Daily Archives: 2 Feb 2010

Abstinence Programs Work: There’s Proof

For the first time, researchers say they have clear evidence that abstinence education works and it could change the conversation about young people and sex.

So reports ABC.

“I think this is a game-changing piece of evidence,” says Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen, Unplanned Pregnancy. For the study, released Monday in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, researchers followed sixth and seventh graders in separate groups. In one, the focus was abstinence; in the other, they taught contraception and safe sex.

There ya go.

James Spinti: On Sport

James writes (in connection with the upcoming ball game on Sunday)

I remember one church we were a part of back in Minnesota. The Vikings had made it to either the Super Bowl, or the game just before it, I’ve forgotten which, but the music leaders all dressed in purple, and the pastor cut the sermon short in the third service, so that no one would miss the opening sacrifice—I mean kick-off. What idolatry! I wrote a letter asking if they had thought about the message their actions sent. The response seemed to indicate that they hadn’t. Cultural blindness is understandable in non-Christians, but in those who have the Holy Spirit opening their eyes?

Well said! I particularly like this phrase…

… the pastor cut the sermon short in the third service, so that no one would miss the opening sacrifice—I mean kick-off.

Yes indeedy do… And James is spot on when he observes

Cultural blindness is understandable in non-Christians, but in those who have the Holy Spirit opening their eyes?

That, it seems, hits the proverbial nail right on the head. Christians who can’t see what’s wrong with all this sport-ianity supported by abandoning worship just can’t see clearly. Tragically.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: It’s Immoral

Don’t ask don’t tell may have worked for Bill Clinton’s personal life, but it’s no way to run an army or anything else because it engenders duplicity and deception.

And that alone is reason to oppose the policy.

When Churches Need Advice To Skirt the Law…

It may behoove them to avoid the behavior that they are attempting since squeezing through a tiny legal loophole doesn’t speak well for their confession “Christ is Lord’.

What am I on about?  About those churches that are holding ‘Super Bowl’ parties but calling them something else so as to avoid breaking the law.  A rose by any other name…

As the New Orleans Saints get ready to battle it out with the Indianapolis Colts this weekend, churches are being cautious with their Super Bowl viewing parties to avoid copyright infringement.

Sure, you wouldn’t want to break the law, would you?

And they’re starting by leaving “Super Bowl” out of their event title.

Sure, just call it something else. God will understand your duplicity. And you can go ahead and hold your parties with a clean, clear, and Christless conscience. Not that Christ matters all that much when there’s a ball game on with which to replace him.

This year, The Church Law Group has released some tips updating churches on how to host a legal Super Bowl watch party.

Better pay heed to them.  They can keep you out of man’s court.  God’s, on the other hand, you’ll stand in no matter how you’re able to rationalize your decision to value entertainment over worship.

Zwingli: On Wicked Government

… Because they are enemies of the cross of Christ, they do not attack greed, the wanton exercise of power by those in authority, the giving of false weight or false judgment, and monopolies… [so that] their lack of true faith leads to the ills of society.  — Huldrych Zwingli

N.B.- He could have written that this week about nearly any politician in American society.

Total Depravity: The Rape of a 9 Year Old

These kinds of stories just are so horrific that words are hard to find.  What kind of person rapes a 9 year old?

The rape has resulted in the birth of a boy and police are trying to discover who the father is.

A nine-year-old Chinese schoolgirl has become one of the world’s youngest mothers after giving birth to a healthy boy. The unnamed girl was brought to a hospital in Changchun, which lies in the north-east of the country, when she was eight and a half months pregnant. … Last night police were reportedly trying to establish who the father is. In the province, sex with a child under the age of 14 brings an automatic rape conviction and a lengthy jail sentence. A legal expert told the paper that women under the age of 14 do not have sexual rights – ‘so any argument of being consensual as a defence is completely untenable,’ he said. He added: ‘Anyone who had sexual relations with a girl under 14 means they have committed rape and is to be punished severely.’

One thing you have to give the Chinese, when their laws are broken, the lawbreaker – when found – is prosecuted and punished. And the ‘person’ who committed the rape of this little girl certainly deserves everything Chinese justice can deliver.

Are You Sad the Prop 8 Trial Wasn’t Televised?

There’s no need to be. The trial is being re-enacted on YouTube. Now you can watch, for yourself, every scintillating moment… if you have loads of time and a quick internet connection.

Ok, so that’s just weird. But if you’re really, really interested in the trial, here’s your chance to watch it (or read the transcript- since the site offers you that opportunity as well).

The Apocalyptic Jesus?

Helen Bond has a new essay at Bible and Interpretation titled The Relevance of an Apocalyptic Jesus. It’s quite a brief piece. But very weighty and provocative.

If It Makes The National Secularist Society Mad…

It can’t be all that bad, can it?

In his comments on Monday the pope said that Britain “is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity.” But he added “the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs,” he wrote. “In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.” Observers said the pontiff was referring to legislation that took effect on January 1, 2009, preventing adoption agencies — including Catholic ones — from discriminating against gay couples.

To force Church agencies to underwrite adoptions the Church views as illegitimate is, in fact, a violation of religious freedom. Forcing anyone to do anything against their religious principles is not the business of government.

Quote of the Day

If the word which exalts a person in himself is a devilish one, we must not give it room unless we want to take counsel from our enemy. — John Calvin

On Calvin: A Podcast

You can download a podcast discussing the significance of Calvin by clicking here.

Here’s the blurb-

Vor 500 Jahren wurde der Reformator Johannes Calvin geboren. Am Ende des Calvin-Jahres 2009 werfen wir einen Blick auf die Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche in Bayern, eine verschwindend kleine Minderheit in der protestantischen Minderheit des Freistaats. Und diese kleine Kirche hat in der jüngsten Vergangenheit vor allem mit negativen Schlagzeilen auf sich aufmerksam gemacht. Der kirchliche Schatzmeister soll das gesamte Vermögen der Kirche veruntreut haben. Ein Porträt der evangelisch-reformierten Kirche von Frank Wairer.

And here’s the original mention of the podcast.  Enjoy!

I’m All For This

In fact, I think we should use it for all Church services so we have a record of who does and who doesn’t attend:

A Polish priest has installed an electronic reader in his church for schoolchildren to leave their fingerprints in order to monitor their attendance at mass, the Gazeta Wyborcza daily said on Friday. The pupils will mark their fingerprints every time they go to church over three years and if they attend 200 masses they will be freed from the obligation of having to pass an exam prior to their confirmation, the paper said.

For our purposes, we could allow regular members (those who attend 100 services per year) to be at the front of the line at Homecoming Lunch. And those who didn’t attend 100 services per year would be refused dessert at Homecoming. Just think of it! Oh the possibilities that modern technology offers us for helping the Flock find a reason to attend…

[n.b., really, if they have to be bribed in, they probably should stay home anyway]

Total Depravity: The Twittering Gang-Members Edition

Criminals and gang members are usually not very bright. But the fact that they are presently making use of Twitter and Facebook to chronicle their doings has to win them the ‘stupid criminal trick’ of the month award.

Law enforcement officials say gangs are making greater use of Twitter and Facebook, where they sometimes post information that helps agents identify gang associates and learn more about their organizations. “You find out about people you never would have known about before,” said Dean Johnston with the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, which helps police investigate gangs. “You build this little tree of people.”

Beware, then. That facebook friend request or the dread (and appalling) ‘follow me’ on twitter invitation may well be from a gang member… And worst of all, they’re probably being sent from an iPhone!

Austria’s Own Pat Robertson

Senior Catholic figures in Austria have been forced to speak out after controversial comments by an ultra-conservative pastor over the Haiti earthquake. Pastor Gerhard Maria Wagner had claimed 90 per cent of Haitians practised voodoo in an interview published in the newspaper Kurier on Sunday when he was asked if the Haitian earthquake had been God’s punishment of human sin. He told the paper: “I do not know, but it is interesting that 90 per cent of Haitians belong to the cult of voodoo.”

Actually most Haitians are practicing Christians. The voodoo claim, also made by some American fundamentalists, is simply one of those oft repeated urban legends.

That said, I did have to breath a little sigh of relief in the knowledge that America isn’t the only country with crazy clerics. Welcome to the fold, Austria.

But Austria’s Pat Robertson got smacked down by the higher ups…

Linz General Vicar Severin Lederhilger reacted quickly following the comments and said on Sunday contemporary Catholic theological teaching held that it was “completely inappropriate and unacceptable” to call natural catastrophes “God’s punishment” of the immoral behaviour of victims, according to Catholic press agency Kathpress. … Kathpress said 80 per cent of Haitians were Catholics and 10 per cent followed other Christian religions. It added that only a few people were members of Haiti’s “voodoo” cult and most did not perceive a conflict between it and Christianity. In the same interview, Wagner also called for a national referendum on the issue of construction of minarets. He said: “One must take people’s concerns seriously and not always criminalise everything. Islam is a danger and must be kept under observation.”

Oh boy- so he’s Pat Robertson with a bit of fear of foreigners splashed in for good measure…

Tennessee Baptists in Haiti: Doing It Right

The Tennessean reports

[Lance] Taylor and other volunteers from Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville spent most of last week in Haiti, ferrying children who were orphaned or displaced from makeshift hospitals to an orphanage. Getting the right children to the right place was a confusing and frustrating process. Still, Taylor knew that if the volunteers didn’t get all of the proper paperwork in place, they could cause more harm than good.

Read the whole report. There is a right way to go about achieving even the best goals.  And bypassing basic rules and regulations isn’t it.