Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: Ten Pastors and Spouses Killed in Plane Crash

A jet crash in Cuba killed more than 100 people Friday. The BBC reports the crash was “the country’s worst air disaster in decades.” A group of ten pastors and spouses were among the jet fatalities. According to the Church of the Nazarene website, ” … several children, adolescents, and young are left orphans without their fathers and mothers. Some of them have no extended family.”

Prayer List

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort the families and friends of the deceased.
* Pray for healing for the three survivors.
* Pray for guardians to take care of the children who lost their parents.

Unreached People of the Day

Tuesday: Kurd, Central in Iraq
Wednesday: Thai, Isan in Thailand

Operation World Prayer Focus

Tuesday: Fiji
Wednesday: Finland

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.


Religious News Websites

Baptist Press

  • newEDITORIAL: Arraigados
    Recientemente sembré un pequeño pino frente a nuestra casa. Disfruto la jardinería. La planta es de la familia arborvitae verde esmeralda, una especie hermosa de pino.
    - 11 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:46pm -
  • newBible Study: May 27, 2018
    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.
    - 11 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:37pm -
  • newSurvey: VBS remains popular among American parents
    Two-thirds of American parents say they plan to send their kids to Vacation Bible School this summer, according to a survey of 1,200 American adults by Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
    - 11 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:33pm -
  • newNOBTS prof: Ramadan beneficial to Christians, retailers
    Christians in the U.S. can benefit from the hospitality Muslims extend during Ramadan, a Southern Baptist professor told Baptist Press, just as U.S. retailers are increasingly catering to the month-long celebration.
    - 12 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:18pm -
  • newSWBTS interim pres. Bingham 'humbled' to serve
    Historical theologian Jeffrey Bingham has accepted the interim presidency of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The position was offered to him May 23 in a 3 a.m. phone call from trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert after trustees named former president Paige Patterson as president emeritus.
    - 12 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:05pm -

Berean Research

  • newDo you love the deceived?
    Have you ever gotten caught in a drainage ditch? I know that’s a weird question. My husband and I recently went to great lengths – great FENCE links – to keep our dogs out of the muddy ditch that runs along the far side of our farm property. All sorts of interesting farm matter flows […]The post Do you love the deceived? appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 12 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:11pm -
  • newWhy Apostles are NOT for today, Part 1
    If you’re looking for a simple definition of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), I’ve come up with this: The NAR is a fast-growing Dominionist movement of new Apostles and Prophets who will lead God’s end-times army in establishing His kingdom on earth, by taking authority over earthly and spiritual realms. Proponents of the NAR believe […]The post Why Apostles are NOT for today, Part 1 appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 13 hours ago 24 May 18, 6:03pm -
  • newThe Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention
    According to Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Baptist Theological Seminary, the judgment of God has come to the house of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). “The terrible swift sword of public humiliation has come with a vengeance. There can be no doubt that this story is not over,” says Dr. Mohler. He admits that “The […]The post The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 16 hours ago 24 May 18, 3:07pm -
  • Are there codes in the Bible?
    Well, a lot of professing Christians believe that there are secret codes in the Bible. Supposedly the original text of Scripture contains hidden messages.  In fact, some “experts” would have us believe that they’ve used mathematical patterns to discover codes in the Bible. Others who’ve searched for codes claim to have discovered them though the […]The post Are there codes in the Bible? appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 4 days ago 21 May 18, 3:24pm -
  • 10 ways to identify false teaching
    In March we linked to Rick Becker’s “8 reasons believers shouldn’t remain in a church” and in April “10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers.” So now Becker offers his view of the 10 ways to identity false teaching. In #5, False teaching Misinterpret the kingdom of God, he reminds us: Jesus said that His kingdom is […]The post 10 ways to identify false teaching appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 4 days ago 21 May 18, 2:11pm -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • Jesus Showed Up in My Anatomy Lab
    What dissecting bodies taught me about the passion story and life after death.I sigh and look at the remains on the table in front of me: a pile of bones, muscles, ligaments, and organs. They are signs of dissecting, learning, and integrating knowledge. At the end of the semester, the cadaver still looks like a human being, but it takes more effort to see it. The teaching it has provided is finished. It waits to be returned to the body donation program to be cremated. If the family chooses, the remains will be returned to them.I have for decades traveled this journey: beginning with an untouched cadaver, working through successive dissections to identify the structures making up the body, and then reaching the end. As much as I love this journey, I still wonder what it all means. What is the sum total of these parts? The cadaver seems less and less a human being as we progressively move toward deeper and deeper structures. We lose something along the way. What do we gain?Ironically, this time in the semester often falls around Easter. For all of the parts of the Passion story that inspire so many people, I find myself thinking most about the burial, the empty tomb, and the first realization that Jesus’ body was gone.When the students are not here, the anatomy lab is completely quiet. It is just me and the cadavers and the soft background noise of the airflow system in the lab. I wonder about these cadavers and the lives they led before their journey brought them here. I wonder who waits for their remains, and I silently thank them for allowing us to learn a little more from these lives.In the biblical story, I wonder about the stillness that followed the beatings, the Crucifixion, and Jesus’ death. What was that time like for the women who cared for Jesus’ body? For the disciples? ...Continue reading...
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  • newWhy So Many Christians Sound the Jewish Shofar in Israel
    Huckabee is far from the only Christian Zionist to appropriate the ancient ritual horn.Mike Huckabee, one of several American Christians in Jerusalem for the opening of the US embassy last week, announced that he planned to commemorate the occasion on live TV with a Hebrew greeting and by blowing a shofar.The shofar, an obscure instrument made of a ram’s horn and traditionally blown during the Jewish High Holidays, has made its way into evangelical hands in recent decades. Some Christian Zionists, Holy Land pilgrims, and even worshipers at charismatic churches in the United States use the curled horn to call out in celebration and identify with the ancient heritage of their faith.Crowds of evangelicals at pro-Israel parades, conferences, and worship services turn up with Israeli flags, prayer shawls, and their own shofars. More than a dozen options for the spiraled instrument are for sale at online Christian bookstores.Sounding the shofar often accompanies the opening prayer or worship set at events held by groups like Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the Christian Zionist organization founded by John Hagee (who also attended the embassy opening last week).Christian use of the shofar has grown in certain traditions over the past 25 years, along with interest in the Holy Land and dispensationalist understanding of the end times. Believers who incorporate the shofar often echo biblical references to sounding a trumpet, such as its use in warfare by Gideon’s army (Judg. 7:15–22) or the battle of Jericho (Josh. 6), as a call for repentance (Is. 58:1, Hos. 8:1), as a way to gather an assembly (Num. 10:3, Joel 2:15), or for other occasions of praise and proclamation (Psalms and Revelation).For Christians, blowing the shofar “seems to have an eschatological aspect,” said messianic ...Continue reading...
    - 17 hours ago 24 May 18, 2:00pm -
  • newThree Ways to Successfully Navigate Failure in Evangelism
    Learning how to navigate through failure is a crucial element of success.Learning how to navigate through failure is a crucial element of success. We know this to be true in the business world, in ministry, in our family relationships, and in pretty much every arena of our lives.This same principle is also true about evangelism.Despite the important role it plays in cultivating success, a conversation about how to navigate failure is typically absent from our training in sharing the gospel. Evangelism training tools often equip us in how to start conversations and initiate new relationships. We also grow in our ability to share our testimonies and communicate the gospel.While all of these are important components of evangelism, if we do not prepare and equip people to navigate failure well, our efforts to grow in evangelism will likely be short-lived.So how do we address that gap? How do we equip others to navigate failure well, and how do we learn from failure ourselves? Let me offer three ways to begin navigating failure well in the context of evangelism.First, allow God to redefine both success and failure.When it comes to having spiritual conversations with people who don’t yet trust Jesus as their Savior, it is easy to define success as having the great answers for people’s tough questions and clearly communicating the different aspects of the gospel.While both of those things are good and necessary, it is possible to do them and still miss the point of evangelism. First Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us that without love, even the greatest spiritual gifts don’t ultimately matter. This is also true about evangelism, which is both a spiritual gift and a spiritual discipline. If we have all the right answers and can clearly explain the gospel, but don’t have love, we’re ...Continue reading...
    - 17 hours ago 24 May 18, 2:00pm -
  • newInterview: Q&A: Jackie Hill Perry on ‘Bending Myself to Jesus’
    A rap artist reflects on her latest album and what it means to walk away from the “vultures of culture.”Jackie Hill Perry describes herself as a “rapper, writer, teacher, and poet.” On May 11, just days before the birth of her second child, she released her newest album, Crescendo (Humble Beast Records), a follow up to The Art of Joy. The 14-track hip-hop record reflects her deep evangelical commitment to sharing the gospel through music.“My love for God and my experience of him gives me a desire for other people to know and experience that,” says Perry. “I do what Jesus did: I keep preaching. I keep teaching. God usually works in the places that we don’t see, so I’m planting seeds.”CT spoke with Hill Perry right before her due date to discuss the motivation for her latest musical project, why affection for God is key to her faith, and how she responds to critics who disagree with her views on human sexuality.How do those four aspects of your identity—rapper, writer, teacher, and poet—work together to define who you are?Ultimately, all of those four things are forms of communication. They’re extensions of the same thing, since everything I do involves language. Whether it’s poetry, rapping, teaching, or writing, it all comes down to, “How can I use the gift that God has given me as a communicator? How can I use that for his glory?” God has allowed me to understand and communicate things uniquely.Every time you get on stage, you’re proclaiming the gospel. What drives you, exactly; where does the fire come from?Affection. I have a great affection for the Lord. I want to know him and love him and experience him and continue to grow in him through the church, through Scripture, and through prayer. I see how satisfactory he is and how good ...Continue reading...
    - 17 hours ago 24 May 18, 1:47pm -
  • Al Mohler: The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention
    Evangelicals, we can no longer say sexual misconduct is just a Roman Catholic problem.The last few weeks have been excruciating for the Southern Baptist Convention and for the larger evangelical movement. It is as if bombs are dropping and God alone knows how many will fall and where they will land.America’s largest evangelical denomination has been in the headlines day after day. The SBC is in the midst of its own horrifying #MeToo moment.At one of our seminaries, controversy has centered on a president (now former president) whose sermon illustration from years ago included advice that a battered wife remain in the home and the marriage in hope of the conversion of her abusive husband. Other comments represented the objectification of a teenage girl. The issues only grew more urgent with the sense that the dated statements represented ongoing advice and counsel.But the issues are far deeper and wider.Sexual misconduct is as old as sin, but the avalanche of sexual misconduct that has come to light in recent weeks is almost too much to bear. These grievous revelations of sin have occurred in churches, in denominational ministries, and even in our seminaries.We thought this was a Roman Catholic problem. The unbiblical requirement of priestly celibacy and the organized conspiracy of silence within the hierarchy helped to explain the cesspool of child sex abuse that has robbed the Roman Catholic Church of so much of its moral authority.When people said that evangelicals had a similar crisis coming, it didn’t seem plausible—even to me. I have been president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for 25 years. I did not see this coming.I was wrong. The judgment of God has come.Judgment has now come to the house of the Southern Baptist Convention. The terrible swift sword of public humiliation ...Continue reading...
    - 1 day ago 24 May 18, 1:28am -

Forum 18 News Service

  • Uzbekistan: Criminal prosecution follows Easter worship meeting?
    Police raided and threatened Urgench Baptists with criminal prosecution for meeting at Easter. SSS secret police and ordinary police raided Mubarek Baptists' worship, an illegal court fining two. In Karshi police targeted hearing and speech impaired Baptists. A Samarkand Jehovah's Witness was fined when enquiring about state registration.
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  • Kazakhstan: 40 months, 65 criminal convictions
    Three Muslims who drank tea, prayed and discussed their faith have failed to overturn their three-year jail terms on appeal. The men's bank accounts are likely now to be blocked and they owe a large sum in court fees. Their jailing means 65 alleged Tabligh Jamaat members have been convicted since 2015.
    - -
  • Kazakhstan: Why were prisoner's conditions made harsher?
    After prisoner of conscience Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov's transfer to a harsher prison he is held in solitary confinement with one short daily exercise period, and can have only two two-hour meetings with relatives a year. He is only occasionally allowed to read the Koran.
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  • Russia: Will Constitutional Court reduce "anti-missionary" prosecutions?
    Lawyers have cautiously welcomed a March Constitutional Court ruling, hoping it will reduce "missionary activity" prosecutions. However, the first case seeking compensation for an unjustified "missionary activity" prosecution failed. Glorification Pentecostal Church's case against Krasnoyarsk Regional Prosecutor's Office and Russia's General Prosecutor was rejected.
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  • Azerbaijan: Theologian challenges state's book ban
    Muslim theologian Elshad Miri is challenging in court the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations decision to ban one of his books on theological grounds. The Committee operates the prior compulsory censorship of all religious materials. A court fined another bookshop owner for selling religious literature without permission.
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Get Religion

  • newESPN tells an NBA veteran's emotional story extremely well — and with a strong faith angle
    The boss man sent me a link to this story."This has positive Bobby written all over it," tmatt said in his email.In other words, knowing my love for "faith in sports" angles, he thought I'd appreciate ESPN's emotional feature on Kyle Korver, whose brother died unexpectedly a few months ago.For those who, like me, don't follow the NBA all that closely, Korver is a veteran sharpshooter for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs, by the way, are down 3-2 to the Boston Celtics in the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals and face elimination Friday night. The boss man was right: ESPN writer Brian Windhorst told this story extremely well. And he didn't allow it to be haunted by a holy ghost.LIke Korver does so often, Windhorst nailed the 3-point shot. Let's stand at the free-throw line and consider the first two paragraphs: PELLA, IOWA -- ON a mid-March day in Central Iowa, Kyle Korver and his three brothers were watching the NCAA tournament together in the same room. Despite his alma mater, Creighton, losing, it was a good day and a good memory. Korver has hung on to that moment and others like it over the past two months as he has struggled with sorrow. At times he has cried himself to sleep in the afternoons before games and woken feeling something he can only describe as his insides trembling. He has relied on prayer to give him the strength to get up and go to work.Relied on prayer.As far as hints to readers — and reporters — that there's a strong religion angle that needs to be addressed, that's an easy layup.
    - 9 hours ago 24 May 18, 9:53pm -
  • newSaying goodbye to 'The Middle,' a rare Middle Class comedy (and we know what that means)
    Anyone who has been alive and watching American television in recent months (or reading mainstream media sources that provide entertainment news), knows that Roseanne Barr has made a spectacular return to the air, with the rebirth of the classic "Roseanne" sitcom.Whether this is a spectacularly good thing or a spectacularly bad thing depends on how you view the fact that Barr has included some material in the show linked to her belief that Donald Trump is not the Antichrist.However, some journalists and critics who have attempted to view this phenomenon with a wee bit of objectivity have observed that "Roseanne," the show, is once again offering glimpses of ordinary, Middle and even lower Middle Class American life -- a topic usually ignored by elite Hollywood.Now, the season finale of "Roseanne" took place about the same time as the farewell episode of "The Middle" after nine years as a successful series that was rarely noticed by critics -- as opposed to millions of American viewers. Variety noticed the timing of these events.Also, a fine review/essay by Robert Lloyd in The Los Angeles Times dug deep enough to notice that these two shows shared cultural DNA. The headline: "Before 'Roseanne's' revival, 'The Middle' carried the torch for America's heartland." Here is a chunk of that piece: Set in the middle of the country, or near it, with characters on an economic middle rung, or just below it -- the other "middle" is middle age -- the series stars Patricia Heaton, who had spent an earlier nine years married to Ray Romano on "Everybody Loves Raymond," as Frankie Heck, wife, mother, daughter, dental assistant. Premiering in September 2009, when the shocks of the Great Recession were still reverberating and the subprime housing crisis was still having its way with the economy, "The Middle" is the sort of show that were it to debut in 2018, would be taken as a network responding to the Trump election. (The series had in fact been in development since 2006.)The "middle" also refers, of course, to the middle of this nation, as well as the Middle Class.When you start talking about "Middle-Class values" this is often code language for You Know What. See if you can spot the GetReligion angle in this next passage.
    - 15 hours ago 24 May 18, 4:12pm -
  • newWaves of transgender news add to difficult agenda confronting religious traditionalists
    A bit of U.S. “mainline” Protestant history was made May 11. The Rhode Island State Council of Churches announced that its 70-year-old executive minister, American Baptist Donald Anderson, will take three months off for an unspecified “process of transitioning” to female identity.The council’s board is “totally supportive,” stated its  president, a United Church of Christ pastor, and anticipates Anderson’s September return under the new name of Donnie. The council sponsored an April 24 “merciful conversation on gender identity and expression” at an Episcopal church.By coincidence, the April 25 edition of The Christian Century, a prototypical “mainline” voice, published a noteworthy article on “nonbinary gender” as part of God’s good creation.The piece was an excerpt from a new release by the Presbyterian Church (USA) book house, “Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians.” Author Austen Hartke, creator of the youtube series “Transgender and Christian,” is a recent graduate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he won an Old Testament prize.This frontier in modern moral theology confronts many U.S. religious groups head-on, and just after legalized same-sex marriage, causing religious-freedom disputes the news media will be covering for the foreseeable future. The transgender cause contrasts with the heavily “binary” and “cisgender” culture throughout the Bible and the Quran that shapes the beliefs of traditional Christians, Jew and Muslims.
    - 18 hours ago 24 May 18, 1:00pm -
  • Fertility frontier: Washington Post delves into God's work vs. that of modern science
    I saw the most intriguing story about new fertilization techniques and religion recently, only to discover that the Washington Post has a huge collection of articles and videos about every facet of the explosion of baby-making technologies under the heading of “Fertility Frontier.”There’s a video series about a single 29-year-old woman (and Post staffer) wondering if she should freeze her eggs; a Facebook group devoted to fertility discussions; and a cluster of other articles about ways to beat the reproduction odds.This newest one, about the intersection of religious dogma with this runaway technology, ran in an attractive package of graphics and text. A few paragraphs into the story, we learn why the world of religion must come to terms with the latest in fertility science, even if it disagrees with it. Since then, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and related technologies have produced some 7 million babies who might never have existed — roughly the combined population of Paris, Nairobi and Kyoto — and the world’s fertility clinics have blossomed into a $17 billion business. The procedures have amplified profound questions for the world’s theologians: When does life begin? If it begins at conception, is it a sin to destroy a fertilized egg? What defines a parent? Is the mother the woman who provides the egg or the woman who gives birth? What defines a marriage? If a man’s sperm fertilizes an egg from a woman who is not his wife, does that constitute adultery? The moral questions are rapidly becoming more complex. Researchers are working to advance gene-editing tools that would allow parents to choose or “correct for” certain preferred characteristics; to create artificial wombs that could incubate fetuses outside the body for nine months; and to perfect techniques to produce “three-parent” babies who share genetic material from more than two people.What’s clear in the story, is that all the people profiled have decided to ignore religious or moral objections to assisted reproduction when their ability to have their own biological children is at stake. This included Catholics who ignored their church's teaching that because IVF creates fertilized embryos that must be disposed of, the technology as a whole is immoral. Some religious leaders have objected to using gene editing on embryos or in ways that could affect future generations, arguing the human genome is sacred and editing it violates God’s plan for humanity… the Vatican is convening meetings to discuss its moral implications, including one this week in Rome.
    - 2 days ago 23 May 18, 6:33pm -
  • After midnight: Dramatic turn in Paige Patterson drama, with religion-beat pros on the scene
    Let's face it, it's going to be hard to do a GetReligion-style critique of a breaking hard-news story in The Washington Post that runs with this byline: "By Bobby Ross Jr., Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Michelle Boorstein — May 23 at 6:44 AM."Luckily, Wednesday is Bobby's normal day off here at GetReligion. He was all over Twitter, into the wee, small hours of this morning, waiting for another shoe to drop in this high-profile drama in the Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest non-Catholic flock.So what can I say about a story reported by a current GetReligionista, a former GetReligionista and one of the nation's most experienced religion-beat professionals?Let's start with the obvious, focusing on the crucial thread that unites those three names: This was a job for experienced religion-beat reporters.Yes, there will be Southern Baptists -- young and old (hold that thought) -- who may debate one or two wordings in the story that finally ran this morning with this headline:  Prominent Southern Baptist leader removed as seminary president following controversial remarks about abused womenThere are leaders in all kinds of religious groups who, when push comes to shove, want to see a public-relations approach to anything important that happens to them and their institutions. When it comes to bad news, they prefer gossip and PR, as opposed to journalism.Meanwhile, you can find the following in the 12th chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke:  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.Let's focus on two crucial decisions that faced the team writing this latest story about the long, twisted tale of Patterson and his views on sexual abuse.First of all, this story is quite long, for a daily news story. However, it really needs to be read in the context of Sarah's earlier exclusive, the one that you know the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were discussing behind those executive-session doors. You also know that this Post report spend some time being "lawyered up." I'm talking about the story that ran with this headline: Southern Baptist leader encouraged a woman not to report alleged rape to police and told her to forgive assailant, she says
    - 2 days ago 23 May 18, 2:00pm -

Mission Network News

  • Somalia sees bloodiest terror attack in country’s history (MNN) -- Over 300 people were killed in Somalia's bloodiest attackThe post Somalia sees bloodiest terror attack in country’s history appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • Emergency medical flight gets conjoined twin infants to life-saving surgery (MNN/MAF) -- Conjoined twins saved through ministry’s medical flightThe post Emergency medical flight gets conjoined twin infants to life-saving surgery appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • Christmas short-term mission opportunities!'l (MNN) -- Short-term mission trip opportunities this ChristmasThe post Christmas short-term mission opportunities! appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • The faces and stories behind World Food Day (MNN) -- On World Food Day, ministry spotlighting long-term solutionsThe post The faces and stories behind World Food Day appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 16 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • State elections draw near in India, spark anti-Christian sentiment (MNN) -- Christians are being watched closely The post State elections draw near in India, spark anti-Christian sentiment appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 16 Oct 17, 4:00am -

PE News

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" 
    - 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 
    - 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? 
    - 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" 
    - 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" 
    - 27 Apr 17, 8:14pm -

Religion News Service

  • newBooker and Warren fuse faith and politics in appeal to mainline preachers
    WASHINGTON (RNS) — Pairing religion with liberal politics, the two potential presidential candidates made an unusually direct appeal to mainline Christians.The post Booker and Warren fuse faith and politics in appeal to mainline preachers appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 11 hours ago 24 May 18, 8:03pm -
  • newRichard Paul Evans’ fake news about feminism
    Novelist Richard Paul Evans responds to accusations of sexual harassment by claiming that feminists' "war on men" seeks to wipe out 90% of men, whose situation is as dire as that of Jews in Nazi Germany. What in the world?The post Richard Paul Evans’ fake news about feminism appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 13 hours ago 24 May 18, 6:13pm -
  • newMillennials: get over your faith phobia
    (RNS) — Interfaith work isn’t about watering down our religions. It’s about building relationships so we can together serve others.The post Millennials: get over your faith phobia appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 13 hours ago 24 May 18, 5:33pm -
  • newSouthern Baptists see ‘judgment of God’ in #MeToo reckoning
    (RNS) — For some Southern Baptists, the treatment of a seminary president removed from office for his comments about women rankled — especially among a younger generation of pastors who are trying to evangelize to a modern setting.The post Southern Baptists see ‘judgment of God’ in #MeToo reckoning appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 14 hours ago 24 May 18, 4:37pm -
  • Appreciation: Philip Roth belongs in canon of greatest American authors
    (RNS) — Roth was a literary archaeologist who dug deep into his imagination and memory to re-create the American Jewish milieu of his youth.The post Appreciation: Philip Roth belongs in canon of greatest American authors appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 1 day ago 23 May 18, 8:02pm -

Today's Creation Moment

  • newWho was First to North America?
    The conventional understanding has always been that North America was populated by people who crossed from Asia to Alaska via the Bering Strait and then migrated down the West Coast. Eventually, some of them crossed as far as the eastern coasts of North and South America. Known as the Clovis culture, their descendants produced all the North and South American Indian tribes and more
    - 2 hours ago 25 May 18, 5:00am -
  • How the Aye-Aye Taps Into Lunch
    The Aye-Aye is one of the strangest little monkeys on earth. Its peculiar features bear witness that it was specially designed and created to fill a unique niche in nature, not a chance development of more
    - 1 day ago 24 May 18, 5:00am -
  • Ginger Is Strong Medicine
    Often naturally occurring medicines work better and more gently than man-made concoctions. Ginger has long been accepted as a natural treatment for nausea. Several modern studies have confirmed that ginger can even work better than modern nausea medicines such as Dramamine®.read more
    - 2 days ago 23 May 18, 5:00am -
  • Were Dinosaurs Warm Blooded?
    Dinosaur fossil hunters and paleontologists have long debated whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded or cold-blooded. With reptile characteristics, it was expected that dinosaurs would be cold-blooded. Yet, some evidence indicated that they must have been more
    - 3 days ago 22 May 18, 5:00am -
  • There Is No Genetic Code for the Human Soul
    The $250 million Human Genome Project is attempting to map all the human genes. Their preliminary findings were released sometime in the year of 2000. Some observers have been saying that the human genome project will define what it means to be more
    - 4 days ago 21 May 18, 5:00am -

United Methodist News Service

World Magazine

  • newDreams of democracy
    Dreams of democracyImmigrationChinaNew YorkDemocracyNew book Patriot Number One profiles Chinese Democracy activists transplanted in New YorkPolitical UnrestJune ChengTwo years ago I wrote about Wukan, a fishing village in Guangdong province that in 2011 launched a protest over corrupt officials’ land grabs. The protest led to a rare success: The government allowed Wukan residents to elect their own village-level leaders. Yet that experiment ended in 2016, when officials arrested a local elected official, Lin Zuluan, on trumped-up corruption charges.Journalist Lauren Hilgers first visited Wukan in 2012 during the aftermath of the protest, and befriended protest leader Zhuang Liehong. Two years later, Zhuang and his wife Little Yan arrived at Hilgers’ doorstep in Brooklyn: Fearing a crackdown, they had sold their house, left their son with his grandparents, flown to the United States with a tour group, and decided to stay and apply for asylum.Zhuang’s journey from protesting in the streets of Wukan to creating a new life in the Chinese neighborhood of Flushing, Queens, is the topic of Hilgers’ fascinating new book, Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown, named after Zhuang’s online alias. Beyond Zhuang, it offers a look at the Wukan protests, the U.S. immigration system, the immigrant experience, and the small, plucky group of activists fighting for Chinese human rights while living in the United States.When Zhuang realized he had to leave China, there was only one place he wanted to go: America. “It was a country of justice and freedom, a place with values that paralleled his own,” Hilgers writes. “He had to whisper when he said it: America.” He feared retribution for standing up to authorities—a reasonable worry as the Chinese government rounded up village leaders after he left—and imagined moving to a new land that would welcome him with open arms. The people would be friendly and the jobs plentiful, he thought.The reality was quite different. Zhuang and Little Yan had some money saved up, but they couldn’t speak English and didn’t have any family in the United States. Zhuang had never graduated from middle school. It took a year and a half before their asylum was approved and their son could join them in the United States. To make ends meet, Little Yan found work at nail salons while taking English classes. The idealistic Zhuang had a more difficult time keeping a job and instead dreamed up various moneymaking schemes, whether opening a tea shop or buying luxury handbags in America and selling them to customers back in China.Yet Zhuang’s attention remained focused on the ongoing turmoil in his hometown of Wukan. As a second round of protests began in 2016 following Lin’s arrest, Zhuang began advocating for his friends, posting cell phone videos and photos on Facebook and contacting journalists. Zhuang’s activism brought him in contact with Flushing’s Chinese Democracy Parties, a ragtag group of dissidents who gather to discuss and protest a variety of causes.The head of the group, Tang Yuanjun, spent eight years in a Chinese prison for his role in organizing the Chinese Democracy Party. He acknowledges that some Chinese immigrants attend his meetings only to help their asylum cases, but hopes they also learn about democracy while they’re there. He told Hilgers he’s optimistic that one day he’ll return to China again. “Change can happen fast,” he said. “That’s why the voice of dissidents living outside China should continue to be loud.”ImmigrationSnapshots of China
    - 9 hours ago 24 May 18, 9:32pm -
  • newNo secret formula
    No secret formulaGovernmentSocietyPoliticsBut predicting future corruption really isn’t so hardGovernmentVol. 33, No. 11Joel BelzA longtime reader from northeast Ohio wrote recently to compliment our editorial gifts at predicting the future. “I enjoy reading back issues of WORLD,” she said, “and have been impressed many times by your uncanny ability to ‘see’ ahead, relying on your inspired hunches.”To this very kind and overly generous friend, let me first say thank you for her note of encouragement. It came right on the heels of a handful of especially harsh letters from a little band of very unhappy WORLD members.But second, I have to stress that we have no specific formulas here for describing what’s going to happen in the years ahead.The column my new Ohio friend was referencing focused on the tendency of all leaders to abuse the power they gain. The more secure a leader becomes, the sooner he or she typically tumbles into dishonest and crooked behavior. That particular column came halfway through the administration of Barack Obama, with special attention to that team’s calculated abuse of political power in the Internal Revenue Service (see “Rotten to the core?,” June 15, 2013).Because she was reading a 5-year-old essay, the perspective seemed prescient. But when I sit here and predict dishonesty and corruption in government, I’m betting on an almost sure thing. It doesn’t take any special insight to suggest that the next set of leaders will also be surrounded by scandal. Ever since the Watergate crisis of the 1970s, we’ve been nudged closer and closer to thinking it’s altogether normal to ask, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?” We asked it, of course, about the Clintons and their Arkansas investments. We asked what George W. Bush really knew about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And what did Barack Obama know about Hillary Clinton’s pressure tactics while developing a huge funding base for the Clinton Foundation?In brief, we don’t really trust our government anymore. More and more, we are skeptics. And the parade of faces and names on the nightly news of those who are charging or being charged, suing or being sued, indicting or being indicted, just keeps growing. But what if, in our fierce search for wrongdoers, we discover something worse than mere complicity either at the top or in the vast rolls of “civil servants” and “staff experts”?It doesn’t take any special insight to suggest that the next set of leaders will also be surrounded by scandal.Here’s what is worse—and maybe much worse. What if the whole government structure is so bad, so universally rotten to the core, that the honchos at the top don’t even have to issue perverse orders? What if the inclination to abuse power is so thorough that it’s just an expected modus operandi? What if no one has to tell a third-level operative in the Justice Department that the way to move ahead is to hack someone else’s cell phone? What if everyone “up there” comes to understand that cover-up trumps truth-telling—and -cover-up becomes a habit?Still worse: What if all that has already happened?So now we’re no longer talking, as Richard Nixon’s attorney John Dean did, about “a cancer on the presidency.” Now we have to talk instead about “a cancer on the whole government.” And which do you suppose is easier to treat?But hold on. There may be something more troublesome yet. I think this is what my reader friend in Ohio maybe had in view. There may be a scenario a thousand times more to be feared than a disease-ridden government. That situation comes when the people being governed no longer own the kind of moral compass that helps them judge between good and evil. That may be because they simply no longer care, and have become numb to such distinctions. Or it may be because they have always been taught that all morality is relative—and out of conviction they simply aren’t ready to pass judgment on others.It was a shrewd observer who, sizing up the realities of the world, said that “people usually get the kind of leaders they deserve.” So should I be warning my reader friend in Ohio that we have no secret formula for writing about future governments? We just look around and try to size up the neighbors we have right now.GovernmentVoices
    - 11 hours ago 24 May 18, 8:07pm -
  • newNeighbor and friend
    Neighbor and friendFaith & InspirationfriendlinessTelevisionFifty years after Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood began, the people Fred Rogers knew away from cameras reveal the character of the manFaith & ReligionVol. 33, No. 11Emily Belz“Dear Kamel, We like you just the way you are. Happy Birthday … Love Joanne and Fred.” So reads a handwritten card to Kamel Boutros from Fred and Joanne Rogers, written the year before Fred Rogers died suddenly from stomach cancer at age 74.Boutros has boxes of letters from Rogers and cassettes of voicemails of Rogers calling to check in on him. He is one of many people Rogers, the iconic host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, befriended, mentored, and prayed for away from the cameras.“I miss this man so much,” said Boutros upon finding the birthday card. “I cannot believe he was my friend!”With the 50th anniversary of the television show this year, a major documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, debuts in theaters June 8 (see sidebar), and Tom Hanks will star in a film about Rogers, You Are My Friend, coming to theaters in October 2019.The people Rogers took under his wing—even as he wrote and produced more than 1,000 episodes of his show over his career—still feel the effect of his love. In a media environment where scandal from public figures is the norm, Rogers remains untarnished by the scrutiny of retrospectives and interviews with those closest to him.“Fred, he didn’t play a character,” said Boutros.Rogers’ show, where he voiced the puppets and wrote the songs he sang, was one of the longest-running children’s shows on television ever. The premise was simple and low-production: Rogers walks into his house, changes jackets and shoes, and then spends several minutes talking about something very simple, like the concepts of “going” and “coming.”Ordained as a Presbyterian pastor (PCUSA), Rogers never led a church but focused on television where he taught children about the importance of love, hard work, curiosity, empathy, and expressing your feelings in healthy ways. His mission was to use television “for the broadcasting of grace through the land.” He had, by all accounts, a successful marriage with Joanne Rogers from 1952 until his death in 2003, and they had two children.Rev. George Wirth is a PCUSA minister who was a close friend of Rogers, and he, like Boutros, has boxes of letters from Rogers. He recalls that Rogers swam regularly, ate healthy, never drank or smoked, and went to bed early.“I don’t know how he found the time to be that personal with so many people,” said Wirth. “It was one of his gifts.” Handout Kamel Boutros A CHRISTIAN IMMIGRANT FROM EGYPT AND A MUSICIAN, Boutros was studying at Curtis Institute of Music in the 1990s when his path first crossed with Rogers’. Boutros’ roommate was Alan Morrison, an organist and the son of concert pianist Jeannine Morrison. The Morrisons were close friends with the Rogerses—Joanne Rogers was a concert pianist too, and she and Jeannine often performed together.Alan Morrison appeared on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1994, showing Rogers how to play a pipe organ. On another episode Morrison played piano with Demarre and Anthony McGill, brothers who play the flute and clarinet. After hearing them, Rogers turned to the camera.“Those young men, they spend their time doing healthy things,” Rogers told the audience. “Things that don’t hurt anybody. In fact their music helps -people. They practice as they play, and they make life better by doing it. I’m very proud of them for what they do, how they do it, and who they are. When you use your time doing constructive things, helpful things, and learn to do them as well as you possibly can, I’m proud of you too.” Then Rogers started singing his song, “I’m proud of you ...”Having grown up in Egypt, Boutros had never watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, so his roommate Morrison put it on one day. At first Boutros found it slow and uninteresting, but that changed as he watched.“I wanted to cry,” said Boutros. “What this man was doing psychologically for kids—I’m watching a genius.”Fred Rogers himself studied music composition, and he composed hundreds of songs. He loved spending time with musicians. Morrison sent a tape of one of Boutros’ recitals to Rogers, thinking he would like Boutros’ voice. Rogers got in touch.“He just decided he was going to pray for me and encourage me,” said Boutros. Rogers wrote letters regularly, attended Boutros’ programs, and, after Boutros graduated, helped with money while Boutros got on his feet.They would work on music together, Rogers asking Boutros to show how he did piano improvisation. Boutros says Rogers was “not a small composer,” writing technically difficult pieces, like an arrangement of Chopin. They began by discussing music but moved on to “talking about God all the time.”Soon after school, Boutros was performing The Messiah in Chile, and he got nervous about his visa coming back. The visa was in order, but Boutros worried he might be sent back to Egypt, and he hadn’t been able to obtain clear answers from the embassy. He called Rogers, who contacted U.S. diplomats in Chile, who invited Boutros to the local office and comforted him about the visa.The Rogerses had Boutros up for long visits at their “crooked house,” as they called it, in Nantucket. Boutros remembers going to the grocery store with Rogers where fans would mob the PBS star. Boutros offered to do the grocery shopping, but Rogers insisted that he was a guest.One conversation with Rogers stuck with Boutros throughout his career. They were eating at a diner in New York and Rogers ordered a sandwich, then asked if it cost extra to add cheese. The waiter said cheese was 40 cents extra. Rogers said he’d have the sandwich without the cheese. Forty cents isn’t much, is it? Boutros asked. Rogers told him he would spend a lot of money on his shoes, because he needed to have good shoes, but the cheese wasn’t necessary for his life’s work.“That’s when I decided I was going to get a grand piano,” said Boutros. “Not a bad upright piano.”Boutros sang with the Met Opera for about five seasons and performed multiple times with the legendary pianist Martha Argerich. He now directs music at New York’s Calvary-St. George’s Episcopal Church—composing, singing, and leading orchestras. This past December he premiered a piece he wrote in Coptic based on Isaiah 9, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Handout George Wirth ROGERS BEFRIENDED REV. WIRTH at a funeral in 1983. Wirth’s closest friend at the time, Presbyterian Pastor Robert Holland, had died of a heart attack, and Wirth prayed at the funeral at Holland’s church, Shadyside Presbyterian. The church was near Rogers’ home in Pittsburgh, and Rogers came to the service, sitting in the back. Later that day, Wirth got a phone call—it was Fred Rogers.“He said, ‘Your prayer was lovely and meaningful to me. I can tell that you are hurting. Would you like to get together and visit for a while?’” Wirth recalled. “He could sense the pain in other people, and he felt a calling to minister to them. And I was one of those people.”They went to a Pittsburgh lunch spot, Duranti’s, and talked for two hours, crying and laughing. Rogers told him, “I think we could be friends.” They began having lunch at Duranti’s once a month, where they would regularly pray together. Then they began having family get-togethers.A few years later Wirth went with Rogers to a speaking engagement near Lake Erie, where Rogers spoke about the importance of family. Afterward a microphone went out to the audience for questions.One woman stood up and shared that her daughter and grandchildren had all watched the show. Then she shared that she was sad today because her daughter just found out she was going to get a divorce. The woman broke down into sobs, and Wirth recalled Rogers climbing off the stage and going back to the 15th row where the woman sat, slowly inching his way across the row as people tried to get out of his way. And he hugged her.“Off-camera he was as caring and sensitive as he was on camera,” said Wirth. “Maybe even more so.”Rogers retired from his show in 2001. He didn’t tell many people when he learned he was sick two years later, and he died shortly after his diagnosis. Boutros heard from Rogers’ lawyer when he died; Rogers had left him some ancient dishes that were a gift from the Egyptian Museum.When Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999, he used five minutes to talk about the value of life—referencing a recent comment on a news report he saw where someone said life was cheap.“Life isn’t cheap,” Rogers said. “But how do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own. By treating our neighbor at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce. Who in your life has been such a servant to you?” He asked the audience to sit in silence for 10 seconds to ponder that question. A lovely tributeWon’t You Be My Neighbor? is a new documentary about Fred Rogers, due in theaters on June 8. The documentary captures several moments that solidified Rogers’ greatness: his emotional connections with children as well as with those around him.Mister Rogers was the one who allayed my childhood fears about the bathtub drain sucking me down, so I can’t be objective about him. But neither can many of the children who grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.The documentary contrasts the gentleness of Rogers with the violent world and culture around him. After 9/11 he went on his show and reminded his watchers that “we’re all called to be repairers of creation.” Watch an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood today, and it will feel like a foreign film in our fast-cutting media environment. His simple moment singing “It’s You I Like” with a disabled boy in a wheelchair will melt the hardest heart.Bring the Kleenexes, but maybe not the kids. The only drawback of this documentary is that it is targeted at adults in order to pose some adult questions. It includes a brief foray into questions about whether Rogers was gay (his confidants laughed it off, including cast member François Clemmons, who was himself gay) and some off-color language from the show’s crew.Those few adult moments are perhaps disappointing for parents who wanted their children to see the film but useful in contrasting Rogers with the crude, cruel world around him. In a touching moment, Clemmons shares that Rogers became his surrogate dad. “No man had ever told, had ever said, ‘I love you,’ like that to me,” he recounts. A rare man indeed. —E.B. Faith & InspirationFeatures
    - 11 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:55pm -
  • newShocked snails and the wonders of RNA
    Researchers at UCLA say they transferred memories between marine snails through injections of RNA.RNA is a messenger substance that takes genetic instructions from DNA and delivers them to the protein-making machinery in cells. God designed RNA with a multitude of functions, and scientists continue to marvel at new discoveries that shed light on its varied purposes. Recent discoveries show RNA helps some species adapt to their environments more efficiently than the random DNA mutations Darwinian evolution predicts. In the current study, published in the online journal eNeuro, marine biologists demonstrated that RNA may play an integral role in memories.The biologists gave electrical shocks to the tails of a group of snails. The snails responded with the self-protective reflex of contracting their gills and siphons (appendages that draw water over the gill for respiration). Another group of snails did not receive any shocks.Later, the researchers tapped the snails and discovered the previously shocked snails displayed gill and siphon contractions for an average of 50 seconds, compared to only about one second for those who received no shocks. The snails’ reactions suggested the shocked group remembered the trauma and tried to protect themselves.Next, the biologists extracted RNA from the nervous systems of the shocked snails and injected it into seven non-shocked snails. Those snails displayed an average 40-second contraction when tapped, behaving as though they remembered receiving shocks when in reality they had not. “It’s as though we transferred the memory,” David Glanzman, senior author of the study, said in a statement.Finally, the researchers removed sensory nerve cells from the snails that did not receive shocks. When the researchers added the cells to petri dishes containing RNA from shocked snails, the nerve cells showed increased excitability. But when they placed neurons in dishes containing RNA from the non-shocked group, they noted no such increase. The discovery suggests RNA somehow stores at least some memories in chemical form.The researchers believe this finding will aid scientists in developing ways to treat disorders involving memory. “I think in the not-too-distant future, we could potentially use RNA to ameliorate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or post-traumatic stress disorder,” Glanzman, said. Unintended consequences of DDT banU.S. media quickly blamed global warming for the significant increase in insect-borne illnesses that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported. But according to a recent review by Just Facts, a nonprofit research institute, the 1972 federal ban on the insecticide DDT bears most of the responsibility for the alarming statistics.News outlets such as Scientific American, Politico, and Think Progress attributed the increasing rate of insect or vector-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus to global warming, and a 2016 CDC report clearly laid the blame on climate change, too. But the tide may be turning. The latest CDC report made no mention of climate change. During a conference call, Lyle Peterson, director of the CDC’s vector-borne diseases division, noted that although warmer temperatures may play a role, many different factors such as travel and trade contribute to the problem.Just Facts highlighted several scientific studies that demonstrated the rate of vector-borne illnesses increased in conjunction with the federal ban on DDT. A 2016 study published in Nature indicated that growth in mosquito populations over the past 50 years does not correspond with rising global temperature but does correlate with decreased DDT use.A paper appearing in the journal Lancet in 2012 noted that scientific data do not show a connection between global temperature and vector-borne illness. And another article, in the British Medical Journal in 2000, described how DDT eradicated malaria from the United States and Europe and reduced rates by more than 99 percent in other countries. Its effects continued for decades even after the ban. In New York state it took 40 years, but eventually mosquito populations returned to pre-DDT levels. —J.B. Associated Press/Photo by Patrick Cullis/NOAA The South Pole Atmospheric Research Observatory in Antarctica A CFC mysteryEmissions of the ozone-depleting chemical CFC11 have risen in the past five years despite an international ban, according to a recent research study published in Nature. Although the source of the emissions remains a mystery, scientists believe the measurements may reflect illegal production.Manufacturers began to use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the 1930s as aerosol spray propellants, solvents, and refrigerants. These chemicals can remain in the atmosphere for up to 50 years. In the early 1970s, scientists began to understand that CFCs can destroy the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful radiation.When scientists discovered an ozone hole over Antarctica in 1987, countries around the world agreed to ban the use of these chemicals. As emissions fell, the hole in the ozone began to shrink. But, much to the bewilderment of scientists, in 2013 emissions of CFC11, the second most common CFC, started to rise and now measure at the same level they did 20 years ago. Since 2006 most countries reported close to zero production of CFC11, but the study found a release of about 14,300 tons annually over the past five years.“It’s the most surprising and unexpected observation I’ve made in my 27 years of measurements,” Stephen Montzka, lead author of the study, said in a statement.Measurements indicate the emissions appear to come from East Asia, Nature reported. Ross Salawitch, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland, blamed the emissions on “rogue production” and noted that if it continued, “the recovery of the ozone layer would be threatened.”Because nature removes 2 percent of the total amount of CFC11 from the air each year, atmospheric concentrations of the chemical continue to fall despite the increase of emissions, Montzka said, but the decrease is much slower than scientists expected. —J.B.Plastic surgeons grow ear in an armPlastic surgeons at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, grew an ear in the arm of a 19-year-old soldier who completely lost hers in a car accident. It is the first time the Army has performed this type of total ear reconstruction.The surgeons harvested cartilage from the soldier’s ribs and formed it into a new ear. Then they placed the cartilage under the skin of the patient's forearm to allow it to grow and form blood vessels and nerves. When the process is complete, they will remove it from the patient’s arm and transplant it. After rehabilitation, the patient’s ear should possess feeling and look close to normal.“The whole goal is by the time she’s done with all this, it looks good, it’s sensate, and in five years if somebody doesn’t know her they won't notice,” chief surgeon Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III said in a statement. —J.B.Millions of babies savedJames Harrison, an Australian man affectionately known as the “Man with the Golden Arm,” regularly made blood donations over the past half-century that helped save the lives of an estimated 2.4 million babies, The New York Times reported.At age 14, Harrison required surgery and life-saving blood transfusions. When he became an adult he decided to become a blood donor out of gratitude and despite a fear of needles. Then medical professionals discovered his blood contained a rare antibody required to make a medication to save the lives of babies in danger of developing hemolytic disease, a potentially fatal condition. Only about 160 donors with the rare antibody exist in Australia.Now after 1,173 blood donations in the past six decades, doctors say the 81-year-old needs to stop donating for the sake of his own health. —J.B. Image: Deck: Scientists discover new function for genetic workhorseCategory: Science & TechKeywords: ScienceIntelligent DesignResearchClimate ChangeDiseaseMedicineHealthEnvironmentSlug: ScienceArticle Title: Shocked snails and the wonders of RNAAuthor: Julie BorgDigital Branding: BeginningsHide from Archive?: 0
    - 11 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:36pm -
  • newA half-full glass
    A half-full glassFaith & InspirationScienceEvolutionRejoicing over glitchesDevotionalVol. 33, No. 11Marvin OlaskyLife is full of semi-miracles: Let us rejoice and be glad.If you’ve ever sat in a markup session where senators edit prospective federal laws, you’re not surprised that most legislation is messy sausage-making.If you’ve ever visited a Hollywood set and seen how complicated the filmmaking process is, you’re not surprised that most movies flop.If you’ve ever watched a major league pitcher before the game fine-tuning his fastballs, curves, and sliders that can cross a corner of home plate at different speeds, heights, and angles, you’re not surprised that even the best ballplayers hit successfully only 3 out of 10 times.I’ve observed legislators, movie directors, and pitchers. Some processes have irreducible complexity. Mix into all the complications our human sinfulness, and the difficulties escalate. Great success is rare. Let us rejoice when something goes right.Only when we realize how helpless we are in our own power are we ready to submerge our pride and turn to God.A shocking fact: Most things go wrong. If you’ve ever run a small enterprise, with all the complexities of getting the right combination of people and products, you’re not surprised that most enterprises fail. In marriage, how do two people become one flesh? It’s a semi-miracle that half do.Our children in this society are under enormous pressure to conform to anti-Christian worldviews. It’s not surprising that many give up on God in college and in their 20s and even 30s. It’s a semi-miracle that some stand strong, and others who gave in bounce back in their 40s.John Newton, the 18th-century slave trader turned pastor and hymn writer, often received letters from those who despaired about their ongoing sin. Neither shocked nor even surprised, he typically responded (I’m paraphrasing here), Of course, you’re a sinner. Sinners sin. When we don’t sin, for a few seconds, let us rejoice.Only when we realize how helpless we are in our own power are we ready to submerge our pride and turn to God. We have a tendency to blame God when things don’t work, but we should thank Him. If everything worked, our egos would expand and we’d worship ourselves instead of Him.Jesus summarized all the commands in a few words: Love God, love others. Knowing how to love others in a fallen world, and not merely massage their sins and ours, is sometimes complicated. Loving God is more straightforward: Stop complaining, start praising.One new biology book, Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes (HMH, 2018), is full of complaints. Author Nathan Lents complains that our backbones leave us vulnerable to slipped disks, pinched nerves, and lower back pain. Troubling and sometimes maddening as those problems are, would we rather be jellyfish?Our glitches, rather than proving neo-Darwinism right, whisper that it is wrong. (Partly not Darwin’s fault: He didn’t know what we know about molecular and cellular biology.) Scientists early in the 20th century acknowledged that Darwin’s mechanisms for change were insufficient, so they brought in Gregor Mendel’s genetic discoveries and argued that mutations over time would lead to new and improved species. But mutations, like revolutions, usually make things worse rather than better.Some of Lents’ major examples affirm that. He says a mutation in one of our distant ancestors forces us to get vitamin C to keep from dying of scurvy. Hmm: Let us rejoice that somehow humans did not lose out in the struggle for survival.Lents complains that koalas “can do fine eating just one kind of leaf,” but humans “have very particular needs for very specific micronutrients. Why? Because we lost the ability to make them for ourselves.” Hmm: Wouldn’t those who lost it be less fit, and thus deserve a Darwinian death? In any event, let us rejoice that we don’t have one kind of leaf for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.I did appreciate Lents’ discussion of how babies are conceived: “Even when eggs make it into the fallopian tube, it’s a miracle that sperm are able to locate them; sperm cells must travel around 17.5 centimeters to meet the egg, which is a challenge given that this is more than 3,000 times the length of their bodies.”He concludes, “Considering the challenges of even fertilizing an egg, never mind the other hurdles that developing fetuses must overcome between conception and childbirth, every baby really is a miracle.”Yes, a miracle. Let us rejoice and be glad.Faith & InspirationVoices
    - 12 hours ago 24 May 18, 7:31pm -

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 -