Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Western media silent as Muslims eject Christians from Mosul

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The fanatical Islamist group torches an 1,800-year-old church built before the founding of Islam and forces the Christian residents of Mosul to convert, pay a tax, leave or face execution.

[...]A photo released by Ammon News on Saturday showed a 1,800-year-old church that was set on fire by ISIL militants in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

It was part of a campaign against Christians there, and the destruction of their property was reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht, often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass,” a series of violent anti-Jewish pogroms that took place on November 9 and 10, 1938.

Thousands of Christians in Mosul began fleeing the city after ISIL issued an ultimatum on Friday to Iraqi Christians living in Mosul that by Saturday at noon (5 a.m. ET), they must convert to Islam, pay a fine or face “death by the sword.”

[...]On Monday, normally payday for municipal workers in Mosul, state workers were ordered not to pay the Christian employees. ISIL also forbade food to be distributed to Christian or Shiite families.

One state employee told the Arabic news outlet Ankawa that he was “warned that if he gives rations to Christians and Shiites, he will be charged and prosecuted according to Shariah law.”

From Nigeria to Egypt to Afghanistan and back, this story of Christian persecution continues without much notice from the White House.

The big question for me is, why isn’t this a big story in the mainstream media? I guess the victims are wrong. If it was trees or polar bears, then there would be a story. But it’s Christians, so there’s no story.

Filed under: News, , , ,

Report: UK woman had four abortions before age 16 – the age of consent

From the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

A British schoolgirl had four abortions before her 16th birthday, new figures today revealed.

The unnamed teenager, who underwent her fourth termination in 2012, is among more than 200 under-16s to have had repeat abortions in the past three years.

Shockingly, a further five of these girls had three abortions

It comes amid concern that terminations are being used by teenagers as an alternative form of contraception.

In 2011, a total of 84 under-16s had abortions for a second time or more, according to the Department of Health figures obtained by The Sun.

The total rose to 89 out of 2,925 under-16s to have abortions in 2012, but fell to 68 of 2,538 girls last year.

Last night, Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said too many teenagers were having sex without thinking about the consequences.

‘Too many are being taught that they have a right to sex without consequences and are free to dispose of any unborn child that threatens their lifestyle,’ he said.

Last year, 185,331 British women of all age groups had terminations. Of these, 50 were treated for a staggering nine abortions of more.

This is a good story to send to the safe, legal and rare crowd. How exactly do you make something rare when you make it safe, legal and free? When you force other people to subsidize it.

Filed under: News, ,

New study: self-control more likely to lead to happiness than indulgence

From the liberal New York magazine of all places.

Excerpt:

It’s tempting to pity the people who go to bed early, who are very careful with their money, who eat kale. So much self-denial! Is that any way to live? Actually — yes, suggests some recent research, which will be published in next month’s Journal of Personality. People with higher self-control also tend to lead happier lives.

Giving into life’s little temptations feels pretty great in the moment, but even the smallest sabotages to your long-term goals can add up, subsequently wreaking some emotional havoc over time. “The cost to those indulgences are large, and the costs that are incurred from turning down the indulgences and turning one’s back on tempting options are really not so big compared to the cost that come about from over-indulging,” Kathleen Vohs, a University of Minnesota marketing professor and one of the study’s co-authors, explained to Science of Us.

Vohs and her colleagues did a series of three studies to reach their conclusions: In the first, they gave 414 adults an online survey. A second study involved loaner Blackberries for all 288 adult participants, who were sent seven texts a day asking whether they’d experienced a desire to have or do something, how they reacted to the desire, and how happy they were currently feeling. And for the last study, 234 adults were given that survey measuring self-control; they then identified their top three goals, and told the researchers how strictly their actions in the past week were in keeping with those goals — and how happy they were with their effort.

In all three studies, the researchers found a link between self-control and happiness. The findings may be correlational and self-reported (which can always mean people may exaggerate the good stuff and minimize the bad), but the results still feel very true to life. “For me, I’ve actually found it to be quite an eye-opener,” Vohs said. “Because the lesson that should be taken away from this paper is that the best way for people to live healthy and happy lives is to avoid temptations in the first place.” Happiness is about more than living in the moment; it’s important to keep the future in mind, too.

I want to relate this to the topic of how Christians decide on what they are going to do with their lives to serve God. Which approach is better – self-control or no self-control?

Look at this post by a male reader of The Thinking Housewife blog.

Excerpt:

Since I wrote you last, I have decided to sign up for a few online dating sites, mostly out of curiosity. I could not imagine finding a serious mate on, say, OKCupid, but anything is possible. In poring over many hundreds of profiles in the past few days, a few things stand out to me.

  • I have not seen any woman make her desire for children, or even marriage, the central focus of her profile. Even though I filter profiles based on the “wants kids?” question (which is, surprisingly, often answered “yes”), nothing in the written profile suggests it is important to them. (This is occasionally not the case for Asian women)
  • The emphasis is instead on career, activities, hobbies, favourite movies/books/music, travel, and political inclinations (always to the left, sometimes the feminist left)
  • The surpreme goal of women my age appears to be to start an NGO in a Third World country.
  • Every woman my age has read Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Most are doing (or have done) advanced degrees, often in education or healthcare.
  • It is rare that a woman expresses interest in cooking, though most express interest in restaurants and food.
  • I have never seen a woman mention that she desires a good home, a place to call her own, or that she is otherwise domestically inclined.

I suspect these line up with your readers’ experiences too. That said, it may be that women view these traits as being desired by men, and they may be at odds with more deeply held needs.

In fact, The Thinking Housewife says these characteristics are also common in Christian circles:

Right now, in this country, there are many children growing up in single-mother homes. Growing up without a father and with a mother who is usually not at home and who may bring strange men into your life is a desolating experience that has been proven to damage many people. I have a friend who is a teacher in a white working-class neighborhood. Many of the children there are growing up in homes of never-married or divorced mothers. These children are hungry for attention and love. Their situation portends further social chaos. Do you think the young Evangelical women you mention would brag about helping these white children? Would volunteer work with them have the same cachet?

I suggest to you that it would not.

I understand that people in Third World countries are materially poorer than these white children I mention. But in the Christian view, the immaterial is foremost and thespiritual conditions of these white children are nothing less than dire and probably worse than that of most children in the Third World. They are being raised by nihilistic popular culture.

[...]Christianity will not flourish in the Third World if it is dying in the West. We need these idealistic women to do their work at home, and that work includes becoming wives and mothers themselves.

The idealism of these women is not wrong, but the direction it has taken is. Volunteering in the Third World has become a status symbol for Christians.

In the past, I’ve offered Dan Barker as an example of someone who lost his faith because of this emotional “God will save me no matter how irrational my plan is” view. I think we need to exercise self-control when deciding how to make an impact for Christ. The plan that is quick and immediate may not be the best over the long-term.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Massachusetts town goes after Christian college over sexual morality

Salem, MA Mayor Kimberley Driscoll

Salem, MA Mayor Kimberley Driscoll

From Campus Reform.

Excerpt:

The town of Salem, Mass., has pitted itself against Gordon College after the president of the private Christian school added his name to a public letter to President Obama asking for a religious exemption from a planned federal mandate.

The expected executive order would force any organization receiving federal funds, including religiously based organizations, to hire people whose sexual conduct may not fall in line with their beliefs. Gordon says the mandate would be an “infringement on religious liberty” and “the rights of faith-based institutions to establish a set of standards and expectations for their community.”

Gordon’s statement of faith and conduct defines marriage as the “lifelong one-flesh union of one man and one woman.” It also clarifies that the school is against “homosexual acts,” not “same-sex orientation,” and claims that it expects its students and faculty to “refrain from any sexual intercourse—heterosexual or homosexual; premarital or extramarital—outside of the marriage covenant.”

“Signing the letter was in keeping with our decades-old conviction that, as an explicitly Christian institution, Gordon should set the conduct expectations for members of our community,” Gordon College President Michael Lindsay said in a statement. “Nothing has changed in our position.”

[...]It was Lindsay’s signature that prompted Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll to publicly chastise the school, calling the small Christian college’s longstanding policies of expressly forbidding homosexual practices “offensive” in a statement released by the city. Driscoll went on to say that the city was revoking its contract with the college over the management of the city’s Old Town Hall facility.

“While I respect your rights to embed religious values on a private college campus, religious freedom does not afford you the right to impose those beliefs upon others and cannot be extended into a publicly owned facility or any management contract or a publicly owned facility, like Old Town Hall,” she said.

So the mayor has decided that she should punish Christians because they have beliefs that are different than hers. She is forcing her beliefs on Lindsay, and if he then agreed with her, she would remove the punishment. Isn’t it amazing how secular people are able to accuse others of doing something that they are doing themselves, and their heads don’t explode from the illogic?

Filed under: News, , , , ,

Is it possible to preach the gospel without using words?

Here’s a good article that answers the question.

Excerpt:

Francis of Assisi is said to have said, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”

This saying is carted out whenever someone wants to suggest that Christians talk about the gospel too much, and live the gospel too little. Fair enough—that can be a problem. Much of the rhetorical power of the quotation comes from the assumption that Francis not only said it but lived it.

The problem is that he did not say it. Nor did he live it. And those two contra-facts tell us something about the spirit of our age.

Let’s commit a little history (let me un-humbly draw on some chapters from my biography of St. Francis).

First, no biography written within the first 200 years of his death contains the saying. It’s not likely that a pithy quote like this would have been missed by his earliest disciples.

Second, in his day, Francis was known as much for his preaching as for his lifestyle.

He began preaching early in his ministry, first in the Assisi church of Saint George, in which he had gone to school as a child, and later in the cathedral of Saint Rufinus. He usually preached on Sundays, spending Saturday evenings devoted to prayer and meditation reflecting on what he would say to the people the next day.

[...]Another early biography talked about how his preaching was received: “His words were neither hollow nor ridiculous, but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, penetrating the marrow of the heart, so that listeners were turned to great amazement.”

As a result, he quickly gained followers, and it wasn’t long before he told his most devoted adherents to preach as well.

The article goes on to explain where this trend of not preaching using words comes from, and whether it matches the example of Jesus in the New Testament writings. Here’s a Bible passage that seems to rule out the idea that the gospel can be “preached” without “words”.

Romans 10:14-15:

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Christianity is a worldview, and as a worldview, it is committed to certain propositions being true. You can’t communicate the truth of claims like “Jesus rose from the dead” by being nice to someone. You have to appeal to historical evidence.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , ,

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