Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The most important story to come out of Washington recently had nothing to do with the endless presidential campaign. And although the media largely ignored it, the story changes the world.There is a negative side:
The story's unlikely source was the staid World Bank, which published updated statistics on the economic output of 146 countries. China's economy, said the bank, is smaller than it thought.
About 40% smaller.
China's political stability may be more fragile than thought. The country faces huge domestic challenges -- an aging population lacking any form of social security, wholesale problems in the financial system that dwarf those revealed in the U.S. sub-prime loan mess and the breakdown of its health system. These problems are as big as ever, but China has fewer resources to meet them than we thought. Read the rest.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.Luke 2:1-7
Approximately 1,000 Iraqi citizens, of both Shia and Sunni religions, joined together on the sectarian fault line in Rawaniyah, the Karkh District of Baghdad, to march with one another in what they called a “Peace March”, Dec. 19. Read More.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
“Marriage changes men more pervasively and more profoundly than it changes women,” explains sociologist Steven Nock, author of Marriage in Men’s Lives. “The best way to put it is, marriage is for men what motherhood is for women.” Marriage makes men grow up. Nock observes that many men before marriage are indifferent workers, and, after hours, are likely to be found in bars or zoned out in front of a TV. After marriage, they are solid wage earners, frequent churchgoers, maybe members of a neighborhood protection association. But divorce takes that underpinning away, leaving men strangely infantilized and unsure of their place in the world. They feel like interlopers in the stands at their children’s soccer games or in the auditorium for their school plays. Read the rest.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
When seen in this perspective, well, that is just scary.
How old were you when you became aware of who the President of the United States was? Maybe, 5 years old?
I was thinking about the possibility that Hillary Clinton would be elected President in 2008, and then again in 2012. If that were to happen, then it means she wouldn't leave office until the year 2017.
What it would also mean is that anyone in their early 30s, in the year 2017, would only know a world in which either a Bush or a Clinton was President.
Monday, December 17, 2007
A radical new idea has recently been presented by Jean-Pierre Houdin, a French architect who has devoted the last seven years of his life to making detailed computer models of the Great Pyramid. Using start-of-the-art 3-D software developed by Dassault Systemes, combined with an initial suggestion of Henri Houdin, his engineer father, the architect has concluded that a ramp was indeed used to raise the blocks to the top, and that the ramp still exists--inside the pyramid! Read More.
A pastor who says Stacy Peterson confided in him a few weeks before she went missing spilled details of their alleged conversation on national TV a few days ago. Was that ethical?Not on national TV it isn't.
Schori said Peterson blurted out that her husband had killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Savio's 2004 death was ruled an accidental bathtub drowning then, but is being reinvestigated.
Schori said he feared for Stacy Peterson, but didn't contact authorities until she disappeared. At that point, he also talked to the media -- a move that some Christian ethicists question.
"If a person is in imminent danger, that supersedes confidentiality," said Vincent Bacote of the Center for Applied Ethics at Wheaton College. "Calling the police is a lot different than going on CNN." Read More.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
As Christmas draws near, Pastor John Foster won't be decorating a tree, shopping for last-minute gifts or working on a holiday sermon for his flock. After all, it's been 50 years since Christmas was anything more than a day of the week to him.
He's one of very few American Christians who follow what used to be the norm in many Protestant denominations--rejecting the celebration of Christmas on religious grounds.
"People don't think of it this way, but it's really a secular holiday," said Foster, a Princeton-based pastor in the United Church of God. He last celebrated Christmas when he was 8.
His church's objection to Christmas is rare among U.S. Christians. Gallup polls from 1994 to 2005 consistently show that more than 90 percent of adults say they celebrate Christmas, including 84 percent of non-Christians.
That's a huge change from an earlier era, when many Protestants ignored or actively opposed the holiday. But as it gradually became popular as a family celebration, churches followed their members in making peace with Christmas. Read More.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
A tow truck driver, upset over a recent ticket, tried to tow a Gresham police cruiser Thursday. Police said Steven Syverson, 32, was arrested after he hooked his truck to the marked police vehicle while the officer was responding to a domestic disturbance call. The police press release said the arrest unfolded this way: Read More.
Sect's Kidney Donations Pose Dilemma for Doctors; A Member's Mom Objects. Read the rest.
This bit of history may sound familiar: Japanese warplanes stage a surprise attack in December on the U.S. Navy. But this incident occurred four years before Pearl Harbor. The sinking of the USS Panay is pretty much forgotten now. But it was one of the biggest news stories of 1937. Read More.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The three main minorities in the United States -- blacks, Hispanics and Asians -- have little trust for each other and hold prejudiced views about Americans of different ethnic origins to their own, a poll showed Wednesday.
"This extraordinary poll reveals some unflattering realities that exist in America today," said Sandy Close, head of new America Media (NAM) which sponsored the poll together with ethnic media groups.
Forty-four percent of Hispanics and 47 percent of Asians are "afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime," the survey of 1,105 adults drawn from the three ethnic groups showed.
More than half of black Americans polled and 46 percent of Hispanics said Asian business owners do not treat them with respect.
And half of African-Americans said Latin American immigrants "are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the black community." Read More.
Monday, December 10, 2007
In China it is known as the “sacred doctrine” and it has become one of the country’s bestselling books. Yet it has nothing to do with the thoughts of Chairman Mao and its teachings have been in conflict with the forces of Communism for generations.
Demand for the Bible is soaring in China, at a time when meteoric economic growth is testing the country’s allegiance to Communist doctrine. Today the 50 millionth Bible will roll off the presses of China’s only authorised publisher, Amity Printing, amid public fanfare and celebration. Read More.
Every night, columns of hulking blue and red freight trucks invade China’s major cities with a reverberating roar of engines and dark clouds of diesel exhaust so thick it dims headlights. Read More.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
In today's Washington Post, Pete Hegseth, executive director of Vets for Freedom, has coauthored an op-ed with...wait for it...Major General John Batiste.
Batiste, you will remember, is the formerly "antiwar" general who spoke out against Donald Rumsfeld, and who, until recently, was a Board Member of VoteVets.org (the antiwar MoveOn.org vets front group). Read More.
The passionate, sometimes rhythmic, language-like patter that pours forth from religious people who “speak in tongues” reflects a state of mental possession, many of them say. Now they have some neuroscience to back them up.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers. The regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness were active. The women were not in blind trances, and it was unclear which region was driving the behavior. Read More.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Rick Warren, the influential pastor of the Saddleback megachurch in Orange County, Calif., invited eight presidential candidates to speak at his third annual "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church," but only Hillary Clinton came. (Five other candidates made appearances via pretaped video.) Read More.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Rarely in U.S. history has a political party diagnosed a major failure in the country's approach to a crucial issue of the day, led a national referendum on the failing policy, forced a change in that policy that led to major substantive benefits for the nation — and then categorically refused to take any credit whatsoever for doing so. Read More.
Monday, December 03, 2007
AMID much publicity last year, the National Geographic Society announced that a lost 3rd-century religious text had been found, the Gospel of Judas Iscariot. The shocker: Judas didn’t betray Jesus. Instead, Jesus asked Judas, his most trusted and beloved disciple, to hand him over to be killed. Judas’s reward? Ascent to heaven and exaltation above the other disciples. Read the rest.
So while I believe Osteen is doing a good work in many ways, it just strikes me as not being the whole Gospel message.
Update on Osteen and Warren. Must admit this is a good thing and Warren is spot on.
“You don’t have to be a Christian to get his message of hope — that no matter where you are in life, you can be better and do better,” said Berning, 51.
Osteen connects with a broad audience, including many who do not attend church regularly or watch Christian television.
“My core message is to bring hope and encouragement, and that’s what I’m best at,” he said in a soft Southern accent. Read More.
And Warren makes me proud:
He has not taken a salary from his Houston megachurch for two years. He owns one house — the same one he and his wife, Victoria, have lived in for 13 years — and until recently he drove a 9-year-old car he inherited from his late father. Osteen pays his own hotel bills, and there is no private jet.
Although the upbeat minister does take collections at services, netting an estimated $43 million a year, Osteen does not ask for money on his broadcasts, which reach an estimated 7 million viewers weekly in the U.S. and 100 other countries. Nonetheless, an additional $30 million comes through the mail. His most recent book deal earned him a $13 million advance.
“We make plenty of money from our books,” said Osteen, 44. “But we just live normal lives. We try to be conservative and honor God with our life and with our example.”
Osteen refuses to condemn the targets of Grassley’s inquiry, or Richard Roberts, who quit as president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., amid charges that he used school funds and facilities for his family.
“While I never like to hear negative things about friends and other ministers, I choose to believe the very best in them,” Osteen said.
Warren, for example, has repaid every dollar he has earned in the pulpit of Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., and pledged to give away 90 percent of his book royalties. He accepts no speaking fees and is not as reluctant as Osteen to criticize those who are less altruistic.
“The opulent lifestyles of televangelists make me sick,” said Warren, of those ministries now under investigation. The scandals, he said, flow from the “prosperity gospel” that many televangelists preach.
“Success in any area often creates a spirit of entitlement — ‘I deserve this’ — that is the exact opposite of servant leadership,” Warren said.Osteen agrees, offering his own definition of the prosperity gospel: “I never preach a message on money,” he said. “I do believe that God wants us to be blessed, to have good marriages, to have peace in our minds, to have health, to have money to pay our bills. I think God wants us to excel. But everyone isn’t going to be rich — if we’re talking about money.” Link.
President Hugo Chavez suffered a stunning defeat Monday in a referendum that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely and impose a socialist system in this major U.S. oil provider.
Voters defeated the sweeping measures Sunday by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent, said Tibisay Lucena, chief of the National Electoral Council, with voter turnout at just 56 percent. Read More.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Hate for gays, Catholics, blacks anything that is not there brand of what it means to be a Christian.
I can honestly say don't go to Theology Online. The admin there is petty and a disgrace for what it means to be a Christian.
God grant me the mercy and grace to never be like that.