Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

I am very concerned about this issue.  I would encourage you to be informed, pray, and get involved in stopping human trafficking.

Here are 14 ways to get started and keep going.

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This map is being updated as fresh protests erupt around the world.  Use it to pray for wisdom, resolve, and courage for leaders as this crisis continues to grow.

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Anders Breivik’s sentence for killing 77 people in Norway on July 22, 2011 is outrageous. He was deemed sane and sentenced to serve 21 years in prison “in a three-cell suite of rooms equipped with exercise equipment, a television and a laptop.” That’s 100 days of posh prison time for each person he murdered, with a legal release possible at age 53. Life is cheap in Norway.

The news agencies explained that such a sentence

is consistent with Norway’s general approach to criminal justice. Like the rest of Europe . . . Norway no longer has the death penalty and considers prison more a means for rehabilitation than retribution.

They explained that “many Europeans” consider America’s criminal justice system to be “cruelly punitive.” And the blog post I am now writing, naturally, would fall into the category of vindictive.

Do you see the error in this? C. S. Lewis did.

Keep reading John Piper’s article on this travesty of justice.

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WORLD reports:

A 17-year battle over the right for New York City churches to rent and use public school buildings for weekend worship services appears to have come to a close.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska issued a permanent injunction against the New York Department of Education, calling its policy that prohibits church access to school property after hours a violation of the religious groups’ First Amendment rights.

There’s more here–“A Sigh of Relief”

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Dr. Albert Mohler reviews the top ten news stories as he sees them for 2011.  No particular ranking intended

  1. The Arab Spring
  2. Tsunami/Earthquake in Japan
  3. Death of Tyrants and Terrorists
  4. Occupy Wall Street
  5. Natural Disasters in US
  6. Explosion of Sports Scandals
  7. The EU Fights for Survival
  8. Political Frustration in the US
  9. Notable deaths
  10. Redefinition of the Book and Publishing

Read Mohler’s commentary on these here.   Any you would add or delete from the top ten?

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Dr. Albert Mohler wrote a piece for CNN.com that has generated over 75 pages of comments. Mohler is responding to the steady drumbeat from some voices that evangelicals are really scary people from whom are society needs to be protected.

Mohler documents many who are making such claims and then cogently explains who evangelicals are and to whom they might pose a danger. Here’s an excerpt:

Above all, evangelicals are those who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and are most concerned about telling others about Jesus. Most of America’s evangelical Christians are busy raising their children, working to support their families and investing energy in their local churches.

But over recent decades, evangelical Christians have learned that the gospel has implications for every dimension of life, including our political responsibility.

We’re dangerous only to those who want more secular voices to have a virtual monopoly in public life.

Read the rest!

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Michael Horton explains,

“For anyone interested in the facts of the case, the secularist narrative has lost its poster-boy.  In an on-line manifesto, Breivik makes it clear that he is not a “fundamentalist Christian.”  He prefaces one comment with, “If there is a God…” and says that science should always trump religion.  So in terms of religious convictions, he sounds more like Richard Dawkins than Jerry Falwell.  Yet, unlike Dawkins, Breivik pines for the “good ‘ol days” of Christendom, especially the crusades.  “Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe…”

Read Horton’s brief but helpful article.

Tim Challies has a helpful response to this tragedy and Mark let’s Andre speak in his own words.

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I didn’t follow the trial that closely but I know that the Casey Anthony verdict lit up the internet and social media world.  I just glanced quickly through the comments on Faceboook and Twitter and people have very strong opinions (almost all opposed to) about the verdict.

How should Christians respond to this verdict?  Chris Brauns (who has written a great book on forgiveness) shares these thoughts:

  • Trust God for Justice – Romans 12:19 (quoting the OT) explicitly tells us that vengeance belongs to God.  No one is getting away with anything.  I take no pleasure in writing that there will be a Hell of a reckoning one way or another very soon. No appeals.  No evidence hearings. No shenanigans.  God who sees all perfectly will deal justly in the timing that it pleases Him. (By the way, this is one of the reasons why this discussion Frances Chan, Rob Bell, and Hell is so critical, see also Mike Wittmer’s excellent book).
  • Be confident that God loves little girls infinitely and eternally more than any of us. Again, justice will be served.
  • Take no revenge. Scripture repeatedly warns us against taking revenge, again see Romans 12:19.  You may let yourself off the hook by saying, “There is no possibility of me taking revenge on Casey Anthony,” to which I would respond, “Don’t you think that some of the people writing about Casey Anthony are taking revenge? It would seem that some are trying to pay Casey Anthony back if no other way than through Tweets. Or is it just my imagination?”
  • Honor our court system. Some who watched the trial and believe that Casey Anthony was guilty may be tempted to be very cynical about our court system.  Never the less, Romans 13:1-7 tells us to pay honor to our government recognizing that God is sovereign.  Like Joseph, we can say that whatever harm may have been intended, God will work it together for good for his people (Genesis 45:5-7Romans 8:28). The government is only a tool in God’s sovereign hand, however mysterious it may seem that God allows injustice in the short run.
  • Point people to the Cross. Situations like this are the opportunity for Christians to point to a balanced view of forgiveness that stresses love, justice, and grace.  Casey Anthony is not the only one who will stand before her Creator. We are all sinners, and we will all be there.  If we don’t know Christ, then the wrath of God abides on us (John 3:36).
  • Examine yourself. If you find yourself feeling terribly ungracious towards Casey Anthony, then perhaps it is because you haven’t been thinking enough about God’s grace in your life.  Indeed, this is what happened with the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35Do you get more energized about the sin or perceived sin of someone else or your own? Consider 2 Corinthians 13:5.
  • Don’t trivialize forgiveness and misrepresent it by saying silly things like, “We all need to forgive Casey Anthony. Christians have so often said cheap things about forgiveness in contexts like this.  We need to point people to the Cross, not say something like, “We just all need to forgive Casey.”  Lots more to say about this, but I won’t try and re-write my book in a post – – though you could take the forgiveness quiz to get some flavor of the discussion. The answers to the forgiveness question are here.
Check out more at Chris’ blog.

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A pretty fascinating interactive site on what some parts of Tuscaloosa and elsewhere looked like before and after the tornadoes hit a week ago.  Keep praying for those folks so impacted by these hard times.

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Crisises and disasters are unfolding all over the world.  Pics here, here, and here remind us of profound suffering and how much the world is out of whack right now.

Gene Veith points to Lessons from the long tail of improbable disaster – The Washington Post which reminds us how fragile this world is.

Steven Pearlstein reflects on our recent disasters, all of which took us by surprise and none of which we were prepared for:

In just the past decade, we’ve had the attacks of Sept. 11, the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Hurricane Katrina, the global financial crisis, a global flu pandemic, the earthquake in Haiti, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and devastating floods in Australia and New Zealand. Now, Japan has been hit with a triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

What all of these have in common is that they are all low-probability, high-impact events — the “long-tail” phenomenon, to use the jargon of risk modelers, referring to the far ends of the traditional bell curve of probabilities, or “black swans,” to use the metaphor popularized by former Wall Street trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Such calamitous events have been a regular part of the human experience since Noah and the flood, some of them natural, others manmade. In spite of that, however, we continue to underestimate their frequency and severity.

To a degree, that is a good thing. If we were to focus too much of our attention on all the really, really bad things that could befall us, we’d never get out of bed in the morning.

Keep reading here.

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