Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christiana and the Man with the Muck Rake

Here is the excerpt in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress --where the interpreter shows Christiana (wife of Christian) the Man with the Muck Rake.

[Seeing the differences between the linked version here and the book excerpt which my daughter gave me, I used the more modern English from the version she is using in home school than the version linked here.]

the Interpreter takes them aside again, and led them first into a room where was a man that could look no way but downward, who had a muck-rake in his hand. Another individual stood over his head with a celestial crown in his hand, and offered to trade him the crown for his muck-rake ; but the man did neither look up nor regard, but raked to himself the straws, the small sticks, and dust of the floor.

" Then said Christiana,' I persuade myself that I know somewhat the meaning of this : for this is the figure of a man of this world ; is it not, good sir?

"' Thou hast said the right,' said he ; ' and his muck-rake shows his carnal mind. And whereas you see he'd rather rake up straws and sticks, and the dust of the floor, than to do what He says, who calls to him from above with the celestial crown in His hand ; it is to show that [he believes] heaven is but a fable to some, and that things here are counted the only things substantial. Now, whereas it was also showed you that the man could look no way but downward, it is to let you know that earthly things, when they are with power upon men's minds, quite carry their hearts away from God.'

" Then said Christiana, ' O deliver me from this muck-rake!'

"That prayer,'Give me neither poverty nor riches," said the Interpreter, ' has lain by till it is almost rusty." Give me not riches," (Prov. xxx, 8,) is scarce the prayer of one in ten thousand. Straws, and sticks, and dust, with most, are the great things now looked after.'

" With that Christiana and Mercy wept, and said, ' It is, alas ! too true.'

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

The Man with the Muck Rake --as seen by T. Roosevelt and in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress."

HERE Teddy Roosevelt said the following:
In Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” you may recall the description of the Man with the Muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward, with the muck-rake in his hand; who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.

In “Pilgrim’s Progress” the Man with the Muck-rake is set forth as the example of him whose vision is fixed on carnal instead of on spiritual things. Yet he also typifies the man who in this life consistently refuses to see aught that is lofty, and fixes his eyes with solemn intentness only on that which is vile and debasing. Now, it is very necessary that we should not flinch from seeing what is vile and debasing. There is filth on the floor and it must be scraped up with the muck-rake; and there are times and places where this service is the most needed of all the services that can be performed. But the man who never does anything else, who never thinks or speaks or writes, save of his feats with the muck-rake, speedily becomes, not a help to society, not an incitement to good, but one of the most potent forces for evil.

There are, in the body politic, economic and social, many and grave evils, and there is urgent necessity for the sternest war upon them. There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil man whether politician or business man, every evil practice, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform, or in book, magazine, or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful. The liar is no whit better than the thief, and if his mendacity takes the form of slander, he may be worse than most thieves. It puts a premium upon knavery untruthfully to attack an honest man, or even with hysterical exaggeration to assail a bad man with untruth. An epidemic of indiscriminate assault upon character does not good, but very great harm. The soul of every scoundrel is gladdened whenever an honest man is assailed, or even when a scoundrel is untruthfully assailed.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Steve, See This One on US Healthcare --by a Brit!


Good stuff in this article --about the uninsured in America, etc.

Actually, the article on healthcare is the 2nd one down.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Friday, March 26, 2010


ELMWOOD SCHOOLS are producing Oliver, the musical based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, this Friday and Saturday nights at 7 PM.

I took 3 of my CLC 4th grade girls and one 3rd grader to the dress rehearsal at Elmwood tonight. Three of them were ones I promised to take out because I didn't send them to camp last year for immaturity/giddiness/disobedient silliness. I took them to Friendly's afterward and the food was so slow to come and so abundant in quantity that I got these kids home embarrassingly late! But their mothers said they trusted me with their kids. We called them from the restaurant. I previously took these children and some others to see Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and tried to teach them a bit about Dickens and his effect on 19th C. England. I was delighted to hear them sing their CLC songs in the car --especially "Change my Heart O God" and "We are One in the Spirit."

The show is delightfully colorful! The stage set is charming; the little orphan boys are "naturals," at singing and stage presence --just great! And the soloists are all wonderful! And I thought the choreography was superb.

At times the orchestra over-powers the chorus which isn't heavily miced --and mic tech and audibility of the dialogue was a little uneven. But the "maturity" and stage presence of almost all of the young cast is amazing to me --having watched the evolution of musical theater at Elmwood these past 7 years or so.

The director is Christine Rohrs --whose high school students recently garnered a ton of superior ratings and some excellents at solo-ensemble contest. All of her ensembles received superior. The Junior High goes next month.

The other musical is The Perils of Paul, directed by Christine's sister, Stephanie Hulbert, at the Holland Free Methodist Church in Holland, Ohio, at 6605 Angola Road, north of Spring Meadows Mall.

These children belong to a Home School Co-op in Toledo that meets every Friday. This show is Friday night only, 7 pm. The context is the "Okra Windmill TV Show" whose special guest is the Biblical Paul --with Ananias and others. The Bible characters manage, in between humorous commercials, to present the stories about Paul to Okra --and to present the Gospel to her, as well.

This is an overall younger cast than at Elmwood, but also a delightful costumed production, full of merriment, melody and message! This is the first musical drama for the co-op.

I have two grandsons in this production.

Anyone can go to these productions, suitable for all ages. There is a ticket charge at Elmwood for assigned seating.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Steve at Mudrake's Thinks Christians are just "Circular Reasoners."

Steve wrote:
I read a science article recently that showed with MRI studies that people with strong religious beliefs use the same parts of their brain that interpret reality. What I mean is that their religion is as real to them as the sky is blue to any other observer. Most people when confronted with esoterica tend to contemplate and hold a debate within their mind on the merits of whatever it is they are exploring. So a person looking at something as nebulous as faith will juggle and spin and contemplate, but won’t really hold it in their minds as irrifutible truth. But people of strong faith will hold unproven or illogical belief AS irrifutible truth. That’s why when a “Bible Believer” tries to argue something from the point of view of the Bible and you point out that the Bible isn’t proven fact.. their response is usually “Well the Bible says” in some kind of crazy circular logic. Debate just doesn’t compute with this type of mind.

We who believe DO see the Bible as generally, "irrefutable Truth." But Steve is mistaken to refer to our beliefs as "illogical" or beyond debate. I'll debate. There is rationale to my faith. Granted, not all believers have questioned or examined their faith, but grads of Christian colleges take at least one required course on "the case for Christianity" and may still read C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. This author of the Narnia series, Christian allegory for children, was an atheist and he explained his rationale for faith --his history of coming to faith --in a radio series on the BBC which became the book, Mere Christianity. I believe it is John Stott who also wrote a book we studied which was called "The Case for Christianity" on basic Christian beliefs and the rationale and history behind them. Today, there are many good Christian apologists who present a rationale for faith.

It is not unreasonable --when looking at a blue sky and marvelling that your eyes have the capacity to interpret colors and your spirit has the capacity to marvel and enjoy the sight --to conclude that somebody lovingly made our bodies --our eyes --and the colors for us to see. No accidents of evolution.

It is not unreasonable when contemplating the vast universe --and then our tiny earth with us tiny people on it --to conclude that there is a vast intelligence behind our existance --and to find it reasonable that this intelligence made --and would commune with-- humans --who are complex, creative, marvelous, intelligent beings.

It was not unreasonable for the disciples of Jesus to believe in Him enough to die for Him --after seeing Him and hearing Him AFTER the crucifixion --AFTER He had died --AFTER He was seen alive again!! Hallelujah!!!

Even the educated, brilliant persecutor of Christians named Saul, later St. Paul, believed in the resurrected Christ though He had not known Him in the flesh. He saw His miracles in his own life --Saul heard His VOICE identifying Himself as Jesus and was blinded by him for 3 days --and then became a foremost missionary of the Gospel. An irrational man? Hardly!

Yes, I'm using the Bible to reinforce my faith in Christ --because it is the Bible where the story is found. But there IS evidence beyond the book itself --it's found in the ongoing existance and good works of the Church of JEsus Christ which dates to the first disciples and the first century --and the presence of God we feel in our souls when we have truly repented and placed our trust in Him.

Yes, indeed, it HELPS to have such faith cultivated in our minds as children--but we have seen many adults --like St. Paul --become convinced and transformed as adults.
The changed life of a believer is a strong evidence to the presence of God in his life. Like my husband's grandfather who kicked a smoking habit in one day when he converted to Christianity as an adult.

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit touches you and you just can't deny the reality of the experience.

Jesus said, 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Conklins in the News: Freedom From Religion Foundation is Squandering Energy Again--against Roadside memorial crosses.

According to an article in the Blade last Sunday, featuring the roadside cross memorial for our friend Tim Conklin, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sees the roadside crosses marking accident sites as “religious” and thus offensive. They encourage atheists to tear them down because they are on government property. I wish the members of the FFRF had something better to do with their energies. This is so petty.

First of all, I bet some of the crosses are really on the easement rights the government maintains on private property for the potential of enlarging the roads.

Secondly, they ARE warnings that we should be careful in our driving and may mark a dangerous curve, as Tim Conklin’s cross memorial does.

Thirdly, they ARE comforts and expressions of grief and remembrance for those who have suffered a terrible loss. Crosses symbolize life after death, salvation for eternity. They ARE more than generic memorials in that Jesus’ death on the cross resulted in Resurrection of the Dead for all who believe. Any one may choose to believe this or not, so why does the symbol enrage or sadden the unbeliever??? Perhaps because he thinks there may be truth in it and he’d rather there be no such hope? Is that rational?

Many such memorials disappear after many months of deterioration. We assume road maintenance or the families might take them down because they were neglected over time as people move on with their lives. Moldy teddy bears, tattered signs and withered flowers are cleaned up –but a cross endures a while longer as a sign that someone cared about this life that was tragically taken.

“That government is best which governs least” seems applicable to such memorial crosses as to national health care. It is liberals and atheists who seem to want to control every aspect of our lives –and deaths –with their vitriolic hatred of all things religious and free.

Tim's father, Joe Conklin, a Christian lay leader at my church, had the last words in the article, including these about the FFRF types: "I think these people are nuts to start out with. This country was brought up with the cross. You won't find the term 'separation of church and state' in the Constitution or in the Declaration of Independence." EXACTLY!

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Read Lisa Miller's VERY INTERESTING article HERE.

Lisa says the Harvard faculty seem "unable to cope with religion." The faculty fought about this issue in 2006 in a discussion of curriculum reform. One prestigious prof argued that under-grads should be required to take a class in a category of courses called "Reason and Faith." His opponent argued, Miller said, that "the primary goal of a Harvard education is the pursuit of truth through rational inquiry, and that religion has no place in that."

How ridiculous on HIS part! Religious inquiry is also a search for truth. In the case of Jesus Christ we have a historical account of a resurrected man who died on a cross and said He was the Truth. Most people would believe a sinless, resurrected man when He talks to them about the after-life and how to reach and know and please a Creator-God. I hope I would have had the good sense to believe the teachings and miracles of Jesus if I had been there.

Christian schools DO teach a rationale for faith, and while a secular school might not do that, and usually can't be trusted with religious topics if they don't have faith themselves, nevertheless, secular grads ought to know what it is that Christians and Muslims, et al, BELIEVE. Otherwise, they are not educated about one of the largest aspects of human existance and history. They will be ignorant, in fact.

Ironically, as Lisa points out, Harvard's motto before 1843 was: Christo et Ecclesiae ("For Christ and the Church").

She notes that "the study of religion at Harvard is uniquely dysfunctional," in not having a religion department on a par with other departments. While Columbia U. is one of the only Ivy League schools that requires a religion course for under-grads, the others do have religion departments, apparently. There are religion classes at Harvard, but their faculty complain that they can't attract the greatest minds and talent as religion students because of the 2nd class status of the department. They have only 33 religion majors now. Their courses have to be patched together from several departments. The top scholar of World Religions, Diana Eck, runs their "program," such as it is, with the religious studies courses offered in other departments.

The whole article deserves a read. Lisa notes there is an active evangelical presence at Harvard. And some people think all believers are stupid, ignorant, deluded kool-aid drinkers. So how do they get in at Harvard, I wonder??? or on to the faculty? Mind-boggling? I don't think so. Great minds and diligent scholars can also have rational faith in the historicity of Christ, the Bible and the Early Church.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Donald Mendell, School Counselor, Has Rights, TOO!!!

From Alliance Defense Fund report --attorneys for religious and speech freedom:

Donald Mendell is a h.s. guidance counselor/social worker in Maine who publicly supported marriage as union of one man with one woman.

He was a former nominee for State Teacher of the Year.

Same-sex marriage advocates have accused him of ethics violations, wanting his license revoked.

What happened --FIRST, a Mrs. Gould, English teacher at the same school, labeled as a former State Teacher of the Year in 05, made a commercial supporting gay marriage. So Mendell appeared in a later commercial opposing it.

The Portland newspaper wrote: Mendell thought it was important that ''people would know at least one experienced educator, counselor, who thought at stake here was something that would have a profound effect on the raising of children.'' The issue for him is the ''equal rights of children to have a mother and a father, if at all possible.''

Mendell also sees a distinction between his professional work with all students and his personal opinion outside of work


Teachers must not lose their free speech rights outside the classroom just because they are teachers. After, all, if democrats have their way, we’ll ALL be working for Uncle Sam –and all have a muzzle. We must not let that happen! All gov’t employees have free speech rights. Since when have we arrived at the place where counselors and teachers have to champion gay life while ON the job? That would be wrong, also.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Letter to the President by Dr. Jones on Healthcare

From my E-Mail Bag:

This doctor's short two-paragraph letter to the White House accurately puts the blame on a "Culture Crisis" instead of a "Health Care Crisis". It's worth a quick read:

Dear Mr. President:
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.
While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.
And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me".
Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Monday, March 8, 2010

City Council Candidates Offended by Free Press/Speech of Citizen

From the

Religious Questionnaire To City Candidates Draws Criticism

In Farmington, New Mexico's recent municipal elections, the campaign manager for one of the losing City Council candidates secretly designed a scorecard to rank local candidates on their religious and social values. Yesterday's Farmington Daily Times says that candidate Bob Moon did not know that his campaign manager, Drew Degner, had designed the questionnaire that asked closed-end questions about issues such as church attendance, abortion rights and gay marriage. Some candidates refused to answer the questions and are critical of it. Degner said he designed the survey in order to help fellow Emmanuel Baptist Church members determine candidates' values. He did not distribute the scorecard beyond his church. Moon, a pastor, only posted a copy on the bulletin board at his church, My Father's House.


First of all, it's legal for a church or a private citizen to educate or seek education about candidates, their positions and values. He had every right to ask the candidates anything he wanted to know pertaining to their world-view and values.

It's not OK with the IRS if the church officially says in print or pulpit, "Vote for this guy." Though several churches reportedly challenged this ruling last year. I haven't heard what happened as a result.

I do wish candidates would not be stealth candidates but would tell us of their church affiliations and their views on contentious issues. Some do --all used to --it looked good on their publicity to show their various affiliations --but now it has become contentious and alienating for some to be identified as Catholic or pro-life, pro traditional values, etc. --or the opposite.

We especially can't find out anything about candidates for judge. I want to know their world view --because it does make a world of difference in how people view justice and rights.

The whole idea of freedom of the press is the people's right to know. I think the campaign manager had every right to ask the candidates to disclose such info. I hope they aren't saying it was a secretive maneuver in order to protect the manager's candidate after he lost the election. I find it odd that the candidate wouldn't know what his manager was doing.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

State of VA. Denies Homosexuals and Transgenders "Protection" Status

News from

Virginia's AG [attorney general] Says State Colleges Cannot Ban LGBT Discrimination [in their stated policies.]

According to the Washington Post, Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II on Thursday sent a letter (full text) to the state's public colleges and universities advising them that:

...the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including "sexual orientation," "gender identity," "gender expression," or like classification, as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly.


We already protect people from discrimination in college admissions and employment. All races and the usual 2 genders, physical disabilities, religions and national origins are protected classes--though religious schools maintain the right, still, to hire people of their own religion --as well as requiring Christian standards of sexual behavior of their students and staff. I still think there should be a RIGHT to have all-girls or all -boys schools and military academies, too --and distinctions between men and women and their roles in our military. [I do know of a WWII woman pilot who was a devout evangelical Christian.]

Now the liberal elites and LBGT's want gov't to say that schools --at least state schools--[and gov't will try to extend the requirement to anyone receiving students who have gov't aid]--to say that state schools must prove they aren't discriminating against cross-dressers, trans-gendered, bisexual, and lesbian and gay students and employees. The only way to prove that is to admit and hire such people who let it be know that this is their status -- like the Michigan prof. who was a man one day and changed to a woman thereafter in a Christian school.

That school settled out of court to get rid of him as a prof because this man was clearly not in sync with God's Will or Word to reject his manly self and embrace a caricature of a woman. And he is a caricature. I hear he "struts" around campus in a short skirt and blonde wig to be an offense to the Christian atmosphere there and an offense to God's clear prohibition of men dressing as women, etc. He has grown sons and a wife who, at last report, was putting up with this sad situation and staying married. He, reportedly, wasn't gay and kept his male equipment in order to be a husband to his wife. This is a travesty of human nature and nothing but unvarnished self-centeredness and gender-preoccupation on his part. Some might go so far as to suspect demon possession. I guess I'd call it mental illness, at least, but not one that society should be forced to indulge--anymore than we indulge a fellow who thinks he's Napoleon or Jesus Christ.

The dissatisfaction with one's gender and same sex attraction are both conditions to be pitied --but not the selfishness and damage to families and the in-your-face flaunting that comes with pride in such Biblically-defined sins. Let me hasten to say, that many of the Christians there took a compassionate approach toward him, but he insisted on having his way in a religious culture that does not condone transgendering, homosexual conduct, or any other sexual sin.

That is not to say that the disapproving religion, Christian students and faculty see themselves as sinless; it is to say that they define sin as the Bible does and are repentant when they fail --and not flaunting their sins as rights --or as good ways to be.

I am dismayed by Christians who believe they can love people out of this problem by never addressing the issue. That may be the God-directed function for some of them. We certainly are not to be like the Westboro Baptist Church who hatefully demonstrates at military funerals, seeing military deaths as results of the "gaying" of our culture. But we are called to prophetically warn people about the wages of sin --and God's definitions of sin are clear. There is only one sanctified sexual arrangment --the union of man with wife.

God assigns our gender, and we need to help children be glad for how he made them --rather than coddling childish fantasies of being the opposite sex. We ought not be raising a generation to think that gender and orientation are their choices to make. This can lead to confusion, self-doubt, and unhealthy sex-ploration/sex-perimentation --as well as the mutilating surgeries, hormone tampering, and sterility of transgenders. This becomes a life-time obsession with difficulty in finding someone for intimate love that lasts. Most people will reject intimacy with someone of their own sex who has transgendered. Straight people will not want intimacy with gays who may desire them. There has to be a lot of rejection and sadness with these abnormal fixations--no matter how much we celebrate and condone them.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Is Right-Wing Media Preoccupied with Muck-raking These Days??

Truth be told –both parties, both left and right-wing media, constantly poke at the failures, hypocrisies, inability to do miracles and fulfill promises of peace and prosperity and perfection forever –by the party in power. That is how we manage to get our party and views back into power –by showing that the opposition makes errors, is corrupt, and can’t solve all the problems –many of which are caused by us folks with our choice of lifestyles ending in divorce and poverty, and fatherless kids and single moms for gov’t to take care of.

As a 4th generation conservative, I really believe we are better off with low taxes that really do allow the “haves” to hire, buy, invest, donate, provide health insurance and generally do more good –than when gov’t has all our money, kills incentive and squanders with inefficient bureaucracy. But Big Business has shown they can be as bad as gov’t at times. I’ve said before that I don’t like to see any CEO’s making mega-bucks –millions –while downsizing, i.e. firing OR borrowing from the gov’t. I believe in the Free Market –with some regulation to restrain evil –which is what most of our laws are about –or should be.

I think we would do well to work more on the health care reform bill --incrementally-- instead of just trying to pass anything–and in the meantime do things that help the economy. Raising taxes and creating new perpetual entitlement programs isn’t the way.

A recent uni study demonstrated that those receiving perpetually extended "unemployment" wait until the last minute to take a new job --taking advantage as long as they can of the gov't money for which they do not work.

My husband’s retirement is only what he has set aside –plus social security which may collapse. If gov’t decides to tax our untaxed pensions at a really high rate (proposed by democrats) , they can take away what he managed to save and we could be in want if we lived into our 90’s (which IS doubtful) –despite all his life of hard work. I also believe that estate taxes should be minimal –because the person worked for it and should be allowed to help his kids and grandkids with it –as in sending them to college, e.g.

I don’t think gov’t should be confiscatory to those who’ve worked hard all their lives to take care of themselves and their families in old age. Gov’t can destroy incentive as they did in USSR and Cuba. Why work hard if it doesn’t get you anywhere? people figure. Freedom and free enterprise have made America rich compared to most of the world –our national debt per capita is even less than many European countries. It is democrats who are more likely to deficit spend at higher rates than GOP –granted that 9/11 and war and Katrina took us deeper in the Bush years than in the Clinton years when a republican congress helped him appear to be fiscally prudent –but Obama has outspent Bush at a breathtaking rate. And of course, the “fair and balanced” media will let us know.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Friday, March 5, 2010

Attack on Our Church in Jordan

Judy Litsey sent a message to the members of Free Methodist World Missions.

Subject: Attack on church in Jordan

"Jordan: On Thurs., March 4, one of our churches in Jordan was attacked by a gunman who fired multiple shots; thankfully no one was injured. It is clear by what he said to the people about abandoning their faith and converting to his religion that he was a radical. The Jordanian authorities have taken this attack very seriously and have already apprehended the suspect. Pray for the pastor and people to be protected and encouraged in the coming days. This is the third attack against this church in the past three years; this was the most serious attack to date."

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Great Story from SAT 7 Christian TV in Middle East

I saw a neat story by SAT7 the Christian tv station in the middle east. A man in Iran reported to them that he was watching the story of Christ on their broadcast, and when he saw him on the cross, he wept and felt profoundly moved and believed –and he felt moved to kneel and pray for the safety of his family. “Jesus, protect my children. I don’t have money, I can’t give them everything, but you can protect them from any danger…”

That very same night, 2 am, his phone rang. One of his daughters, a college student, was quite shaken. She asked her father who it was that he had sent to her. She described how a man in brilliant white came to her as she slept. He told her to wake up, to quickly open the window in her room. Still dreaming, she asked the man who He was. He answered, “I am the one your father asked to protect you.”

Now she was startled awake, and smelled a strong odor of gas. The flame on the heater in her room had gone out. Flammable gas was leaking out, filling her room, ready to explode or suffocate her to death. She managed to open a window, letting the gas escape. After the room had cleared, she called her father.

This man and his daughter are now new believers in Iran.

Another man and his wife in Iran called the station to say they had become believers by watching the channel –and the result was happiness, “…the old fear and sadness that had filled his life were gone.”

That’s what faith does –turns night to day –darkness to light –dissatisfaction to peace, fear to hope and misery to joy.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

World Vision established by Evangelicals is the World's Largest, U.S.-based, International Relief and Development Organization

I've often pointed out the world-wide charities of evangelical Christians when liberal and atheistic bloggers are bad-mouthing Christianity in general --or when they tell me that I and others who believe as I do are disobedient to the compassionate teachings of Christ, failing to "Love one another." (We are called uncompassionate haters just because we do not support abortion and gay marriage as civil "rights" because they contradict God's Biblical moral code --and have downsides for human happiness, procreation and a humane, family-oriented, pro-life culture.)

In fact, Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times, recently informed us that WORLD VISION is "the nation's largest U.S.-based int'l relief and development organization" -an NGO (non-government org.) with 40,000 staff workers in about 100 countries. "THIS IS LARGER THAN CARE, SAVE THE CHILDREN AND THE WORLDWIDE OPERATIONS OF THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INT'L DEVELOPMENT --COMBINED." He also said that the liberals are making a big error to suggest that faith-based organizations be left out of the loop when it comes to disaster relief, etc. --because they are the ones with the connections "on the ground" around the world because of years of experience in missionary and charity work, disaster relief, etc.

We already know from studies that evangelicals --and the working poor--are the biggest charitable donors in the U.S. to ALL causes. We believe in the tithe and the offering and some of that money goes to local churches, local and foreign missions and some goes to what we call para-church ministries like World Vision, Colson's Prison Fellowship, Salvation Army, and our local Cherry St. Mission and Pregnancy Center.

My family had a lake cottage in Winona Lake, IN as I grew up --i.e. my grandparents retired there first and we stayed with them and then bought the little cottage next door. We attended all the Bible conferences that were held there. So back in the 1950's and 60's I attended the World Vision, Int'l. Convention at Winona Lake(attended by thousands? of evangelicals) and that influence started the awareness in my young heart that there were 3rd world countries with great suffering and that Christ wanted us to help. I remember them showing films of great poverty (which my sister-in-law resented as childhood trauma for her--a word to the wise.)

I wasn't traumatized or depressed by such films, but I was motivated; I would put my allowance in the paper bucket as they passed them for offering collection; I would weigh my selfish interests against the greater need of the world to hear about Christ and receive help. I say this, not to boast of generosity, but to tell you that this ministry has been motivating evangelicals to give to the world's needy since I was a child --and is now come to the world's attention with all these natural disasters. They also support the refugee camps around the world and the author notes they spearhead the fight against AIDS and malaria, work for clean water,etc. They work with foreign church missions from all denominations.

Kristoff criticized some fundamentalist missionaries (I don't know who they were) for inspiring Uganda to pass a bill to punish gays with life imprisonment or execution. (I doubt that such a bill was their intention.) What we need to do instead is continue the abstinence and hetero-marriage-based teachings of God to help young people avoid the activities (sodomy AND promiscuity) that so readily spread AIDS and other STD's. Hatred of sinners is not on the agenda of Jesus Christ --but repentance for sin and teaching God's definitions of sin and righteousness --that IS rightly part of the Christian agenda. I have no problem with passing out sex ed and condoms --but not with a tone of condoning promiscuity as though it were expected of people. With condoms should come the recommendation of pre-marital chastity followed by marital fidelity.

Consider, there would be NO AIDS epidemic if the Biblical model of monogamy and fidelity in marriage were practiced the world over. In fact, we could STOP the epidemic in its tracks by voluntarily practicing Biblical morality. There would be much less poverty and delinquency and misery in the U.S. if all people practiced chastity, hetero-marriage, and fidelity --and raised their children to have self-discipline and positive values.

Two of the great presidents of that organization were Bob Pierce, Bob Cook (I believe) and Ted Engstrom --who all had been Youth for Christ officers at some point in their lives, as I recall.

Now, the former president of Lenox China, Richard Stearns, is president. He has a book called, The Hole in Our Gospel. suggesting that the church has not always been compassionate and globally aware. It's ironic to me that he blasts the church for its large sanctuaries while overseas charity money is needed --and yet, for several years, as a Christian CEO, he got really rich encouraging us Americans to buy over-priced Lenox China and doo-dads and knick-knacks. I have a lot of Christmas Lenox dinnerware myself because my husband's "love language" is gifting. He is generous to everybody! What Lenox started to do was make their products overseas. American business overseas does help combat global poverty--but also has caused a threat to our ability to AFFORD Lenox china HERE and so people resent things made overseas these days. (Life is complicated!)

He's wrong in his book thesis saying evangelicals as a whole were missing the boat --unless he means the liberal mainline churches. I can't speak for them, but Evangelicals have ALWAYS been mission-minded and knew that the mission was more than the message. Christ's mission always included practical help for the suffering as so clearly taught in God's Word.

However, we must preach ANEW the message of compassion to every generation--as evangelicals did in my youth. And perhaps especially to the present, self-indulged, American, younger generation (who now think they invented the "wheel" of global compassion.) The church in which I grew up had a school and hospital in West Africa --we were a small denomination. We brought African students to our college. They gave talks to us as children. World Vision brought the Korean Orphan Choir to the United States in the 50's and thereafter -- to raise money for the plight of orphans in foreign countries. I grew up on the Jungle Doctor books--as did many evangelical children --and Nurse Patty Lou? books --about medical missions in foreign countries. I thought I might want to be a missionary nurse. The church I belong to now has long had hospitals, schools and clinics in 3rd world countries. Nobody was turned away for medical help or disaster relief conditional upon hearing the Gospel. That's not to say that mission schools would not require chapel and Bible class for their students --as they should. America isn't just rightly exporting our MONEY and AID --we have the Good News of JEsus Christ to proclaim WITH that aid. But the aid is not to be conditional upon open ears for the message. (Though Jesus did say there is a time to shake the dust off our feet and leave where people will not listen. However, staying in a mission for the world's orphans and neglected chidren will bear fruit as children are teachable and can appreciate the ideology and values of those who love them rather than those of people who abandon and abuse them.)

The history of World Vision, from Widipedia says the following:
The story of World Vision's beginning is quite inspiring and unique. Bob Pierce was in China speaking at a school there. He told all the children about Jesus and asked them to tell their parents. The next day, pierce came back to wish the children farewell before returning home. While he was there, he noticed one little girl was badly beaten. Upon asking the school master, she said her father beat her when she told him about Jesus. The schoolmaster had no way to care for the girl. Many other children were already sharing the school master's food. So Bob Pierce began sending five dollars per month to sponsor the little girl whose parents kicked her out.

Five dollars was a lot more than it is today --and went farther there, too. Liberals will say, "There --you see, the little girl was beaten! He shouldn't have told the children about Jesus and to tell their parents!" When in fact, their condemnation should be on parents who would beat children for telling what they heard at school. It's because of such parents that the world needs Jesus and the light of the Gospel.

The first area that World Vision focused on was orphans and other children in need, beginning in South Korea, then expanding throughout Asia. Today, they operate in more than 90 countries,such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Afghanistan, India, Romania, Austria, Bolivia, El Salvador, Mexico, Jerusalem, and Papua New Guinea. They are now focusing on larger issues of community development and advocacy for the poor towards the end of helping poor children and their families build a sustainable future.

My own church also has a missions business model, where they help Christians develop a cottage industry with their crafts, and then bring those goods to the U.S. to sell here. All the proceeds go back for the craft-person's livelihood. I have bought beautiful table runners made by a Chinese Christian lady --and they are not sold below market value, not exploitative. My church is planning a mission trip to Haiti to work through, with and for the Free Methodist Haitians. We make at least one such trip annually. Our youth have participated in World Servants --to help poor people in America. And VISA --Volunteers In Service Abroad. We have helped to drill wells --as World Vision does --for clean water in villages. And a group of evangelicals and Rotarians have provided goats and solar cookers for poor Haitians where we have schools there.

Charity, Richard Stearns? Nothing new to evangelicals. We are raised knowing the imperatives of Christ to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, and
care for the orphans and widows (single parents today.) I was raised to weigh purchases for myself against the needs of the world. With affluence at my house there has come much self-indulgence --and material blessing. But we are not indifferent to the plight of a needy world. We don't want Jesus to say to us, "Depart from me; I never knew you!" if we say, "but Lord, Lord, we have done great works in your name!"

The wider world is just now becoming aware of 60-year old World Vision--because evangelicals are proliferating and they are generous donors, blessed with the means to be generous as a group --and yes, the believers are focused on humanitarian aid --as they always have been --as Jesus taught. But we can never be too charitable --and we do need to be challenged in every generation to NOT be hedonists, pleasure-seekers, but to be humanitarians and givers.

And lastly, we must fulfill Christ's Great Commission to take the Gospel to all the world, making converts, so that people may be saved for eternity. There is no other name by which we can be saved.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible