Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: 425 Middle Schoolers Committed Suicide in One Year

The Record notes a dangerous trend: “The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014, for the first time surpassing the death rate in that age group from car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 alone, 425 middle schoolers nationwide took their own lives.”

Bullying is one of the biggest factors in childhood suicides. According to The Record, “Young students in prior generations left school each afternoon and avoided someone who bullied them until the next day or week. Now, social media allows for bullying 24/7 — and the bully doesn’t even have to be someone the child knows.”

Prayer List

* Pray for depressed and bullied middle schoolers and teenagers to obtain emotional support from their families, friends, neighbors, and churches.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort depressed students and convict the bullies of the harm they perpetrate.
* Pray for families grieving because a son, daughter, brother or sister committed suicide.
* Pray for parents, teachers and youth ministers to have discernment in how to respond to a suicidal student.

Related Article
Prayer Focus: 265 Active American Soldiers Committed Suicide in 2015

Unreached People of the Day

Thursday: Tai Man, Shan in Myanmar
Friday: Berber, Atta in Morocco

Operation World Prayer Focus

Thursday: Japan
Friday: Jordan

Birthday Prayer Lists

Have you prayed for the salvation of all your friends? Why not turn your Facebook friend list into a prayer list? It shouldn't take long to pray for each friend on their birthday.

Some Christians also pray for entertainers, politicians and media personalities on their birthday.

Prayer Concerns

Religious News Websites

Baptist Press

  • Trump reverses Obama transgender military policy
    President Trump suddenly reversed the military policy on transgender individuals today (July 26), announcing on Twitter the United States would not "accept or allow" people who identify as a different gender than their biological sex to serve in the armed forces.
    - 2 days ago 26 Jul 17, 8:13pm -
  • Hawaii pro-life centers sue over abortion notice
    Pro-life pregnancy resource centers in Hawaii have filed suit against a new law requiring them to point women toward abortion access.
    - 2 days ago 26 Jul 17, 7:51pm -
  • Bible Study: July 30, 2017
    This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
    - 2 days ago 26 Jul 17, 7:51pm -
  • First a tornado, now theft strike New Orleans church
    Just a few months from completing a renovation of its buildings heavily damaged by a tornado in February, Suburban Baptist Church in east New Orleans has suffered yet another setback -- theft from its worship center.
    - 2 days ago 26 Jul 17, 7:48pm -
  • New refugees welcomed by churches poised to help
    Church-based organization provides new refugees with a community of Christians to welcome and assist them as they begin a new life in the United States.
    - 2 days ago 26 Jul 17, 6:58pm -

Berean Research

  • newLet’s stop supersizing “our dreams”
    Elizabeth Prata reminds us that God “gives us His Spirit, His love, and grows us in holiness. That’s pretty big.” So why do some Christians desire more? “Must we have huge dreams too?” asks Prata. “Must we encourage each other by saying God has huge plans for our lives?” Well, no  for the reason that […]The post Let’s stop supersizing “our dreams” appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 15 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 5:55pm -
  • Has the Bible Changed What You Watch?
    Being a Berean means studying the Bible so that you’ll gain knowledge and be able to rightly handle the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15)  Believers who study God’s Word in context know His heart. They understand who He is and His ways. They know what His will is for their lives. Moreover, they know […]The post Has the Bible Changed What You Watch? appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 6 days ago 22 Jul 17, 2:46pm -
  • Civilized life is coming a part at the seams
    There is no question that society is smack dab in the middle of a tug of war between conservatives and liberals — the sacred vs. the secular. In this provocative piece over at truthXchange titled “Sacred Canopy” Peter Jones makes the case that sexual freedom is utterly destroying human freedom, and it all started back in the sixties with […]The post Civilized life is coming a part at the seams appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 7 days ago 21 Jul 17, 4:46pm -
  • Postmodern Christianity’s End Game?
    Do you consider yourself a Progressive Christian?  If so, you probably will bristle to hear this, but you are part of an incredibly dangerous movement: Postmodernity. Quite frankly, Postmodernity is the yeast that has taken the Church away from the truth and toward a more tolerant, sin-affirming direction that is muddied with mushy theology. Progressive […]The post Postmodern Christianity’s End Game? appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 8 days ago 20 Jul 17, 4:00pm -
  • Seeing the Unseen: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare
    Did the Lord Jesus teach his followers to “bind” the powers of darkness?  Should the emphasis on spiritual warfare be on prayer-infused power encounters? What exactly does the Bible teach on the nature of spiritual warfare? Well, according to Christian apologist Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason (STR), the Bible has a lot to say about […]The post Seeing the Unseen: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 10 days ago 18 Jul 17, 3:52pm -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • What’s Under the Microscope Can Lead to Worship
    Finding beauty in the mundane: from our morning coffee to a nematode worm.This year’s Wellcome Image Awards are truly awe-inspiring, and a reminder for me to look for moments of wonder and worship in my everyday routine. The online winners’ gallery includes a stunning map-like image of a mouse’s retina, a close-up of a human lens implant, and a teardrop-shaped bundle of DNA being pulled into a brand new cell. A non-scientist might not understand exactly what is being shown in these pictures, but with their bold colors, shapes, and textures, anyone can appreciate their beauty.My field of biology has always been a very visual subject, and today that visual element can be expressed in stunning high-resolution color photographs. Wafer-thin sections of tissue can be stained with specialist dyes, showing where cell division might be going out of control in the first stages of cancer. Living cells are labeled with fluorescent tags, highlighting where a certain type of molecule is needed. Even in whole organisms, these natural fluorescent dyes can be used to track the development of a specific organ.For some scientists, these experiences of awe and wonder point to something beyond science. The cell biologist Ursula Goodenough has written, “the remarkable beauty of the cell, of everything that is … continues to draw me to spiritual issues.”Jeff Hardin, chair of the zoology department at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is a distinguished scholar who is humble enough to let the experience of beauty in the tiny worms he studies direct his attention to the God who is ultimately responsible for them. Hardin sees this beauty as “a pointer to God himself, the author of things that are beautiful and true.” He is fond of quoting C. S. Lewis, calling these ...Continue reading...
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  • The Value of Church Planter Assessment and Boot Camps
    We identified seven challenges faced by most church planters.Planting a church is hard enough. It is more difficult when the planter doesn’t have solid support and resources. And we’re not talking about money here. Church planter development is a crucial element to giving new churches a real chance to succeed.I’m a big believer in facts and figures, not because they tell the whole story, but because they help the story make sense. Several years ago, I did a study to find out what successful church planters had in common. I surveyed over 600 seminary graduates who went on to plant churches. One of the most interesting things I found in this study had to do with the success rate among those who had extended training beyond seminary.Everyone in my study had finished a three-year 90-credit hour Masters in Divinity. At the end of that, they could either participate in a three-day boot camp or not. About half did, and half did not. Four years later, those who did were leading churches that were substantially larger than those who did not.So, yes, three days of church planting training made a huge difference after three years of seminary training.Church planters greatly benefit from focused trainingWe can’t say that a boot camp is everything, but we can say that the difference between the groups was not theological schooling. Rather, it was focused training. What we discover from anecdotal experience is that people who go through some sort of boot camp find it to be an exceedingly helpful part of their process. Why? Because such training includes intensified instruction in areas that are more specific to church planters.Years ago, as we were doing research to develop training, we identified seven challenges faced by most church planters. These seven areas are:Leadership development and reproducing cultureContinue reading...
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  • Trump Picks Sam Brownback as Religious Freedom Ambassador
    President makes his nomination much faster than President Obama.Today the White House announced that Sam Brownback will be President Donald Trump’s nominee for America’s next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.“Religious freedom is the first freedom. The choice of what you do with your own soul,” the current Republican governor of Kansas tweeted. “I am honored to serve such an important cause.”If confirmed by the US Senate, Brownback would follow in the footsteps of previous ambassadors-at-large David Saperstein and Suzan Johnson Cook in the State Department post.Brownback has governed Kansas since 2011, after representing the Sunflower State in the Senate (1996-2011) and in the House of Representatives (1995-1996). He was a key sponsor of 1998’s International Religious Freedom Act, which was significantly expanded by President Barack Obama last December. He was also 1 of only 3 members of Congress to receive a perfect score on the International Religious Freedom Scorecard for his efforts during Obama’s first two years in office.A convert from Methodism to Roman Catholicism, Brownback served as a Catholic advisor to the Trump campaign.“He is a man of convicted compassion and courteous candor who—as a function of his own deeply held Christian beliefs—will work tirelessly for people of all faiths and none,” said Chris Seiple, president emeritus at the Institute for Global Engagement.Seiple told CT he has known Brownback for almost 20 years, and that the nation needs the Kansas politician’s nuanced and sophisticated approach to complex international issues more than ever.“As America and the global community tackles the rising restrictions on religious freedom worldwide while working ...Continue reading...
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  • Politics, Elections, and Christians: Reconciling the Church after the Great Divide of 2016
    Have you allowed election speech to replace the speech of the 'elect'?The 2016 American presidential election divided the nation and many churches in a way that is unprecedented. It may seem like a long time ago, but the effects linger, often continuing to cause deeper wounds than we know.The nation, it appears, is becoming more divided right now. As it does, I’m hoping the church can become more united—even as the politics of our nation polarize.But, it is in the church as well, so let’s start there.We have a lot of work to do to regain our civility, reconcile with our brothers and sisters, and establish peace in the Body of Christ. The world is watching, and they were pelted by the mud we threw. They saw us ostracize people who voted for “the other guy.” They heard us call people “Satanic.”Now that it is over, we must learn from the chaos and mend relationships. If we do not, we further damage our witness in a world that is short on love and truth and long on hate and lies. It is long past time to deescalate. Here are a few things I believe we need to do to heal the disunity and move forward as a healthier Body of Christ.Leave the political rhetoric to the political operativesThe Church has a mission. Pushing political agendas is not that mission.We are ambassadors, calling people to a right relationship with God through Christ. We have opinions on various issues, and even biblical positions on some of those issues. But we are not here primarily to debate healthcare reform or immigration policy. In the field of politics, there might be a space for rhetoric and characterizations, but this is not so in the Church.We aren’t here to bully people into our way of thinking with insincere speech. We offer Christ, mercy, love, peace, and truth. There ...Continue reading...
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  • Most White Evangelicals Don’t Believe Muslims Belong in America
    Pew updates its comprehensive survey of what US Muslims believe and do, and how their neighbors feel about them.As much of American society undergoes a secular shift, most Muslims and Christians continue to attend worship, adhere to tenets of their traditions, and proudly identify with their faiths.But despite this shared sense of religious devotion, as detailed in a new Pew Research Center report on what US Muslims believe and practice, survey data also show a huge gap in their perceptions of each other.While Americans overall have warmed up to Muslims in recent years, white evangelicals express more concerns about US Muslims than any other religious group. Two-thirds of white evangelicals believe Islam is not part of mainstream American society and contend that it encourages violence more than other faiths, according to Pew. Meanwhile, 72 percent of white evangelicals—compared to 44 percent of Americans overall—see a natural conflict between Islam and democracy. And 30 percent of Muslims themselves agree that the two are in conflict.A small minority of Americans (6%) and Muslims (5%) attribute the tension to the belief that America is a Christian nation.As CT reported in March, missions experts worry that evangelicals’ views of Muslims are sabotaging a long-dreamed-of moment. Previous research by Pew found that only 35 percent of white evangelicals say they have a personal connection to a Muslim, compared to about 40 percent of mainline Protestants and Catholics, 50 percent of unaffiliated Americans, and 73 percent of Jews.“This is the best chance we’ve had in human history to share the love of Christ with Muslims,” said David Cashin, intercultural studies professor at Columbia International University and an expert in Muslim-Christian relations. “Because of these attitudes, we could miss ...Continue reading...
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Forum 18 News Service

  • Russia: Prison, trials, investigations for religious meetings
    Yevgeny Kim was jailed for three years, nine months in Blagoveshchensk for meeting to study Muslim theologian Said Nursi's works. Another nine elsewhere are on trial or being investigated. Two Jehovah's Witnesses appear to have received a verdict in Sergiev Posad. Other criminal cases continue.
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  • Kazakhstan: Secret trial after six months' imprisonment
    At a closed trial in Atyrau in a secret police-initiated case, with the lawyers sworn to secrecy, six Sunni Muslims face possible years of imprisonment for talking to others of their faith. Jehovah's Witness cancer sufferer Teymur Akhmedov failed to overturn his five-year prison term.
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  • Uzbekistan: Muslims' long prison terms, Protestants' short terms
    A Tashkent court jailed eleven Muslims who met to pray and discuss their faith for up to six years. Several testified about torture (including officers' threat to rape the wife of one in front of him). The court ignored the testimony. Three Protestants were given 15-day terms.
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  • Russia: "Extremist" literature fines rose in 2016
    Administrative prosecutions for religious literature and videos deemed "extremist" (all Jehovah's Witness or Muslim) rose between 2015 and 2016. Across Russia 103 defendants were punished, including one man's 13-day jail term and a Jehovah's Witness congregation's 45-day suspension. Prosecutions led to a mosque being liquidated.
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  • Kazakhstan: Five years' jail for Islamic talks
    Sunni Muslim Nariman Seytzhanov was given five years' jail for "inciting religious hatred" by talking about schools of Islam to Kazakh pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. Satymzhan Azatov's trial on similar charges continues in Astana on 21 June. Five years' suspended sentence handed down in Almaty.
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Get Religion

  • newWhy do Jewish and Christian Bibles put the books in a different order?
    GORDON’S QUESTION:Why is there a different order of the books of the Hebrew Bible in Jewish and Christian editions?THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER:As we’ll see, there’s revived debate about this. For starters, one key fact is that the contrasting lists did not result from conflict between Judaism and Christianity but rather the varied sequences used by Jews.Overview: The Jewish Bible and Protestant Old Testament have the same contents, but list the books in different order. Catholicism’s ordering is similar to Protestants’ but its “canon” (recognized Scriptures) includes “deuterocanonical” books not found in the Jewish and Protestant Bibles, while the Orthodox add further deuterocanonical materials.Jews organized the biblical books into categories in this order: (1) Law, or Torah, the first five books with specially revered status. (2) Prophets or Nevi’im, a confusing label since this sections begins with books of history, followed by prophets ending with Malachi. (3) Writings or Kethuyim, a variegated collection dominated by the Psalms, including books accepted as Jewish Scripture later than the Law and Prophets. The initials T, N, and K produce the acronym Tanakh that Jews use for the Bible.With ordering, the chief issue is where to fit Chronicles (or 1 and 2 Chronicles) and whether it properly concludes the Hebrew Bible. Chronicles, which repeats much of the history covered in the colorful Samuel (or 1 and 2 Samuel) and Kings (or 1 and 2 Kings) was compiled round 400 B.C.E., many centuries after the events.Unlike Samuel and Kings, the Harper Study Bible observes, Chronicles omits most “references to the defects and the sins of David and Solomon,” emphasizes “the Temple and the Davidic line,” virtually ignores the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and warns and encourages future generations.
    - 9 hours ago 28 Jul 17, 12:00am -
  • newSacred rite takes secular turn: This is why church weddings aren't as popular as they used to be
    When my son and daughter-in-law exchanged wedding vows two years ago, they did so in a church — but not their church.They had a couple of reasons for this: For one, Brady and Mary grew up in different churches. They wanted to avoid choosing between either of them.The second, more important consideration: They liked the distinctive look of the sanctuary they chose and the amenities, such as a large bridal room.I was reminded of their experience as I read a fascinating trend piece in the Wichita Eagle this week on more couples foregoing church weddings altogether: When Monique Pope was engaged, she had no doubt that the wedding ceremony would be in her Catholic parish. “It was a beautiful ceremony,” said Pope, who married her husband Mike in October 2012. “When you walk into St. Anthony you’re just overcome by the beauty and the splendor of the church.” Marrying in St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church in Wichita meant marrying in a church and a faith she had a close connection to, Pope said. Yet Pope and her husband are among a decreasing number of American couples who have their wedding ceremony in a church. Only 26 percent of couples had their wedding ceremony in a religious institution in 2016, according to data from The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study. That’s down from 41 percent in 2009. he Knot surveyed nearly 13,000 U.S. brides and grooms, finding that weddings in farms, barns and ranches had gone up, along with weddings in historic buildings and homes. Other popular venues are beach houses, public gardens, wineries and museums.The byline on the piece belongs to Katherine Burgess, the Eagle's relatively new faith reporter. I don't know that we've mentioned her at GetReligion. If not, welcome to the Godbeat, Katherine!It's an interesting piece that hits at major reasons behind the trend:
    - 11 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 10:09pm -
  • newThere they go again: Digital gods at Facebook zap some big Catholic pages (news media yawn)
    Every now and then, the principalities and powers at Facebook do something that ticks off lots of religious people, usually morally and doctrinally conservative people.Most of the time, Facebook leaders issue a kind of "the technology made us do it" apology and life rolls on -- until the next time. In most cases, these alleged Facebook sins are treated as "conservative news," with coverage at Fox News and various alternative, religious news sources online. Something like this.The GetReligion "mirror image" question, as always, is this: How much media attention would these news stories have received if Facebook folks had shut down lots of pages belonging to LGBTQ groups (or Muslims, or environmentalists, or #BlackLivesMatter networks). I know this is hard to imagine, but please try.So this time, a bunch of Catholic websites were taken down. Here is the entire Associated Press report on this, at least as it appeared at ABC News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc. Facebook is blaming a technical glitch for knocking several Catholic-focused Facebook pages with millions of followers offline for more than a day. Catholic radio network Relevant Radio says on its website that its "Father Rocky" Facebook page went down on Monday and wasn't restored until late Tuesday night. It says more than 20 other prominent Catholic pages were also suspended. The shutdown prompted speculation among some page administrators that they were being intentionally censored. A Facebook spokesperson apologized for the disruption Wednesday, telling The Associated Press in a statement that all pages have been restored. Facebook says the incident "was triggered accidentally by a spam detection tool."My favorite detail missing from that little story is that one of the sites knocked offline was the "Papa Francisco Brazil" page dedicated to the life and work of Pope Francis.Now there's a nice headline, for those included to write it: Facebook zaps Pope Francis page in Brazil.
    - 17 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 4:20pm -
  • newWhen discussing Dawkins' dissing, journalists miss a major irony and lots of context
    Richard Dawkins is, arguably, the world's most famous atheist. He opposes religions of all stripes as "false," dangerous and anti-scientific. And while that stance has earned him the opprobrium -- and, presumably the prayers -- of many faithful people in many religious traditions, it's rarely gotten him bounced from a speaking engagement.Until now.Radio station KPFA in Berkeley, California, canceled an event featuring Dawkins -- in the video above, he uses the rather charming term "de-platformed" to describe it -- because the station didn't like the author's "assertions during his current book tour that Islam is the “most evil” of world religions, Twitter posts denigrating Muslim scholars as non-scholars and other tweets," as a statement from the radio station indicated.This generated somemainstream media coverage, with The New York Times coming to the fore: Henry Norr, a former KPFA board member, criticized Mr. Dawkins in a July 17 email to the station. “Yes, he’s a rationalist, an atheist and an advocate of the science of evolution -- great, so am I,” Mr. Norr wrote. “But he’s also an outspoken Islamophobe -- have you done your homework about that?” Lara Kiswani, the executive director of the Arab Resource and  Organizing Center, which is based in San Francisco, also emailed the station last week. She said Mr. Dawkins’s comments give legitimacy to extremist views. “KPFA is a progressive institution in the Bay Area, and an institution that reflects social justice,” she said in a phone interview on Saturday. “It isn’t required to give such anti-Islam rhetoric a platform.” Quincy McCoy, the station’s general manager, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. In a KPFA news broadcast on Friday, he said the station “emphatically supports free speech.”Except, apparently, when that "free speech" offends followers of one of the three Abrahamic faiths.
    - 20 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 1:00pm -
  • Big question looming over Catholic news: What would it take to pop this pope's media bubble?
    As a rule, I post "think pieces" -- posts pointing readers toward essays about trends on the religion beat -- on the weekend. I'm going to make an exception because I can't imagine waiting a few more days for readers to see this one.I mean, we're talking about a John L. Allen, Jr., analysis piece at Crux with this headline: "Can anything burst Pope’s media bubble? Nah, probably not."Prepare to chat away.The piece starts off with a complicated drama in the Diocese of Ahiara in Nigeria, where -- as Allen puts it -- Pope Francis has "thrown down one of the most authoritarian gauntlets we’ve seen any pope fling in a long time."It's the kind of move, literally threatening the status of every priest of the diocese, that would freak out mainstream reporters if attempted by any other recent pope. But it's not the kind of thing that sticks to Pope Francis, because everyone knows what he is a friendly, populist kind of man who is gentle and kind, etc., etc. As Allen kicks things into gear, he writes: What all this got me thinking about is the following: Had any other recent pope done such a thing, howls about abuse of power and over-centralization probably would have been deafening, especially from the press, where the rebel priests likely would have become folk heroes. Francis, however, gets more or less a free pass. ... Yes, some coverage has been more critical of late, especially Francis’s handling of the sexual abuse scandals in the wake of the criminal indictment of one of his top aides, Cardinal George Pell, in Australia. Even then, however, the tone tends to be, “Francis is such a great guy, so why is this area lagging behind?”The heart of the essay is a bit of speculation about what it would take to pop this amazing papal media bubble.
    - 1 day ago 26 Jul 17, 11:20pm -

Mission Network News

  • newMinistry combats trafficking through victim rescue and community transformation (MNN) -- Sunday, July 30th is World Day Against Trafficking in PersonsThe post Ministry combats trafficking through victim rescue and community transformation appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 5 hours ago 28 Jul 17, 4:00am -
  • newTenwek Hospital: out with the old, in with the new (MNN) -- A praise report from the maternity center at Tenwek HospitalThe post Tenwek Hospital: out with the old, in with the new appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 5 hours ago 28 Jul 17, 4:00am -
  • newNew nominee for Office of International Religious Freedom (MNN) -- President Trump has nominated an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious FreedomThe post New nominee for Office of International Religious Freedom appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 5 hours ago 28 Jul 17, 4:00am -
  • Ukraine kids camp sees 83 commitments to Christ, potential church plant (MNN) -- Have you ever heard of a church plant through teens?The post Ukraine kids camp sees 83 commitments to Christ, potential church plant appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 1 day ago 27 Jul 17, 4:00am -
  • Strikes in Kenya raise prayer request from ministry (MNN) -- The whole country is affected by medical strikesThe post Strikes in Kenya raise prayer request from ministry appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 1 day ago 27 Jul 17, 4:00am -

PE News

  • newLofty Goals
    Church planting couple hopes to help launch 27 Ohio churches in the next decade.
    - 3 hours ago 28 Jul 17, 6:00am -
  • newGeneral Council, National Youth Convention to be Livestreamed
    Services and sessions conducted at General Council and at the National Youth Convention in Anaheim will be livestreamed August 7-11.
    - 19 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 1:43pm -
  • newThis Week in AG History -- July 27, 1952
    Wesley R. Steelberg was just 50 years old when he died serving as the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, but he passed away wholly dedicated to his calling.
    - 20 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 1:00pm -
  • Model Church Member
    Minnesota congregation breaks ground for building, financed primarily by a massive car collection.
    - 1 day ago 27 Jul 17, 6:00am -
  • From Coal Miner’s Son to Major General
    Retired Air Force Chief of Chaplains Cecil Richardson continues to influence men and women around the world.
    - 2 days ago 26 Jul 17, 6:00am -

Persecution Blog

  • Missionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' Story
    Growing up the home of missionary parents in Ecuador, Gene Jordan has always known the story of five men—Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian—who gave their lives in the jungle to reach an isolated Indian...      Related StoriesNate Saint Memorial School: End of an EraVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 4 days ago 24 Jul 17, 4:06pm -
  • After Arrest, "I Was Terrified"
    “Dr. Andrew” is working to share the gospel in the Middle East, but he hasn’t always had a heart to share Christ’s love with Muslims. Growing up in a nominal Christian family, Andrew was harassed by Muslims his whole life....      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio in Central Asia 
    - 30 days ago 27 Jun 17, 10:07pm -
  • Being a True Vessel for God's Use
    “Brother Matthew” is a pastor and church planter in South Asia, working among Muslims to share the gospel. After threats against his life and an attack on his brother, he was encouraged by family members to leave his country. He...      Related StoriesVOM Radio in Central AsiaAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified"Openness in Pakistan? 
    - 51 days ago 7 Jun 17, 4:56pm -
  • VOM Radio in Central Asia
    "Tanya" is a Christian worker in Central Asia, living and ministering in a country where she must always be cautious about what she says openly and who she says it around. Listen to hear how Christians in the former Soviet...      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified" 
    - 80 days ago 9 May 17, 7:17pm -
  • Nate Saint Memorial School: End of an Era
    The end of an era comes next month. In August 1985, I clutched my mom’s hand and squeaked my rubber flip-flopped way down the gravel path from the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) “base” to the cinderblock Nate Saint Memorial school....      Related StoriesMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 92 days ago 27 Apr 17, 8:14pm -

Religion News Service

Today's Creation Moment

  • newTaking a Bite Out of Stress
    Research has repeatedly shown that dogs can be an effective sedative. Continued research has now shown that dogs can relieve more stress and promote better health than even the presence of a close friend will more
    - 4 hours ago 28 Jul 17, 5:00am -
  • Stone Makers
    Modern sophisticated laboratories have produced many specialized materials with amazing qualities. Yet, many creatures make ceramic materials that are stronger and tougher. If a crack starts in a piece of our ceramic, over time it grows. The same crack will not grow in ceramic made by the more
    - 1 day ago 27 Jul 17, 5:00am -
  • Smart Lobsters
    Do spiny lobsters know that they are a delicacy to many, if not most, of the carnivores on earth? New research into the social habits of spiny lobsters shows that much of their interaction with each other is based on the fact that they have learned to cooperate in order to survive their many more
    - 2 days ago 26 Jul 17, 5:00am -
  • Sepphoris
    Nazareth, the town in which Jesus grew up, is often portrayed as a tiny backwater town. As a result, Jesus is often portrayed as an unsophisticated man. He has been painted many times as someone who could more easily relate to farmers and shepherds than to the city dweller. Biblical researchers point out that this is not an accurate picture of Jesus of more
    - 3 days ago 25 Jul 17, 5:00am -
  • Scuba Gear for Bacteria
    Biotechnology may be a new word to you. It’s a relatively new science. Biotechnology is the science of engineering custom-made life forms. For example, biotechnologists can add to a bacterium the gene that makes fireflies glow. This procedure gives the bacterium the ability to more
    - 4 days ago 24 Jul 17, 5:00am -

United Methodist News Service

World Magazine

  • newHouse passes spending bill with $1.6 billion border wall provision
    The GOP-controlled House passed a spending bill Thursday that boosts military budgets and gives President Donald Trump $1.6 billion to build a wall along the southern U.S. border. The measure won approval 235-192, but it faces much stronger opposition in the Senate. While Democrats don’t like the idea of increasing military spending, they vehemently oppose the border wall and could force a government shutdown over the issue later this year. The $788 billion bill also includes a 5 percent increase for veterans program funding and a 2.4 percent military pay raise. Trump’s budget proposal requested more money for the Pentagon, but the House budget boosted his request with a $60 billion increase. The president proposed paying for it with cuts to domestic programs, but lawmakers significantly reduced those reductions. Senate Democrats want to increase domestic spending, and it’s not clear how they can resolve differences with their Republican colleagues to pass a final spending package.Image: Category: CongressArticle Title: House passes spending bill with $1.6 billion border wall provisionKeywords: ImmigrationCongressWhite HouseMilitaryBudgetAuthor: Leigh Jones
    - 11 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 10:16pm -
  • newSafe unsound
    Safe unsoundCulturePoliticsThe idea that being safe is an inalienable right is dangerousParentingVol. 32, No. 15Janie B. CheaneyLast month saw a flurry of responses to a strange blog post by feminist Jody Allard. Allard has two teenage sons, whom she described as “strong and compassionate—the kind of boys other parents are glad to meet when their daughters bring them home for dinner.” But “other parents” don’t know these boys the way their mother does. She finds their cavalier attitude toward her fears of the rape culture very disturbing. Their “Oh come on, Mom” refrains prompted her to write a piece for The Washington Post last September, which in turn provoked a domestic backlash. Her boys took offense, and acted out. Allard reported that they’re even reading conservative websites now. That did it for her; the title of her controversial blog post said it all: “I’m Done Pretending Men Are Safe (Even My Sons).”There’s plenty to say about the piece, and much of it was said (almost none of it complimentary to her mothering skills). But I’m struck by the haunting fear in the title echoed throughout: Men aren’t safe; they come pre-loaded with sexism. No wonder she’s never felt emotionally safe with a man, and now her own flesh and blood are beginning to reflect the twisted values of a broken culture. She insists she’s not paranoid; it’s the system.Safety is a good thing, right up in the top three of Maslow’s scheme of basic human needs. A modicum of safety is necessary for humans to thrive, but certain feminists, and some college students, and many political figures, have made safety a fetish. If you keep up with campus news, you’ve probably seen videos of screaming protesters demanding protection from the dangerous ideas of conservative speakers like Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro. You may remember a video from two years ago, when Yale students confronted a professor over an email about Halloween costumes that they considered offensive. Emotional safety was a major concern. A young woman identified as “shrieking girl” screams at the professor: “It is your job to create a place of comfort and home. … [College] is not about creating an intellectual space—it’s not!”Such hysterics beg for the label “snowflake,” but adults are not immune. Since 9/11, unrealistic arguments for safety have become a staple of politicians who should know better. Pledging vigilance at the border and effective policing in the city is reasonable, but it’s wildly optimistic to promise, as so many candidates have, to “keep America safe.” Maybe that’s just rhetoric, or maybe we don’t know what that word means anymore.Safety is a positive attribute but not a positive force. It’s no force at all; safety is distinguished not by what it does but by what it lacks—namely, danger. But danger is everywhere in a fallen world: crooks and murderers in the neighborhood, fires and floods in nature, zealots and tyrants in the world, lurking pathogens in our own bodies. No human, no home, no ideology is “safe,” either from receiving harm—or inflicting it. Every life begins and ends with danger, and every day, even the most mundane, harbors its unpredictable sting.Like all good things, safety becomes an evil thing when it’s elevated to an ultimate good.We’ve always known this; the difference now is how many of us seem to believe that safety is an inalienable right. Like all good things, safety becomes an evil thing when it’s elevated to an ultimate good. Parents swaddle their children in fearful cocoons. Young people can’t face opposition with confidence and reason but instead try to shout it down. Citizens clamor for more protection to be provided by others, and ideologues drive away family members whose skepticism they interpret as a threat.King David, no stranger to peril, knew what it took to “feel safe”: Psalm 4 ends with, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” The Lord alone, no matter our circumstances, is our safety. But to those outside His grace, there is no greater danger. Pray for the snowflakes and feminist moms—and our own fearful selves—that all may find their one true shelter.VoicesVoices
    - 11 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 9:38pm -
  • new‘The end of a thing’
    ‘The end of a thing’ReligionCultureLiteratureSexualitySin may look attractive, but it leads down a terrible pathSexualityVol. 32, No. 15Andrée Seu PetersonA brick of Oscar Wilde aged Irish cheddar sitting on my kitchen table has led to this meditation on a word from God: “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). The label has a picture of the dandified playwright and this quote: “The only way to get rid of a temptation … is to yield to it.”In what sense is the end of a thing better than its beginning? Certainly not in every sense. In the matter of chocolate cakes, the beginning is better; I have to cajole to get rid of the last stale slice, while restraining the hungry hordes from pouncing on the dessert just out of the oven.But the Preacher is talking about paths, is he not? Here is a man, Oscar Wilde, who has tried it all. He has devoted his life to the dubious experiment of testing one thing after another “to search out … all that is done under heaven” (1:13). Withholding no pleasure, project, or pursuit from himself, he finds—and reports back to us—that that which is exciting at the start ends up in vanity. Or as a Texas inmate once wrote me about his past forays into sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll: “Nothing stays long enough.”Back to the cheese. What I have noticed with famous dead men is that adoring fans like to quote their sayings from the prime of life, when they seemed to be doing well. Few are interested in knowing their latter end, to learn what the fallen arc of their days might tell. It is rather like a video of a person jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, which we always stop at the 3-second mark, exclaiming how much fun it must be to fly. But nothing can be judged good until it’s ended. It is the destination of a road that tells us if the road was smartly chosen. John the Baptist was a locust-eating loner all his life while Herod lived in palaces. But who would rather be the Herod? Therefore, choosing commandment-breaking is not only sinful but proves too clever by half. Or as Napoleon’s chief of police reportedly said about the execution of Louis Antoine, the Duke of Enghien, “It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder.” The Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias puts it this way:“The more I read Oscar Wilde, the more I was convinced that every time you dabble in that which is desacralized, it reshapes your conscience and reshapes your hungers. The more he got into things that he ought never to have been in, the more he desired them, and in his own words, the more he loathed them at the end. So you do not enter into a life of profanity with impunity. It shapes your hungers and traps you. I think there’s a physiological and psychological and spiritual effect to it all.” ‘You do not enter into a life of profanity with impunity. It shapes your hungers and traps you.’ —Ravi Zacharias on the life of Oscar WildeSo much for “the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” Even the fortune cookie thrown in your bag with your General Tso’s Chicken order has better advice than that. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). That means you kill the temptation, not coddle it. Can this be done? Jesus commands it, so it can be done.Wilde was imprisoned for sodomy and gross indecency and then spent his last three years in poverty before dying in a dingy Paris hotel at age 46. One biographer says his last words were something like “Either the wallpaper goes or I go.” Zacharias says his last words were to his lover: “Did you ever love any of those boys?” To which the lover admitted he had not, and Wilde admitted that he had not either. Whatever.A young woman I know, much infatuated with great literary figures, is going off to read them in a college in the fall. I hope that alongside studies of De Profundis and The Picture of Dorian Gray the school will also have a course on deathbed fears and tremblings to provide a fuller picture.VoicesVoices
    - 12 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 8:41pm -
  • newMcCain laments Senate inaction on just about everything
    WASHINGTON—Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., entered the Senate chamber to a roar of applause Tuesday.McCain’s wife, Cindy, sat in the visitor’s gallery clutching a tissue as she watched her husband embrace his colleagues for the first time since doctors discovered cancer in his brain. McCain gave two thumbs up to the Senate clerk, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who had been stalling, quietly cast the 50th vote to begin debate on healthcare reform.McCain squeezed a red-faced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and met McConnell’s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in front of the dais for a warm embrace.Senators from both sides of the aisle created an informal reception line, offering words of encouragement, a few laughs, and several hugs. McCain’s face lit up when he saw Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.—a Senate colleague since 1992. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., slapped McCain’s arm as senators returned to their seats. He went in for an awkward hug and the two ended up spinning in a circle. They laughed.The room settled. Vice President Mike Pence broke the 50-50 tie on healthcare debate and McConnell offered the floor to his cancer-afflicted colleague. McCain spoke for just over 15 minutes. He cracked a few jokes and thanked his fellow senators for their support during uncertain times. But he didn’t yield the floor until he made it clear the United States Senate can’t return to business as usual.“We’re getting nothing done,” McCain lamented. “All we’ve really done this year is confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Our healthcare insurance system is a mess. We all know it, those who support Obamacare and those who oppose it.”He jested the only progress Republicans have made on healthcare is somehow making the unpopular Affordable Care Act a more beloved policy. McConnell sat quietly, listening to McCain while he criticized GOP leaders for crafting healthcare legislation behind closed doors. Democrats cheered. But McCain quickly vindicated his fellow Republicans by pointing out Democrats did the same thing in 2010 when they passed Obamacare without a single Republican vote.McCain derided the congressional body in which he has served for 30 years for succumbing to one partisan ploy after another. He spoke about his love for the Senate’s decorum, its rules, and its history. McCain expressed his thankfulness for complicated Senate procedures that force lawmakers to work out their differences and solve problems.But the upper chamber doesn’t do that anymore, he said.“We’ve all played some role in it,” he added. “Certainly I have. Sometimes, I’ve let my passion rule my reason. Sometimes, I made it harder to find common ground because of something harsh I said to a colleague. Sometimes, I wanted to win more for the sake of winning than to achieve a contested policy.”Despite McCain’s rousing speech, McConnell didn’t change his course of action. Republicans began working later that day among themselves on a partisan plan to reform the healthcare system. But the he 80-year-old respected veteran’s speech offered more than just a touching moment. McCain forced his colleagues to look in the mirror. That’s worth something. Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill. The thing about sanctionsThe Senate overwhelming passed new bipartisan sanctions against Russia and Iran earlier this summer. Six weeks later, after a series of delays, the House passed its version of the targeted penalties on Tuesday by a vote of 419-3. The House measure also included new penalties for North Korea.House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., described the sanctions package as a way to tighten “the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe.”If signed into law, the bill would penalize firms that contribute to Russian energy development, negatively affecting Russia’s revenues. The sanctions also would shorten the duration of loans to Russian oil companies and to Russian banks. The bill also includes language to weaken President Donald Trump’s power to override or reduce the restrictions.Despite the widespread support for crippling Russia, Iran, and North Korea, the sanctions hit several unexpected roadblocks along the way. After the penalties passed out of the Senate on an 98-2 vote early last month, most expected the House to quickly schedule its own vote and move the sanctions to Trump’s desk. Democrats began speculating the White House secretly worked behind the scenes to slow-walk the bill because it didn’t want to further harm its already deteriorating relations with Russia.“I don’t even know all the dynamics that caused it,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., told me when I asked him about the delay. “If there’s any suggestion that the Trump administration has tried to slow-walk this, that’s ridiculous in my mind. It seems like the only word that the Democrats can pronounce lately is Russia.”Franks added the rhetoric stems entirely from Democrats’ hatred for the president: “It is a disservice to America and to future generations.” —E.W. Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin People with the Human Rights Campaign wave "equality flags" in support of transgender members of the military. Trump’s transgender torpedoAmid a busy news week in Washington, President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced a ban on transgender military service members—polarizing Republicans. Social conservatives such as Rep. Vicki Hartzler, R-Mo., and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins thanked the president for ending an Obama-era policy to allow soldiers to change their gender identity while serving. “As our nation faces serious national security threats, our troops shouldn’t be forced to endure hours of transgender ‘sensitivity’ classes and politically correct distractions like this one,” Perkins said.Hundreds of transgender service members currently serve in the military, with some undergoing treatment to make a physical transition. That raises many practical questions for what Trump meant when he said transgender individuals will no longer be able to serve “in any capacity.” It looks like his staff doesn’t know for sure either.When asked if the Pentagon would remove transgender service members from the military, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the implementation policy is still in the works.Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized Trump for communicating an unclear message.“The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today,” McCain said in a statement. “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity.” —E.W Evangelicals rally behind KushnerJared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, enjoyed vocal support from an unlikely constituency this week: evangelicals.Kushner met privately with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees on Monday and Tuesday and publicly released an 11-page explanation of his Russian contacts. While Kushner convened with lawmakers behind closed doors, evangelical leaders rallied to his defense.Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas, tweeted that speculation about the Trump campaign colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election is nonsense and needs to stop. He added Kushner is “a gracious ally of the evangelical community and people of faith.”Other Southern Baptist pastors—David Jeremiah, Robert Jeffress, and Ronnie Floyd—also issued encouraging messages for Kushner, an orthodox Jew. Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., Florida megachurch pastor Paula White, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, also voiced public support for KushnerJohnnie Moore, a former Liberty University chaplain, organized the pro-Kushner campaign, independent from the White House.“We've all had it," Moore said, according to the Associated Press. Moore helps lead Trump’s evangelical advisory board. The group of evangelicals have been quiet about Russia’s alleged election meddling and typically only chime in for issues important to Christians: abortion and religious liberty. But Moore said he wanted to respond to attacks on Kushner, whom he considers a friend of the evangelical community."We didn't ask permission. [The White House] didn't even know we were doing it," Moore said of the Kushner statements. "For us it was personal." —E.W.Scout’s honorPresident Donald Trump continued an 80-year-old tradition Monday, delivering a 35-minute speech to about 40,000 Boy Scouts in West Virginia during the group’s National Jamboree, held each year since 1937. While each administration has participated in the annual event, Trump’s appearance stood out.For the first time ever, the Boy Scouts disavowed the president’s remarks.Trump went off script and railed against “fake news,” talked about his frustration with the Senate’s delay on healthcare reform, gloated about his election victory, and disparaged Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.“This 80-year-old custom of inviting presidents to speak to Scouts is in no way an endorsement of any person, party, or policies. Rather, the speaking invitation is based on our ‘Duty to Country,’” The Boy Scouts said in a statement following backlash from Trump’s speech. “[T]he Boy Scouts of America reflects a number of cultures and beliefs. We will continue to be respectful of the wide variety of viewpoints in this country.”  —E.W. Image: Deck: In a moving speech on his return to the tumultuous body, longtime lawmaker urges colleagues to set aside differencesCategory: PoliticsKeywords: PoliticsCongressMilitaryReligionWhite HouseSexualityTransgenderismSlug: PoliticsArticle Title: McCain laments Senate inaction on just about everythingAuthor: Evan WiltDigital Branding: The StewHide from Archive?: 0
    - 16 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 5:04pm -
  • newThe impossible flight of mosquitoes
    It may be hard to imagine the pesky little vampires that like to ruin summertime fun as examples of God’s design, but it turns out mosquitoes are more complex than they appear.Until recently, scientists had been unable to figure out how mosquitoes fly. Most flying insects are able to lift off because of what scientists refer to as the Bernoulli effect, an aerodynamic principle that when air movement speeds up, air pressure decreases. Airplane wings generate lift because air goes faster over the top of the wing, creating an area of low pressure. The difference in pressure between the top and bottom of the wing pushes the airplane upward. Birds and most flying insects use this principle, Jerry Bergman, a biologist and professor at the University of Toledo, explains on the blog Creation Evolution Headlines.But mosquitoes can move their long, slender wings only in a very limited arc and cannot take advantage of the Bernoulli effect. Now researchers have discovered the mosquitoes’ secret: they use a mechanism “unlike any previously described for a flying animal,” according to an article in the journal Nature.The researchers found mosquitoes use three different properties of aerodynamic motion, two of which are unique to the insects.“For this complex system to function requires not only the hardware, including the wing and neuromuscular design, but also the software, in this case, the brain,” Bergman wrote.The complex system shows the weaknesses of Darwin’s theory of evolution. If mosquitoes evolved through random mutations, they would not have been able to fly until the entire system was in place. Mosquitoes would not have been able to access the plant nectar that provides their food nor the proteins and lipids female mosquitoes need to breed and lay their eggs.“The design of just the system that allows a small insect to fly is a wonder to behold. It took some of our brightest Oxford University scientists, and the latest technology, to unlock its secret,” Bergman said.  © Stable by designA new study published in Applied Physics Letters answers the question: Why don’t spiders themselves spin out of control when dangling from their webs?Unlike conventional materials such as human hair, metal wires, or synthetic fibers, spiders spin a silk that has a unique ability to partially yield and then snap back when it is twisted, creating a dragline from the web that hardly twists at all.“This spider silk is displaying a property that we simply don’t know how to recreate ourselves, and that is fascinating,” said David Dunstan of Queen Mary University of London. Biologists said understanding how spider silk resists spinning could help them learn how to manufacture similar materials for things such as violin strings, helicopter rescue ladders, and parachute cords.The non-spinning property of the silk is due to its complex physical structure, the researchers said, a structure they credited to “millions of years of evolution.”Intelligent design experts said non-spinning spider silk could not have evolved by chance. “For that to be true, every spider that didn’t accidentally get the unique properties of silk just right had to die off in the struggle for existence,” they wrote on Discovery Institute’s blog, Evolution News & Science Today. Associated Press/Photo by Sait Serkan Gurbuz Bill Nye in April at the March for Science in Washington, D.C. With age could come wisdom on climate changeTelevision science guy Bill Nye offered a novel idea during a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times for getting everyone to embrace man-made climate change: Just wait for all the old deniers to die off. “Climate change deniers, by way of example, are older. It’s generational. So we’re just going to have to wait for those people to ‘age out,’” he said.Cal Beisner, writer and founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, said Nye and other climate alarmists would do well to listen to those aging scientists.According to Beisner, in the 1970s and 1980s, a major change in the process of scientific education took place. Computer models began to replace real world observations achieved by working with physical objects. “The result was a high risk of neglecting the need to test hypotheses against observations,” Beisner wrote on his organization’s website. “Like kids (and all too many adults) trapped in the virtual realities of their computer games, these scientists, too, inhabit a virtual reality that must not be mistaken for the real thing.”Older scientists are the ones who keep pointing out that computer models cannot show what global temperatures were in the past without a large number of adjustments, and their predictions of future temperatures often prove to be inaccurate, Beisner said.Beisner thinks Nye’s solution might backfire. “Some of those young alarmists might, with age, gain enough humility … to dig deeply into their elders’ critiques and discover their own errors, becoming climate skeptics in the process,” he wrote. Who taught fire ants to follow the rules?Fire ants can deliver a painful bite, but researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have learned they are also pretty amazing architects. Craig Tovey, a biologist and systems engineer reported the findings in a recent article for The Conversation.If someone dumps 5,000 ants in a pond of water, within minutes the clump will form itself into a floating pancake. The ants can float on water for weeks. But a similar clump of ants on the ground near a plant stalk will swarm together and build themselves into a tower that is narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, like the Eiffel Tower.The researchers found the ants appear to follow three simple rules: If an ant above is moving, they remain in place; if ants above are not moving, they move randomly; and they stop if they come to an unoccupied space adjacent to at least one stationary ant. After the ants have completed the tower, they move freely throughout it, and its shape is still maintained.Tovey credited the fire ants’ abilities to evolution. “Understanding how simple rules can lead to elaborate and varied structures increases our respect for the power of evolution and gives us ideas for how to design multifunctional, self-assembling robot teams,” he wrote.So the robots will need a designer, but the ants’ abilities just happened by chance? Inconvenient and unbelievableIn 2006, former Vice President Al Gore became a global warming crusader with the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. Now, undaunted, he has released An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. Gore hopes to push the Paris climate accord even though the United States has pulled out. “I really think, and the scientists think now, as well, that we have an excellent chance of meeting the commitments that former President Obama made in the Paris agreement regardless of what Donald Trump says,” he told NPR.In 2006, WORLD’s Mark Bergin said of An Inconvenient Truth: “In what amounts to a filmed slideshow, interspersed with indulgent autobiographical footage and voiceovers, Mr. Gore employs stage tricks, straw men, and well-rehearsed rhetoric to contend that opposition views on climate change are rooted in callous profiteering. … Such vague platitudes may play on Oscar night. But the Oscars, Joes, and Brians of Middle America are bound to remain unconvinced.” Image: Deck: The pests’ unique aerodynamics show evidence of designCategory: Science & TechKeywords: ScienceTechnologyEvolutionIntelligent DesignEnvironmentSlug: ScienceArticle Title: The impossible flight of mosquitoesAuthor: Julie BorgDigital Branding: BeginningsHide from Archive?: 0
    - 16 hours ago 27 Jul 17, 4:44pm -

World Watch Monitor

  • Sunni Arabs ‘helped drive out’ Mid-East Christians
    Amid the push by Iraqi government forces to retake Mosul from Islamic State (IS), some former inhabitants of Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains and northern Syria are refusing to go back because they believe their former Sunni Muslim neighbours were complicit in driving them out, says Middle East analyst and former journalist, Patrick Cockburn, in News Deeply. Christians returning to Nineveh believe Sunni Arab villagers were complicit in “taking their houses, killing and raping people,” he says.Cockburn adds that, in Syrian towns occupied by IS, Christians believe their Sunni Arab neighbours were similarly cooperating with IS and that returning Christians might drive Sunnis out in turn. There’s a “real, very high level of friction and hostility on the ground, which I think is going to be extraordinarily difficult to reverse”, he says.“A longer-term and very dangerous shift in both Iraq and Syria is that communities in general can’t live together any longer.”In November Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana, a priest in the Assyrian Church of the East and head of CAPNI (Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq), said that defeating IS won’t guarantee Christians’ return. “What are the guarantees that it will not happen again?” he asked, noting that Iraqi Christians had been targeted not only since IS’s sudden appearance in 2014 but since the US-led invasion in 2003, after which he said the fabric of Iraq “was broken”.In the decades before IS, more than a million Christians left Iraq, which had turned increasingly hostile towards them, the minority population felt.
    - 13 Mar 17, 1:01pm -
  • ‘Freedom of religion or belief must be protected’
    Countries around the world are urged to act now to promote and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief by a UN expert.The Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed, made his appeal at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as he set out his priorities for the mandate of freedom of religion or belief, which he took up last November.Mr. Shaheed expressed concern about a rise in the number of incidents of violence - for religiousreasons - by extremist groups, vigilante mobs and others.“State and non-State actors, alike, continue to impose restrictions, or limitations, and engage in targeted harassment, intimidation of, or discrimination against religious minorities, unrecognised religious communities and dissidents, who are often confronted with threats to their freedom, safety and security,” he said.“I am particularly alarmed by continuing reports of mass atrocities and violence that threaten the very existence of religious minority communities, including some groups that have existed for over two millennia.”Mr. Shaheed pointed to a number of mechanisms for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief that have already been developed, and for which consensus among states already exists. He said his agenda for the next three years would be focused on the implementation of these state obligations.The Special Rapporteur stressed that policies adopted to enhance the capacity of security forces to combat terrorism by limiting fundamental rights (such as freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly) often have dire consequences for the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief.He welcomed efforts to promote that right at national and international levels by governments, parliamentarians, national human rights institutions, human rights and faith-based organisations, and educational institutions.
    - 10 Mar 17, 6:39pm -
  • Iraq urged to allow UN investigation into genocide
    International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has called upon the Iraqi government to allow a UN investigation into the treatment of Yazidis by the so-called Islamic State (IS), reports Reuters.A year ago, the UK Parliament joined US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US House of Representatives, the EU Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in describing the actions of IS (or Da’esh) as genocide. In June last year, UN experts reported that IS militants seek to destroy the Yazidi group, whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions, through murder, sexual slavery, gang rape, torture and humiliation that amounts to genocide.Some religious leaders and other sources, including Vienna-based legal counsel Ewelina Ochab, believe that the campaign of genocide also extends to Christians. Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in the country. Today there are thought to be fewer than 200,000. World Watch Monitor reported in May last year that Christianity “could disappear” from Iraq and Syria withinfive years, according to Catholic sources. Britain is drafting a UN Security Council resolution to establish an investigation, but Clooney said the Iraqi government needs to send a letter formally requesting the inquiry before the council can vote.Clooney, who represents Yazidi victims of IS, told reporters, “We do want to see an investigation take place with the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities, but ultimately if that support is not forthcoming in terms of real action, then the UN has to think of other ways in which to achieve accountability.”Since 2014, when IS took control of parts of Iraq, Yazidis and Christians have been under severe, and often violent, pressure with many Christians being given four options: to leave, convert to Islam, pay the jiyza (tax), or be killed. A report last October highlighted this accelerated targeting of “disproportionately suffering” Middle East Christians.
    - 10 Mar 17, 1:08pm -
  • Iranian mother and son Christian converts arrested
    An Iranian mother and son who converted to Christianity have been arrested in the north-western province of West Azerbaijan. Anousheh Reza-Bakhsh (known as Veronika) and her son Soheil (known as Augustine) were arrested on 20 February at their home in Urmia, the provincial capital. Mohabat News reports that it is the first known arrest of Christians in the city since 2008. Urmia, with nearly 700,000 inhabitants, is famous for housing the Cathedral of St. Mary the Mother of God, whose origin dates back to the 16th Century. Middle East Concern (MEC) reports that the mother and son, who had become Catholics, were baptised in Istanbul in August last year, after which they returned home and “continued to read and learn about the Christian faith”. Christian material was reportedly found at their home, as Augustine, reported to be a psychology student, had been “a keen follower of online Christian theological training programmes and Christian satellite TV channels”, according to MEC. There has been no further update on their whereabouts or safety, though they are believed to have been taken to an intelligence office of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. They are both reported to have health issues. Iran, which is no. 8 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian, continues to monitor and persecute Christians across the country. Often, detainees are subject to psychological and physical harm by the authorities. Iranian and European human rights and religious rights organisations have urged the international community to use new opportunities for trade with Iran since the nuclear agreement to hold the government there to account over its treatment of Christian converts.
    - 9 Mar 17, 3:23pm -
  • Pope: ‘Persecutors don’t care about denominations’
    Pope Francis has urged all Christians to pray for fellow believers who are persecuted for their faith, saying that “those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong”.“How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones!” Francis says in the video that shows three representatives of different denominations: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox – standing as if in a police line-up accused of a crime. “They are persecuted and killed because they are Christians,” the Pope continues, adding, “I ask you, how many of you pray for persecuted Christians?”The one-minute video, which also includes images of broken religious statues and a burnt-out church, is the latest to be produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and contains his prayer intention for March: the support of persecuted Christians through prayers and material aid from all the Churches.Francis has spoken frequently about an “ecumenism of the blood” to emphasise that persecution is affecting many parts of the Church and should be met with ecumenical solidarity.
    - 8 Mar 17, 2:31pm -