Month: April 2014

Amish Sunglasses

I live in Strasburg, Pennsylvania in the heart of Amish Country.  I have close encounters of the 1st kind with Amish almost daily.  (Close encounters of the 2nd kind are when their mules or cows get loose and run in my yard.  The 3rd kind is when I smell the left overs from the animals as it is spread on the fields).

Since I live “among” the Amish, I am expected to be an expert on Amish affairs when someone out the region has a question.  Recently I was asked if Amish were allowed to wear sunglasses.  I couldn’t remember the last time I saw an Amish adult wearing sunglasses so I answered, “it would depend on their church and what the elders have to say.”

The next week I went to my favorite Amish restaurant and I asked the Amish waitress if Amish can in fact wear sunglasses.  She laughed and thought about it and replied, “I don’t see why not.  I don’t know of any rule against wearing sunglasses.”

Hmmm, sunglasses can be very expensive and very worldly.  I think she better do a little research and make sure before she gets in trouble.

Be blessed today in the work of your hands.  Take time to Rest in your Saviors arms!

1 Timothy 2:9

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
amishsunglasses2

 

Set aside right and wrong but only hear our side

I scan through my news feeds today and I run across a heart felt article about a woman defending her abortion.  The post starts: “Set aside right or wrong just for a few moments. A woman wants to tell you her story.”  http://www.upworthy.com/a-woman-wants-to-tell-you-the-5-most-surprising-things-about-her-abortion?c=huf1

Ok, let’s set aside the arguments, anger, etc.  But can you please also run an article about a woman sharing her 5 most surprising things about giving birth to her child?  How about a teen mom that everyone encouraged to abort but now has a healthy successful child (teen or adult)?  How about a mom that had no alternative and gave a loving couple an adopted child?  How about a story written from a “saved” baby that is now an adult and is happy to share why they are glad they weren’t aborted?  Or, relevant to this story – a mother who carried her child to full term only to hold the severely handicapped child in her arms for a few minutes before he or she died?

No? Probably not.  I read those stories too but not in pro abortion news feeds.  Again, you want compassion from the other side but you are unwilling to publish successes on the other side for  fear of breaking down your stand.

#ANGIEaker   #abortion   #prolife

Earthquakes

Watch the earthquakes.  I am not declaring anything except: Watch. Be ready.

See the volcanoes.  They are erupting.

Nations are rising and falling.

Whatever can be shaken will be shaken.

Mark 13:8

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

 

Digital material and the mark of the beast

In the 1970’s we began to understand how the government and companies could control money through credit cards.

In the 1980’s and beyond, credit cards continued to gain popularity along with debit cards and on line banking.

In the 1990’s we were introduced to the internet and growing dependency on computers.

2000 brought more technology and more eyes and ears on everything we do by companies and governments.

Beyond the obvious issues of a cashless society and constant surveillance, let’s look at another angle of “end times”.

I love the digital world.  It is convenient and life changing.  I use a lap top, wireless internet, digital download music, Kindle (it goes everywhere with me), online Bible, dictionaries, encyclopedias, Skype, oh and yes I still use email.   I am not negative on any of this but there is a danger – we don’t control any of it.

In the 1930’s and ’40’s Hitler confiscated personal possessions from the Jews.   They had to go door to door to remove items from homes.  The Communists did the same thing in the 40’s and beyond.  Books and possessions can be stolen and burned but they can also be hidden.  They also need to be physically removed house by house.

In the digital age, everything and I mean everything can be turned off.  I was reminded lately that I don’t “own” the several hundred books that I “bought” on my Kindle.  I don’t “own” the music on Spotify or itunes.  I don’t own the material I write on here, on Twitter, Facebook, or even material that is published on Amazon.   All of that can be turned off by someone else for any reason at anytime.

If you don’t believe it, read the small fine print.  Even if it is turned off unintentionally, there is a fight to get it turned back on.  At this point in history, it is normally a technology glitch but read on:

Most of us consider Facebook and Twitter friendly social sites where we share pictures and comment on our lives. They have been fabulous tools to stay connected with people all around the world.  What happens when the social sites really don’t like what we say?  Will they shut us down?  Do they monitor what is said?  At what point will acceptance turn?

Recently a popular columnist posted comments about the Rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada that upset the Facebook monitors.  The monitors not only deleted his post but also froze his daily Bible verse posts and his entire site.

“We removed something your page posted,” Facebook told him in a rather unpleasant message. “We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards.”  This same columnist has been censored for posting about Chick Filet, God, the Bible, Paula Deen, the National Rifle Association and more.

Shocked?  Don’t be.  Facebook and other internet sites are private companies that can permit or ban behavior that they deem inappropriate.  One night I thought it would be fun to connect with all the “Brian Fulmers” on Facebook.  Facebook didn’t think it was fun and promptly stopped me from asking anyone to be a friend for weeks.

We often think of censorship in terms of porn, obscene language, violence and religion.  We now need to think about political correctness and the new societal norm.   By living under digital control, we have assigned “monitors” to everything we say, do, write, listen to, and share.   I can whisper to my neighbor that I don’t approve of _______ but if I “post” it I am in danger of censorship.

What are the rules to “Community Standard”?  Who is monitoring the monitors?  I know what you are thinking – it is good that there are rules for appropriate behavior.  Well, sorry, you can post the following (you may want to close your eyes) since the Facebook monitors feel they are appropriate:

“F*** Conservatives”

“F*** Mitt Romney”

“Tea Party Can Kiss My A**”

“Rush Limbaugh is an Abject A******”

The most shocking and disturbing is a site on Facebook called A.R.A.B. – Ann Romney’s Amputated Breast.  

Facebook is not the only company to push their agenda.  Amazon has censored right wing material while the national media is constantly making their positions known.

What can start with publishing posts can certainly lead to a general shut down of readership and use as well.  We know that these companies monitor everything we do so it won’t be hard for them to hit a kill switch on anyone  who strays to far from the “common good”.

We began to see how the “mark of the beast” could control us in the 70’s.  It is now becoming more and more evident as we develop the grid in every corner of our lives.  If I need to run to the mountains some night, I will make sure to bring my actual Bible and leave my Kindle, cell phone, and lap top behind.

PS: I hope WordPress doesn’t censor this!

Revelation 13:17

so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

666

 

 

Boring Church Service

We visited a neighborhood church today for Easter in hopes of hearing a new revelation or a striking message.  We were very disappointed.   The pastor used an old message that has been preached over and over again; one that we both had heard many many times before.  We thought, this is Easter, the church is full, there should be an exciting message.

The pastor even admitted that it was a recycled message that he preached before.  He kept repeating the same words and saying that we have all heard it before.  Couldn’t he come up with something new?  My mind wandered to episodes of my favorite TV show that I’ve seen hundreds of times and have lines memorized.  Blah blah blah.  I didn’t want a re-run.  I wanted something new.

Everyone today is looking for something new.  A new diet.  A new financial scheme.  A new thrill.  Who wants to go and hear a re-used message?  I doubt that we will go there again.  Same old, same old.

Here is a recap of the message: Jesus was arrested, tortured, and brutally killed even though he was innocent.  He suffered a terrible death but gave his life on the cross so that all others could live.  He was buried in a tomb but in three days he rose up from the dead.  He appeared first to a group of women and later to his disciples and then to crowds of people.  A small group of followers over the years have believed in this and declared it as “salvation” to the sinners.  They actually base their joy and purpose on this story.

I have gone to church on Easter Sunday 53 times in my life.  I keep hearing the same message over and over again.  I guess there isn’t anything that can be added to it.  It’s actually not a repeat.  It’s a re-life.  It’s a new hope every time it is heard.  It is new faith every time it is preached.  It is joy beyond any understanding of joy that we can imagine.  It is our purpose and only meaning.  I shouldn’t have been so hard on that pastor – he was just doing his job – declaring the gospel and the meaning of our lives.  Maybe I will visit there again. And I hope that I get to hear that same message again.

Luke 24

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Has Risen

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Manmust be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Prayer for vulnerable people

No school, no travel for Myanmar’s blacklisted Rohingya kids – report

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Mon, 23 Jan 2012 12:49 PM

Author: AlertNet
hum-peo
Enlarge image

BANGKOK (AlertNet) – More than 40,000 Rohingya children in western Myanmar have been deprived of rights to travel, go to school or to marry in future, because their parents had an unauthorised marriage or exceeded a two-child limit, a report said

Rights groups say the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, face some of the worst discrimination in the world, have suffered abuses and deprived of free movement, education and employment under the country’s former military rulers and now under the current government. They are also denied Myanmar citizenship.

These blacklisted children are refused birth registration, and so are not included in the family list and get hidden during the authorities’ population checks, said the report, which human rights organisation Arakan Project on Thursday submitted to the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child.

“All Rohingya children suffer unmitigated discrimination with regard to education, health care and access to food,” the report said.

The report say there are close to 750,000 Rohingyas in the country’s Northern Rakhine State and hundreds of thousands more scattered in BangladeshMalaysia and the Middle East following exoduses in the past few decades.

Families with blacklisted children also suffer from “unending extortion” by local authorities because the parents can be arrested for hosting an unregistered guest, the report added.

According to The Arakan Project, Rohingyas need official authorisation to marry and the authorities can take several years to grant it. Those who marry have to sign an undertaking that they will have no more than two children, and marriage or cohabitation without authorisation is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

REGISTRATION

The authorities have started a process of registering these children in the past two months, but some parents fear this is a ploy to prosecute them for unauthorised marriage, The Arakan Project said.

Registered Rohingya children hardly fare any better, as they are denied citizenship and remain stateless, the report said.

Rohingya children in Myanmar are exposed to preventable diseases due to chronic malnutrition and a lack of access to healthcare, while many are subjected to forced labour.

Four in every five Rohingyas in Myanmar are illiterate, the report said. The main reason for Rohingya children not attending school is widespread poverty as children must contribute to the family income, it said.

“Forced labour has a severe economic impact, driving down the poor already

surviving hand-to-mouth into abject poverty, exposing children to hunger and

malnutrition,” the report said.

The report cites the story of a 9-year-old Rohingya boy who looked after a neighbouring farmer’s cows for the whole day for a fee. He said he was forced to carry loads, repair roads or cut grass for the local authorities and the army for free.

“Being hungry is very painful. When I am hungry I feel like crying,” said the boy who is registered as the son of his grandmother, after his parents married without official authorisation and had to flee to Bangladesh.

“When there is no food, my grandmother borrows rice from the neighbour but sometimes the neighbours cannot give any rice to her because they also have no rice,” he added.

THE RIGHT TO IDENTIFICATION

Myanmar’s nominally civilian government, which took power last March after half a century of iron-fished military rule, has surprised both its citizens and foreign countries with the speed of its reforms.

The government has begun peace talks with ethnic rebels, relaxed its strict media censorship and allowed trade unions and protests.

However, “deeply discriminatory policies” against the Rohingyas remain. The authorities justify these policies as illegal immigration management and population control, said Chris Lewa, coordinator of The Arakan Project.

This discrimination is rooted in the belief, both by the government and by many in Myanmar, that the Rohingyas are a product of recent migration from Bangladesh, the report said.

Consistently referred to as ‘illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,’ Myanmar’s Rohingyas are deprived of one of the most basic human rights – the right to an identification.

“Rohingya children, in particular, bear the full brunt of the devastating impact of these (discriminatory) policies, which gravely impair their physical and mental development as children and will affect the long-term future of their community,” the report said.

(Editing by Rebekah Curtis)

http://www.trust.org/item/20120123124900-7nb3x/?source=quickview

Who will you dorm with?

Transgender student files housing complaint against Christian university

EDUCATION

Posted April 11, 2014, 05:22 p.m.

A Christian university in Oregon must decide where it stands theologically and legally as it responds to an anti-discrimination complaint filed last week by a transgender student.

The student, referred to in legal documents as Jayce M., came to George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., about 25 miles south of Portland, as a woman but has been in the process of legally, and physically, changing her gender.

George Fox University administrators met throughout the year with Jayce, now a sophomore, to figure out where she would live once she legally became a man. Because student housing at George Fox is single-gender, campus officials proposed that Jayce live alone on-campus next year. Jayce had requested to live in an on-campus apartment with a group of male friends, Jayce’s attorney, Paul Southwick, told me.

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Southwick is a Portland attorney and a George Fox alumnus who heads up an advocacy project for LGBT students on Christian college campuses. He said he met Jayce through other students he knows at George Fox. Southwick filed the Title IX discrimination complaint on April 4 and also helped Jayce’s mother prepare a petition supporting Jayce on Change.org. As of Friday afternoon, the petition had nearly 6,000 signatures.

In 2011, Southwick represented a student whose acceptance at California Baptist University was rescinded when the college learned the young man had represented himself as a woman on his application. The student at that time had not undergone the legal gender change process. The lawsuit is still pending.

Jayce applied to George Fox as a female and has been honest with the university about being transgender, Southwick said.

“Jayce is a Christian and he’s happy to go to a Christian university,” Southwick said. “He also doesn’t see anything being incompatible with being a Christian and living with a transgender identity.” Southwick said he saw “no clear directive from scripture or spiritual leaders” against attempting to change gender, though “there’s clearer passages regarding homosexual conduct.”

George Fox is a Christian university founded by Quakers in the 1880s. It is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The statement of faith on its website says, “We believe that God inspired the Bible and has given it to us as the uniquely authoritative, written guide for Christian living and thinking. As illumined by the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are true and reliable.”

In a statement posted online, school administrators said, “George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single sex because of our theological commitments. The student’s request to switch from female-only on-campus housing to male-only on-campus housing is one that many institutions would struggle with.”

According to the statement, administrators spent hours during the past several months trying to work out Jayce’s housing situation. They also have tried to be supportive. “Out of respect for the student’s wishes, university staff refers to the student using the masculine pronoun,” the statement said. “At this time, the student has not legally changed genders.” An Oregon court approved changing Jayce’s legal gender to male earlier today, Southwick told me.

The university is subject to Title IX, which requires schools to provide equal student housing to students of all genders, Southwick said. Based on an attorney’s advice, a university spokesman declined to comment further on the college’s legal or theological defense for its position. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will be responsible for investigating the complaint and deciding whether George Fox has violated Title IX’s anti-discrimination rules.

Lynde Langdon
Lynde Langdon

Lynde lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. She holds degrees from the University of Missouri in journalism, Russian, and business administration. She is in a long-term, committed relationship with the Lutheran church. Follow Lynde on Twitter@lmlangdon.

Pay your taxes

Ok, Ok, No one wants to pay taxes . . .

We all want government services – roads, police, firemen, protection, safety nets, etc. but we hate the corruption, waste, and misuse of funds.  Roads to nowhere.  Blueberry studies.  Bee enhancement.  Grants and gifts and loans and outrageous spending that no family would ever be able to do.

What I think is essential you may think is waste.  What I believe is honorable you may think is horrible.  How I want the government to run may be idiotic to you.

One thing is for sure.  Corrupt and evil governments have existed since the beginning of time.  How corrupt is ours?  We may never know.  We are called to pray and be respectful.  That is hard enough WITHOUT wanting to pay taxes.

Next time you pass 5 people leaning on shovels at a road project, waive to them and pray a blessing instead of grumbling.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:6-7

US INCOME TAX FORMS

Homeless Jesus Statue

Rev. David Buck sits next to the Jesus the Homeless statue that was installed in front of his church, St. Alban's Episcopal, in Davidscon, N.C.

Rev. David Buck sits next to the Jesus the Homeless statue that was installed in front of his church, St. Alban’s Episcopal, in Davidscon, N.C.

John Burnett/NPR

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.

“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.

“Another neighbor, who lives a couple of doors down from the church, wrote us a letter to the editor saying it creeps him out,” Boraks added.

Some neighbors felt it was an insulting depiction of the Son of God, and what appears to be a hobo curled up on a bench demeans the neighborhood.

The bronze statue was purchased for $22,000 as a memorial for a parishioner, Kate McIntyre, who had loved public art. The rector of this liberal, inclusive church is Rev. David Buck, a 65-year-old Baptist-turned-Episcopalian who seems not at all averse to the controversy, the double-takes and the discussion the statue has provoked.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” he says. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

The sculpture is intended as a visual translation of the passage in the Book of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” Moreover, Buck says, it’s a good Bible lesson for those used to seeing Jesus depicted in traditional religious art as the Christ of glory, enthroned in finery.

“We believe that that’s the kind of life Jesus had,” Buck says. “He was, in essence, a homeless person.”

This lakeside college town north of Charlotte has the first Jesus the Homeless statue on display in the United States. Catholic Charities of Chicago plans to install its statue when the weather warms up. The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is said to be interested in one, too.

The creator is a Canadian sculptor and devout Catholic named Timothy Schmalz. From his studio in Ontario, Schmalz says he understands that his Jesus the Homeless is provocative.

“That’s essentially what the sculpture is there to do,” he says. “It’s meant to challenge people.”

Read more: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/13/302019921/statue-of-a-homeless-jesus-startles-a-wealthy-community

Love

We don’t want to read anymore.  We are bombarded with material.  So, let’s keep it short and simple:

Love

Matthew 22:35-39

New International Version (NIV)

35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

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