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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

From ESPN.com:

I have been hearing whispers.

In defiance of everything you have ever heard about professional athletes, I have heard some tales lately of this or that player who is either a virgin, or is in some kind of revirginizing celibacy process.

Not the kind of thing you can get people to talk about much “on the record” in my experience, but ESPN’s Chris Broussard did! Check out this passage of Broussard’s profile of Milwaukee’s Michael Redd:

A preacher’s kid and devout Christian, he’s known as a man of his word.

Who is going to question an NBA star who, because of his religious beliefs, was celibate for three-and-a-half years before he tied the knot in August 2006?

Honeys knocked on his door at 2 a.m., followed him to his car after games and left seductive messages on his phone, but through it all he was faithful, to his Lord and to his future wife, Achea. His teammates thought he was crazy.

“You gay, man?” they asked. “Scared?”

Once they realized he was neither, they got behind his decision.

“We used to joke with Mike about it,” guard Mo Williams says. “But we never doubted him because of how he carries himself. He’s so sincere you can’t help but respect him 100 percent.”

I’m going to squint, and pretend I am not seeing the implied “amen you’re not gay” there, and choose instead to kind of celebrate the fact that there are always people out there ready to shatter stereotypes. I applaud those people for speaking up.

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Materialism

In an article of the California section of the Los Angeles times entitled Into the land of $2,500 sneakers, Steve Lopez writes:

I asked the clerk whether he worreid that the sluggish economy and tumbling stocks would keep people from spending this year.  He didn’t.

He was speaking the day before Thanksgiving, when I polled Beverly Hills merchants and customers on the shopping season’s outlook.  The entire American economy is based on the rich buying things they don’t need and the rest of us buying things we can’t afford.  So let’s hope everyone steps up, regardless of what Standard & Poors has to say about it.

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I admit, I’m coming to this conversation late. In reflecting on a book by Bill Hybels, I remembered that there were some relevant recent news and looked them up. The gist of the admission by Willow Creek is that the multi-million dollar seeker-sensitive approach has failed to make disciples for Christ and it is time for them to re-think their strategy. I hope that many who follow their model have the same courage to admit failure in terms of the goals that matter, and that despite the temptation of large numbers, they will return to a more biblical, gospel-centered approach even if it means diminishing in attendance. And who know? Perhaps God will be pleased by faithfulness and bless it.

Here are some snippets from the wonderful introductions of blogs and articles about Willow Creek’s admission that are well written and useful in their own right:

From Out of Ur:

Few would disagree that Willow Creek Community Church has been one of the most influential churches in America over the last thirty years. Willow, through its association, has promoted a vision of church that is big, programmatic, and comprehensive. This vision has been heavily influenced by the methods of secular business. James Twitchell, in his new book Shopping for God, reports that outside Bill Hybels’ office hangs a poster that says: “What is our business? Who is our customer? What does the customer consider value?” Directly or indirectly, this philosophy of ministry—church should be a big box with programs for people at every level of spiritual maturity to consume and engage—has impacted every evangelical church in the country.

So what happens when leaders of Willow Creek stand up and say, “We made a mistake”?

(more…)

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Sermon Illustration, or not

Though I can’t imagine the sermon it would go in (something having to do with sin no doubt), there was a news story that I know I’ll be bringing up in casual conversation at least once or twice:

We’ve certainly gotten cranky after being denied some quality gaming time, but 16-year-old Cory Ryder took it to the next level by attempting to hire a hitman to kill his parents after they took away his PlayStation and denied him television. Seems young Cory had been making threats around the house, so his mom hired a cop to pose as a hitter — and Cory took the bait, offering up his dad’s truck as payment. After a couple rounds of “negotiations,” the officer revealed himself and arrested Cory for attempted murder, for which he’s now awaiting trial. Of course, you’d think that having a hitman conveniently show up after you’d been threatening to kill your parents might set off an alarm or two, but Cory’s apparently not the brightest bulb around — his PlayStation was confiscated due to failing grades.

HT: Engadget

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Statistics and Evangelicals

Here are some stats Christianity Today.  I wonder which of the prosperity gospel, emerging church, and new reformation are having a greater impact on opinion of evangelicals:

56% Americans who believe that freedom to worship applies to all religious groups, regardless of how extreme.
72 Americans who said this in 2000.

19% Americans who say their overall opinion of evangelicals is unfavorable.
38% Americans who said this in 1996.

60% Americans who say they have a favorable opinion of Billy Graham.
29% Americans under age 30 who have never heard of Billy Graham.

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Christians in Iraq

Josh Harris posted an excerpt from a Washington Article, highlighting the persecution of Christians in Iraq.  Let us be sure to remember them in our prayers as well as our soldiers, and as well, everyone else.  Here is the full article.  Excerpts:

BAGHDAD—Nabil Comanny and his family endured the dead bodies left to decompose along the road in their southern Dora neighborhood. They accepted the criminal gangs that roamed the area, searching for targets to kidnap. And neither the utility failures nor the mountains of trash in the street could drive them away. As Christians, the Comannys had learned to keep a low profile. They even stayed in their house after many Muslim neighbors fled the daily chaos when sectarian bloodshed between Shiite and Sunni militants broke out in 2006, making this one of Baghdad’s most embattled districts. But the hand-scrawled note at their door was the final straw. The message commanded the family to select one of these options: – Convert to Islam. – Pay a fee of nearly $300 monthly for “protection.” – Leave the area. Failure to comply would result in death. “We don’t have weapons, and the government doesn’t protect us. What else can we do?” said Comanny, a 37-year-old journalist whose family abandoned its modest home of 11 years. Extreme Islamic militants increasingly are targeting Christians in Iraq, especially in the capital. As a result, Iraq’s Christian community—long the minority in a largely Muslim country—continues to dwindle.

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From Albert Mohler’s Blog:

The Council on Europe’s resolution is clear evidence of the fact that a secularized society desperately needs naturalistic evolution as the metaphysical foundation of its worldview. Any threat to evolution is seen as a threat to democracy and human rights — and democracy and human rights are understood in an entirely secular framework as well. This resolution is so extreme that, at first glance, it appears to be a farce or parody. Sadly, it is not. This is no joke. This is the shape of a secularized future.

The text of the resolution may be found here. This is their summary statement: (more…)

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