Monday, January 31, 2005

233 The Food Pantry

Next Sunday is "Souper Sunday" at our church. A couple of women in football helmets were in the Narthex after the service reminding people to bring soup on the first (Sunday). Today when I was shopping I bought some large family size soups in a variety of interesting flavors and mixes. After reading what Lauri had to say about what turns up at the pantry, I thought I'd better buy the best.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

232 What Christian Aid workers are keeping to themselves

Sure, it is tongue in cheek--the article at Scrappleface about how the tsunami victims suspect the Christian aid workers are keeping something to themselves--the Good News, probably.
"If these Christians are keeping some sort of good news to themselves," said the U.N. staffer, "this is a very serious charge and could bring harsh U.N. sanctions."

One man, who lost his whole family to the tsunami, said, "I want the food and water, but I need whatever it is that would bring people halfway around the world to help strangers, and do it with such joy and hope. You can't live on bread alone."
There are plenty of good-hearted, concerned people of various faiths donating to general, non-religious NGO relief agencies. There are also "Christian in-name-only" groups and Christian groups using local non-Christian aid/relief agencies to get supplies in place that are withholding the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation. They are misrepresenting themselves to their Christian donors.

I wasn't a bit pleased when I discovered, in the thank-you letter, that my contribution to a solid Christian aid organization was then redistributed through Church World Service, an arm of the National Council of Churches. CWS is probably one of the most inefficient, highest-overhead groups, paying its top people enormous salaries. I deliberately chose NOT to send it my donation for relief, but it went to them any way.

Next time I'll ask a few more questions.

Monday, January 17, 2005

231 Every denomination needs one of these

When I first came across UCC Truths I was a little puzzled that a United Church of Christ website would be pointing out so many of its own failings. Then I read the "about us" section and realized this is a page put together by members of UCC who aren't happy about what is coming out of denominational headquarters. "The truth behind the issues that you won't hear from the United Church of Christ" is what they call it. They also have a message board for discussion.

Remember that UCC ad that CBS refused to run? Here's what UCC Truths says about it:
"The advertisement is controversial and a little deceiving on a number of levels. It portrays the UCC as an "Open and Affirming" denomination while strongly implying that other churches are not... but even within our own denomination, according to a UCC website, less than 10% of the churches are "Open and Affirming" (500+ out of 6,000). The advertisement goes beyond identifying why the UCC is a good and open church by trying to tag other churches as brutish thugs - and this appears to be the concern of CBS."

That was my objection to the ad--the way it portrayed other churches as thugs and bouncers.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

230 March of Dimes and Abortion

One way to prevent birth defects is to prevent the birth of a deformed child. The members of the American Association of Prolife OBGYNS's have asked the March of Dimes to disavow abortion. They won't.

Here's the story at the blog of MD Views, written by Matt Anderson of Lino Lakes, MN.

229 Barna's top stories of 2004

Reflecting on the more than 10,000 interviews his firm completed during 2004, George Barna identified the most encouraging outcomes, the most surprising findings, the most disappointing revelations, and the most significant challenges in the article "Annual Review of Significant Religious Findings Offers Encouragement and Challenges," at Barna Research, December 21, 2004.

I was certain surprised by two of his selections:

“Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, was a stunning film that generated hundreds of millions of dollars and attracted millions of viewers. However, despite its undeniable emotional and spiritual force, few people accepted Jesus Christ as their savior as a result of watching that movie; few changed any of their religious beliefs or practices as a result; and less than one-half of one percent of the audience said the movie motivated them to be more active in evangelism.”

Our church rented a large movie theater in a mall for three showings, and I'm sure it was intended as evangelism, not entertainment. Preaching to the choir, I suppose.

But this one was really a shocker.

“Two-thirds of all evangelicals support a constitutional amendment to establish Christianity as the official religion of the United States. Evangelicals are not alone in that desire, although they are the most prolific supporters. In total, one-third of all U.S. adults support the idea.”

What are they thinking? One-third of all adults? Have they never heard of the dead churches of Europe? Why would we want that here?

Saturday, January 15, 2005

228 Now this should raise some hackles!

Over at Doxology, Rebecca, a Roman Catholic, quotes Philip Blosser:
Converts to the Catholic Faith such as those just mentioned were already as Anglicans and Episcopalians and Lutherans "truly but imperfectly in communion with the Catholic Church," and sought to remedy that imperfection by conversion.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

227 The Safest Room

"When we’re concerned with terrorism, do we want to commit terror in what should be the safest room of all, the womb?" Marvin Olasky, "Hard Truths about Fighting Abortion," Compassion and Culture, Nov. 2004.

Monday, January 03, 2005

226 UA Couple saved by prayer and alert bank teller

While Judy was bound and gagged at home and guarded by a burglar, her husband John, a hostage in his own car, drove with the other burglar to the bank. The teller noticed the injuries to his head and notified the police. John and Judy are parents of members of our church. The Channel 6 story of their ordeal and rescue:

"Upper Arlington Couple Taken Hostage
John and Judy Hansel were taken hostage in their own home.The Hansels say two men knocked on the door and then shoved their way in. "I'd have to say it's a heck of a way to start out the New Year, by getting hit in the head, and slugged in the jaw, and tied up in your own home," says John.

The suspects tied up Judy and put duct tape over her eyes, and forced her to lie on the floor. One of the robbers then took John to the bank and demanded he withdraw $10,000.

Judy, was left home alone with a violent criminal, and prayed for a way out for herself and for her husband. "Those hopeful prayers were answered when a bank teller here, saw the bad bruises on John's head, got suspicious and called police," she says.

That's when the high speed chase started, ending on State Route 315. Police took the first suspect into custody. John then told police that his wife was still being held hostage at their home. John was taken to a local hospital.

Later a swat team and three police department's arrived at the home and swarmed the yard. She was left alone in a room, while one suspect rummaged through the rest of the house. Judy says her escape was a miracle. The other suspect eventually gave himself up.

The two men charged with causing all this chaos are Robert Jackson and Michael Lathon. Both suspects are being charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and kidnapping. They are expected to be in court Monday morning."

In the TV interviews we saw, Judy told about calling on the name of Jesus, praying aloud and telling the burglars about Jesus. We know the Hansel family to be people of great faith. About 20 years ago their youngest son was killed by an emergency vehicle going through a red light and striking the family car on the way to school.