Muslim Brotherhood launches political party in America

Posted by    |    April 9th, 2014 at 11:45 am

American Muslim girl with US flag painted on her face (Credit: Mangagirl3535 via DeviantArt)The Muslim Brotherhood is launching a political party in America for the purpose of electing Muslims and influencing legislation that is favorable to Islam.  This development should come as no surprise: the number of mosques in the United States has escalated 74 percent since 2000.  The government of Turkey is building a $100 million mega mosque in Maryland.  There are now 66 mosques in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

According to a recent survey, 98 percent of mosque leaders say Muslims should be involved in American institutions, and 91 percent agree that Muslims should be involved in politics.  We should expect to see a growing number of Muslim candidates for office, and a growing number of Muslims who will support them financially.

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Should Christians watch Mixed Martial Arts?

Posted by    |    April 8th, 2014 at 11:45 am

A Documentary exploring the world of MMA Fighting and Christianity. Directed by Oscar Winner Daniel Junge & Bryan Storkel. (Credit: Fight Church Documentary/Bryan Storkel) “Can you love your neighbor as yourself and at the same time knee him in the face as hard as you can?”  This is one question raised by “Fight Church,” a new documentary on Christianity and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).  As the name implies, the sport pits contestants who combine boxing, wrestling, and other martial skills.  It is the fastest-growing sport in America, with as many as 65 million fans globally.

It is also a sport with significant Christian connections.  Many of MMA’s best-known figures are believers.  More and more churches are staging MMA events to attract non-Christians.  Some offer programs which combine MMA with biblical discipleship.  There’s even a clothing line called “Jesus Didn’t Tap” (to “tap” in the ring is to quit).

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Is lesbian-only cemetery wave of the future?

Posted by    |    April 7th, 2014 at 11:45 am

A stone statue of a woman leaning against a cross found in the Lutheran Georgen Parochial cemetery in central district Mitte of Berlin (Credit: Astra Nilsson via Flickr)The Lutheran Georgen Parochial cemetery was established in 1814 in central Berlin, Germany.  I’m guessing its founders would not have predicted the day when a section would be reserved as a graveyard for up to 80 lesbians.  This unique section is intended to be a place “where the lesbian community can live together in the afterlife.”  I need to point out that while we will all have an afterlife, it will not be in a cemetery.  And I wonder if/when we will see other such cemeteries around the world.

Is this announcement part of an even larger cultural trend?

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What the Fort Hood shooting teaches us

Posted by    |    April 3rd, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Sgt. First Class Erick Rodriguez stands guard before a news conference by Lt. Gen. Mark Milley at the entrance to Fort Hood Army Post in Texas April 2, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Erich Schlegel) Fort Hood made global headlines in 2009 when Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers and wounded 31.  Now it’s back in the news for the same tragic reason.  An Iraq war veteran named Ivan Lopez opened fire on his fellow soldiers Wednesday around 4 P.M.  Three were killed and 16 wounded; when he was confronted, he killed himself.

While the Ft. Hood shooting captured headlines, other stories illustrate the same theme of innocent suffering.  According to police, someone duct taped razor blades to playground equipment at a park outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A week ago, authorities in western Illinois found a dozen razor blades glued to playground equipment in a city park.

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Why does God allow earthquakes?

Posted by    |    April 3rd, 2014 at 11:45 am

Residents lending each other support outside a destroyed building in Talca, 300km south of Santiago, Chile. (Credit: Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero) A magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck Chile Tuesday night, killing six people and forcing thousands to evacuate.  Seawater flooded city streets and washed away fishing boats.  Landslides blocked roads, knocked out power, damaged an airport and started fires.

Why does God allow such natural disasters?

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Atlanta archbishop apologizes for $2.2M mansion

Posted by    |    April 2nd, 2014 at 11:45 am

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta, Wilton Gregory celebrates Mass, along with Cardinal Maida, at the 21st Annual Cardinals of America Dinner, held in Atlanta, April 23, 2010 (Credit: Catholic University of America/Edmund Pfueller) Wilton Gregory is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia.  Why is he in the news today?  When his archdiocese received a $15 million gift three years ago, he used $2.2 million to construct a new home for himself.

It’s not what it seems.  The local cathedral needed space for its priests, so it purchased his old home.  The archbishop needed a new residence, so he and his advisers designed a nearly 6,400-square-foot estate.  They intended its large meeting spaces and rooms to be used for receptions, meetings, and other ministry purposes.

However, they didn’t count on Pope Francis.

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Billboards claim ‘Jesus is Muslim’

Posted by    |    April 1st, 2014 at 11:45 am

'Jesus is Muslim' billboard in Columbus, Ohio (Credit: newswithviews.com) Billboards in Columbus, Ohio state “Jesus is Muslim,” “Mohammed is in the Bible,” and “Muslims love Jesus too.”  They were paid for by a local Muslim group whose website is “dedicated to educating you about Islam.”

Their billboards claim nothing new.  Muslims the world over believe that Jesus was a Muslim, and in fact view him as one of their six key prophets (Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad).  And they believe that Muhammad was prophesied several times in Scripture (especially Deuteronomy 18:18, where God tells Moses he will “raise up for them a prophet like you”).

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Church is not important: 51% of U.S. adults say

Posted by    |    March 31st, 2014 at 11:45 am

Americans Divided on the Importance of Church - Sacred Roots: Why the Church Still Matters (Credit: Barna Group) What helps you grow in your faith?  The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, asked American adults that question.  They listed prayer, family, friends, reading the Bible, even having children.  But going to church did not crack the top-10 list.

Half of us (49 percent) say church attendance is “somewhat” or “very” important, but half (51 percent) say it is “not too” or “not at all” important.  The younger we are, the worse the numbers get.  Only two in 10 adults under the age of 30 believe church is important; more than a third take an anti-church stance.

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March Madness: Why Baylor has already won

Posted by    |    March 28th, 2014 at 11:45 am

Baylor gets a boost from Kenny Chery, who delivers in overtime with 12 of his 20 points (Credit: USA Today Sports Images) REVISION: We thought Baylor played Friday night when writing this Cultural Commentary.  We have revised the essay below to reflect the fact thay they played Thursday night, and apologize for the error.

As March Madness continues, Baylor played last night for a chance to continue in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  The Bears had already gone further than most expected.  Though they lost to Wisconsin, they have already achieved what matters most, in athletics and in life.

FOX Sports Southwest headlined the story: “Baylor’s ‘extraordinary’ season has left lives changed.”  It begins with the Bears’ loss to Kansas last February 4, their seventh defeat in eight games.  Head coach Scott Drew stopped one of the team chaplains after the game and said, “We may not win another game this year, and I may be a horrible coach, but if any of these guys leave without knowing Christ, that will be the real loss.”

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World Vision board reverses same-sex marriage stand

Posted by    |    March 26th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

World Vision headquarters in Federal Way, Wash. (Credit: AP/Ed S. Warren)World Vision U.S., one of the largest benevolent ministries in the world, made global headlines this week with its decision to begin hiring employees engaged in legal same-sex marriages.  Now the board has reversed its position.

Here is how its open letter begins: “Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy.  The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Why the reversal?  “We failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, ‘We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.’  And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners.  As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage” (their italics).

I believe the Lord is pleased with the board’s decision, and with the way it was communicated with the world.  Here’s why.

First, the board has reaffirmed its commitment to biblical authority.  Scripture and 20 centuries of Christian faith and practice consistently teach marriage to be a covenant between a man and a woman.  World Vision has now returned to this historic, orthodox theological position.

Second, the board has initiated reconciliation within the body of Christ.  Jesus taught us: “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).  The board sought such reconciliation with fellow believers: “We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.”

Third, the board has reaffirmed its original intent to demonstrate grace to all persons, whatever their sexual orientation: “While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.”  This was the spirit of Jesus to all people, and should be ours as well.

God redeems all he allows.  One way he would redeem the World Vision reversal is to use it as a model for Christian fellowship.  What if more believers were this willing to admit a mistake and initiate reconciliation?  In announcing the board’s earlier position, President Richard Stearns hoped their action would “inspire unity” within the body of Christ.  Today’s response to the body’s concerns may well foster even greater unity around the authority of Scripture and the Spirit of Jesus.

To God be the glory.

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