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« June 2008 | Main | August 2008 »

July 15, 2008

Never Too Old

Olive_riley Allen, you have a new goal.

"World's Oldest Blogger Dies at 108."

(Image © CBS News)

Behind the scenes in Beijing

Soccer_ball Chuck Colson gives us something to think about while we watch soccer at the Olympics this summer:

For printing Christian literature, Pastor Cai Zhuohua was tortured and imprisoned “in a cold and cramped cell with 27 other prisoners and forced to make soccer balls for 10-12 hours a day for the Olympic Games.”

That's just the tip of the iceberg, of course. As Chuck reminds us in today's commentary about "the systematic persecution of Christians in China," "We Christians cannot permit the world to turn a blind eye to the persecution endured by Chinese Christians. The Rutherford Institute claims that 50 to 100 million members of the house church movement are coming under increasing pressure as the Olympics approach." Ironically, the harder the Chinese government tries to make their country look good for the Games, the worse the persecution grows. Wouldn't want the world to think that there might be anybody in China who doesn't agree 100 percent with the government.

Read Chuck's commentary (and take a look at our resource page on the Beijing Olympics, if you haven't already), and then vote in our new poll on the right side of the page: "What will your response be to the Beijing Olympics?" Again, you can choose up to four answers.

Click on the "Continue reading" link below to see the results of our last poll.

Continue reading "Behind the scenes in Beijing" »

Finders givers

Diamond_ring I love that these people not only weren't interested in keeping a $40,000 diamond ring they found on the street, but that they inspired a jeweler to start a Web site to reunite owners with their lost rings.

Jonathan Mervis [the jeweler] said that before meeting the Stetzers, he never considered that anyone would be honest enough to return such a valuable ring. ...If they hadn't found the owners, [Stetzer] and his wife had already decided to auction off the ring, valued at $40,000, and give the money to charity. It was never theirs to keep, Stetzer said.

(Image © Mervis Diamond Importers)

Prayers answered in Liberia

Allen wrote last week of our former colleague Christina Holder's work in Liberia: "Please pray for her there. As a friend, given Liberia's current state, I have to admit that her safety is at the top of my prayer list for her, even if that isn't quite the prioritization that Christina likely prefers."

On the contrary, Allen -- I'm guessing that just now Christina might say that those prayers couldn't have been better timed. Yesterday she wrote:

I want to update you on an unfortunate event that happened over the weekend. First, I am safe, and God completely protected me. I am so thankful to God for how he intervened. And I want to tell this story as a testimony of how great God really is.

About 3 a.m. on Friday night, five armed robbers beat down my door. I was staying in a guest house with four other men. We were all in our separate rooms, our doors locked. The robbers had machetes and a gun. I've never been more terrified in my life.

Read more -- and join us in thanking God for Christina's safety and in praying for His continued protection, comfort, and guidance for her.

When satire backfires

New_yorker_cover The New Yorker was just trying to "to satirize the vicious and racist attacks and rumors and misconceptions about the Obamas that have been floating around in the blogosphere and are reflected in public opinion polls" with its controversial new cover image, says editor David Remnick. Too bad Sen. Obama doesn't buy it. (Nor does Sen. McCain, for that matter.)

Personally, I believe Remnick. Anyone who thinks that the New Yorker has suddenly gone anti-liberal or something doesn't know the New Yorker. But I do think it's rather funny that the people who seem to be angriest are the ones who were supposed to be able to get the joke. Satire ain't what it used to be, I guess.

The Point Radio: Making Space for the Unexpected

How can you make space for the unexpected?....

Click play above to listen.

Need some more ideas for taking a spiritual retreat?

Continue reading "The Point Radio: Making Space for the Unexpected" »

July 14, 2008

Daily roundup

McCain’s ’radical’ support for traditional families

13mccain600 John McCain is taking flak in the blogosphere for this quote from Sunday's New York Times: “I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption.”

I wanted to highlight some of the more colorful invectives, just so you could get an accurate idea of what really passes for debate on this topic nowadays, but I had nightmare visions of bringing an avenging Swede down upon my head if I deliberately linked to multiple instances of bathroom language. So instead, I'll give you a few of the milder instances of opposition to McCain's "radical" and "extreme" stand: here, here, here, and here. (If you follow the links that are in some of those articles, though, or if you get into the comment sections, you're on your own. I can't promise you won't run into some filthiness that way; in fact, I guarantee you will.)

I hope this sort of thing won't be enough to make the candidate backpedal on the issue, especially since he did such a good job of concisely stating the problem and the reason for his position.

(Image © The New York Times)

Shades of the Third Reich

Americans aren't the only people that Hugo Chávez can't stand.

According to Travis Pantin, Jews in Venezuela are becoming targets of hate. Pantin writes, "Government-owned media outlets have published anti-Semitic tracts," and others who are pro-Chávez are disseminating copies of Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a conspiracy theory stating that Jews are trying to take over the world. Jews have started experiencing increased persecution, including armed raids. I'll let you all read Mr. Patin's article with a warning: we must take seriously that of which he writes.

Like those of dictators before him, Chávez’s machinations don’t stop with his own country.  You might remember his 2006 oil-for-the-poor New York publicity stunt. Chávez's donations weren’t done for benevolence's sake, but to upset our political process. My fellow countrymen, his speeches state his intentions clearly: to “play forcefully against the nastiest country in the world, the United States.”
Regardless of our differing political beliefs, one thing this great nation has done throughout its short history is to fight evil. So, while reading Patin's article, what came to mind was the Christian example set by Dietrich Bonhoeffer of costly grace. Bonhoeffer fought against Hitler's evil regime, and it cost him his life. We, too, just might be called to defend innocent lives. 

Extreme Chuck makeover

Black_helicopter From burglary to the clergy to world domination . . . the makeover of Chuck Colson continues.

(When the Washington Post thinks your Colson-related conspiracy theories are over the top, that ought to tell you something.)

Time to lose the s-word

I've gotten good and sick of the term swift boating being used to mean lying. It's inaccurate and unfair. And finally, someone is calling for it to stop.

The Swifties were honorable men, defending both their own honor and that of the U.S. military they had served. Given that they had extensive personal knowledge of [John] Kerry’s service, it was entirely proper that their criticisms be heard.

But now, what they did has become synonymous with “smear.” Kerry’s big mistake, the conventional wisdom goes, was not in embellishing his record, nor in slandering the United States military, but in failing to push back quickly against the Swift boat “smear.” The lesson: Hit back hard and fast.

Read more.

Church of Starbucks, Be Warned

Starbucks_cup According to this article, many independent evangelical churches are copying Starbucks' marketing and branding strategies to expand their congregations, both in the US and overseas. Now that Starbucks recently announced that it would lay off more than 12,000 of its employees and close more than 600 of its stores, I hope this is a warning to these churches that brand or image doesn’t make one successful.

We can learn this from Starbucks: too much growth destroyed their brand and product value. Starbucks charges about $5 for a cup of coffee and they still can’t make a profit? This only shows that quality makes real customers -- and for churches, the true message of God served from the pulpit produces genuine church growth and multiplies the followers of Christ. Image and brand can only bring people to come to church -- they will not make them stay in church.

Tony Snow: Born into life

Tony_snow You may have heard that former presidential spokesman and news commentator Tony Snow died of cancer on Saturday morning, aged 53. The White House, Fox News, NRO, and CNN all have some lovely tributes to their colleague and friend. (Don't miss what Brit Hume aptly calls Snow's "questionable dance moves," and his much more skillful flute-playing, in the video attached to the Fox article.)

But perhaps the best tribute of all is this article that Snow himself penned for Christianity Today last year after learning that his cancer had returned.

The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life—and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many nonbelieving hearts—an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered.

Read more. And R.I.P. to a man who helped show all of us, whatever our state of physical health, something about how to live that way.

(Image © Fox News)

The Point Radio: Where Your Treasure Is

Giving to one's church apparently isn't all that important to many Americans....

Click play above to listen.

Greg Garrison, “Few Churchgoers Tithe, Study Says,” USA Today, 31 May 2008.

July 11, 2008

Daily roundup

Summer reading for teens

Book_360 Human trafficking and slavery are hot human-rights issues today. (See, for example, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, . . . you know what? Search The Point and BreakPoint for "slavery," "slave trade," and "trafficking." You'll see.) Not the least, it's popular among youth to protest the atrocity of modern-day slavery.

Teens and 20-somethings are, thankfully, aware and active against a human-rights abuse most think of as being an occurrence in history a century-and-a-half ago. Sadly, it's more rampant and heinous than ever. But revisiting history 150+ years ago has its value.

That's what author Stephanie Reed does in the teen novel Across the Wide River. Devin Wieland reviews the book and includes responses from Reed in an article currently on the BreakPoint website, "Stories that Deserve to Be Told."

In her debut novel based on the true story of a family of abolitionists in 19th-century Ohio, Stephanie Reed accomplishes the remarkable feat of creating teen fiction involving both complex characters and themes that run deeper than sex, high school, or popularity contests. She does so with a goal: “Slavery was the greatest evil of [the main character’s] day. I hope I inspire today’s readers to purpose to do what’s right and depend on God for the rest.” . . .

Continue reading "Summer reading for teens" »

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Memphis1 The saddest part of this Atlantic article (profanity alert) is that it was a predictable outcome from a governmental initiative. The story goes that housing officials decided it best to tear down inner-city Section 8 housing and move residents to suburban neighborhoods in hopes of creating better living conditions for the poor. But the law of unintended consequences can now be felt in burbs across the country. 

What's happened is the poor have congregated in once low-crime neighborhoods and criminals and gangs have followed them. So many suburban neighborhoods are now experiencing "an epidemic of violence.”

In a recent Christianity Today article, Chuck Colson observes, "To solve the problem of crime we first have to address the root cause: human sin." Secondly, we need to rebuild the family. Without doing that, we will continue to see and feel this epidemic.   

(Image © The Atlantic)

Rethink the Poker Face

Here's another reason not to gamble.

Before you die...

...you must read these books. Stunningly, only one (but the most important one!) was written before the 20th century. That could go a long way towards "'splaining" some things.

I recall a segment in The Truth Project, where a professor asked a student about the date of WWI. His reply: "Wasn't that in the 18th century?" The prof remarked that he was encouraged by the answer. How come? Because, at least, the student realized there was another century other than the one in which he lives!

Murder Starts Somewhere

"Oh the Mississippi's mighty, but it starts in Minnesota, in a place where you can walk across from five steps down...." --"Ghost," by the Indigo Girls

A particularly gruesome chapter in the life of a close-knit community in West Virginia has finally closed, at least for most onlookers. A young man, well-liked during his youth, has been found guilty of three murders: his live-in girlfriend, her ten-year-old son by a previous marriage, and the couple's own unborn child.

The crimes were committed with a gun, a baseball bat, and a heavy rock to the head of the little boy. The shock and sadness for the families and the entire community couldn't be worse.

Looking at the testimony given, one finds defensiveness and extraordinary anger at the heart of this trial. What might have been a common domestic violence dispute may have been exacerbated by drug use. The young man--a guidance counselor in the public schools there--may have feared that his girlfriend was going to "ruin him" by telling his former wife that he was abusing drugs.

What a lethal cocktail: extreme defensiveness and anger, coupled with possible drug use by one or both of the couple. If drugs were indeed a factor here, the young man's reaction may not have been so vicious. But had he managed his anger better over the course of his life, had someone taught him this most important of life skills, he would not have acted in such a terrible fashion, denying three people the rest of their lives.

What lessons are there for each of us here? While the vast majority of us will never know a literal murderous rage, have we ever let our anger control us instead of the other way around? Why did God give us anger anyway? Does it have a constructive function?

Continue reading "Murder Starts Somewhere" »

Open book thread

Open_book_2 It looks like 1908 was, as Sinatra would have put it, a very good year. For Anne of Green Gables is not the only great book celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2008. As M. D. Aeschliman reports in the July 14 issue of National Review:

It is just a hundred years ago that one of the noblest and wittiest thinkers ever to write in our language, G. K. Chesterton, burst upon the scene with two masterworks. He is impossible to categorize in our specialized subject-area pigeonholes: He wrote vast amounts across a wide horizon, and must ultimately be categorized simply as a writer. In 1908 Chesterton published, among other things, two of the great works of modern literature, his novel The Man Who Was Thursday and his apologetic credo Orthodoxy. His essays and incidental journalism were also represented in a collection that same year, titled All Things Considered.

. . . Although Chesterton had already made a literary mark before 1908--in his journalism, a novel, stories, apologetics, and now-classic studies of Robert Browning and Charles Dickens ("the most enlightening portrait of Dickens that I have ever read," wrote V. S. Pritchett)--1908 was his annus mirabilis.

You can say that again. To release just one of those books would be something for any author to be proud of -- to release two in one year would justify a far greater ego than Chesterton ever displayed. If you've never read Orthodoxy or The Man Who Was Thursday -- or even if you'd just like to read them again -- now would be a great time! (As for me, I may look into All Things Considered, which I haven't yet read.)

And now for the "open" portion of the open book thread: What books -- Chestertonian or otherwise -- are you currently reading or hoping to read?

’I’m a god. I’m not *the* God . . . I don’t think’

Groundhog_day I crashed a post intended for male readers, so I'll add a response here to something Steve (SBK) brought up, that the movie Groundhog Day makes him cry. Nothing odd about that! It's actually a brilliant movie that makes you cry between laughs, or laugh between cries.

Here's a past article from Touchstone that delves into the big questions Groundhog Day raises. I thought you might enjoy it.

And interestingly, I just stumbled upon this blog (blogroll-worthy, Gina!) the movie's writer has dedicated to Groundhog Day. In one post earlier this year, he announced a new book about it (man, this film has legs . . . ) titled The Magic of Groundhog Day.

The Point Radio: Tax Breaks for Good Deeds

What does giving an ex-offender a job have to do with preventing crime?...

Click play above to listen.

Hire an Ex-con in Philly Get a Tax Break,” CNN.com, 27 May 2008.

July 10, 2008

Daily roundup

Normalcy Returns to Liberia, Though Slowly

Liberia A former Prison Fellowship colleague and Point contributor, Christina Holder, reports from Liberia in today's Washington Times.

On her blog, Christina describes her six-month writing trip to Liberia:

Liberia's story is underreported in the worldwide media, and I believe that there are so many stories that need to be told to bring awareness to Liberia's needs and to give many people hope in seeing how God works out his healing and redemption in the midst of great brokenness.

Please pray for her there. As a friend, given Liberia's current state, I have to admit that her safety is at the top of my prayer list for her, even if that isn't quite the prioritization that Christina likely prefers.

(Image © Christina Holder for the Washington Times)

Update: The Freedom We Pray For

Ramey2 Just a brief update on a life filled with light that I talked about before: That beautiful woman whose light the enemy tried to snuff out, Ramey, has passed on. But her light still shines, because her testimony lives on, as do the beauty and truth she spread in her time this side of eternity, both when she was well and when she was sick.

A few words from her husband posted on the blog dedicated to her:

. . . If for 1 minute God opened the door to Heaven we would see right now that Ramey is actively alive, and praising the Jesus that she loved and proclaimed. Her voice has been restored, her vision has been restored, and her spirit lives on in Heaven even as I speak. . . .

As I found out beginning last wednesday God’s plan was so much bigger and better than what we thought. More people will come back to Christ through her death than through any miraculous healing that she could have received. For we know that miracles are mostly rationalized away by people in such a medically and technologically advanced society as we have here in the US. God need to use Ramey’s death to force such a major shift in our thought process as to our need for God. . . .

Please keep Ramey's family and friends in prayer during this time of loss. Thank you.

How to Purchase a Child in 10 Hours

Abc_ntl_slavery3_080708_mc Following in author Ben Skinner's footsteps, Nightline goes undercover to prove that it only takes 10 hours to go from a Starbucks in NYC to closing a deal on a child slave in Haiti.

Make sure to watch the video (parts are from a hidden camera).

(Image © ABC News)


Dwyer Before Memorial Day, I talked about the "other veterans," whose stories we don't hear much about during key holidays. Not all the stories about our war veterans are positive tales of heroism. Even some of the positive stories end tragically, like that of Army Pfc. Joseph Dwyer (thanks to Dave the Swede for the link).

Dwyer was most known for that picture at the right, in which he is carrying an Iraqi child to safety. Dwyer may have left the war zone, but the war zone never left him. And on June 28 his life came to an end, after he abused computer cleaner aerosol.

Dwyer, who joined the Army two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and who was assigned to a unit of the 3rd Infantry Division that one officer called "the tip of the tip of the spear" in the first days of the U.S. invasion, had since then battled depression, sleeplessness and other anxieties that military doctors eventually attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The war that made him a hero at 26 haunted him to the last moments of his life.

"He loved the picture, don't get me wrong, but he just couldn't get over the war," his mother, Maureen Dwyer, said by telephone from her home in Sunset Beach, N.C. "He wasn't Joseph anymore. Joseph never came home."

Dwyer's parents said they tried to get help for their son, appealing to Army and Veterans Affairs officials. Although he was treated off and on in VA facilities, he was never able to shake his anxieties.

An April report by the Rand Corp. said serious gaps in treatment exist for the 1 in 5 U.S. troops who exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] or depression following service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Half of those troops who experience the disorder sought help in the past year, the report said, and those who did often got "minimally adequate treatment."

Continue reading "PTSD" »

Join the ’Discourse’

On_the_airPoint blogger Stephen Reed has just launched his new podcast series on the BreakPoint site. The goal of "Discourse" is to apply "a Christian worldview lens to a broad range of issues related to contemporary culture."

In his first podcast, Stephen talks with writer, lyricist, musician, and fellow Centurion Heath Hardesty, who's "one of a rising wave of new generation Christian artists, musicians, and writers who are committed to reform within the church, a return to orthodox teachings and belief." Heath has just published his first book, To the Lion: The Christian in Tension. Click here to hear about this artist's challenges to both the culture and the church.

Climate Change Delusion

Water Are you so frightened by global warming that you can barely drink a glass of water? That's what happened to one poor Australian boy, who was convinced that the mere act of slaking his thirst would lead to the deaths of millions. This mental disorder has been labeled "Climate Change Delusion" by Australian psychiatrists.

Maybe the lad should check in frequently with Watts Up. He'd see that global warming may indeed be a delusion -- that the trend is a cooler planet, not a warmer one. But global cooling brings its own set of problems, doesn't it?

Holy Books: Some Titles Might Suprise You

The Barna Group conducted a study to see which books Americans thought holy. While their testing population was fairly small, the results might surprise you. 

One title on the list surprised me: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

The Point Radio: Buried Bombs

What's past is past. Or is it?...

Click play above to listen.

WWII Bomb Forces Runway Closure at Amsterdam Airport: Runway at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport Closed After World War II Bomb Unearthed,” CBS News, 3 June 2008.

July 09, 2008

Daily roundup

Frozen, not Fresh

Wow. So . . . what? God's just not cutting it anymore?

This really IS the song that never ends

Bandw300 "6th chord played in 639-year organ performance"

H/T Dave Barry (watch out for naughty jokes in comment section); image courtesy of Siouxie

Two Cents

Lomong190 If anyone should talk about human rights at the Olympics, it's Lopez Lomong of Sudan. He went from Lost Boy to member of the U.S. Olympic track team this past weekend on July 4. And very fitting that he qualified on the Fourth:

When Lopez Lomong finished speaking with a group of reporters after qualifying Friday for the final in the 1,500 meters, he said, "Happy 4th of July."

Lomong was not the only athlete at the U.S. Olympic track trials who earned the right to represent his adopted country in Beijing.

But if he paid a little more attention than most to the significance of competing on Independence Day, it has to do with Lomong realizing every day just how incredible his liberty is.

"I came a long way, for sure," he said, "from running through the wilderness to save my life, and now I am doing this for fun."

See, Lomong was captured by government-backed militia in Sudan when he was only 6 years old. If he had not escaped with help from others, he would have become a child soldier. But now, thanks to missionaries, a host family in New York, and others along the way, Lomong will be running for the United States. Read more of his story here and here (HT Thunderstruck). Why running?

Continue reading "Two Cents" »

He who owns the language…

…controls the debate. 

A colleague recently reminded me of the importance of language in shaping public opinion. For example, think of the brilliant marketing of abortion as “pro-choice." Who could possibly object to choice? "Pro-life," on the other hand, suffers from requiring people to decide when life begins in the flux of opinions from medical, religious, and ethical experts. Many folks just aren't up to applying much sustained deliberation on such matters.

How about the use of “homophobe" by the gay rights movement? It has proven a clever (and effective!) way of silencing opponents to their agenda by insinuating that those opponents are controlled by irrational fear.

Then there’s the reference to intelligent design as “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” and ID advocates as “flat-earthers.”

Given the success that these groups have achieved in shaping the debate through language, what terms can we come up with to better advance the biblical worldview?

A few that have been suggested are “theophobe” to indicate that fear rather than reasoned argument is behind the skeptic's rejection of the supernatural; or "heterophobe" for those who see every piece of family-friendly legislation as a harbinger of gay genocide; and, given that most people believe that "anything is possible"--even the emergence of mind and thought from a near infinite series of random events--one might substitute “unintelligent” for references to the “random” or “chance” causes in evolutionary theory. After all, who wants to ascribe to anything "unintelligent"?

What other terms can you think of?

More Powerful than Napalm

Kimphuc_ap_200 Remember Kim Phuc, the girl in the center of the famous photo at right, running from a napalm attack? Here's what she has to say today:

On June 8, 1972, I ran out from Cao Dai temple in my village, Trang Bang, South Vietnam; I saw an airplane getting lower and then four bombs falling down. I saw fire everywhere around me. Then I saw the fire over my body, especially on my left arm. My clothes had been burned off by fire.

I was 9 years old but I still remember my thoughts at that moment: I would be ugly and people would treat me in a different way. . . .

The anger inside me was like a hatred as high as a mountain. I hated my life. I hated all people who were normal because I was not normal. I really wanted to die many times.

I spent my daytime in the library to read a lot of religious books to find a purpose for my life. One of the books that I read was the Holy Bible.

Continue reading "More Powerful than Napalm" »

Loud Squawking

One government official used the imprimatur of her position to promote a lecture on an issue on which the government was supposed to stay neutral. 

Tiresomely, Christina Comer is suing to get her old job back. I guess she likes the power, but has forgotten that she, too, must follow the rule of law.

Real men do cry

Field_of_dreams A blogger at the Sporting News did a blog post on movies that make men cry (yes, it was a male blogger) -- and it got the biggest response of any blog post he'd ever done. I love it. You go, guys.

Male readers of The Point, I challenge you to "man up" and answer: Which movie would you have put at number one?

(H/T The Corner)

Unclear on the concept

Sam Harris is having trouble figuring out how it's possible that "21 percent of atheists in the United States believe in 'God or a universal spirit,' and 8 percent are 'absolutely certain' that such a Being exists." I'm not sure I understand it myself -- but unlike Harris, I think it's kind of cool.

The Point Radio: Righteous Mowing

Keeping the grass cut can be a chore for all of us....

Click play above to listen.

Free Mowing for Single Moms,” CNN.com Video, 30 May 2008.

July 08, 2008

Daily roundup

In their right minds

Finally, a reason to be excited about the eventual winner of this year's presidential election.

Not the Chuck We Know

Coffeetalk Ok, the story is about the passing of Sir John Templeton, an honorable man.

But how could the Telegraph get Chuck so wrong?

In 1973 [Templeton] inaugurated the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, an annual award to remedy the Nobel Foundation’s omission of religion from its prizes. . . .

Winners over the years have included Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Alexander Solzhenitzyn, the Reverend Dr Billy Graham, and Charles Colson, the Watergate-burglar-turned-minister. Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Jews also qualified to win the prize. [emphasis added]

The what-turned-what?? Colson neither was a burglar nor is a minister. I'm getting a little verklempt. Discuss.

Will Stone Tablet Shake Christianity?

The Passover Plot, Gospel of Judas, and the Jesus Ossuary follow 2000 years of attempts to undermine the pillars of the Christian faith: the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now, the "Gabriel Revelation" can be added to the mix.

What is the Gabriel Revelation? It is a text, written on a stone tablet in the first century B.C., that purportedly refers to a suffering messiah that will die and rise again.

To Christian critics like Israel Knohl, the tablet confirms the theory that a suffering messiah was an established part of Jewish tradition well before the appearance of Jesus. Well, yeah: Genesis 3:15, Psalm 22, Isaiah 52 and 53 and Daniel 9:26 tell us as much, so what’s new?

According to the decipherers, the tablet refers to a messianic figure who is told he will be slain and “in three days you will live.” Such detail, it is argued, means that the Gospel writers penned this prediction in their narratives after the fact. Except that, as I have commented, the Gospels were “written within the lifetime of eyewitnesses, [so that] any fabrication on the part of authors to fudge the facts would have been readily contested by any number of hostile contemporaries.”

So why that added detail should raise eyebrows is more than a little perplexing, considering that there are hundreds of prophecies about Jesus recorded in the Old Testament centuries before His birth, the most astonishing being the precise year of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem predicted by Daniel (chapter 9:25-26) 300 years prior.

Continue reading "Will Stone Tablet Shake Christianity?" »

Evil Solved

Holy_water Lustful thoughts? Compulsive lying? Road-raging? Prone to murder? Drink two of these and call me in the morning. (H/T Thunderstruck)

(Image © Newsweek)

A New Twist on a Prison Break

Giraffe I'm not sure if the break was because the food was so bad, or maybe the working and living conditions were lousy, but it seemed they just weren't going to take it anymore.

So at 5:30 a.m. they decided to make their break -- they being fifteen camels, two zebras, and a number of llamas and potbellied pigs from a circus in the Netherlands.

You could say their ringleader, a giraffe, stuck his neck out by kicking a hole in their cage. They wandered as a group looking for something better, maybe a McDonalds or maybe a PETA member for asylum. Or just maybe they decided to try to find their chimpanzee buddy who is missing in California. We'll probably never know. They were all rounded up by Monday afternoon and are now back at the circus, but they're not talking.

(Image © RussiaToday)

Throw Away Your Wish List: Aristocratic Notions and Marriage

List795230 Niggling lists of "must-haves" are getting in the way of love and marriage, according to rabbi and "Love Prophet" Shmuley Boteach. Here's an article by A.J. Kiesling discussing Boteach's ideas. 

Read and ponder.

(Image © Broganblog)

Restorative justice, canine style

Pit_bulls I'll be honest: Pit bulls scare me to death. If I were president, I'd push legislation to ban them -- that's how badly they scare me.

Nonetheless, I was intrigued by this article about efforts to rehabilitate the pit bulls that were tortured by Michael Vick and his dogfighting organization.

. . . The court gave Vick's dogs a second chance. U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ordered each dog to be evaluated individually, not judged by the stereotype of the breed. And he ordered Vick to pony up close to $1 million to pay for the lifelong care of those that could be saved.

Of the 49 pit bulls animal behavior experts evaluated in the fall, only one was deemed too vicious to warrant saving and was euthanized. (Another was euthanized because it was sick and in pain.)

More than a year after being confiscated from Vick's property, Leo, a tan, muscular pit bull, dons a colorful clown collar and visits cancer patients as a certified therapy dog in California. Hector, who bears deep scars on his chest and legs, recently was adopted and is about to start training for national flying disc competitions in Minnesota. Teddles takes orders from a 2-year-old. Gracie is a couch potato in Richmond who lives with cats and sleeps with four other dogs.

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