God can call even a little 12 year boy ( you see you don’t have to understand much to know God. )

https://www.intouch.org/listen/todays-moment/dr-stanleys-testimony

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Crazy Commentary

Kerby Anderson In the midst of all the criticism of this country and its citizens, I try to provide some positive material. In that vein, I posted an article co-authored by Tucker Carlson that had the hopeful title: “Take a Breath, America is Still a Decent Country Filled with Decent People.” But when it came time to discuss the article, my roundtable guests focused on the stories the two authors gave of what could be called “crazy commentary.” If you…

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The Point: See Ya, Planned Parenthood ( thank you President Trump )

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Recently, Planned Parenthood announced it would rather walk away from Title X funds than comply with a new Trump Administration rule regarding abortion counselling.

Title X funds provide family planning services for low-income families. But the new HHS rule that went into effect Monday prohibits groups that refer for abortion, or are “co-located” with abortion clinics, from accessing those funds.

For years, Planned Parenthood has played a shell game with our tax dollars. Now, with some $60 million at stake, Planned Parenthood wasn’t going to give up their commitment to abortion. So far, their attempts to block the Protect Life Rule in court has failed.

Abortion advocates are claiming that poor women will suffer, but the funds are still there for any organization that assists low income families with contraception and fertility testing but doesn’t peddle abortion as “family planning.”

Good for the Trump Administration. But, it’s just a start. Way too much of our tax dollars still go to Planned Parenthood.

 

BreakPoint: Millions of Frozen Embryos An Ethical Blind Spot for Evangelicals

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I’m unapologetically Protestant but, as I’ve said for a while now, our Catholic friends have long led the way on many bioethical issues like abortion and assisted reproductive technologies. For example, back in 2008, the Vatican released a document called “Dignitatis personae,” which said that “The desire for a child, while good, cannot justify the ‘production’ of offspring, just as the desire to not have a child cannot justify the abandonment or destruction of a child once he or she has been conceived.”

Now, I recognize that Christians disagree about whether it’s intrinsically wrong to conceive children outside of the sexual union of husband and wife, including in vitro fertilization. Because God ordered the pleasure and intimacy of married sex toward procreation, I find the Catholic ethical teaching against IVF to be compelling.

Still, like I said, not all Christians agree. For example, several months ago, I had a robust discussion on this issue on the BreakPoint Podcast with my friend Dr. David Stevens. David has long led the Christian Medical and Dental Society and has been one of the great medical missionaries of our lifetime.

What David and I did agree on, and what everyone should agree on (especially Christians), is that any fertility process that knowingly destroys or abandons human lives—including embryos—is immoral. And that’s what the debate over IVF must confront right now.

Recently, NBC reported that frozen and abandoned embryos in U.S. fertility clinics may now number in the millions. Because of how IVF has been done for so long, we are facing a human rights crisis—namely, what should we do with these little abandoned lives?

Throughout most of the history if the practice, in vitro fertilization has involved creating more embryos than any couple could ever bring to term. Standard practice is to retrieve scores of eggs per cycle from women and to fertilize all of them. A few of the resulting embryos are transferred one at a time to the gestational mother. Some may not implant. Some others may even be intentionally killed in reductive abortions. In other words, all-to-often this process involves destruction in the name of reproduction, justified because of efficiency.

And, what happens to the embryos not transferred? These human individuals are suspended in the earliest stage of development within tanks of super-cooled nitrogen. With modern techniques, they can survive this way for a long time. But for many of their parents, life moves on while storage fees add up. Once they have the children they want, their embryos are abandoned, to either sit indefinitely in the freezer or to die.

At one fertility clinic in Florida, a third of stored embryos face this fate. Because the CDC doesn’t require clinics to report the number of abandoned embryos, we have good reason to believe this is the case at clinics across the country.

Now, let’s be clear. By every scientific standard, embryos are living, genetically-distinct human individuals that just need the right environment, nourishment, and time to develop.

Given the scale of this overwhelming human rights crisis, the near silence about IVF in evangelical churches is inexcusable. How many pastors ever address this issue from the pulpit, or approach it in premarital counseling? How many uninformed Christian couples, in their laudable desire to have children, are using methods to create life that also destroy life?

There are clinics that use IVF methods that only involve fertilizing and implanting one embryo at a time. This type of IVF doesn’t result in excess embryos, and so it doesn’t destroy life. But how many Christian couples even understand the difference in these procedures?

Protestant pastors, this is a softball: It’s objectively wrong to bring human beings into existence knowing they’ll languish in a freezer or be discarded. In many cases, these embryos can be adopted. Google the Snowflakes Adoption Program to learn more.

Christians will have different answers to questions about the ethics of IVF. But in order to answer them, we first have to ask them. If we really believe that all human life is sacred, the technology behind this excess can’t remain a taboo subject, especially for the church.

Resources

 

 

Buddhism

Buddhism  Paul Rutherford: 

I was at a diner last week grabbing a late night burger with my friend from Bible study, and I mentioned a desire to start a new workout regimen. He handed me a business card for a place doing some new form of yoga, apparently really good for you.

Is it me, or does yoga seem to be increasing in currency among Christians as just one more way to work out?

It’s totally fine for Christians to practice yoga as physical exercise, isn’t it? The answer is too complex to say here, but the sheer fact that we pose the question underscores the unmistakable impression yoga has made on American culture.

What if I did practice yoga? What if I were a practicing Buddhist? Would that make a difference anyway? I think so.

To ask a larger question, what is our ultimate purpose? Once again, the answer depends upon your perspective. For the yoga-practicing Buddhist, the answer is nothing. Literally. The ultimate purpose for life is to cease to exist, or what is called nirvana.

 

Traditionally understood to be from India, yoga is a discipline of the mind and the body, and is actively practiced today by both Buddhists and Hindus.{1} But increasingly, Americans have jettisoned the spiritual disciplines of yoga, ignoring its spiritual aspects, in favor of the sheerly physical, often in lieu of the morning jog.

( Read the rest of what Paul Rutherford wrote at the above link or Listen Online. )

What are Your Children Seeing in You?

https://www.rzim.org/listen/just-a-thought/what-are-your-children-seeing-in-you-1

“I used to think I was invincible”: Council Bluffs boy badly burned hopes to inspire

Story

Something to remember if you are eating at a nice place in a bad part of town or any part of town

Gun Violence, the facts

 

Kerby Anderson In light of the publicized mass shootings, pundits and politicians are calling for action. Certainly, there are some policies that should be considered. However, these policies need to be informed by accurate numbers and statistics. Unfortunately, most Americans believe many things about gun violence that aren’t true. One article that appeared in the Washington Post earlier this year warned that “Most Americans incorrectly think gun-murder rates have gotten worse, not better.” Also, suburban and small-town women had the least…

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BreakPoint: A Failure of Faith Formation What We Learn from Public Disavowals of Christianity

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Last week, following the high profile falling away from faith of Joshua Harris, former Hillsong singer and songwriter Marty Sampson posted this on Instagram: “Time for some real talk…I’m genuinely losing my faith…and it doesn’t bother me.”

The next day he deleted this post and clarified that he hasn’t fully renounced Christianity, at least not yet. Still, he admitted, his faith was quite shaky. He then reiterated his doubts and said that “the majority of a typical Christian’s life is not spent considering these things” because they fall into the “too hard basket.”

Sampson’s claims, I’m sad to say, are not uncommon among young evangelicals. And let me just say this as directly and bluntly as I can: they reveal a failure on the part of the church to take the difficult but essential task of faith formation seriously enough.

As I read through his description of what was happening, I thought to myself, “Which faith is he falling away from?” His words reveal a lot.

First, he described a faith largely driven by emotions. Losing his faith, he said, did not bother him. In fact, he’s happy about it. So, if his doubts bothered him and his faith instead made him happy, would he then reconsider?

The fact is, too many churches sell Christianity with feelings. We’re told how interested God is in our own happiness, our own meaning, and our own sense of purpose. But our feelings cannot determine whether or not something is actually true.

Second, the faith Sampson describes is an uncritical faith. Science, he says, “keeps piercing the truth of every religion.” I’m not completely sure what that even means, but it seems to buy into the classic science vs. faith narrative. It’s just not true that science is ultimately opposed to faith. It’s not true historically, nor is it true today. Faith doesn’t need to reject critical investigation.

Third, Sampson describes an uneducated faith. He claimed that “no one talks about” the seeming contradictions in the Bible, the fact that Christian leaders fall, or how a loving God can condemn “four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe.” This of course is just not true. Every apologetics book ever written tackles these questions, and the issues he raised here aren’t even the difficult ones.

Still, while Sampson is mistaken that “nobody” is talking about these issues, he’s not completely wrong in his critique. In fact, far too many churches avoid tough questions. Far too many fail to equip Christians on the current cultural controversies. In fact, too much of Christianity – especially evangelical Christianity – neglects intellectual discipleship altogether. Not even basic theology is articulated from some pulpits. I don’t know how else to say it: They fail God’s people.

Fourth, Sampson also wrote that “Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of truth.” This statement reveals a misguided faith, one that smacks of what sociologist Christian Smith called “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” that the point of religion and faith is self-improvement. That’s not what Christian faith is about. Christian faith is discovering the truth about who God is and what He is doing in the world, and then through repentance and His grace, aligning ourselves to that truth.

Now look, I have no problem with Sampson admitting doubt. Most of us, at some point in our journey of faith, will encounter doubt about God’s love, about Scripture, about whether Jesus is really God, any number of things. In fact, I discussed doubt with apologist Brett Kunkle recently on the BreakPoint Podcast.

But Marty Sampson was a worship leader. He wrote modern Christian melodic catechism. He was tasked, as worship leaders are, with communicating theology to the body of Christ. Apparently, he was in a church where no one was talking about the questions he struggled with. The church failed him.

In his book “The Fabric of Faithfulness,” Steve Garber wrote that the reason so many young Christians lose their faith is that their worldview isn’t “big enough” for the world. This is a depressingly accurate description of what we can expect from a generation whose intellectual faith formation has been neglected.

 

Resources

Hillsong writer: ‘I’m genuinely losing my faith’

  • Leah MarieAnn Klett
  • Christian Post 
  • August 12, 2019
Honest talk about honest questions 

  • Carmen LaBerge
  • The Reconnect
  • August 13, 2019
Christian Cultural Cognitive Dissonance

  • Rod Dreher
  • The American Conservative
  • August 12, 2019