All posts filed under: News

Was anti-Semitism behind the Jersey City attack?

It was described as a battle scene involving hundreds of shots being fired in a two-hour gun-battle between police and two suspects barricaded inside a Kosher market in Jersey City. Six people were killed including, the alleged suspects, a police officer and three people inside the Kosher store that serves a large Jewish population in Jersey City. The confrontation started at a nearby cemetery, when a police officer went to the scene as part of an investigation of a murder a few days earlier. The two suspects shot the officer, killing him, and then fled the scene in a U-haul van and drove to the KC Kosher Supermarket and open fired on the Jewish store. According to reports, two police officers near the market engaged the two individuals who then ran inside the store, set up barricades and started firing back. After a two-hour stand-off, the police stormed the market with an armored vehicle and killed the two suspects. Inside they also found the bodies of three Jewish people, who had apparently been killed by …

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

The Jewishness of Christianity

Two recent articles speak to a divide, that exists in some parts of Christianity. The first involves the Mayor of the Norwegian town of Strand, Irene Heng Lauvsnes, who asked the Klippen Pentecostal Church to take down the star of David that was on display as part of its Christmas celebration in a local municipal park. The church has held ceremonies in the park for years and traditionally used the Star of David to symbolize the star that informed the magi of the birth of Christ. But this year, the mayor asked the church take it down because the Star of David symbolized the state of Israel and the Jews, and apparently some were offended. Writing for the Dagen Daily, editor Vebjorn Selbekk noted: “Municipal Christmas bureaucrats obviously do not want a Jewish or Israeli mark on their Christmas. Then we almost have to remind them of some key facts about why we celebrate Christmas at all. [Christmas] is marked by the fact that a Jewish boy was born to a Jewish mother in a …

That Peloton Commercial: Live Better, Lose Arguments

When was the last time you had a good argument? Were you convincing? Did you win? If the answer is yes, you lost. Possibly you won the argument, but you lost, if you won. You might have heard about the video commercial for “Peloton” exercise bikes. I only lasts for about thirty seconds, and it is very well produced. It’s easy to see the professionalism in the production; the script writing, the camera work, and the acting are all excellent. This piece of skilled professional work should have boosted sales for this popular product, this Christmas. But there is a problem. People hate this commercial. The value of the entire corporation fell by ten percent after it was published. That is a huge problem for a business that wants to sell us things. Take a look and decide what you think: Many experts have many things to say, and they know more than me, but I see one spiritual lesson in the Peloton commercial. Notice that the message is basically religious; the woman has a …

God knows your potential

J.K. Dobbins, 21, is a star running back with the Ohio State Buckeyes and some consider him a potential Heisman Trophy winner which honors the most outstanding football player in college football. Though, Dobbins is not considered a leading candidate for the award, he is certainly in the conversation. During the game, Gus Johnson, who was calling the game on behalf of the Fox Sports network, made a startling announcement about Dobbins. Johnson said that there was a player on the Ohio team, whose mother had nearly aborted her child but changed her mind at the last moment. As the TV cameras focused on Dobbins, Johnson said: “J.K. Dobbins’ mom became pregnant when she was 18 years old, she went to see the doctor because she was thinking about aborting the baby, but changed her mind.” Gus Johnson, Fox Sports Johnson added that Maya later described J.K. as her “miracle baby.” Then as if to add an exclamation mark on Johnson’s statement, Dobbins went on to have the best game of his college career, rushing …

Survey reveals religious freedom is important to Americans

A survey conducted by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in September and October 2019, revealed that the vast majority of Americans support religious freedom. In the survey, people were asked to rank their support for protecting religious freedoms on a scale from zero (indicating no support) to 100 (indicating full support) on multiple issues. According to the survey of 1,000 Americans, the overall average score of 67 indicated very strong support for religious freedom in the US. In particular, the millennials (aged 24 to 36 approximately) showed the highest support for religious freedom, and they also reported the highest rates of religious discrimination of any age group. One of the areas surveyed was whether people should have the freedom to disagree with same sex marriage. On this controversial cultural topic, 74% of people believed religious groups and individuals should not face discrimination or fines if they do not support same sex-marriage. Of the several issues addressed in the survey this opinion had one of the highest levels of support. This flies in the face …

American Bible Society has shipped 8,800 Bibles as part of its pledge to supply a free Bible to Kanye West fans

If there is a story from 2019, that proves the commonly spoken adage that God moves in mysterious ways, it has to be Kanye West’s conversion to Christ. Kanye West is arguably one of the world’s most popular singers and song writers. He has received 21 Grammy’s and is not only one of the most awarded singers of all times with 140 million album sales worldwide he is also among the best-selling singers as well. Shortly after his decision to believe in Christ earlier this year, Kanye started hosing church services across the country attracting large crowds. An altar call at a recent service in Baton Rouge, Louisiana resulted in upwards of 2,000 people publicly saying they wanted to receive Christ. As a result of this growing interest, the American Bible Society pledged to give a free Bible to the first 1,000 Kanye West fan requesting one by October 30, 2019. However, because of the unexpected interest, the American Bible Society is extending its offer of a free Bible to November 22, 2019, and at …

Magic Johnson leaves LA Lakers to join Pentecostal church in ministering to African men

Magic Johnson, 60, is considered among the great basketball players in the world. He played professionally with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers from 1979 to 1991 and in 1996. In March 2019, Magic announced that he would be stepping down as President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers and becoming involved with the ministry of West Angeles Church of God in Christ (COGIC) a Pentecostal church in Los Angeles. In announcing this decision, COGIC’s senior pastor, Bishop Charles Blake, said that the two would be starting an initiative to help African American men lead successful lives. Part of this includes starting a center that will work with boys and families in the inner city. I was struck by this announcement, because I believe this is the heart of God. In Malachi, God says that He wants to restore the hearts of the father to their children and the hearts of their children to their fathers (Malachi 4:6). Children need fathers and I believe fatherless families is becoming an epidemic plaguing modern society. Larry Elder is …

Holy Spirit shows up at Kanye West concert/church service in Baton Rouge, hundreds believe in Jesus

At the end of the Kanye West’s impromptu concert/church service in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Friday, November 1, 2019, hundreds of people raised their hands indicating they wanted to accept Christ as their Savior. Kanye West is a popular American singer, songwriter and rapper and his conversion to Christ has certainly caught everyone off-guard. He has been holding Sunday services throughout the US. Kanye, who is married to Kim Kardashian, is considered by many as one of the leading singers of the 21st century. It is difficult to know how many people accepted Christ, but it is generally believed between 1,000 and 2,000 people in the concert of 6,000 raised their hands. The concert followed the release of West’s Gospel Album “Jesus is King” which topped the Billboard 200 Chart after its release on October 25, 2019. In an interview with Christian Post, American Bible Society’s Dr John Farquhar Plake said Kanye’s gospel album was Google’s number one trending search the week after its release and this is Kanye’s ninth album to top the chart. …

The battle over Chick-fil-A reaches England

There has been an interesting development surrounding the planned forced closing of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in England. The store, that was England’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant, opened on October 10, 2019 at the Oracle Mall in Reading, England, a city of 320,000 located in Southern England. Almost immediately, it was attacked by LGBT supporters opposed to the chain’s pro traditional family stand. Owned by the Cathy family, who are Christians, the chain has also financially supported Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army. Within a week, the Oracle Mall caved to the demands of the protesters and announced that it would not be renewing the restaurant’s lease, meaning it would be forced to close in six months. Ironically, in a news release announcing the decision, the mall stated that it was doing it so it could create “an inclusive space.” However, some argue that the act of closing the restaurant suggests it is not inclusive. Despite being closed on Sunday (arguable the biggest sales day of the week), so employees can have a family day and …

Was a coincidence a message from God?

A young Iranian man living in Australia became a Christian after a strange coincidence. According to Lee Grady, a popular US Christian writer, in 2016 the young man had decided to watch the film Hacksaw Ridge that told the story of Pfc. Desmond Doss, who volunteered to be a medic during World War II. However, because of his Christian faith, Desmond refused to carry a weapon, but after nearly being kicked out of the army, he was allowed to stay and became the only conscientious objector during World War II to win a Medal of Honor after saving 75 men during the battle for Okinawa. However, during the early part of the movie, the young Iranian man was struck by the words of the Lord’s prayer that were displayed in a picture frame beside Doss. The well-known prayer starts with: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Luke 11:2 KJV Being a Muslim from Iran, the young man had …

Spiritual warfare in Washington, DC?

Reports are circulating again of how a group of self-proclaimed internet witches are planning to put a hex on President Donald Trump and his supporters. This involves an internet driven witch group with approximately 13,000 followers around the world. According to Michael Snyder, members of this group will join together at 11:59 on October 25, 2019, to put a spell on Trump and his followers. Apparently that day was chosen because of its tie to a “waning crescent moon.” Snyder says this “binding spell” is intended to influence Trump. Also referred to as defixiones, they are designed to stop Trump from doing certain things that the witches believe will hurt America. According to the Washington Examiner, the witches have been specifically instructed to conjure up “demons” to carry out this spell: “The ritual calls for the use of an unflattering photo of Trump, a tarot card, a stub of an orange candle, a pin, and a feather. Participants then call on the ‘heavenly hosts, demons of the infernal realms, and spirits of the ancestors” to …

A cute study reveals an odd thing about atheists

There has been an interesting trend in recent years during times of tragedy when people typically express their thoughts and prayers. Atheists are now overtly outraged at these kind gestures, even though studies show that, many people (even those not overtly religious) actually appreciate such expressions, because we are social beings and are strengthened by the larger community’s support. A cute study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Wyoming wanted to take a closer look at this phenomenon. The study results, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, exposed a very unusual trait among atheists. The researchers studied people from North Carolina who lived through Hurricane Florence that hit in September 2018. It dropped upwards of 35 inches (0.89 meters) of rain causing massive damage largely due to flooding. They gave each of the 482 participants, who ranged from atheists to Christians, $5, who were told they could use the money to gain supportive prayers or thoughts from others after the crisis. Those …

Is the Holy Spirit working in Kanye West’s life?

Pop superstar Kanye West’s conversion to Christ has certainly caught everyone’s attention. Secular media are broadcasting stories about the church services he is holding and of course the religious media is doing the same. Some, both religious and secular, have questioned the sincerity of Kanye’s faith. But a recent interview with Adam Tyson, a California pastor, on Pure Flix has me increasingly convinced that the Holy Spirit is doing a work in the pop star’s life. Tyson made contact with Kanye, when the pop star attended the pastor’s Placerita Bible church in Santa Clarita, California, one Sunday morning. Of course, I immediately suspected Tyson must be one of those mega-pastors with thousands of people attending every Sunday. It wasn’t. Tyson’s church has 300 members. But through this initial visit, Tyson developed a relationship with Kanye and is now regularly preaching at Kanye’s services held around the US. But in his Pure Flix interview, Tyson recalled what Kanye said to him: “I was just under the weight of my sin, and I was being convicted that …

UPDATE: The Babylonian coincidence?

Maybe it’s all just a coincidence, but one of the favorite Old Testament stories may have a strange link to the Book of Revelation and a case being brought before the US Supreme Court. The Bible story involves Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into a fiery furnace because they refused to bow and worship a giant idol. The Jews had been taken in captivity by the Babylonians and an edict was passed requiring people of all nations to bow and worship a massive idol set up in the city. Refusal to worship would result in death by burning (Daniel 3:4-6). Because of their faith in Jehovah, three Jewish boys Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused and were immediately sentenced to death. They stood for their faith and were thrown into a fiery furnace where their lives were miraculously spared. Babylon was one of the great enemies of Israel and was eventually destroyed. But as we look to the New Testament, Babylon makes a second appearance in the Book of Revelation, a written record of the …

The ability to forgive others is birthed in fully understanding our forgiveness

A Dallas jury recently found former police officer Amber Guyger, 31, guilty of killing Botham Jean, a believer, and worship leader at a Church of Christ in Dallas. Though the prosecutor was asking for a sentence of 28 years, Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison. It was a bizarre story. Guyger lived in the same apartment building as Botham. She was a police officer and had just finished her shift in September 2018 and was returning home. But according to her testimony, distracted by texts, she inadvertently mistook Botham’s apartment for her own. Apparently Botham’s door was unlocked and thinking this was her apartment, Guyger was immediately suspicious that someone had broken in. When Botham stood up, thinking he was an intruder, Guyger pulled her gun, and shot Botham, killing him. There were obviously a lot of questions about this senseless killing and many were upset that Guyger hadn’t received a longer sentence. In fact, there were protesters outside the court room demanding a longer prison term. But after the sentencing came down, …

The Cult of Environmental Activism

Yesterday, I was working in a small city that I will call Pleasantville because it’s a nice place, with clean streets, green parks and many tall trees, and where most people are polite. It’s a center for the economy of a large region and it has a university campus. It’s also full of retired people because of the low house prices. I’m sure you get the picture. I was in a car, waiting at a red light at a busy intersection, with another person. Suddenly, on my left, I saw someone walking through the intersection, and not on the sidewalk. That person was followed many others, two or three hundred, including at least one person in a wheel chair, and several babies. This was in a city where everyone waits for a walk light, and crosses carefully at the designated crosswalk, showing respect and courtesy to the neighbors. It’s that kind of place. It was shocking to see a large crowd walk through a busy intersection, even when the light was red for them, in …

Documentary tells of the explosive growth of the house church movement in Iran

According to a documentary released in August, the explosive growth of Christianity in Iran is a result of a rapidly expanding house church movement with most being led by women. The documentary entitled Sheep Among Wolves was produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI) and looked at the growth of Christianity in Iran perhaps one of the most repressive regimes in the world. And we know Christianity is growing because of the repeated public statements made by Iranian officials and religious leaders in recent years warning of Christianity’s growth. In their video, FAI explained what was behind the unusual growth. In its trailer, the documentary noted: “The Iranian awakening is a rapidly-reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership and is predominantly led by women.” In the video they were forced to disguise the Iranian believers because of fear of arrest. One Iranian Christian said “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran.” He went on to say that the political and the elites are the ones who …

Study suggests that women who bottle up anger have a higher risk of a stroke

According to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, feeling resentful or bottling up your anger may result in an increased risk of stroke for women. Strokes occur when plaque build up in arteries results in a reduction of blood flow to the brain as the arteries narrow. An additional contributor is Atherosclerosis that occurs when chunks of plaque break away increasing the potential of a blockage. According to the Daily Mail, that reported on the study, strokes are the third highest cause of death in America and fourth highest in England Women are also more vulnerable to strokes than men and struggle with recovery when strokes do occur. In their study, the researchers analyzed 304 non-smoking women between the ages of 40 and 60. They asked them a series of questions that included if they tended to put other people’s needs first over their own and if they were likely to express their true feelings about a situation. The researchers then did ultra sounds on the women’s arteries and discovered that women who did not …

Sinead O’Connor and Islam; Convert or Revert?

You probably know the name Sinead O’Connor, especially if you listened to popular music about twenty years ago. She is one of the most popular entertainers from Ireland, a country that produced U2, and Enya, and if you remember, the Irish Rovers.  For a small country, Ireland has a huge influence on our popular music. Sinead O’Connor is probably best known for her song “Nothing Compares to You” but she has produced a large volume of music, and she is still active with her musical career. Sinead O’Connor was also famous for her troubled personal life. She searched for meaning in her life, and recently, apparently in 2018, she converted to the religion of Islam. Now she speaks openly and proudly about her new faith, and she wears a conservative hijab, in Ireland. She also denies that her Islamic faith is new to her. According to Sinead O’Connor, she didn’t convert to Islam, she reverted. She discovered that she was always a Muslim, when she read the Koran, the Muslim holy book. In her own …

Has God’s temple been desecrated in China?

As I read a story out of China, I wondered if I was watching end times prophecy come to pass. Now I don’t think it is the actual fulfillment, but I don’t like how close it got. In 2 Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul describes how the Antichrist will set himself up like a god, in the temple of God: 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASV There were two temples in Israel’s history. King Solomon built the first temple that was destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC. The second, built by Ezra and later renovated by King Herod, was the one that Jesus visited. It was obliterated by the Romans in 70 AD and was never rebuilt. But there are …

God will find a way

Español: Dios va a encontrar la manera Despite secularists and left-wing activists trying to banish the church into a dark corner of irrelevancy, God will find a way to get the message of Jesus out to the world. Over the past three weeks, two rocks stars, though one is probably more a pop star and another a hip hop artist, put God and faith front and center. But I call them rock stars for a reason. It’s a play on what Jesus said as He entered Jerusalem riding a colt on what would be His final trip. As the Lord entered the city, people were crying out “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord”, and the pharisees in the crowds were trying to quieten everyone and finally yelled out for Jesus to order his disciples to quit shouting out (Luke 19:28-47). Jesus responded that if they didn’t cry out, then the rocks would. The lesson of this story is very simple. If society tries to marginalize the church, then God …

Do two bizarre stories out of Canada define the country’s spiritual climate?

I recently read of two events that took place in Canada that in some ways define the cultural climate of hostility against Christianity and its roots. The first involved an Orthodox Priest who was allegedly fired for praying for Israel and the second involved a leader of a political party who quickly apologized after stating in a media interview that her favorite person was Jesus Christ. Father Vladimir Tobin, 77, served as a priest for St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to Breaking Israel News (BIN), he got into trouble with his overlords in the Orthodox church when he publicly prayed for Israel. BIN reports that on August 12, Tobin received a letter from America Archbishop Irénée who serves as the archbishop of Canada telling Tobin it was time for him to retire because his ministry had a “Jewish twist.” Apparently the assistant pastor at the church had contacted the archbishop complaining that during one service Tobin had asked his congregation to pray for Israel. Initially, the archbishop had asked for Tobin’s …

Study says for an emotionally healthier you reduce your Facebook time

I have a confession to make. I am rarely on Facebook. We have a Facebook page for OpenTheWord, with articles automatically posted to the page. You can like the page here if you want to follow the website in that way. But in a counter-intuitive move, I am probably recommending you don’t. Because if researchers from Yale and UC San Diego are right, you may be emotionally healthier if you cut back the amount of time you spend on Facebook. In their study, the two researchers, UC’s Holly Shakya and Yale’s Nicholas Christakis, followed 5,208 people for two years who were regular Facebook users. There was one slight difference in their methodology. In the past, people studying the impact of social media have done it through self reporting. In other words, the people being studied reported how much they were on social media. However, in this study Shakya and Christakis received permission to monitor their study groups’ Facebook activity through Facebook, so they had an accurate reading of how many times the individuals were actually …

All Israel will be saved?

I recently read an article on Charisma News by Ron Cantor, a Messianic Jew living and ministering in Israel of how Jews are starting to accept Christ as their Messiah. Israel has a population of just over nine million people with nearly 75% Jewish, 17% Muslim and the remainder a mixture of Christian 2%, Druze 1.7% (Arab non-Muslims) and others. According to Cantor, there are about 200 Messianic congregations in Israel with over 20,000 people attending. These are Jews who believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and are in addition to non-Jewish Christians living in Israel. But the purpose of Cantor’s article was to report on a shift he believes is taking place in Israel. Cantor points out that Paul writes in Romans 11:25 that there was a “partial hardening” of the Jew’s heart, that led to a powerful move of God among the gentiles. During Paul’s ministry, there came a moment when he purposefully shifted his ministry to the gentiles. That took place at Corinth. When Paul arrived, as was his tradition, he went …

Study suggests divorce increases the risk of dementia

I find it difficult to write on divorce, because there can be legitimate reasons for a marriage breakdown and sometimes a person has no choice because one partner wants out of the marriage. But we are living in a society where marriage is increasingly devalued and looked upon as being as disposable as a paper cup. But the Bible states that God hates divorce and warns of it being a violent act as it involves separating two people who in Biblical terms were one flesh (Mark 10:8). “For the Lord God of Israel saysThat He hates divorce,For it covers one’s garment with violence,”Says the Lord of hosts.“Therefore take heed to your spirit,That you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16 NKJV And this cutting apart has the potential to harm all involved including children (here, here and here) and the couple divorcing. Aside from the negative emotional and economic consequences of divorce, studies also reveal divorce can physically impact the health of the people involved. And this was the conclusion of yet another study that provided …

Anointed worship song leads man to confess to murder?

An interesting story emerged during the recent trial of Danny Dashay Holmes about the power and anointing on Christian music. Danny was on trial in Indiana, for the December 16, 2016, murder of Cesar Lopez-Flores. According to the Daily News Journal (DNJ), after kidnapping a woman by the name of Brittany Johnson, Danny forced Brittany to drive to Lopez-Flores home where Danny and others murdered Lopez-Flores. Johnson was then released unharmed. During his trial in August 2019, Danny dramatically announced to the court he would plead guilty to the murder. Danny stated that a year earlier he had become a Christian, but what prompted him to confess was Big Daddy Weave’s song called “Redeemed.” Now I must confess I had never heard of Big Daddy Weave, but the Christian band features a former worship leader of a church in Pensacola Florida, Mike Weaver. And though I had never heard of Big Daddy Weave, I am apparently one of the few who hasn’t because the video of the band’s song “Redeemed” has been viewed over 39 …

Study says optimists more likely to live longer

According to the Daily Mail, researchers from Boston University stated that optimists tend to live longer than those with a more pessimistic view of life. The researchers came to this conclusion after monitoring the attitudes and lives of 69,744 women and 1,500 men. The women (aged 58 to 86) were surveyed for ten years and the men (aged 41 to 90) tracked for 30 years. During this period, the researchers asked them a series of questions to determine if their outlook on life was negative or positive. They concluded that on average men with the most optimistic view extended their lives an additional 11% and women 15% when compared to their negative counterparts. They also found that optimists were more likely to hit 85 years of age with 70% more men and 50% more women reaching that age. Their findings were published in the journal entitled “Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.” According to the researchers, optimistic people were defined as those who believed “the future will be pleasant because one can control …

Why we missed the communion service on the moon

The British newspaper, The Guardian, recently told the story of how astronaut Buzz Aldrin had communion on the moon. On July 20, 1969, Buzz and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong were the first people to actually stand on the moon, during their visit as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Of course many will remember Armstrong’s memorable words as the first man to step on the moon when he said: ”That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” While most people remember “one small step for man” in an article on Space, Neil said he had actually said “a man” but the “a” wasn’t heard in the broadcast that travelled 238,000 miles (ca. 383,024 km). And though his words are remembered as the most iconic moment on the Apollo 11 lunar landing, there was a less known, and in fact, if The Guardian article is right, a suppressed religious event. Buzz Aldrin was also an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, Texas about 30 miles (ca. 48 km) outside Houston. He had …

The futility of worry

A recent study by researchers from Penn State exposed the futility of worry in a very “odd” way, that seems to confirm an equally “odd” statement that Jesus made about worry. Worry is a very destructive force and if we don’t control it, worry can actually cause physical damage to our bodies, in addition to the emotional stress that can lead to such things as depression. According to an article on WebMD, unchecked worry can cause the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones are released during times of extreme stress. The release of these hormones fill the body with the extra energy required during times of acute danger. However, if there is no physical release (fight or flight), these hormones sit unused and over time can potentially damage our bodies resulting in heart and digestive problems and even affect our memory and immune system. So what did those Penn State researchers uncover? Well they studied 29 people who have a serious anxiety disorder. These were top-level worriers. For one month these people …

Isis, Al-Qaeda and that Bird

A funny thing happened in the Middle East, recently. A team from ISIS, probably in the country of Yemen, made a video for the Internet. One member of the group had a statement to make about his loyalty to the cause. It was a propaganda announcement for the group. When the man tried to speak into the microphone, in front of the camera, he was interrupted. Every time he spoke, a loud bird squawked nearby, and the man had to keep restarting his speech. He started to get confused, in front of the camera, and he consulted his notes, and someone behind the camera tried to coach him, telling him to be cool. I guess that means stay calm and focus on the job. RELATED: When a bird turned an ISIS propaganda video into a blooper: Times of Indian The video is funny, and it was published in many news sources, around the world. I chose a link to the “Times of India.” The video went viral, and the people who made it probably wish …

Sometimes there is more than one right way of doing things

Many, many years ago, I think it was sometime during the Pleistocene age, I was working with a political party, and my boss gave me some advice that has stuck with me for years. He said: “Dean, there is more than one right way of doing things.” As Christians, we tend to fall in the trap of thinking there is only one way of doing something, God’s way, often cleverly disguised as our way. Now there are certainly things that we need to be dogmatic on including the Deity of Christ, the supremacy of Scripture and morality. But there are a few elements of the Christian faith where there is clearly more than one right way of doing them. One of those is whether to honor Sunday as the Lord’s Day. I was reading an interesting article on CBN, about Chick-fil-A and the company’s decision to close on Sunday. The company is owned by the Cathy family, devout Christians, who have publicly supported traditional values. Despite being closed one day a week, it is now …

One Christian’s view of the death penalty

Several years back, I was talking to a friend who asked me why the Bible supports the death penalty in the Old Testament (Numbers 35:16-17), while Jesus states in the New Testament that we need to forgive and even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44-45; Matthew 6:14-15). To him it appeared like a contradiction. How could Jesus exhortation to forgive in any way support the death penalty? It was a valid observation. Two recent media stories may help explain what appears to be a Bible contradiction. According to Religion News Service, the Rabbi of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue is calling for mercy for a mass shooter who killed 11 members of the congregation in a murderous antisemitic attack on October 27, 2018. The media are reporting that the social media accounts of the alleged killer, Robert Bowers, had several anti Jewish statements in some instances referring to Jews as “filthy evil.” Bowers pleaded not guilty to the mass murder. In a letter sent to the state’s attorney general, Rabbi Johnathan Perlman and his wife Beth …

Just What is the Temple of Satan?

There are reports this year, of an emerging new religion “The Temple of Satan.” This group may have existed for years, but recently it has been getting attention, and apparently attracting many new members. One prominent community is in the city if Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Ottawa is usually a quiet city with tourists and politicians, and government workers. The new ‘Temple’ religion is new and different. RELATED: The Rise of the Satanic Temple in Canada: Global News One of the practices of the group is to ‘unbaptize’ people from Christianity, to undo their conversion and remove them from that religion. Christians should know that this is very different from traditional atheism and agnosticism. Those ideas have been at the center of western culture for several generations, and are usually called “liberal” and “modernist.” This modern thinking usually refers to ideas like Darwin’s theory of Evolution. Notice that Darwinian Evolution has a universe with no God, no creator. Darwin was trained to be a Christian minister, and he speculated about a universe like a …