When Chinese parents send their child to an American university, they expect her to return home with a degree and the opportunity to begin a career. But one student from central China returned home with much more.
Tag Archives: God
By Mark Ellis
Recent events have demonstrated again that power, wealth, and celebrity in the wrong hands may produce risky sexual behavior
that shocks the sensibilities. Could it be that pornography is the unseen accelerant fueling the fires of this wanton, aggressive sexuality?
In 2009, Tiger Woods’ high-flying career fell to earth with a thud after multiple women emerged from the shadows with steamy voice recordings, text messages and other stories of sordid, high-risk sexual hijinks.
More recently we learned that holy warrior Osama bin Laden – rumored to be an ascetic hiding in a cave, actually lived in a million dollar compound with three wives and an extensive collection of pornography.
Next to fall was arguably one of the most powerful men in the world – the head of the IMF, with realistic aspirations to become the next president of France. Setting aside the irony of a socialist staying in a $3,000 a night suite, this brilliant financier came out of his bathroom in the buff at mid-day and allegedly attempted to rape a hotel maid as if he was a pillaging soldier in Khadafi’s army.
Now the failed governor of California – a celebrity welcomed into the halls of power by world leaders — while plotting his return to box-office stardom, let slip a dirty little secret. He impregnated one of America’s most adored women and his maid at the same time within the same household.
His secret was easy to keep – no one connected to his personal life could possibly imagine he would stoop so low or risk a betrayal so deep. The fractured trust factor similarly torpedoed the careers of two other aspiring politicians: John Edwards and John Ensign. Shenanigans of a similar vein may soon end the political career of the prime minister of Italy.
What could possibly be fueling such out-of-control, high-risk behavior?
“We are reaping the fruit of the vast over-sexualizing of the culture through pornography, which has desensitized us all,” says Dr. Jerry Kirk, founder of Pure Hope. “Internet porn not only promotes sexual trysts, but also sexual violence,” he notes.
By Mark Ellis
Near the place Henry Ford launched the American automobile industry, the Muslim call to prayer can be heard above the cacophony of street noise. Outside the local mosque is one pastor distributing Christian literature, ready to point Muslims toward the light and truth found in Jesus Christ.
“Muslims are here from all over the world and we want to reach out to them,” says Pastor George Saieg, founder of the M2M Network (www.ministrytomuslims.com). “This is the time to be equipped to reach them,” he says. “Our prayer is that they will be touched by the Holy Spirit and their eyes will be opened to see the truth.”
For several years, he and his team have attended the Arab International Festival, held in Dearborn, Michigan. The event attracts several hundred thousand Arab Americans, and Pastor Saieg finds it an ideal venue for Christian outreach.
Last year Pastor Saieg was forced by local officials to distribute his literature five blocks away from the event. These restrictions are under review by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “Pray for a good result from the courts,” he asks. “We believe the public sidewalks should be open for everybody.”
By Sarah Page
On Feb. 6 in Indonesia, Muslim hardliners armed with machetes brutally murdered three members of a “blasphemous” Muslim sect in the village of Cikeusik, West Java. Five other members escaped with severe injuries; police were present but did not intervene.
The attack followed two years of violence sparked by a June 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree banning public worship for the Ahmadiyah, whose members believe that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the last prophet of Islam, rather than Muhammad.
On Feb. 8, a large mob gathered outside a courthouse in Temanggung, Central Java, chanting “Kill, kill!” after judges awarded Antonius Richmond Bawengan, a Roman Catholic, the maximum five-year sentence for blasphemy. By nightfall some 1,000 people had rampaged through the town burning vehicles, two churches and a church-run school, injuring nine people in the process. (See www.compassdirect.org, “After Attacks, Christian Leaders in Indonesia Decry Lax Security,” Feb. 11.)
Three days later, prosecutors in Jakarta sentenced Murhali Barda, a regional leader of the hardline Front Pembela Islam (FPI or Islamic Defenders Front) to only five-and-a-half months in prison and fined him the equivalent of 10 US cents for orchestrating an attack on a Protestant church in which two Christians were seriously injured. (See www.compassdirect.org, “Light Sentences for Attack on Christians in Indonesia Condemned,” March 10.)
by Susie Rain
ISHINOMAKI, Japan (BP)–The handwritten note practically cries out: “Living here! Please help us!”
The volunteers from Tokyo Baptist Church almost miss the dirty scrap of paper, attached to the battered door. It blends in with the rubble and debris left behind by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Major parts of the house are gone, washed away a month ago by the crushing tsunami waves. Not really believing anyone will answer, volunteer Satomi Ono calls out to see if anyone is there.
A young mother cautiously pokes her head around the corner. When she sees the volunteers’ warm smiles, relief rushes over her and she excitedly yells to her father. They are the only two left in their family. Her two children were swept out of her arms in the tsunami wave. Her mother and husband also died on that fateful day.
The young woman invites the team inside. Despite broken dishes standing up in the mud-caked floor, Ono can see that the pair had worked hard, cleaning their disaster-stricken home. Piles of papers, toys, rotting clothes and splintered wood are ready to be bagged and deposited on the street for garbage crews.
By Elizabeth Kendal
As US-allied dictators fell in Tunisia and Egypt, Iran scoffed while the US-allied dictators in the House of Saud shuddered. Everything changed, however, when Bahraini and Saudi forces, with the tacit approval of the US, crushed the ‘pro-democracy’ protests at Pearl roundabout. The media are confused by what they see as ‘mixed responses’ because they fail to realise that who falls is far less important than who rises. In Bahrain the protesters were Shi’ites; their success would have been Iran’s gain. When dissent was crushed in Bahrain, the ‘Arab Spring’ transformed into a struggle over the regional balance of power. For decades, the US – Sunni Arab axis prevailed. Then the Iraq War opened the way for Shi’ite Persian Iran to gain the ascendancy. As the struggle for the regional balance of power heats up, Syria becomes absolutely pivotal.
Syria is 90 percent Sunni Arab, yet it is central — both geographically and strategically — to the Iran-Syria-Hezballah (Shi’ite) axis. This situation arose because the ruling Assad family belong to the obscure Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ism considered heretical across Islam. Needing allies, Syria’s former president Hafiz al-Assad (father of the current president Bashar al-Assad) forged close bonds with Musa al-Sadr, the most prominent Shi’ite leader in Lebanon. In 1973 al-Sadr issued a fatwa recognising Lebanon’s Alawites as Shi’ites. This was not only a coup for the Alawites, it was vital for the region’s Shi’ites, for without Syria there would be no ‘Shi’ite Crescent’.
By Mark Ellis
As an Olympic swimmer on the U.S. team, he won four gold medals and set as many world records at the 1976 games in Montreal. His relaxed demeanor in high-pressure competition set him apart from other athletes – all because of an unseen presence that profoundly altered his focus before races.
“I like the water; I’m comfortable there,” says John Naber, sports broadcaster, author, and motivational speaker.
His father was a management consultant who moved frequently, so in John’s first 12 years he lived in six different houses. He also spent seven years in Europe, which led to a summer tour of Olympia, Greece, the site of the ancient competition.
The family’s tour guide at Olympia explained the importance of sportsmanship in the early games and noted the ancients even built a Hall of Shame for cheaters in their events. Impressed by this, 10-year-old John turned to his mother and said, “I want to be an Olympian one day.”
“What sport?” his mother asked, knowing he hadn’t demonstrated any hint of future greatness.
“I have no idea,” the youngster replied.
As a freshman at Woodside High School near Stanford University, Naber befriended a swimmer who won a silver medal in the Junior Olympics. Inspired by his new friend, Naber decided to join the swim team.
“I jumped in the pool and found myself swimming laps,” he recalls. “I was cramping up but I enjoyed the process of racing the clock.” Naber didn’t win a race in his first two years of competition, but the stopwatch looked better and better with each passing month.
By his junior year, Naber was the best swimmer on the team and he had even begun to entertain the idea of trying out for the 1972 Olympic team, but a serious setback derailed his plans. As he clowned with friends, he broke his collarbone after a springboard launched him into the side of the pool, while trying to avoid a lane rope as tight as a guitar string.
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Muslim rioters have killed more than 100 Christians and burned down more than 40 churches in an attack that began yesterday in response to the election of Jonathan Goodluck, a Christian, as president of Nigeria. The rioters even destroyed the homes of many Muslims who supported President Jonathan Goodluck.
The Muslim attackers allege that the election was rigged and General Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate, is the rightful winner. Yet, impartial observers have called this election the fairest in decades. According to the Commonwealth observers’ report, “The elections for the National Assembly and the Presidency were both credible and creditable and reflected the will of the Nigerian people.”
By Athol Dickson
Rob Bell is at it again. He has never shied away from controversy, and apparently his new book, Love Wins, is no exception. With the book not yet even released, already such stalwart evangelicals as Albert Mohler and John Piper are calling it heretical. An executive with a Christian publishing company, Justin Taylor, was apparently an early voice in the outrage against what Rob Bell might have written. (Taylor says on his blog, “I have not read all of Bell’s book, though I have read some chapters that were sent to me. . . . I think that the publisher’s description combined with Bell’s video is sufficient evidence to suggest that he thinks hell is empty and that God’s love (which desires all to be saved) is always successful.”) Speaking as a novelist and non-fiction author, I’m surprised a man with Mr. Taylor’s background in publishing would assume Rob Bell had total control over his publisher’s advertising copy. It’s possible, of course, but I could tell several disaster stories to demonstrate it ain’t necessarily so, and I’ll bet Mr. Taylor could, too. Take the trailer for Love Wins as an example. Are we expected to believe that Rob deliberately set out to do an Uncle Fester imitation? Surely that sweater was some publicist’s decision. (Sorry Rob.)
Rather than basing a response on what the man’s publisher wrote, unlike Justin and Al and John I think I’ll wait until I read what Rob wrote before I pronounce judgment from on high.
That said, the trailer does make it seem like Rob’s upcoming book will take on some tough questions about salvation. What is it, exactly? How is it made possible? Bell’s video asks if Gandhi is in hell, and he asks if we have the right to say so. Again, since the book is not yet out, everything is speculation, but it seems like Rob intends to explore the ideas of heaven and hell, and how we get to one or the other, and he intends to look at it a bit more broadly than Drs. Mohler and Piper might prefer. So what’s the problem exactly?
The Beijing church that saw more than 160 of its members arrested April 10 for meeting illegally says it will continue to hold services outdoors in spite of the Chinese government’s demands that it stop.
Shouwang Church, one of the thousands of illegal unregistered churches across China, has found itself in the spotlight as the world debates China’s limits on religious freedom. Churches in China are legal only if they registered with the government, which then often puts limits on their ability to grow and evangelize. The government also has blocked attempts by Shouwang to meet indoors.
The church, which reportedly has around 1,000 members, saw its pastor, pastor’s wife and other members arrested in broad daylight Sunday morning, April 10, when it attempted to hold an outdoor worship service on a public space in Beijing. The members were put on buses and taken to a local elementary school, where police took their personal information. Much of the incident was captured on video. It was one of the largest crackdowns in recent history, observers say, with upwards of 1,000 police involved.