2017 (NV)

December 15, 2017:  Christmas Canceled in Nazareth, Lights Out on Bethlehem Christmas Tree?

Wow!  This is an interesting situation indeed.  Nazareth is currently a Muslim-majority city, and in protest of President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel,” Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam has canceled numerous “Christmas events” that normally take place in the city.  Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem reportedly turned off the lights on the Bethlehem Christmas tree soon after President Trump’s announcement, in similar protest.

October 10, 2017:  Thousands of Christians ‘Take a Knee’ on National Mall to Repent for Racial Injustice

This is powerful stuff!  As reported by Christian Post online, “Thousands of Christians from across the United States took a knee in prayer on the National Mall on Columbus Day, just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol, to ask God to forgive the racial sins of America’s past and let reconciliation and healing sweep the land.”  Alveda King prayed, “Acts 17:26 says we are one blood — of one blood, God made every person to live together.  So we break the lie of racism.  We are not separate races.  We are one blood.  We can live together as brothers and sisters.  I decree that we will not, in this nation and across the world…we will not perish as fools.  We will return to God.”  Later in the article, one attendee, Nicole Johnson, reportedly said she “was glad” that everyone in attendance was taking a knee.  Her perpective:  “This is what is supposed to be going on in the Christian body.  We are supposed to be effecting the change and not relying on the government.”  Like I  said — powerful stuff!

August 25, 2017:  NBA Analyst Charles Barkley Called “Black White Supremacist”

Up front:  I am somewhat of a Barkley fan, having lived in Phoenix during much of his playing time with the Phoenix Suns.  I also like the fact he is usually direct, plain-spoken, and (mostly) honest in sharing his opinion.  Article author Sarah Taylor shares The Root writer Michael Herriot’s oxymoron-ish description of former NBS star and current NBA analyst Charles Barkley after Barkley stated that debating about the continuation or destruction of Confederate statues was a “waste of time” and that he was not going “to worry about” Confederate statues.  Barkley is quoted as saying, “You know what I’ going to do?  I’m going to keep doing great things.  I’m gonna keep trying to make a difference — Number 1, in the Black community, because I’m black.  But I’m also gonna try to do good things in the world.”  

July 9, 2017:  Marco Rubio Questions Use of “Republican” in Describing Book of Proverbs

OK, time for a laugh:  Professor Joel Baden of Yale University apparently complained that Marco Rubio was tweeting “the most Republican part of the Bible.”  Rubio responded, “I don’t think Solomon had yet joined the GOP when he wrote the first 29 chapters of Proverbs…”  Why does Baden equate Proverbs with the Republican affiliation?  He is quoted as saying, “Proverbs is notable in that it presents a fairly consistent view of the world — the righteous are rewarded, and the wicked are punished…this worldview has consequences:  those who succeed in life must be more righteous than those who struggle…”  Well, this worldview does indeed have consequences even if it is Professor Baden’s ignorance of God and His Kingdom that is truly on display.

June 28:2017:  The Freedom From Religion Group Complains Against — Who?

OK, I was really surprised at this…the FFRG usually goes after “religious” signs or monuments, Nativity scenes one inch on “public property”, etc.  But to write a letter of complaint against an Anne Graham Lotz prayer event?  The event, scheduled on property owned by the Ashe County Sheriff Dept., is charged by the FFRG with “violating the Establishment Clause” of the Constitution.  Apparently under the recommendation of an attorney representing the Sheriff Department’s interests, the prayer rally will be moved to the Sheriff’s office parking lot.  The parking lot is “open to any group which may wish to hold a vigil or meeting.”  I hope this Sheriff’s Dept. has more courage in upholding the law than in upholding convictions of conscience…

June 19, 2017:  Second Research Group Compiles Statistics Regarding Voter Fraud 

Just Facts, a research group based in New Jersey, recently published information regarding the 2008 election in which “as many as 5.7 million noncitizens may have voted…”  While this issue has come under scrutiny as a result of President Trump’s early-on unverified statements that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote due to noncitizen votes, this study states “the number of noncitizens voting illegally in U.S. elections is likely far greater than previous estimates.”  Of course, there are opponents to this conclusion. This article covers both sides rather well.

June 11, 2017:  Watchdog Group Proves Trump Right on Voter Fraud Claims

This article has a conservative slant, but the bottom line was of interest to me — in a study conducted by the Public Interest Legal Foundation in the state of Virginia, since 2011, “roughly 5,500 non-citizens registered to vote” and 1,800 were confirmed as multiple-ballot voting.  In other words, in a close election illegal votes could, indeed, be a deciding factor in victory.  The three states most suspected of high voter fraud (Washington, California, New York) creates no public data to dispute or confirm the suspicion.

June 7, 2017:  Alabama Replaces Work Requirements on Food Stamps

This is a tried-it-here-are-the-results experiment in Alabama, with 13 counties participating.  Alabama allegedly dropped the work-for-food-stamps requirement due to general high unemployment during the past many years.  With the perception of a better economy, the state decided to reinstate the work requirement to acquire food stamps, and describe the decrease in food stamp recipients as “staggering.”

June 6, 2017:  Headline Reads, “Boy Believes He’s a Girl, Defeats Girls At Connecticut State Championships

OK, I admit it — this is another one of those are you kidding me? kind of weird articles reflecting a weird real-life situation.  This male teenager states he gender-identifies with being a girl — but has received no sex reassignment surgery, no puberty blockers, and no female hormones — but was still allowed to compete “as a girl” at the Connecticut State Championship track competitions.  Big surprise– she (or he) won over all the other gender-born girls in the girls’ competition.  Keep your eyes open….my prediction is that the sports world will create one of the first organized efforts to enumerate parameters/qualifications/guidelines breaking down the different stages of transgenderism for practical integration and application.  

May 30, 2017:  Heineken Beer Promoting the Concept of “Open Borders”?

Brewed in Amsterdam, Holland, Heineken Beer has added back-of-the-bottle verbiage that reads, “Here’s to an open world.  A world without borders or barriers.  To the belief that there’s more that unites us than divides us.  To finding common ground.  So raise a bottle with the person next to you.  Because a stranger is just a friend you haven’t had a cold Heineken with yet.  Open your world.”   Do I like this verbiage?  Not especially.  Do I think it really matters?  Not really.  I remember Coca-Cola ads singing, ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,’  and other companies using one-world-peace  marketing slogans in bygone decades.  That sort of thinking used to be called idealism. And the we-can-all-get-along mindset was something that was outgrown or modified as time brought in the experiences of reality.  Unfortunately, the last two-plus decades of un-common-grounds violence has wreaked havoc all across the globe and resulted in those who actually believed that “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t had a cold Heineken with yet” becoming victim to the worst sort of crimes.  I don’t drink beer — but the smell from the outside of the bottle definitely leaves me with a bad taste.

May 16, 2017:  Court Grants Christian T-shirt Printer Religious Freedom to Decline Pro-LGBT Orders

This caught me by surprise.  Having semi-followed the Sweet Cakes bakers in Oregon who, as of March 6, 2017, continued the process of appealing a $135,000 fine for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2013, this case regarding Hands On Originals might indicate that the tide could turn regarding activist requests that violate personal conscience.  Company owner Blaine Anderson declined to print t-shirts for a gay pride event “because it went against his convictions,” which immediately resulted in a lawsuit being filed by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.  Hands On Originals’ case was taken up by the Alliance Defending Freedom, who argued the case before the Fayette Circuit Court in Kentucky.  Of related interest, a May 11 article in the online CBN Faithwire section tells the saga of  Christian bakers in Northern Ireland who have been struggling with a nearly identical situation as Sweet Cakes — while the fines for Ashers Bakery have risen, so have its profits.  Its legal representative, the U.K.’s Christian Institute, are pushing the case to the U.K. Supreme Court this October.

May 15, 2017:  Frozen Embryo Children Into Jewelry?  Really? 

Truly, this is one of the most bizarre articles I have chanced upon in a very long time. Apparently an Australian company named Baby Bee Hummingbirds transforms unviable embryos into jewelry.  One parent is quoted as saying she “wanted her remaining embryos close to her heart,” and has requested jewelry that accomplishes the task.  Some pro-life Christians in Australia call the practice “demonic.”   Either way, I find this situation entirely too distasteful for serious contemplation.  Ugh!

April 19, 2017:   GracePoint Church in Indiana Receives Unusual Contribution

Pastor Ben Lamb graciously received a “rare coin” donated by a widow just hours before a new building-deadline was about to stymie the construction of an independent facility.  Meeting in an elementary school since 2009, GracePoint contacted Heritage Auctions upon receiving the coin was was stunned that Heritage was quickly willing to forward $150,000 in anticipation of the 1866 coin’s final auction price.  

 

April 18, 2017:  Aid to a Church, or “Just a Playground”?  Neil Gorsuch’s first Supreme Court Case

Wow.  An 1875 piece of legislation titled the Blaine Amendment is actually the basis for blocking a small Lutheran Church from accessing a Missouri recycled tire program for playground use.  “Violating separation of church and state,” yep…and yes, that’s a scrap tire program coming before the Supreme Court of the United States.  Or so it first appears.  The Blaine Amendment was originally legislation that could not pass Congress, but was adopted in some form by a number of  states.  However, this seemingly oddball case has far-reaching implications and therefore worth a Supreme Court vote.

 

April 5, 2017:  Faithit published an article listing manufacturers using cocoa beans primarily harvested by trafficked children, as well as a list of manufacturers who “have made an intentional effort to avoid benefiting” from trafficked child labor.  This article, if fully true, is actually a bit horrific.  If Colorado can harvest marijuana through the snows and freezing temperatures of winter, it seems to me that the American “Cocoa Belt” could be duplicated and create a worthwhile new industry in our country…with humane harvesting conditions.  This report lists the “chocolate industry” as being an $823-million industry for Easter, alone!  

 

April 4, 2017:  Barna Research Publishes Its Annual “State of the Bible” for 2017.

Very interesting read.  Does this research make any difference?  Maybe.  This report can easily be viewed as full of encouragement for those who share Jesus as having “reconciled the world to Himself.” (2 Cor. 5:19)  Most people who consider themselves in the “skeptic” category resist Scripture because it is perceived as being controlling and manipulative.

 

March 20, 2017:  “When it Comes to Trust, Ryan no Match for Trump”

This article is just for the purpose of a good chuckle.  Love President Trump or hate him, you will be amused by these wide-margin statistics comparing the “public trust level” of President Trump and Paul Ryan.

March 18, 2017:  “Pastor Finds Massive Diamond, Then He Does This”

As you might guess from the title, he does not keep the gem for himself.  The 709-carat diamond was discovered near one of Pastor Emmanuel Momoh’s churches in the Sierra Leone mining community.  It was removed and given to Pastor Momoh.  I am surprised not that the pastor gave it away — but that he did not choose to use it for creating/assisting churches throughout the country.   His stated hope was that it would “help his impoverished country.”  President Bai Koroma stated it was “A gift from God.”  Easy to say…time will prove President’s Koroma’s heart…

March 17, 2017:  “‘Jumping Genes’ Further Debunk Evolution” 

This article is a little techy, but fascinating in describing the results of a Swiss research project, which determined that jumping genes are not “useless bits of junk DNA,” but having “a vital role in human physiology.”  Part of what I find fascinating about this article are the opposing interpretation as to the relevance of the discovery.  The journal Nature quotes a scientist as seeing these results as substantiating an”unimagined complexity and elegance in genetics” of the evolutionary process.  Professor and biophysicist Cornelius Hunter of Biola University believes “their discovery actually demolishes the theory of evolution in at least three ways.”  Read here.

February 28, 2017: One Automated Burger to Go

Back in May, 2016, businessinsider.com shared the info that Wendy’s was gearing up to deliver those “old-fashioned hamburgers” in a totally “newfangled way” — employees who previously took orders would be replaced by self-serve kiosks and other automation, including increased ability to pre-order/pay via mobile apps. Nine months later, multiple news outlets are reporting that the plan is now a reality — over 1,000 locations are currently rolling out ordering kiosks. A few of the outlets refer to this change as utilizing “robots” or “robotic servers”….an entirely different concept than a self-serve kiosk. One of the most interesting outlets to report this is endtimesheadlines.org. That site links to an “unsecured” site titled zerohedge.com, whose slogan is “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” Well alrighty-then….and Wendy’s states they are simply trying to combat $15/minimum wage….

February 23, 2017: Christian Post Editorial Page States Its Opinion Page “Is Not a Safe Place.”

This is a quick but great read, discussing the benefits of civil debate and exchange of viewpoints within the “Christian realm.” Of course it applies to everyone, though it focuses on CP readership. And I’ve almost stopped laughing at the below-headline caveat, “The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.” Huh.

February 20, 2017: Pew Research Center Poll States Millennials “Like Evangelicals as much as atheists and Muslims.”

I was surprised to see atheists rise from 41% likability in 2014 to 50% in 2017. However, this is consistent with findings reported by an early January Pew Research report entitled “How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency.”

February 10, 2017: Stop Operation Soros?

An interesting thought — apparently not just Americans are annoyed by George Soros’ many political interventions. Will this movement gain traction and move forward?

February 2, 2017: Headline from The Federalist reads, “Gay Marriage is Fueling Research 0n Lab-Grown GMO Babies.”

Author Georgi Boorman writes an absolutely fascinating (and scary) article discussing the increasing scientific ability to create “motherless” children. She cites numerous studies discussing the emotional cost to children in same-sex couples, and towards the end of the article categorizes this phenomena into a Romans 1:18-32 scenario of ‘not honoring God.’ I would love to hear thoughts on this! I also have a question…would it be accurate to state that with the conception of life (even substantially artificial conception), God gives both the breath of life and soul to these scientific “creations”?

February 1, 2017: United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan makes startling acknowledgement:

“Previous US administrations have embraced all the wanted men of the Arab world and those classified as terrorists.” The Sheikh shared his positive perspective of President Trump’s recent temporary immigration ban from politically unsettled countries in a recent news conference. There is an old joke about “you” being the last to know when you have bad breath, as it’s already quite obvious to everyone else…interesting that the Sheikh would point out what many political figures deny– many who are often defended by different political factions in America are recognized in their own countries as “wanted men.”

February 28, 2017: One Automated Burger to Go

Back in May, 2016, businessinsider.com shared the info that Wendy’s was gearing up to deliver those “old-fashioned hamburgers” in a totally “newfangled way” — employees who previously took orders would be replaced by self-serve kiosks and other automation, including increased ability to pre-order/pay via mobile apps. Nine months later, multiple news outlets are reporting that the plan is now a reality — over 1,000 locations are currently rolling out ordering kiosks. A few of the outlets refer to this change as utilizing “robots” or “robotic servers”….an entirely different concept than a self-serve kiosk. One of the most interesting outlets to report this is endtimesheadlines.org. That site links to an “unsecured” site titled zerohedge.com, whose slogan is “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” Well alrighty-then….and Wendy’s states they are simply trying to combat $15/minimum wage….

February 23, 2017: Christian Post Editorial Page States Its Opinion Page “Is Not a Safe Place.”

This is a quick but great read, discussing the benefits of civil debate and exchange of viewpoints within the “Christian realm.” Of course it applies to everyone, though it focuses on CP readership. And I’ve almost stopped laughing at the below-headline caveat, “The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.” Huh.

February 20, 2017: Pew Research Center Poll States Millennials “Like Evangelicals as much as atheists and Muslims.”

I was surprised to see atheists rise from 41% likability in 2014 to 50% in 2017. However, this is consistent with findings reported by an early January Pew Research report entitled “How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency.”

February 10, 2017: Stop Operation Soros?

An interesting thought — apparently not just Americans are annoyed by George Soros’ many political interventions. Will this movement gain traction and move forward?

February 2, 2017: Headline from The Federalist reads, “Gay Marriage is Fueling Research 0n Lab-Grown GMO Babies.”

Author Georgi Boorman writes an absolutely fascinating (and scary) article discussing the increasing scientific ability to create “motherless” children. She cites numerous studies discussing the emotional cost to children in same-sex couples, and towards the end of the article categorizes this phenomena into a Romans 1:18-32 scenario of ‘not honoring God.’ I would love to hear thoughts on this! I also have a question…would it be accurate to state that with the conception of life (even substantially artificial conception), God gives both the breath of life and soul to these scientific “creations”?

February 1, 2017: United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan makes startling acknowledgement:

“Previous US administrations have embraced all the wanted men of the Arab world and those classified as terrorists.” The Sheikh shared his positive perspective of President Trump’s recent temporary immigration ban from politically unsettled countries in a recent news conference. There is an old joke about “you” being the last to know when you have bad breath, as it’s already quite obvious to everyone else…interesting that the Sheikh would point out what many political figures deny– many who are often defended by different political factions in America are recognized in their own countries as “wanted men.”

January 15, 2017:  Deaf Muslim Embraces Christianity After Sign Language Explains the Gospel to Him.

I love hearing about unusual breakthrough.  Ayo, in his first visit to a Christian church, said “I have made up my mind to follow Jesus Christ, as taught today from God’s word.” He said that at the mosque, “no one cares about teaching me.”

January 3, 2017:  Alabama Supreme Court Rules Unborn Baby is a Person

This could be very interesting.  In an unusual chain of events, a fill-in doctor administered methotrexate, a drug intended to end pregnancy, to a patient believed to have an ectopic pregnancy.  This ended up being an incorrect assessment.  The doctor is now being sued for “wrongful death,” as a miscarriage resulted from the drug, and the Alabama Supreme Court has taken a stand regarding the person-or-fetus position.

December 30, 2016:  Ancient Hieroglyphics Provide Evidence that Israelites Utilized Egyptians Hieroglyphics as Basis for Hebrew Alphabet

Dr. Douglas Petrovich, an archaeologist, epigrapher, and professor of Ancient Egyptian Studies, deciphered the word “Hebrews” in a text “from 1874 BCE, which is the earliest known alphabet to date.”  I encourage you to read this article.  Really fascinating!