[by Dean Smith] I love castles. One of my bucket list goals is to visit England and explore at least a couple of castles. However, there is one, Bodiam Castle, that I may take a pass on. Located in Kent, it is a very popular castle and because of its huge moat very photogenic. You may have already seen pictures of it.
But there is something strange about this castle. It is not all that it seems.
Sir Edward Dalyngrigge was given permission to build the castle in 1385. He had been a faithful servant to King Richard II fighting for the English king in the Hundred Years War. It seems back then, like a car, you had to have a license or “crenellate” as it was called then to build a castle.
I guess Kings wanted to control who built castles because they could be used for you or against you. (more…)
[by Dean Smith] In 2011, at the age of 14, Taylor Hale of Waukee, Iowa was with friends when she fell off the hood of a car hitting her head on the pavement. Unconscious, she was rushed to hospital by ambulance.
According to an article in USA Today, the doctors medically induced a coma to help heal her brain trauma. Over the next six days medical staff worked on Taylor, but the news wasn’t good. Her head was sinking into her spinal canal, and according to doctors this was irreversible.
But the sixth day, September 17, 2011, proved eventful. Early in the morning, Taylor suffered a massive brain hemorrhage.
With no brain activity, the doctors recommended to Taylor’s parents, Stacy and Chuck Taylor, that their daughter be taken off life support. The family agreed and began planning for her funeral. (more…)
[by Dean Smith] It took nearly ten years, but on May 13th, 2015, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) announced it will now allow missionaries into its organization who speak in tongues. In 2005, SBC’s missionary arm passed rules stating it would no longer accept any who spoke in tongues to serve in its organization.
Speaking in Tongues is a practice commonly found among Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. Many believe it is a sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit and is considered one of the spiritual gifts.
The gift was prominent in the early church as it was one of the main gifts manifested on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). As the first century closed the gift and filling of the Holy Spirit began to wane and for centuries speaking in tongues was relegated to groups the Catholic Church often considered heretical.
However, the Azusa street revival that took place in Los Angeles, California in 1906, thrust the gift into main stream Christianity. (more…)
[by Dean Smith] Around the world, people are hearing strange sounds in the sky that oddly sound like trumpet blasts. They have been heard in Germany, Belarus, US, Canada and the Ukraine.
England’s Daily Mail, recently did a story on these sounds describing them this way:
“Sounding like a trumpet or a collective from a brass section of an orchestra, a selection of videos shot from Canada to Ukraine, via the US, Germany and Belarus show strange goings on above us.”
These blasts have been loud. The one heard in Kiev, Ukraine, in August 2011, was recorded by people almost 40 kms apart. That noise was so unusual, it even made nightly news casts. (more…)
[by Earl Blacklock] We’ve all seen them – the athlete or celebrity who, by virtue of their endorsement, can boost sales and raise profile for products and ideas. Companies line up for the opportunity to pay millions for the endorsement of a celebrity. Remember the “I’m going to Disneyland!” campaign?
Constance Talmadge was one of the champions of the endorsement game. If you’ve never heard of Constance, it’s not surprising. She was a star of the silent film era, a beautiful woman who made some 84 films before her career ended when talkies took over. Together with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and her equally talented sister Norma, she inaugurated the Hollywood tradition of putting her prints in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. (more…)
[by Dean Smith] Sergeant Leo Major (1921 – 2008) served in the Canadian army during World War II and Korea. He served in the Regiment de la Chaudiere during World War II. Oddly, he accomplished something that in many ways resembles Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites in Judges 6 and 7.
In that account, God called Gideon to lead an army and drive the Midianites out of Israel. Gideon who was more coward than warrior, raised up an army of 22,000 men. But God said that was too many, so Gideon gave permission for any who were fearful to leave. Twelve thousand men left that same day. (more…)
[by Dean Smith] In my previous post, I talked briefly about America’s changing religious landscape. In 2007, 78.4% of Americans identified themselves as Christian. By 2014 that number had shrunk to 70.6%.
The vast majority of the decline occurred in the liberal mainline denominations whose membership numbers are in a free fall and as well the Catholic church.
Meanwhile those who classified themselves as having no religious association including agnostics, atheists and any who answered “none” when asked their religious affiliation increased over that same period from 16.1% to 22.8%.
However, while pouring through the data, the Daily Beast uncovered an interesting tidbit. They found that nearly 50% of the people who had been raised in a “none” religious homes now associated with a religion. (more…)