling or falling prostrate. The idea wasn't vertical pews. Now i'm intrigued.
what if chairs were only an option. what if bean bags were included as an option. what if kids were allowed to burn a little energy in service?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

DUH: Dilbert's Ultimate House

This is the site that actually got me started thinking about new construction that is ecologically considerate.
Update: Apparently Scott Adams took the link off his site. Here is another site with pictures. You can see more images if you search Google images as well.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Point: A dying population

The Point writes

That's the title of a very depressing story that ran in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. As writer Kim Murphy tells us,

Russia is rapidly losing population. Its people are succumbing to one of the world's fastest-growing AIDS epidemics, resurgent tuberculosis, rampant cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, suicide and the lethal effects of unchecked industrial pollution.

In addition, abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000. An estimated 10 million Russians of reproductive age are sterile because of botched abortions or poor health.

Somewhat related is this piece at the Evangelical Outpost which concludes this way

But what choice do Democrats have? Party strategists know better than to question the sacred allegiance to the abortion lobby. They realize that to even suggest that Democratic legislators might want to temper their pro-abortion stance would send the shrieking harpies from NARAL and the Netroots berserkers into a frenzy. So they cower and submit and deny the obvious in order to pacify the extreme factions of the party.

In the meantime, Democrats in Congress secretly pray that the Roberts Court will overturn Roe and send the issue back to the states. If the precedent is overturned they’ll feign outrage and fume about back alley abortions but they know that nothing will really change. Abortion will still be legal in California and New York, banned in South Dakota and Mississippi. But they’ll have gained something that will elude them as long as Roe and Doe remain the law of the land – a chance to once again gain control of the legislative branch.

Street Church

Street church is house church outside a tiny house on a busy 4 land street. Guy Muse concludes with this,
There is so much about last night that I could comment on. I think what impacted me the most was that what was done was so authentic. It was real. Genuine. Nobody putting on a show, but just being their real selves before a God that they love in the only envirmonment that have ever known. Several times during the evening I thought about Jesus words in John 4 where he says, "the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth." What I saw last night in this "street church" was this very thing.

Get Religion surveys the reporting on the Amish tragedy

the individual articles surveyed are fine, but the synthesis of this post is moving, especially between these bereaved parents and the bereaved father who killed their children.

embrace quiet: a plea from Doug Groothius

"But in light of this information glut, this data deluge, I have a suggestion. We are people in transit--moving, changing locations in our cars, buses, planes, and (sometimes I suppose still) trains. The next time you must go from point A to point B by a motorized conveyance, leave the radio, CD, iPod, or any other information dispenser off. Instead of filling that time and space with music (since I haven’t banned that yet) fill it rather with silence—or as silent as it can get on the highway or airway or train tack. During that relative silence reflect on a passage of Scripture and/or pray through something on your mind. Do you need more facts (or worse yet, factoids) all the time? Perhaps you do not. Think about it. You may need to turn down the volume, decrease the data flow, and settle into lifting your concerns to your Heavenly Father.

Selah."

interesting questions on republican conspiracies

The A-Team asks, "Here's my question: Why are normal people on the left obsessed with conspiracy theories?"

Monday, October 09, 2006

successful upgrade i think

if you are no longer receiving site feeds, just let me know... (wink)

trying to upgrade this to beta blogger

i am expecting issues, but will give it a try...

North Korean memorial day tomorrow

This link will download an hour long documentary filmed by some Dutch cinematographers not too many years ago. It makes sense in a twisted way, and most ways are twisted in North Korea, that they ignited, or may have ignited, their atomic weapon right before a 50th anniversary celebration on October 10.

Watching the movie reminded me of Russia under Stalin and China under Mao. Somehow, the experiment in human oppression and mandatory leader cult crumbles at some time and freedom starts to slip in.

Lord Jesus, save these people.

Link courtesy of the Acton Powerblog.

India:persecution of a youth

note: tonsured means shaving the head...

October 6 (Compass Direct News) – Hindu extremists in the western state of Orissa on Wednesday (October 4) abducted a Christian youth from his house and tortured and tonsured him, allegedly to punish him for accepting Christianity...

But Dr. Sajan K. George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told Compass that the extremists tonsured Dangua after abducting and torturing him.

“The radicals on October 4 stormed into Dangua’s house and abducted him,” George said. “Later, they beat him very badly and then tonsured him. They also took him around the village after tonsuring him.”

He said the situation in the village, where two platoons of policemen have reportedly been deployed, is “very tense.”

George added that Dangua, his family and other Christian families in the village have faced fierce opposition from Hindu extremists of neighboring villages since they became Christians a few years ago....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

some muslim-christian history: Lepanto

Michael Novak writes...

The future author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, served on one of the Christian galleys in what he called the greatest naval sea battle in history and the most important to that time for the safety of Europe. The Turks had been massing an enormous fleet for an invasion of Italy. The preparations began to be reported on many months in advance. It was the year 1571 when that fleet was gathered near a port in Greece, not far from the Gulf of Lepanto.

For over a year, Pope Pius V had tried to alert the great powers of Europe to the coming menace. But England, France, and the regional powers of what later became Germany were preoccupied with the turmoil of the Reformation....

Whole great rooms of palaces in southern Europe have been given over to immense paintings celebrating episodes in that epic battle. All Europe, historians recount, drew a deep breath of relief and gratitude. It was as if an oppressive cloud had been lifted, some wrote. G. K. Chesterton wrote a rousing epic poem about the great event, a magnificent treat to read to young children — and even for mature adults.

Since Osama bin Laden and others often cite these battles, for which he is still seeking revenge, it is not unwise for the people of the West to bear them in mind. Besides October 7, 1571 — the great victory by Jan Sobieski’s Polish calvary over the Turks outside the gates of Vienna on September 11-12, 1683 — deserves to be remembered. But there were also other great battles — some victories, some defeats — over that thousand-year period that still live in memory, or should.


Chesterton's poem is too long to reproduce here....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Magical Storyteller and John the Baptizer

it's cool to hear people's reflections on their baptisms. Zach is 14. I baptized him and his sister in Long Island Sound last month with the assistance of their dad. God is good to that family. They are also a blogging family.

Gooseberry Lane: How Do Men Cope with Tragedy?

This is a personal reflection on the shooter of the Amish from an uncomfortably close perspective.

a cessationist rethinks

Julian, who blogs at Christian Thought met some reformed charismatics and has thoughts like this...
1. 1 Corinthians 13.8-13. This is not profound, but merely an acknowledgement of what the majority of evangelicalism has already said: these verses are not referring to the closing of the canon. Without this text, the intratextual evidence for any strong cessationist position is incredibly weak. To my knowledge this is the only text cessationists use to argue their position that Paul knew of the gifts coming to an end. Further, even if we could allow that this text is speaking of these gifts (tongues, prophecies, and knowledge), then why do we include things like the gift of healing in the list of gifts which have ceased?

Pastor Jon's dose of humor

Where does he get this stuff? This is good...

Rev. W. O. Taylor, 91, was the oldest man attending the Southern Baptist Convention a few years ago. At the annual free breakfast for retirees, Brother Taylor rose and recited
his own alliterative version of the parable of the prodigal son, which he entitled "The Final Fixing of the Foolish Fugitive":

"Feeling footloose, fancy-free, and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weather friends. Finally, facing famine, and fleeced by his fellows in folly, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farmlot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments....

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pentecostals widening influence

"The survey estimated that Pentecostals and charismatics together comprise at least half the population of Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya, and 44 percent of the Philippines.

They make up about one-third of the population of South Africa and Chile and nearly one-quarter of Nigerians and U.S. residents. The figure for South Korea is smaller, at 11 percent. In India, the poll was limited to three states with large Christian populations, so a national estimate could not be made.

The study found Pentecostal beliefs have a strong hold in major churches in many countries."

Smart Mom finds time

my wonderful wife shares how to organize her world and make it serve her

India: helping the Dalits despite upper caste resistance

Flooding triggered by seasonal monsoons in India have recently left hundreds of Dalit villages swamped as a result of overflowing rivers and dams. Some areas received two years' worth of rainfall in three days; and in the Barmer District of Rajasthan, both high-caste families (the wealthy) and low-caste families (the poorest) -- the latter known as Dalits or untouchables -- were marooned on sand dunes.

When camps were set up for the displaced, however, members of higher castes chased Dalit families away, denying them food and clean drinking water. But K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia (GFA), says the Christian ministry's missionaries are reaching out to assist all victims of the floods, regardless of caste.

"We have given top priority to work among these Dalits during these times of flooding and crises," Yohannan notes. "Many hundreds of our workers are bringing food, clothes, and water and working among these people," he says.

a culture miles apart

what happens when a conservative Christian calls out America's sins on the main stream media? see this article at the Point....

The Point: Frankenbunny

what happens to a culture that loses its view of humanity as a special creation of God?

Scientists are planning to create a "frankenrabbit" by fusing together human cells with a rabbit egg.

It is hoped the "chimeric" embryos, which would be 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent rabbit, could lead to breakthroughs in stem cell research which could one day cure diseases such as Alzheimer's or spinal cord injury.

Canada has already banned this "high-tech bestiality"; the United States must follow suit, lest the line defining what it means to be human continues to blur. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

[update] great post here at Acton


Pastor Jon on 1 Cor 14

his outline adds alot more flesh to the flimsy skeletal outline i made. there are more studies of his in Corinthians at this link

Joe Carter on X-Cons (GenX Conservatives)

ouch!

BTW: Ms. mag aborters list

Justin's blog links to this news story, with quotes like One signatory,
Debbie Findling of San Francisco, described her difficult decision last year to have an abortion after tests showed that she would bear a son with Down syndrome.
"I felt it was my right to make the decision, but having that right doesn't make the decision any easier," she said. "It was the hardest decision I've ever made."

but also another link

"For a short overview of why abortion is wrong, see this article by Scott Klusendorf."

why isn't eugenics an evil word like Nazi? she killed a child extra chromosome?

thanks to the 20

this blog averages almost 20 readers a day. thank you. i'm considering another change at the 4000 mark and any feedback is welcome. at another blog i came across yesterday, the blogger contends that since his identity is public, his commenters should be also so he does not allow anonymous comments. most of my comments are anonymous. so i'll probably be turning off anonymous commenting this weekend.
anyway, 4000 hits in less than a year since i put up the hit counter is cool to me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Slate: Spin the Bottle: Mark Foley's 10-step rehab program.

"Bad news: You've been caught (a) taking bribes from Jack Abramoff, (b) telling a police officer that "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," or (c) exchanging naked fantasies with teenage boys. What do you do? If you're Mel Gibson, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), or former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), you blame alcohol. Here's their 10-step program for rehabilitating your career..."

Lucas thinks zero-sum

i found this an interesting read on where the culture is going. he may be wrong, and he isn't putting all his eggs in his speculation, but his thoughts intrigue me.

now i will talk myself out of this, perhaps you should read it first...

why won't big movies don't go away. the same reasons restaurants don't go away. we want to get out of our homes. we get bored. which is why house churches won't dominate as long as there are venues that provide a different feel. and i'm not sure that a longing for community is the real pull. as kimball writes , and i've blogged on before, multigenerational is not staring at the back of an old guy's head.

there is some need for community. but we want to meet our friends on neutral ground that we don't have to clean, we can escape from without offense (as opposed to kicking people out of your house), etc.

so i don't think Lucas is totally write, that movies are done with. we make a mistake that things have to be zero-sum, something has to lose, either/or, instead of both/and expansion.

India: the politics (BJP/RSS) behind the persecution of the church

politics, the wrod, can become divorced from the people who are organized behind an agenda. persecution of believers can be misunderstood as simply a misunderstanding between people, but is actually a spiritual reaction that can only be clamed by God. with this set up, this article is very interesting, and i'll share some highlights....

Increased attacks against Christians this year have grown out of a trend of violence going back to 2001. Each year from 2001 to 2005, about 200 anti-Christian attacks were reported in India. This year nearly 150 such incidents were reported by mid-September, with the annual total expected to exceed 200.

Whereas the trend began after the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in 1998, the recent campaign is rooted in the party’s attempts to recover from political loss and internal division. Then as now, most of the attacks have been led, directly or indirectly, by Hindu extremist organizations linked with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Forum or VHP) and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal.....

Father Henry D’Souza, head of the Commission for Social Communication of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said the RSS and BJP have reached a critical stage marked by confusion, disunity and intense rivalry. An increase in anti-Christian propaganda is a reaction to an “insecurity alarm” among these groups, he said.

Dr. John Dayal, member of the National Integration Council of the Government of India and secretary general of the All India Christian Council (AICC), told Compass that the BJP was on the retreat in the states it rules and had no guarantee of progress in other states. The BJP rules in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, and it forms part of ruling coalitions in Karnataka, Bihar and Orissa states....

Persecution of Christians rose to new heights in India after the BJP came to power as head of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 1998.

According to the figures of the federal home ministry, between 1950 and 1998 there were only 50 recorded attacks on Christians. The number grew to 100 in 2000, and from 2001 to 2005 at least 200 incidents of anti-Christian attacks were reported every year, according to Dayal.

Besides numerous incidents of anti-Christian violence that go unreported, he said, total known attacks this year are likely to exceed 200.

Anti-Christian incidents thus far in 2006 include the gang rape of two Christian women and a spate of false accusations of “forced” conversions, followed by violent attacks in Madhya Pradesh; sustained harassment of the Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) for more than six months in Rajasthan; a massive anti-Christian campaign in the districts of Dangs and Phulbani in Gujarat and Orissa respectively; and a sudden increase of attacks on Christians in Karnataka state....

Political analysts in part ascribed the defeat of the BJP-led NDA in 2004 general elections and in assembly elections in four states and the union territory earlier this year to increasingly mature voters who seemingly voted against Hindu fundamentalism....

Through the eyes of the Hindutva ideology propagated by the RSS, Christianity is a Western religion brought to India under British colonial rule – contrary to evidence that Christianity spread to parts of India almost from its inception. Thus the anti-British sentiments held by many Hindus are extended towards the Christian community.

In recent years, some Hindu extremists have claimed that missionaries are part of an international conspiracy to convert and overtake India. Opponents of Christianity also claim Western missionaries use material bribes or force to convert the poor and illiterate.

Fr. D’Souza of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, however, said Christians were not discouraged.

“As Christians, we always live under the shadow of the cross of Christ – we do not hate our attackers,” he said. “We rather forgive them and pray for them.”...

There is a long list of violations against Christians this year at the end of the article.




interpreting tongues

i had a cool experience at my spiritual gifts class last night. if you attend a church like mine, someone rising up and speaking in tongues on Sunday morning is not the norm. it isn't prohibited, just not expected. so my class becomes a sandbox of sorts, where people can risk expressing their gifts. but one gift you'd never know you have is the interpretation of tongues unless you hear someone speak to the group in tongues, rather than overhear someone worshipping privately in tongues. so last week, i closed in prayer and in tongues. no one that night stood up with an interpretation. last night, i wanted to encourage anyone who might have thought they understood something to risk sharing what they heard. the cool thing was someone did understand something, a person who in previous weeks, was not sure what gifts God had given them. she didn't understand much of it, but she did understand the phrase, "My God," being repeated. i'm so happy for this person. we interviewed her a little bit. she heard ecstatic utterings from me, but she also understood some of it, like a beginning bilingual learner.

i have to admit, i'm also encouraged. i pray in tongues alot, and frequently ask the Lord to give me the interpretation. i think he doesn't so that i don't isolate from his community, but to hear a hint of interpretation, encourages me and quiets those cessationist voices that lurk in the back of my head.

God is good

Where Was God in the Amish Killings?" Trouble in Paradise

Joe Paskewich looks at the Amish school shootings and asks where was God? This is the man who was in NYC the night of 9/11/01 and in New Orleans a coupld days after Katrina...

TSK:one leader's personal history of the emerging church

Andrew, back from a month long blogfast, has begun recounting his view of the church emerging from the 80's. Some interesting thoughts on church in alternative venues and church within church.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

BBC: Miracles in Indian Presbyterian churches

"The Holy Spirit is here to reawaken people," says Reverend Laldawngliana, a spokesman for the Presbyterian Church of India in Shillong.

He says similar religious experiences proclaimed the beginning of a reawakening in the region in 1906, just two years after the last great revival in Wales.

The Presbyterian Church celebrated the centenary of the revival with special congregations and prayer services in April.

Spiritual gifts and 1 Peter 4:7-11,

7- the end is near, focus and pray

8- LOVE (1 Cor 13)

9- service with a smile

10- Use whatever gifts you’ve been given to serve others (1 Cor12:7) consistently giving out the grace God gave you (Romans 12:6, Eph 4:7)

11- Speaking with God’s words

Serving with God’s strength

Ensuring God gets all the praise through the Son (by the gifts given by the Spirit)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Parable of the embryo

The Parable of the Good Soccer Mom

“You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Chris Bell, because he wished to be elected governor, asked, “And who is my neighbor?”

Consider the Parable of the Good Soccer Mom: An embryo fell into the hands of ambitious scientists after she was left over in the freezer of an in vitro fertilization lab.

A molecular biologist happened to be journeying through the lab. Seeing that the embryo was very small and didn’t look like other human beings, he decided that it was not a human being. And he passed to the other side of the lab and left the embryo for his colleagues...

The Shakers in their own words

The Shakers were a charismatic and heretical group of Christianity in early America, 18th-19th centuries. This site reprints with favor some of their early writings. Since not all the writings are present, i wonder if the embarassing stuff has been left out. According to Answers.com there is one community still active in Massachusetts. The Answers.com entry includes this,
One of the fundamental doctrines of the society was belief in the dual nature of the Deity. The male principle was incarnated in Jesus; the female principle, in Mother Ann. Other tenets were celibacy, open confession of sins, communal ownership of possessions in the advanced groups, separation from the world, pacifism, equality of the sexes, and consecrated work. Singing, dancing, and marching characterized phases of Shaker worship. The community was organized into groups, called families, of between 30 and 90 individuals. The believers donated their services and possessions but were always free to leave. Shaker furniture and handcrafts are noted for their fine design and crafting.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Where were the Hindus when we had no schools?

Anbry Hiindus attacked an educational mission in Uttar Pradesh, but the local tribal people being helped prevent his lynching....

Jagat Rana, leader of the Tharu, told AsiaNews that the tribals “were spread across dozens of villages in the area, but deprived of government-run educational institutions. Our children are by and large forced to remain illiterate.”

However, around 10 years ago, he continued, “Christian organizations arrived and started to sow seeds of education for our Tharu children. The Christians do talk about their Bible and practice their religious rituals, but they never asked or forced anyone to convert.”

Rana said “some Tharus attend their programs but there is no harm in that because Christians are not teaching violence or hatred. Rather they give the message of love and human solidarity."

The tribal leader wondered why “these Hindus are bothered about all this. Where were they when we had no schools? Why are they against these innocent Christians who are concerning themselves about us? I think it is all a conspiracy to keep us in ignorance, forced to work as slaves on their land not to die of hunger.”

He added: “Our community will stand behind these Christians under all circumstances. They are the saviors of our children from the darkness of illiteracy."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

sigh...India, Hindus, persecuted Christians

September 29 (Compass Direct News) – Seven Christians working with the Indian Missionary Society (IMS) in India’s Gujarat state were released on bail this morning. The group was charged with attempted murder after Hindu extremists waylaid and assaulted them last week.

Extremists beat the group, took their valuables and warned them of dire consequences if they continued to share the gospel in the area. One of the extremists, Kanji Nayak, then filed a complaint against the eight, claiming that the Christians had tried to shoot him after he refused to convert.

An eighth member of the group, Pastor Dasrath Nanji Dilwad, remains in judicial custody and his case has been transferred to the High Court. Dilwad was also charged with misuse of a firearm.

growth through the parachurch...

interesting article at the Ooze, an emerging church type site...this author does outreach to gangs and ex-cons...

I’m excited about this Emerging church discussion because I’ve been waiting for the church to be missional enough to reap the harvest on my own mission field. Based on my experience, I can say without a doubt that the Emerging church’s focus on being more missional, more hospitable and more focused on “the least of these” will open up a world of ministry possibilities that the Emerging church has not yet dared to dream of.

While it’s great to hear those in church-based ministries say they want to get more missional, it may be worth noting that some of us para-church types have been doing the missional part without the church for some time. Missionaries will prove to be your biggest potential source of wisdom for the emerging church. No missionary would have, for example, come up with the idea to use a worship service as a primary means of evangelism (as opposed to actual outreach). If churches want to reach a poorly understood culture, do unique church planting, and be more missional…why not ask a missionary?

It’s great to read about first century church structure being a model for Emerging churches. And first century churches certainly were missional. This was for one simple reason: they were planted by missionaries and they were accountable to missionaries. I know it sounds crazy in today’s world to structure things this way, but back then you had a missionary (Paul) supervising/mentoring/coaching a group of elder-led church plants. But today, missionaries have been pushed down the leadership structure in America and relegated to begging pastors for the resources to do the ministry that the church doesn’t yet know how to do even on their own soil....

I love this idea...

Together we drew up plans for a ministry we call THE BRIDGE. Each Tuesday we have a service, a time of celebration where we boldly welcome the “least of these” to the wedding feast! Each week we invite three pastors to give a ten-minute sermonette on a pre-selected topic that is chosen by the attendees. We have a different music team each week and we have another church acting as a host team, providing a greeting and a meal after the service. It’s like a buffet; the best hand-picked pastors in town rotate through each week and you just come to the same place until you find a pastor you like. It’s perfect for church planters. They can pick up an armload of unchurched people in one trip! It’s been a lot of fun, and a big hit with everyone.

We selected churches for THE BRIDGE by visiting them ourselves, dressed down like our guys would be (we call it “ecclesiastical espionage”). We examined how the churches welcomed us and we developed a system for evaluating each church on the basis of items such as: the greeting, the ministry value of the music, and the relevance, “stickiness” and Biblicality of the sermons. We were surprised by what we found.

Generally speaking, the larger the church, the lower the rating. After more than 200 churches visited, we couldn’t find more than one or two churches in the entire Chicago metropolitan area that had a decent greeting at the door, unless it had fewer than 300 people. Any larger than that, and all you got was a bulletin jabbed at you and a cold little smile.

Abortion and the Godfather 2

This movie was so hyped to me, that of course it could only disappoint. One thing that was interesting though was the scene in which Micheal Corleone's wife tells him, "It was an abortion. It wasn't a miscarriage. I killed your son. I could never bring another child of yours into this world. I killed him because I know you could never forgive me." And then they proceed to argue about who keeps the children. It's amazing that Francis Ford Coppola, director of the Godfather series, can have his characters loudly proclaim abortion is murder, but the Supreme Court can't. FFC is not known for conservative religious views either. According to recent crimes against mothers, only children wanted by their mothers are humans with a right to live, the rest, even if wanted by fathers, or childless couples eager to adopt a child, the rest don't have that right, they are only tissue. Whims and wishes don't change reality.
If a child is a human and not tissue in some circumstances, a child is a human and not tissue in all circumstances.

This post has been encouraged by the "Big Blue Wave Pro-Life Blogburst"