All posts filed under: News

Why did it take five centuries for the cross to be embraced as a symbol of Christianity?

You may have seen the images circulating of how Notre Dame’s alter and cross survived the devastating fire that destroyed much of the church on Monday, April 15, 2019. Though this cross is making history, it is interesting to note that the cross was not fully embraced as a symbol of Christianity until around the fifth century. In his article, Jesus and the Cross, historian Steven Shisley states that the first sign that the cross had finally gained public acceptance as a symbol of Christianity was in its appearance on the doors of the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome in the fifth century. Until then, the cross had for the most part been down played and the reason for this Shisley claims is because of societal views on the cross. For the Romans, that cross was associated with the deaths of criminals and slaves, the despised of society. They used the cross as a form of execution because it was particularly brutal and painful. And it was also favored because it often took days …

Catholic relics of Christ’s crucifixion saved from Notre Dame fire

The world was captivated by the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday, April 15, 2019.  It is unquestionably one of the world’s most famous Christian landmarks and it was not lost on many that it burned during the start of the Roman Catholic Holy week leading up to Easter. It is now believed that the fire was accidental, caused by the extensive renovations taking place in the Cathedral. But there was room for doubt because there have been dozens of attacks on churches in France in recent months including the setting of fires. In mid-March, 2019, a fire was purposely set at the Saint-Sulpice church shortly after morning mass. It is one of the largest churches in Paris, and the fire caused damage estimated at several million Euros. RELATED: Twelve French Churches Attacked, Vandalized in One Week: Breitbart Last year, nearly 875 churches were vandalized and it is continuing unabated in 2019. Perhaps the most vile, was the smearing of a cross made of excrement inside Saint-Alain Cathedral in Nimes on February 6th, …

Chinese Communist Party's hammer and sickle appearing along side McDonalds Credit: Phillip McMaster/Flickr/Creative Commons

Just in time for Easter: Chinese city offers a Judas’ reward for citizens turning in Christians

I have written several articles in the past how China has taken a sharp turn to the left under its latest president Xi Jingping. The communist trademark hammer and sickle is showing up in public displays around China. Now Asia News is reporting that the Chinese city of Guangzhou is offering rewards of as much as $1,500 US for people to turn in Christians to authorities. Over the previous couple of decades China entered an unprecedented time of prosperity and freedom. During this time, Christianity, that was flourishing in the underground church, moved above ground and this resulted in the construction of several mega churches. However, under Jingping this is all changing. The government is now cracking down on these churches. In early December, police demolished one of the the country’s largest church, The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province, using dynamite and heavy machinery. As a result of this crackdown, Christians are heading back underground where they flourished before Jingping gained tyrannical control of the nation. Now the leaders of Guangzhou want its citizens …

Credit: Peter Moore/Flickr/Creative Commons

The stones are crying out

One my favorite stories in the Gospels involves what would be Jesus last trip to Jerusalem. A week later, the Romans would crucify Christ. Many churches celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Palm Sunday. In preparation for the trip, the Lord sent His disciples to Bethany to look for a donkey colt telling the owner that the Lord had need of it. As Jesus slowly rode into Jerusalem, people began throwing their cloaks on the road before Him while others threw down palm branches. This was an act reserved for royalty as we see happening when Jehu was declared King and people put their garments on the ground as he walked down the steps (2 Kings 9:13). Then people began shouting “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38 NASV). The pharisees in the crowd understood what was happening and became very upset by what they were witnessing. They yelled out for Jesus to rebuke His disciples. But Christ answered them: “I tell you, if these become silent, …

Credit: Jaume Escofet/Flickr/Creative Commons

Britain can be a dangerous place for Christians

A stunning story out of Britain reveals how dangerous it is for Christian in that country. It involves a Christian from Iran wanting to immigrate to Britain. Now to be sure it is not only dangerous for Christians in Iran, but particularly for any Muslims who convert to Christianity because they face the death penalty if they don’t renounce their new faith. But the British newspaper, The Independent, recently reported that an Iranian Muslim man who had converted to Christianity was denied asylum in 2016 by the British Home Office for a reason that can only be described as bizarre. While being interviewed by the British Home Office, the man explained that he had converted to Christianity because he was tiring of the violence of Muslim extremists.  In comparison, he described Christianity as a peaceful religion. However, when the bureaucrat in Britain’s home office rejected this asylum claim, the person brazenly stated that the man was being rejected because Christianity was not a peaceful religion and cited several passages as evidence. The bureaucrat wrote: “These …

Tornado touches down near Elie, Manitoba In June 2007 Credit: Justin1569/English Wikipedia/Creative Commons

40 pre-schoolers sing “Jesus Loves Me” as violent tornado slams into their church

After a tornado ploughed through Paducah, KY on Thursday, March 14, 2019, Sheriff Matt Carter told the West Kentucky Star: “The Almighty hand of God has provided safety to our community. The destruction path is approximately five miles long… This could have been an extremely high fatality rate and we’re very fortunate and blessed to only report that one minor injury.” That one injury involved a man who received a small cut when a grain bin hit his vehicle flipping it over in the ditch. But easily the biggest miracle involved God’s protection of 40 children and their teachers attending a Christian pres-school at Mt Zion Baptist Church as the tornado ripped off most of its roof. When the storm erupted, the teachers rushed the children into an inner room which in the end was the only area of the church not damaged by the massive tornado. While the children waited out the storm, they sang worship songs including “He’s got the whole world in His hands” and “Jesus loves me.” It reminds me of …

Statue of Christ at the bottom of Lake Michigan Credit: petoskeyarea.com

Why is a life-sized statue of Christ resting at the bottom of Lake Michigan?

On top of Corcovado Mountain, overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there is a 30-meter high statue of Jesus. Called Christ the Redeemer, the 635 metric ton statue was installed on the mountain in October, 1936 and has become a cultural landmark for Brazil. And at the bottom of Lake Michigan, the second largest of the Great Lakes that straddle the Canadian-American border, there is a life-sized statue of Jesus on the cross, sitting 21 feet beneath the surface of the water. It is located about 800 feet out in the middle of Little Traverse Bay, just off shore from the town of Petoskey. The marble statue is 11 feet high and weighs 1,850 pounds. The sculpture of Christ is 5’5″ tall. Though it is nowhere near the size of Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer, when the conditions are right, it draws hundreds of people. People are only able to view the statue when Lake Michigan freezes over thick enough to walk on, as it did this year. When the conditions are right, town’s people cut a …

Jim Bakker Credit: YouTube Capture/The Jim Bakker Show

Jim Bakker is back. Did you know?

If you are older than 40, you should know the names Jim and Tammy Bakker, although the younger generation might not know about the famous television-evangelist couple. Their story is still interesting. For at least a decade, they were household names, and people who had no interest in Christian things knew about them. It ended with scandals involving misuse of money and sexual misconduct, and Jim Bakker went to jail. His wife Tammy divorced him, and later died of cancer. Jim is out of prison now, and remarried, and active as a Christian speaker again. Apparently, he owes millions to the tax department. We can never accuse Jim and Tammy of being boring. The media needs stories to sell, and Jim and Tammy probably generated millions in revenue for the press. People paid to read those stories. RELATED: Jim Bakker: Wikipedia Jim Bakker has been operating as a Christian speaker for several years now, and it’s not correct to say he just came back, but I think he is getting more attention recently. For most …

Credit: Jeso Carneiro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Emails in sheep’s clothing?: Scam impersonates pastors

It involved a high-tech play on Jesus’s ancient warning that there would wolves infiltrating the church pretending to be sheep or Christians (Matthew 7:15). In this case they were impersonating pastor’s emails. The Gaston Gazette is reporting that members of Venture Church and Bethlehem Church based in Dallas, North Carolina, received emails purportedly from the church’s two head pastors asking for money. What is even more amazing is that Dallas is small community of under 5,000 people. These are obviously not big churches. According to Venture’s associate pastor, Chris Mintz, the emails mimicked the church’s two head pastors using a fake gmail account. The scammers used dspargo.bethlehembc@gmail.com for  Bethlehem’s Senior Pastor Dickie Spargo and Austinrammell.daretoventure@gmail.com for Venture’s pastor, Austin Rammell. In separate emails sent in late February to members of the two churches, people were asked to immediately send money to help either a “supposedly sick child” or a person sick with cancer in the church. According to Pastor Mintz, in each case the people were specifically asked to send $300 by purchasing a Google …

Brian Welch performing with Korn in Hockenheim, Germany in 2014. Credit: Sven Mandel/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Brian Welch explains what Jesus said about his rock star look

Prior to becoming a Christian in 2005, Brian Welch, 48, was a member of the mega grunge metal band Korn, that he helped co-found. After his dramatic conversion to Christ that resulted in him getting baptized in the Jordan River along with a group of Christians from the church he attended in Bakersfield, California, Brian  realized that he needed to leave the band to break free from his alcohol and drug addictions. He also didn’t want to raise his daughter in a drug and sex fueled environment. But when he left the band, Brian did not change his appearance. He still had his tattoos but kept his dreadlocks and rock star appearance and then began to produce Christian music with a similar sound. Then he sparked additional controversy in 2012, when Brian returned as Korn’s lead guitarist. Of course, it is easy for Christians, including myself, to question all this, but recently at the premier of Tim Tebow’s Christian movie, Run the Race, Welch shared what Jesus told him about his appearance. He said that …

Cairo, Egypt where God speaks to Muslims through dreams Credit: Gwenael Plaser/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why dreams work?

Open Doors USA is reporting on another remarkable conversion of a Muslim because of a dream. This one involved a young man in Egypt who was actually planning to kill his cousin after hearing he had converted to Christianity. Mostafa traveled to Cairo, where his cousin Mohammad lived, and when he found out his cousin was at church. Mostafa went to the service secretly sitting behind him. However as he sat through the service, the worship particularly impacted him. After the service, Mostafa approached his cousin and having now confirmed he was Christian, Mostafa said he should turn his cousin in to the family, but admitted the singing had affected him. For the next few hours, Mohammad shared the gospel with Mostafa, but in Egypt converting to Christianity is a dangerous decision. Not only do you face expulsion from the family, but Islamic extremists hearing about Muslims becoming Christians will murder them, as Mostafa was planning to do. Because of this Open Doors has Egypt listed as the 16th most dangerous country for Christian persecution. …

Ottawa Credit: Padraic Ryan/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Why an Ottawa city councilor opposed Michael Olsen’s volunteer appointment

It was a bizarre move, and some would argue a sign of the times, but a city of Ottawa councilor recently opposed the appointment of Michael Olsen to a volunteer position on the Ottawa’s transit board. With a population of nearly a million, Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and the city’s transit board has set aside one position for a member of the public. Over 92 people applied for the position on the board and it had been narrowed down to three and according to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, he understood that Olsen was the transit commission’s top choice. So why did city Councillor Shawn Menard oppose Olsen’s appointment? Menard opposed it because Olsen, a retired Federal employee, is actively pro-life. A shocked Olsen told Lifesitenews, “What does this have to do with transit?” Nothing. Fortunately when Menard tried to thwart Olsen’s appointment, the city clerk, who also happened to be a lawyer, told city council that it couldn’t reject Olsen’s appointment because of his belief on abortion because it is protected under …

Credit: _Wiedz/Flickr/Creative Commons

New research concludes divorce rates are much lower than commonly believed

Marriage can be tough at times and most of us just presumed that the stats being thrown around that half of marriages end in divorce is basically true. Some have even suggested the divorce rate is the same in the church. Yet in my sphere, both secular and religious, there were divorces but it was nowhere near half even among those who don’t consider themselves Christian. Now recent research by Shaunti Feldhahn has come to the same conclusion. After studying the contradictory realm of research on divorce, in here book entitled The Good News About Marriage, Feldhahn concluded the actual divorce rate is closer to 20% to 25% for first time marriages.  (Note the divorce rates for those who have divorced and remarried is higher, which skewers the results but still does not push the overall average to 50%.) She did extensive research for her book and actually interviewed academics and researchers who were releasing often contradictory data. She re-examined their statistics, often with their help. For example, when she looked at the 2009 US …

Eastern side of Uganda with the highest percentage of Muslims. Credit: hribisko/Flickr/Creative commons

Uganda Muslim extremists are now offended when Christians call Jesus the Son of God

Located in East Central Africa, Uganda has a population of 42 million people of which 85% are Christian and only 14% (5.88 million) are Muslim. Most of the Muslims live in the Eastern side of Uganda. Yet according to an article in the Washington Times, Muslim extremists have declared open war on Christians if they preach one of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian Faith, that Jesus is the Son of God. When Jesus said “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), the pharisees knew exactly what Christ was saying: 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:33 NASV) The Pharisees were offended by Christ’s claims. Now two thousand years later, the same things seems to be happening today. We first need to understand that the Muslims believe in Jesus. In fact, there is considerably more written about Christ in the Koran than even Muhammad. The Koran calls Jesus a prophet (Surah …

Caleb Hanna/Twitter/delegatehanna

Youngest black legislator in the US is a Christian

It was really encouraging to see that the youngest, black legislator in the United States has openly declared himself  a “Christian conservative.” With 60.3% of the vote, Caleb Hanna easily won a seat in West Virginia’s state legislature, also called the House of Delegates, defeating Dana Lynch, the Democratic incumbent. Hanna actually won the Republican nomination when he was just 18 years old while still in high school and then won his seat in the legislature at age 19. As a legislator he plans to continue his schooling as he works towards a degree in economics. He is unabashedly pro-life, supporting the unborn and was endorsed by West Virginia for Life, the state’s pro-life group. He attends Little Laurel Baptist Church and was an active part of his high school’s Christian youth group. During his campaign, Hanna told voters that not only did he support the 2nd amendment and the right to arms he said: “I will be a passionate, effective and conservative fighter for limited government, economic growth and the Constitution.” What really caught …

Is divorce a violent act? Credit: --christophe--/Flickr/Creative Commons

Major study says divorce has a negative impact on children, particularly boys

According to an article in the Daily Mail, a major study conducted by University College London’s Institute of Education (UCL) has concluded that divorce can have a major negative impact on children. This research confirms many earlier studies that have revealed that divorce has the potential to harm children. Studies have shown that divorce leads to higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse among children, increased difficulties at school, greater chance of emotional and mental problems, increased difficulties with the law, higher rates of poverty and difficulties holding down a job and these problems followed the children when they became adults. Related: 1) Study reveals a major reason for child poverty: Divorce, 2) Studies reveal the negative impact of divorce on children, 3) Impact of divorce on teens,  4) The impact of divorce on adult children, 5) The long-term effects of divorce on children The study conducted by UCL was quite extensive as it looked at the impact of divorce on 6,245 students between the ages of three to 14. Researchers repeatedly monitored their behavior between 2000 and 2002. …

Credit: Erik Astrom/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study: Why conservatives are happier than those on the political left

In his interesting article posted on the Daily Wire, author Jeremy Frankel cited a study in the Elsevier Journal of Research in Personality, that stated a person’s political leanings determines how happy they are. The study entitled, “Conservatives are happier than Liberals, but why? Political ideology, personality and life satisfaction,” concluded that people who lean to the political right are happier than those on the left of the political spectrum. The authors of the study, Barry Schlenker, John Chambers and Bonnie Le, said in their abstract: “Political conservatives are happier than liberals. We proposed that this happiness gap is accounted for by specific attitude and personality differences associated with positive adjustment and mental health.” They concluded that there are several reasons why Conservatives are happier. First Conservatives take personal responsibility for what is happening to them. It is not somebody else’s job to make your life better. They believe it is up to the individuals to take responsibility for what is happening to them, even if they were taken advantage by others. In contrast, those …

Credit: Tara Severns/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sometimes God speaks with a still small voice and sometimes with one word

An agnostic is a person who believes in God, but are unsure who He is and don’t believe people can personally know Him. Jerry Davich, 56, who is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, describes himself as an agnostic. But he was shocked by what he described as a “God Friended Me” moment. It is based on a CBS TV series of the same name, “God Friended Me,” about an atheist who has God add him as a friend on Facebook. According to the story line, profoundly impacted by this, the man goes on to impact people’s lives and events around him. So what was Davich’s “God Friended Me” moment? Davich says he was standing in the bathroom texting his fiancé about emergency surgery happening to a loved one, when he dropped his Iphone on the floor. Hoping the screen hadn’t broke, he reached down to pick it up and noticed that the phone had typed the single word “God” and sent it to his fiancé, who replied with two praying hands emoji asking him …

Credit: YouTube capture/The Last Reformation

Did Danish mainline media hit piece on evangelist Torben Søndergaard distort the truth?

In my previous life, I worked for an organization that often waded into political issues as it believed in smaller government and lower taxes. Shortly after I began working for them, I started getting harassing phone calls from an older gentlemen who believed the exact opposite. But the main gist of his conversation revolved around the accusation, that the organization I was working for was a front for another group that held a similar opinion. Now I completely respected this other non-profit organization. In fact, it wouldn’t have bothered me if we were associated with them. But we weren’t. After he called me three or four more times repeating this accusation, I finally got tired of it and in what would ultimately be my last conversation with him, he said that despite my denials he knew it was true. I answered: “Sir, the last thing you are interested in is the truth.” There was stunned silence on the other end of the phone and it was obvious by the brief conversation that followed I had …

For the first time, India, the second largest country in the world, has entered the top ten list of countries where Christians face the worst persecution. Credit: Piviso/Flickr/Public Domain

‘Shocking’ jump in number of Christians facing persecution in 2018

According to figures released by Open Doors, the persecution of  Christians took a massive jump last year stating that 30 million people were added bringing the number of Christians vulnerable to persecution to 248 million, a 13.9% increase over 2017. Open Doors described this year-over-year increase in persecution as “shocking.” But it is part growing trend of Christian persecution seen around the world seen in recent years. Five years ago, Open Door only had one country on its severe persecution list and in 2018, there are now 11. Part of the 2018 jump is due to increased persecution of Christians in two of the world’s largest countries, China and India. In fact this past year India joined the top ten list of most dangerous countries for Christians for the first time. This was primarily due to the rise of persecution of Christians by radical Hindus, who believe it is non-Indian to join other religions. The change in China has been equally dramatic as it jumped from 43 spot in 2017 to 27th in 2018 as …

China's communist revival Credit: Jeroen Elfferich/Flickr/Creative Commons

You shall have no other gods except Xi Jinping?

It was bizarre move. But Bitter Winter, an organization monitoring Christian persecution in China, reported on November 1, 2018 approximately 30 Chinese officials entered a church service in the Dongcun city in Henan province and demanded the congregation remove the first of the Ten commandments that the church had displayed on its wall. The commandment in question is of course: 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3 NIV) The officials were working with the United Front Work Department and were there to inspect the church.  According to Bitter Winter, one of the officials went to the front of the church and actually removed the first commandment leaving just nine. When a member of the church protested stating this was distorting the Bible, the official stated: “[China’s president] Xi Jinping opposes this statement. Who dares not to cooperate? If anyone disagrees they are fighting against the country. This is a national policy. You should have a clear understanding of the situation. Don’t go against the government.” It is a strange situation when a …

Credit: Fergus Macdonald/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Islam Incompatible with Christianity?

Very recently, in a “town hall” meeting, a citizen questioned the Prime Minister of Canada, and stated that Islam is not compatible with Christianity. People in the audience booed, and I have since read comments aimed at the citizen, about Fascists and Nazis and intolerant people. RELATED: Trudeau stands up for immigrants as town hall questioner slams Islam I know the speaker had one big problem. He is an unsophisticated citizen and he was up against a skilled and sophisticated spin-doctor politician. My advice to anyone who disagrees with a professional politician, is to stay away from the microphone. We can’t compete in their arena. In the case of the Canadian Prime Minister, the citizen with a grievance became a foil. In literature, that means a mirror. If the citizen can appear to be bumbling and unsophisticated, the politician can look like a shining star of reasonableness, in contrast. The citizen’s concern will never be heard, and no-one will try to understand. Modern western culture is dominated by sound bites, and insulting put-downs, and bitter …

Credit: Jose Hernandez/Flickr/Creative Commons

More warnings about health risks associated with Marijuana usage

In the rush to appear progressive, governments around the world are legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.  The millions of dollars they collect in additional tax revenues is also proving very tempting. But the bigger issue for me is not the legalization of the drug, but rather the messaging behind why they are doing it. Politicians and activists are insisting Marijuana is a safe drug. This is happening in the face of a growing body of medical research warning people that Cannabis is not the safe drug many are proclaiming it to be. There are big concerns. Foxnews recently interviewed Dr. Marc Siegel who serves as a professor of medicine at NYU Lagone Medical Center and is also a regular Foxnews contributor. In the interview, he said: “My job is to let you know that there is no free lunch medically with marijuana or any drug. Even if a state or a society decides that it is wise economically and politically to make marijuana legal, at the same time we must be prepared for the …

Auschwitz II, Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland. Credit: Ian Mackenzier/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study: Holocaust survivors lived longer because they were resilient

According to a report in the Daily Mail, a study conducted by researchers with Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS) based in Tel Aviv, Israel came to a startling conclusion that Jews who survived the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, lived on average seven years longer than Jews who did not go through the Holocaust. MSH is an Israeli healthcare insurer with over two million members. The researchers studied 83,000 Jews, both male and female, born between 1911 and 1945 who were insured by the Maccabi. This included 38,000 European Jews now living in Israel who survived the Holocaust and 35,000 Jews also living in Israel who had not directly experienced the Nazi genocide. The study revealed that those who survived the Nazi death camps lived to an average age of 84.8 years compared to an average of 77.7 for those who did not directly experience the Nazi genocide. In effect, the mortality rate of those who suffered was 16% lower than those who didn’t. Ironically, the Jews who survived the holocaust tended to have more …

Left to Right: Clemson Tiger Coach Dabo Swineey Credit: LambeauLeap80/Wikipedia and Actor Christian Bale Credit: Siebbi/Wikpedia

Two darkly contrasting testimonies: Actor Christian Bale and Clemson Tide coach Dabo Swinney

Monday, January 7, 2019, was a bizarre day for testimonies. You couldn’t find a greater contrast. On one hand you have actor Christian Bale thanking Satan for helping win a Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical. Bale portrayed Vice President Dick Cheney in the movie Vice. In his acceptance speech, Bale said: “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role.” Meanwhile, out on the football field, the Clemson Tigers won the NCAA college football title Monday night beating favored, and number one ranked, Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16. During an interview after the game, Clemson Tigers’ coach Dabo Swinney gave glory to Jesus for the team’s victory. It started when an ESPN reporter stated that few coaches showed as much joy as Swinney and asked him to express his feelings after the victory: “Well that’s been my world all year, and I tried to be intentioned with that, for me personally, joy comes from focusing on Jesus, others and yourself. “There are so many great coaches …

Victoria, BC Credit: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

Who’s the Prize?

Many years ago I lived in a far away land. No not the one that is in a distant galaxy! I lived in Lotus Land. All the unfortunate souls who did not live there referred to it as Victoria, BC. Living there was wonderful, especially compared to Saskatchewan in January.  I lived close enough to Beacon Hill Park to hear the peacocks sounding like cats first thing in the morning. The ocean, the climate, the flowers, and the lack of high paying jobs…I could go on but you get the picture. I walked a lot more then. You could actually recognize people from a long way off by more than the colour and shape of their parka. “Must be Andy waddling towards us. I recognize his green parka and those are definitely his huge boots clumping along.” I love being outdoors but it is a challenge in the winter. In fact, if you do see me outside, all you will see is my eyes and that’s only because I found it unwise to cover them …

Franklin Graham speaking in Lincoln, Nebraska as part of his 2016 Decision America tour Credit: Matt A.J./Wikipedia

Facebook apologizes for censoring Franklin Graham’s post

Facebook recently apologized for closing down Evangelist Franklin Graham’s Facebook page for 24 hours. According to a Foxnews report, a moderator (one of 15,000) working for the giant social media company pulled Graham’s page based on a post the evangelist wrote in 2016 defending North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB20 law. The state introduced the law after the city of Charlotte introduced a regulation allowing people to use public washrooms based on the sex that they identified with. This meant, that a person born a biological male, but who now identified as female, would be allowed to use a female washroom and shower. HB2 was intended to modify the Charlotte regulation. After this legislation was introduced, there was an immediate backlash from activists. In an April 9, 2016, post Graham responded to Bruce Springsteen’s decision to cancel a concert in the state because of HB2: Bruce Springsteen, a long-time gay rights activist, has cancelled his North Carolina concert. He says the NC law #HB2 to prevent men from being able to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms …

Edinburgh, Scotland Credit: Ethan Trewhitt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the Scottish police’s anti-hate poster actually a bigoted, hate poster?

Barnabas Fund is an organization dedicated to helping Christians being persecuted for their faith around the world. The organization has offices set up in over 50 countries that are typically run by nationals. Though headquartered in England, Barnabas Fund recently made an accusation against the Scottish police for promoting hatred of Christians. This was the first time, Barnabas Fund had ever made such a charge in England where the organization was founded. The charge was the result of a poster campaign the Scottish police ran in October in c0njunction with an organization called One Scotland. The posters had the logo of the Scottish police displayed along the bottom. One of the posters started off with “Dear Bigot” and reads: “Division seems to be what you believe in. We don’t want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don’t want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people’s lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That’s why …

De Peer city hall Credit: Royalbroil/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Big court case defends religious freedom in small city

It was an early Christmas present for churches in De Pere, Wisconsin and perhaps across the US. On Friday, December 21, 2018, the Pacific Justice Institute was in court in Green Bay, Wisconsin successfully defending religious freedom. The case revolved around an ordinance passed by De Pere, Wisconsin in November 2017. De Pere is a small city with about 25,000 residents, but the court case was huge and if left unchallenged could have set a precedent across the US. The law that came in effect in March, 2018, decreed that churches were for the most part “places of public accommodation.” Churches were only exempt from this ordinance during church actual services. This meant at all other times, churches, as places of accommodation, were subject to the city’s non discrimination law. This meant churches would be required to hire gay staff and would be restricted from what they could say publicly on sexual ethics including sermons posted on the internet. The law would also force churches to allow their facilities to be used for gay marriage. …

Christmas truce celebration between German and British soldiers on December 24, 1914. Illustrated by A. C. Michael and published in The Illustrated London News on January 9, 2015/Wikipedia

How ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ stopped a brutal war for nearly two days

Silent Night, Holy Night, one of the most popular Christmas hymns, turned 200 this year or 202 if you go by the year the words were written. The verses to this popular Christmas classic were written in 1816 by Joseph Franz Mohr, a Roman Catholic Priest living in Austria. However, it didn’t become the hymn we know today until 1818 when, Franz Xaver Gruber, a music teacher and good friend of Mohr wrote the music for the song. It was all sparked by a broken-down organ. The song was first performed publicly at a Christmas eve service 200 years ago today at a small church in the village of Oberndorf, near Salzburg, Austria. The organ had broken down in St Nicola church (Nicholas in English) and because of this Mohr who was serving as a priest, asked his friend to put music to the words he had written two years earlier that could be accompanied by a guitar so they could sing it that night as part of the Christmas eve service. Gruber agreed. He …

Credit: Vankfire/Flickr/Creative Commons

How did December 25th end up as Christ’s birthday?: PODCAST

EPISODE NOTES Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this episode we will try to find out why December 25th was chosen as the date for Christ’s birthday. The real reason may surprise you. With Christmas around the corner, many of the less-reverent types like down-playing the day by telling us the early Church chose December 25 as the date to celebrate Christ’s birth because it was trying to stamp out the celebration of a pagan festival that took place at the end of December. Originally called Saturnalia, this pagan celebration marked the end of winter solstice, that typically takes place on December 21, when the days start getting longer. Essentially, this pagan festival was a form of sun worship as people celebrated the sun’s victory over darkness and it was typically celebrated between December 17 and 23. However, that all changed in 274 AD, when Roman Emperor Aurelian set December 25 as the day for the celebration, and gave it a fancy new name Aurelian Dies Natalis Invictis. Yes in typically despotic fashion, he …

Joseph and Mary traveling to Egypt by Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427) Credit: jean louis mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

The red dragon and the Christmas story

Diana Rowland from Louisiana recently caught the ire of a neighbor when she set up a Christmas display featuring large, inflatable dragons. Rowland, an author who writes on zombies and demons, has set up a similar display for several years at both Christmas and Halloween. But this year, a neighbor sent Rowland a message complaining about the dragons. When Rowland tweeted the letter, it went viral. The neighbor wrote: “It is totally inappropriate at Christmas. It makes your neighbors wonder if you are involved in a demonic cult.” The anonymous writer asked Rowland to take down the dragons and went on to say that Rowland did not understand the true meaning of Christmas which involved the birth of Christ. So what was Rowland’s response? Well, she briefly considered taking them down but then decided against it. She shared the letter with her sister who promptly donated two more dragons to the display. Rowland then added halos to a couple of the dragons and called them angels. While the neighbor complained the dragons were totally inappropriate, …

Jesus cleansing the Temple by El Greco (1541-1614)/Wikipedia

What is the division of Abijah and what does it have to do with Christ’s birth?

In the first chapter of Luke, before the story of Jesus’s conception by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the record of John the Baptist’s miraculous birth. He was the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth. Zacharias was a priest and he and  is wife were unable to conceive. But that all changed when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, who was working in the temple, saying his wife would have a child in their old age (Luke 1:12-13). And we know Elizabeth’s pregnancy is connected to Mary’s, because we are told around the six month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy that Mary conceived Jesus (Luke 1:24-27). But the passage provides a bit of information about Zachariah’s priestly service that may hint at what month Jesus was born: 5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth ….. 8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service …

Fireworks in Spain Credit: Ryan/Flickr/Creative Commons

“Now That’s Worth Celebrating!”

Now that’s worth celebrating! I remember those words being said on the very rare occasion I actually did something worth celebrating. I think one time was when I was managed to convince my wife to actually say I do and not run screaming back up the aisle! Of course the ten pounds of concrete I put in her shoes helped as well but I digress. Back in the day, whatever day you pick, let’s say Saturday. Saturday December 12, 1986, the day Stella married me. I married her too but I wasn’t the pretty one! That day we celebrated! There was food, music, dancing, and fun. We celebrated other life’s milestones and achievements. Whatever the reason, we always knew why we celebrated. Now I think the art of celebration is gone. We celebrate for the sake of celebration. We even celebrate Fridays! Or cheap wing nights! We don’t save it for significant milestones or events. Like the two greatest events of all time. Christmas and Easter are the birth and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. …