Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: Stampede Kills

A graduation celebration turned into a nightmare when a fight began and a tear gas canister exploded. 500 people were in the Venezuelan club in Caracas and 17 died during the ensuing stampede to escape. The Associated Press reports, “Family members wept and embraced one another after identifying the remains of their loved ones at a nearby hospital.”

Prayer List

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort the families and friends of the deceased.
* Pray for physical healing for the five people injured in the incident.
* Pray for the teenagers detained for allegedly using tear gas in the club to repent of their sins.
* Pray for Christians to provide emotional support for the people impacted by the explosion and stampede.

Unreached People of the Day

Monday: Mwani in Mozambique
Tuesday: Bulang in China

Operation World Prayer Focus

Tuesday: Iceland
Wednesday: India: Andhra Pradesh

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

Berean Research

  • How Can We Be Friends? 4 Biblical and Practical Considerations for Co-Ed Christian Friendships
    In this piece, Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley tackles co-ed friendships between Christians. Some Christians feel strongly that co-ed friendships could  lead to adultery. Others strongly disagree.  So the question is, “Which levels of friendship are biblically appropriate for Christian men and women to engage in?” Before we get to the answer, Michelle […]The post How Can We Be Friends? 4 Biblical and Practical Considerations for Co-Ed Christian Friendships appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 3 days ago 16 Jul 18, 2:09pm -
  • Assertions and Assumptions are NOT the Foundation of the Church
    Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church, a blog over at Pirate Christian, believes that much of the bad teaching in churches happens because people who teach often make unbiblical assertions.  And the gullible folks in the pews just assume what they’re being taught is the gospel truth.  After all, pastors/teachers/church leaders would never stray from […]The post Assertions and Assumptions are NOT the Foundation of the Church appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 5 days ago 14 Jul 18, 4:52pm -
  • Imagine There’s No [Christian] Religion
    How many Americans are aware that our Canadian neighbor has pretty much shut Christians out of any significant cultural role? Recently, Dr. Peter Jones visited Ontario and it soon became clear to him that something has happened to Western civilization that makes Christianity a dangerous threat in that country. So in Canada, Christianity must be […]The post Imagine There’s No [Christian] Religion appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 10 days ago 9 Jul 18, 3:45pm -
  • Carried About by Every Wind of Doctrine
    In his latest blog post, Rick Becker reveals some of the heretical teaching that’s currently being passed off as biblical Christianity when it clearly is not — it’s satanic! Becker not only examines the teaching that’s being sold to the Christian “consumer” as “truth”; he discloses who’s doing the selling.  A few examples (there are many) […]The post Carried About by Every Wind of Doctrine appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 17 days ago 2 Jul 18, 9:11pm -
  • Rejecting the Sufficiency of Scripture Results in Cultural Chaos
    Should white people apologize to black people for their positions of privilege as some Christian leaders are suggesting, inquires Josh Buice.  In this piece, Buice specifically addresses the #wokechurch hashtag circulating on social media.  “Woke church” stems from the social justice movement that, sadly, has its claws dug deep into the visible Church. Buice reveals what’s […]The post Rejecting the Sufficiency of Scripture Results in Cultural Chaos appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 21 days ago 28 Jun 18, 4:47pm -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • Blessed Are the Slow
    Scripture reminds us that love—and loving communication—is patient.I have a box of letters that my husband wrote to me while we were dating last year. Traveling from Tennessee to South Carolina and back again, these paper conversations established our friendship, growing mutual trust, and admiration. Getting to know a person this way is reasonably outdated. It could have happened a hundred years ago. But for us it was new.Letters are an old-fashioned practice worth preserving. Unlike most modern communication, letters are for someone, from someone. They are deliberate. They develop slowly and they arrive slowly. They take paper and stamps, maybe a walk to a mailbox to flip up the small red flag.It’s fitting that the inspired writings of the Bible, our most important collection of words, took roughly 15 centuries to compile. And it seems significant that, alongside rich stories, laws, poetry, and history, much of the New Testament consists of personal letters that have endured and nourished recipients for hundreds of years. We get to know more of who God is by the way he breathed his thoughts—over time—through the day-to-day realities of these individuals within their communities.Paul’s tone of voice, for example, displays his affection for the Philippians: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy,” Paul writes. “All of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1).This contrasts sharply with the posts, thoughts, and emotions that scroll through my noisy social media feed. Hurried and painting broadly, we are encouraged to say what we are thinking quickly and concisely. Our screen socialization often feels ...Continue reading...
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  • Turkey Keeps American Pastor Behind Bars—At Least for Three More Months
    Andrew Brunson has spent most of the last two years in prison based on wild—or absent—accusations.After nearly two years in a Turkish prison, hopes for the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson have been deferred. A Turkish court ordered 50-year-old pastor to remain bars until at least his next hearing on October 12.On Wednesday, the court heard testimony from members of Brunson’s church who made “vague, unsubstantiated accusations” against Brunson, reported World Watch Monitor. When the judge asked how Brunson would respond to the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses, he said, “My faith teaches me to forgive, so I forgive those who testified against me.”Bill Campbell, a North Carolina pastor whose church belongs to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the same denomination as Brunson’s church, was among several supporters of the pastor who attended the trial.“As usual, there was much spurious testimony against Andrew,” Campbell told EPConnection after the trial. “Andrew’s testimony was absolutely powerful. He presented the gospel with confidence and defended himself with boldness.”Notably, the court heard a defense witness for the first time, although the witness Brunson initially requested to testify was not permitted to do so.Many of Brunson’s supporters had been cautiously optimistic about his release—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President Donald Trump had been photographed smiling and fist-bumping each other at last week’s NATO summit in Brussels. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had also met with Erdoğan in Ankara the last week of June, though the focus of the meeting was to discuss US sanctions.On Twitter, Freedom House’s Nate Schenkkan called the Turkish court’s ...Continue reading...
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  • Interview: Rethinking Apologetics for the Black Church
    “Black people in the inner city need apologetics, but black people in the suburbs do, too,” says apologist Lisa Fields.When Lisa Fields started college, she was a preacher’s kid who’d grown up inside of the church and never encountered opposition to her faith. That changed in her first New Testament class when she studied a textbook by Bart Ehrman, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who argues against the inerrancy of Scripture.“I’d been in church my whole life,” says Fields. “I was in a Christian bubble. I thought the class would be like Sunday school, I thought it was going to be an easy A, but I really struggled. Through that experience, my dad introduced me to Ravi Zacharias and that helped me start thinking critically about my faith.”In the years since then, Fields has founded an organization called the Jude 3 Project, which uses apologetics to address the unique “intellectual struggles of Christians of African descent in the United States and abroad.” The organization offers lectures and seminars, training courses, podcast discussions, and a conversation forum called Courageous Conversations, which pairs black scholars and pastors trained in both conservative and progressive seminaries.Fields is currently spearheading an event in St. Louis, Missouri, called African Americans in Theology, hosted in partnership with Covenant Theological Seminary. She’s also undertaking an apologetics tour that travels across the country to historically black Christian colleges and universities.CT spoke recently with Fields about the first fruits of her project and why black suburbia is one of her main areas of outreach.Why did you decide to specifically focus on African Americans?I realized that all of the apologetics books I was reading were written ...Continue reading...
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  • The Big Conversation: A Q&A with Justin Brierley on Engaging Intellectual Thinkers around Issues of Faith
    By modeling good conversations about faith between people on both sides of the debate, we can hopefully improve the discourse globally.Ed: So what exactly is The Big Conversation?Justin: The Big Conversation is a 6-episode video debate series in which I sit down with some of the biggest intellectual thinkers from the atheist and Christian world to debate some of life’s biggest questions.It began with the Canadian psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson in conversation with atheist psychologist Susan Blackmore. Peterson has risen to enormous prominence in recent months and is attracting many young men with his approach to finding meaning in life. They had a very lively debate on the question “Do we need God to make sense of life?”Blackmore said ‘no’ and Peterson said ‘yes’.Ed: Is Jordan Peterson a Christian then?Justin: Good question! I actually spent the first and last part of the program asking that question of him.He has consistently refused to be pinned down on his personal religious convictions. When I pressed him on it, he described himself as a “religious man” who was “conditioned in every cell as a consequence of the Judeo-Christian worldview.” The closest I could get to whether he really believed in God was that he lives his life “as though God exists,” saying, “The fundamental hallmark of belief is how you act, not what you say about what you think.”However, he stands strongly against the new atheists who claim that religion is a force for evil. In fact, he came out strongly defending Christianity as the worldview that has shaped the values and freedoms we hold dear in Western civilization. When Susan Blackmore pressed him that certain secular Scandinavian countries are doing fine without religion, he reminded her that such post-Christian nations in the West ...Continue reading...
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  • How Christians Can Take the Lead with Paid Family Leave
    A new report from the Center for Public Justice offers guiding principles for how church communities, policy makers, and employers can put pro-family beliefs into action.“Jane” is a young mother who has worked at a call center for two years. When she was pregnant with her second daughter, she worked full-time up until she went into labor. “My work doesn’t pay for maternity leave, but they told me they would hold my job if I returned within the month,” she said. Like 20 percent of new mothers in the US, Jane returned to work two weeks after giving birth. She said she is sad she can’t breastfeed and be present with her child in the crucial first months of life.Jane is a client of Parenting por Vida, formerly known as Mom’s Place, based in Phoenix. It’s one of the hundreds of faith-based nonprofits that give expectant and new moms financial and emotional support throughout pregnancy and beyond. Many clients grew up in poverty, steeped in trauma and abuse. But director Susan Leon said she’s impressed by the young parents’ resilience. After 17 years, the first cohort of children raised by these parents is finishing high school, and among the second generation, teen pregnancy is rare.Even still, Leon says, most of her clients find the work-family balance extremely precarious. A majority of them work low-wage shift jobs that provide little flexibility and have no maternity leave policy, even unpaid. Yet working outside the home is an economic imperative. For low-income families, childcare presents less-than-ideal options, such as expensive childcare centers or care from extended family, which can be dangerous if there is addiction or abuse.Jane is one of the dozens of parents that Center for Public Justice (CPJ) resident fellow Rachel Anderson and I profiled for a new report, “Time to Flourish: Protecting Families’ Time for ...Continue reading...
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Forum 18 News Service

  • Uzbekistan: More legal personality restrictions imposed
    Uzbekistan has added two new restrictions for religious communities seeking legal status. Many communities are afraid to seek legal status, and if they seek it have been punished. "Give us freedom of religion and belief, [and] we will ask for registration" a Protestant told Forum 18.
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  • Russia: 53 Jehovah's Witnesses facing criminal prosecution - list
    Full list of 53 Jehovah's Witnesses charged or named as suspects or currently on trial for "extremism"-related offences as of 11 July 2018. Of these, 22 are in detention, 3 under house arrest and 27 under travel restrictions. Only one is not under restrictions as the criminal investigation proceeds.
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  • Russia: Criminal prosecutions of 50+ Jehovah's Witnesses
    Prosecutors are investigating at least 50 Jehovah's Witnesses in 16 Russian regions on "extremism" criminal charges. Of these, 21 men and 1 woman are known to be in detention, with 3 more under house arrest and 27 under travel restrictions. If convicted, they could receive lengthy jail terms.
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  • Turkmenistan: Last-ditch appeal against 12-year jail terms
    On 11 July, Turkmenistan's Supreme Court is reportedly due to hear the appeal by five men jailed in August 2017 for 12 years each. The men were punished for meeting to study their faith using the works of theologian Said Nursi, the first such known prosecution in Turkmenistan.
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  • Kazakhstan: 74 known administrative prosecutions in six months
    Of 74 known administrative prosecutions in the first half of 2018 for exercising freedom of religion or belief, 63 ended with fines of up to four months' average wages. A quarter of those punished also received three-month bans on activity. Meeting for worship, offering religious literature and sharing faith without state permission triggered such punishments.
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Get Religion

  • new'Will Roe v. Wade be overturned?' Yes, do take the time to read this excellent piece of journalism
    A conversational, informative lede that draws readers immediately into the story.An impartial, fact-based narrative that quotes intelligent sources on both sides.A solid chunk of analysis from an independent expert with impressive credentials.A Kansas City Star story on the question of "Will Roe v. Wade be overturned?" boasts that winning trifecta — and it makes for a quality, satisfying piece of daily journalism."This piece by Judy L. Thomas is the best report I've read on the subject," Star reporter Laura Bauer tweeted about her colleague's work. "Definitely take the time to read."My response: Amen!As we've noted repeatedly here at GetReligion, mainstream news coverage often favors abortion rights supporters. In case you missed our previous references, see the classic 1990 Los Angeles Times series — written by the late David Shaw — that exposed rampant news media bias against abortion opponents.Given the typical imbalanced coverage, the Star's fair, evenhanded approach is particularly refreshing from a journalistic perspective.The lede sets the scene with a history lesson: Almost half a century has passed, so forgive Dave Heinemann if he doesn’t remember every single detail of how things went down that long spring day in Topeka. But one thing the former Kansas lawmaker hasn’t forgotten is the intensity of the 1969 debate on a measure that made abortion more accessible in the state. “The Legislature was rewriting the state’s criminal code, and there was one section on abortion,” said Heinemann, then a Garden City Republican serving his first term in the Legislature. “That was the only section that really became a lightning rod.” At the time, Kansas — like most states — banned abortion except to save the life of the woman. But some states had begun to propose measures to loosen the restrictions.
    - 12 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 9:55pm -
  • newBias flashback: Should religious leaders risk talking to reporters? (A tmatt response)
    The other day, our own Bobby Ross Jr. wrote a post that included a very strong dose of opinion from a reader. The headline on that post: "Why ignoring a reporter's call probably isn't the best media relations strategy for a religious leader."As you can tell, this is a topic linked to an assumption, and a safe one at that: Many religious leaders are scared to talk to journalists.Now, why might that be? Why the fear? Here's that reader comment, once again: It boggles this Catholic’s mind that you are surprised that any of these pastors would talk to the reporter. This blog has existed on the premise that the media, by and large, are hostile to any kind of religion. The hero of these pastors, President Trump, paints the press as the enemy rather than a guardian of the people’s right to know. And then you are surprised when that actually manifests itself in the real world.Ah, what we have here is a failure to communicate.You see, no one here thinks that the vast majority of news-media pros are "hostile to any kind of religion." To be blunt about it, many journalists don't care enough about religion to work up a decent case of hostility about the subject. Some journalists love some forms of religion and, well, aren't fond of others.Also, apathy is not hostility. Ignorance is not hostility, either. Some editors are scared to try to cover religion. That isn't hostility, either.Well, Bobby told readers that I might want to respond at some point. This is rather ironic, since I am currently in Prague, lecturing at the European Journalism Institute at the historic Charles University. My third and final lecture is relevant to this discussion: "The Four Biases that Shape Religion News Coverage."The quickest way for me to share my thoughts on this complicated topic is to cut and paste a section of an essay that I wrote long, long, long ago for The Quill, published by the Society of Professional Journalists. So here goes. After nearly two decades of studying this issue, in academic settings and while working in the media, I am convinced four different forms of bias are to blame for this media blind spot.Update! Make that four-plus decades of studying this issue!
    - 17 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 4:30pm -
  • newCardinal Ted McCarrick, Part II: The New York Times takes a stab at this old story
    I’d heard that at least one major newspaper was at work on l’affaire McCarrick. On Tuesday, there it was: A double-bylined piece in the New York Times.Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the now-retired head of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., was famous in his prime for being a mover, shaker and chief fundraiser in the church. He was also a sexual molester of young, handsome male seminarians; something several of us reporters knew at the time. But, as I explained here, none of us could prove it, and the victims who could have helped us refused to go on the record.Then in June, two dioceses released the shocking news that McCarrick had been credibly accused of sexually molesting a 16-year-old altar boy 47 years ago.Now, the Times, via its Sunday magazine, already had this story in 2012 when a freelancer managed to document a number of the important details.But that story never ran. Six years later -– and with McCarrick in his dotage, and out of power -– the nation's most powerful newspaper has finally published this 3,054-word piece.Better late than never, I suppose. But there are some odd holes in this narrative. As a young man studying to be a priest in the 1980s, Robert Ciolek was flattered when his brilliant, charismatic bishop in Metuchen, N.J., Theodore E. McCarrick, told him he was a shining star, cut out to study in Rome and rise high in the church. Bishop McCarrick began inviting him on overnight trips, sometimes alone and sometimes with other young men training to be priests. There, the bishop would often assign Mr. Ciolek to share his room, which had only one bed. The two men would sometimes say night prayers together, before Bishop McCarrick would make a request — “come over here and rub my shoulders a little”— that extended into unwanted touching in bed. Mr. Ciolek, who was in his early 20s at the time, said he felt unable to say no, in part because he had been sexually abused by a teacher in his Catholic high school, a trauma he had shared with the bishop. “I trusted him, I confided in him, I admired him,” Mr. Ciolek said in an interview this month, the first time he has spoken publicly about the abuse, which lasted for several years while Mr. Ciolek was a seminarian and later a priest. “I couldn’t imagine that he would have anything other than my best interests in mind.”I’m glad the Times finally got Ciolek to fess up. I called him nine years ago and he refused to comment. Other reporters had called him, too.The Times story later says he was paid an $80,000 settlement by the Church in 2005 that insured his silence on what McCarrick had done to him. Seriously?
    - 21 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 1:00pm -
  • This is not clickbait about Tim Tebow's sex life! No, really! Honest! Click here for more
    Stop and think about this for a moment: How wild are things going to get -- in terms of tabloid news coverage -- if the New York Mets call up Tim Tebow?This is not a pipe dream, even though there are elements of PR and marketing that cannot be denied. You see, Tebow has been making real progress at the plate in recent weeks, while marching through the minor leagues. And the Mets are horrible. Why not give Tebow a shot and see that happens (including ticket sales)?But Tebow in New York City? With that media circus in mind, check out the oh-so-cheeky overture to this celebrity news story at AOL (and lots of other publications as well). What is the religion-news issue hidden in the lede? Good things come to those who wait! Tim Tebow, who's long expressed his wish to find the right girl for him, has struck up a romance with Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who was crowned 2017's Miss Universe. "She is a really special girl and I am very lucky and blessed for her coming into my life," Tebow told ESPN in a new interview. "I am usually very private with these things but I am very thankful."  Nel-Peters, 23, hails from South Africa, while 30-year-old Tebow is Florida-born and raised.Wink, wink. Hold that thought.Later on in this short story, there is this bite of background information, which does absolutely noting to explain the image in the lede.
    - 2 days ago 17 Jul 18, 4:22pm -
  • Anti-Semitism: Journalistically parsing its current upsurge both here and abroad
    I recently spent time in Costa Rica where I was able to visit the nation’s central Jewish “compound” in San Jose, the capital city. My guide was a member of one of the country’s leading Jewish families.I called it a compound — as opposed to a campus — because that’s how it felt. High concrete walls that seemed more appropriate for a military facility than what I actually encountered — a broad, grassy, central plaza surrounded by a small kosher restaurant, a community history and Holocaust museum, a private Jewish school, a large synagogue I was told is filled on important Jewish holidays and for rites of passage, a senior citizens center, and assorted other community offices.Had I not been escorted by a member of a leading Costa Rican Jewish family, my wife and I would have had to submit, for security reasons, our identifying information eight days in advance of a visit. As it turned out, thanks to our friend, we just show up and were whisked past the armed guards waiting outside the compound’s thick metal doors.All this in a nation with only about 3,000 Jews — most able to trace their ancestry to World War II-era Poland — and who our guide insisted face relatively little overt anti-Semitism or anti-Israel sentiment. And yet they're fearful. Why?Because Jews across the world — particularly so in Europe but also in tiny Costa Rica and even the United States —  increasingly feel insecure because of a rising tide of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel actions — the two are often wrongly conflated, by both sides — being reported in the international press, as they should be.The majority of GetReligion readers, I’m sure, are familiar with this turn of events. But let’s probe a  bit deeper. What’s causing this upsurge today?Is it an ugly resurfacing of the historical anti-Semitism that Jews have faced since the earliest decades of Christianity's split from Judaism, the first of the big three Abrahamic faiths?Or is it a product of the further globalization of Islam, sparked in part by Muslim immigrants fleeing poverty and violence in their native lands, and the impact this and their general attitudes toward Israel has had on the societies in which they've resettled?
    - 2 days ago 17 Jul 18, 1:00pm -

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

  • newWhy Mariia Butina wasn’t the only Russian attending the National Prayer Breakfast
    WASHINGTON (RNS) — A new Department of Justice affidavit alleges that a Russian national tried to exploit the National Prayer Breakfast as a back channel to American politicians. Evidence suggests Russian connections to the religious event run deep.The post Why Mariia Butina wasn’t the only Russian attending the National Prayer Breakfast appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 11 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 10:40pm -
  • newUnited Methodist court filings detail proposals for averting schism on sexuality
    (RNS) — Court documents are giving United Methodists the first peek at proposed plans to avoid a split in the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States.The post United Methodist court filings detail proposals for averting schism on sexuality appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 13 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 9:22pm -
  • newVatican-OK’d journal strikes out again at US evangelicals
    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two of Pope Francis' top communications advisers — an Italian Jesuit and an Argentine Protestant pastor — penned "The Prosperity Gospel: Dangerous and Different" for the current issue of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, published Wednesday.The post Vatican-OK’d journal strikes out again at US evangelicals appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 14 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 8:18pm -
  • newCall to pause: Evangelical men join evangelical women in the call to hit pause on culture war
    In light of the current abortion situation in the U.S., a rising chorus of leading Evangelical women called the Senate to stop its rush to confirm a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court and put a “Pause on the Culture Wars”. A significant core of leading Evangelical men has now joined the […]The post Call to pause: Evangelical men join evangelical women in the call to hit pause on culture war appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 14 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 7:52pm -
  • newFor American Muslims, family border separations are personal
    (RNS) — They say it takes a village to raise a child. In Tampa, Fla., a community of Muslims wants to raise 2,300 migrant children until they can be reunited with their families. Here's why.The post For American Muslims, family border separations are personal appeared first on Religion News Service.
    - 14 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 7:29pm -

Today's Creation Moment

  • What Changes Climate?
    It would seem that, when we use the term “climate change”, we are referring to the study of any cause or trend in how global climate might be changing. In practice, most people referring to climate change are talking about alleged catastrophic changes in climate, which are supposed to have been caused by human industrial more
    - 3 days ago 16 Jul 18, 5:00am -
  • Colliding in the Sky
    Astronomers have apparently witnessed a collision between two neutron stars. This collision apparently produced gold, worth about $10 octillion (109). But before you jump in your car to go and collect some of this bounty, you need to know that this collision occurred 130 million light years away. The discovery, such as it is, was reported by a number of news agencies in October more
    - 6 days ago 13 Jul 18, 5:00am -
  • Experts of Climate Change
    Every year, more and more articles appear in print and on the web concerning the effects of climate change.These experts are an elusive group. Hovering in the background, commenting on every disaster, these nameless experts are like a 21st Century gnostic priesthood in possession of secret knowledge which only those expert enough to be experts can more
    - 7 days ago 12 Jul 18, 5:00am -
  • The Oldest Life?
    How old is the world’s oldest fossil? The problem is that the term “oldest” implies a timescale, and we may not agree on the nature of that timescale. For example, deep-time evolutionists assume that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, whereas creationists show that the age of the Earth given in the Bible is about 6,000 more
    - 8 days ago 11 Jul 18, 5:00am -
  • Dinogoose
    An article in the Los Angeles Times about a recent fossil find began:If it walks like a duck and swims like a duck, it might be a more
    - 9 days ago 10 Jul 18, 5:00am -

United Methodist News Service

World Magazine

  • newInternational
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    - 12 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 9:52pm -
  • newThe Green Rush begins
    The Green Rush beginsDrugsMarijuanaPoliticsFirst in a series on the legalization of recreational marijuanaCrimeVol. 33, No. 14Jim LongWhen the 1849ers heard of gold nuggets and dust in California hills and streams, they scrambled for mules, pickaxes, and mining pans. Now that California and Canada have legalized recreational cannabis use, and many states are rushing to do so, the 2018ers are scarfing marijuana domain names, hiring MBA grads, and staking claims for their special brew of THC-infused beer.Sniffing the aroma of quick profit, companies like Molson Coors and Altria (formerly Philip Morris) are rushing in where angels fear to tread. Intoxicated by the prospect of tax dollars that could prop up public schools (as gambling revenues were supposed to), states are ignoring the risk of vending machines jammed with marijuana munchies—brownies, chocolate bars, gummy bears—damaging young brains.Advertisers are framing a new generation of appeals. How about kicking back with a chilled, THC-laced, handcrafted beer with a lime garnish? (THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical primarily responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects.) How about a glass of cannabis sauvignon blanc, or a snifter of hemp-infused whiskey? What about a “marijuana vacation”—to vape granulized THC by the pool, tour marijuana fields, relish “high dining” on THC-saturated sirloin, and return to your room where a cannabis flower lies on your pillow?The future is so bright that pot users are wearing shades. The Cannabis Industry Annual Report projects annual sales growth at 16 percent. Former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively says he will create the “Starbucks of marijuana” and “mint more millionaires than Microsoft.” Business school professors and students at Yale, Cambridge, Stanford, and UCLA are studying the budding market. Why not, when claims “Colorado’s licensing laws are so open that Denver boasts twice as many cannabis dispensaries as it does Starbucks.”With recreational marijuana legalized in Canada starting Oct. 17, so many companies on the Canadian Securities Exchange are in the marijuana business that the trading center’s new nickname is the Cannabis Stock Exchange, with 83 of the 379 companies listed in pot-related businesses. Since U.S. cannabis companies are barred from Wall Street exchanges because of marijuana’s illegality on the federal level, shares of U.S. companies like California cannabis grower Prime Harvest, dispensary chain MedMen, and Body and Mind (maker of edibles like marijuana-infused gummy candies) trade in Toronto.Let’s look at who’s leading the push for full U.S. legalization and who’s positioning to make money on pot use: Big Politics, Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, and Big Banking. We’ll then look at some standing in the way, including Big Pharma, for reasons involving either principal or principle.Former Facebook President Sean Parker is probably the biggest sugar daddy for weed activists. He and his associates in 2015 and 2016 gave $8.6 million to fund Proposition 64, which legalized recreational pot in California. Hedge fund billionaire George Soros, who funds many liberal and radical causes, gave $4 million: He also bankrolls and sits on the board of the Drug Policy Alliance, a large pro-marijuana lobbying group, and from 2004 to 2014 Soros donated about $200 million to groups challenging current drug policies, according to Forbes. Soros contends that legalization is an important step toward improving criminal justice.Insurance interests are also potent pot funders. Peter B. Lewis, Progressive’s late CEO, spent more than $40 million on legalization efforts over three decades. (Fortune headlined a Lewis profile “Sex. Reefer? And Auto Insurance!”) His younger brother, Daniel R. Lewis, a former Progressive board member, donated $1.25 million to support Prop 64.J.B. Woods of Greenpoint Insurance Advisors co-founded Big Marijuana’s umbrella group, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Greenpoint claims nine years of experience providing “commercial insurance, risk identification, and solutions to hundreds of cannabis retailers, cultivators, and manufacturers within regulated markets.” NCIA now provides quarterly meetings, big conferences, and networking opportunities for its 1,500-plus members, including Bic, the ballpoint pen maker.The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is another state and federal lobbying giant. In 2013, MPP’s ad on a NASCAR race jumbo screen called marijuana the “new beer” with “no calories, no hangovers, and no violence.” An MPP radio campaign surveyed pot use by national political leaders, then asked, “Is it fair to arrest three-quarters of a million people a year for doing what presidents and a Supreme Court justice have done?”These lobbyists are finding bipartisan support in Congress. The “Cannabis Caucus” in the House includes Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Don Young, R-Alaska, Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Jared Polis, D-Colo. They authored an amendment that prohibits the Justice Department from spending funds interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are pushing the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act” forbidding federal prosecutions in states where pot is legalized—a bill President Donald Trump said he “probably will end up supporting.”On the business side, Big Tobacco has been eyeing the market for decades. As early as the 1970s, consultants dreamed of the marijuana market: A report to Brown & Williamson (the American tobacco company depicted in the 1999 movie The Insider) said tobacco companies “have the land to grow it, the machines to roll it and package it, the distribution to market it.” In 2009 Altria, which now includes Philip Morris International, took legal action to obtain the domain names and—and in 2010 also obtained, according to Philip Morris claimed it “has no plans to develop or commercialize cannabis products.”The pace is now quickening. Last year Imperial Brands, the British maker of Winston and Kool, hired Simon Langelier, a 30-year Philip Morris veteran and chairman of a medical marijuana company. In January, Altria invested nearly $20 million in Syqe Medical, an Israeli manufacturer of metered-dose cannabis inhalers. This summer Imperial Brands purchased the British biotech firm Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies. Imperial’s website now bears the marketing slug, “From tobacco to something better.” YouTube The Marijuana Policy Project’s NASCAR ad Big Alcohol is also sashaying into the marijuana market. Last November, the U.S. distributor of Corona beer, Constellation Brands, invested $191 million in Canada’s largest commercial marijuana business, Canopy Growth Corp. Meanwhile, Molson Coors is “engaging” with Aphria Inc. and Aurora Cannabis, two other major Canadian cannabis companies.Some of the profits from Coors beer over the years went to fund the conservative Heritage Foundation, but Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter recently told stock market analysts, “We have a team of people working on” the marijuana market. That’s natural, says High Times: “Cannabis and hops are in the same plant family, [Cannabaceae].” One of Hunter’s star innovators has now staked his own claim in the Green Rush: Keith Villa, who created Molson Coors’ popular orange-garnished Blue Moon beer, will soon launch his own “Ceria” line of THC-infused beers.Big Alcohol once opposed the legalization of marijuana, seeing it as a rival for those seeking a buzz—but some research suggests cannabis may increase alcohol use. The prospect of creating double highs, combined with the sobering reality that pot seems on the fast track to legalization, has now converted the industry into a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality. A two-decade study published in 2015 by Forensic Science International showed only 2 percent of car drivers involved in fatal crashes in 1991 had both THC and alcohol in them—but that number jumped fivefold, to 10 percent, by 2008.BIG BANKING IS STILL ON THE FENCE. The New York Times reported Wells Fargo was one of the first national financial institutions to “fish” for clients at marijuana industry conferences. It was also the “first to abandon the field” when Attorney General Jeff Sessions lifted Obama-era protections. Insurance carrier USAA exhaled after successfully arguing (on appeal in a Hawaii federal court) it need not pay for the loss of stolen marijuana plants grown for medical use, since the drug is still illegal under federal law.But if President Trump greenlights the weed, banking institutions may no longer fear money laundering charges for accepting deposits from cannabusinesses. Some big insurers may soon be following the suit of small-time brokers who are charging ultra-high premiums for coverage. In 2014 Allstate’s Amy Allmon said the company would cover the loss of marijuana in Colorado, where cannabis is legal for both medicinal and recreational use. Still, studies on the long-term effects of marijuana use raise questions for underwriters assessing marijuana’s impact on life (potential lung cancer), auto (traffic fatalities), homeowners (fair market value of marijuana plant loss), and product liability (defective THC edibles) insurance.Some companies within Big Pharma have already profited from marijuana’s legalization for medical use in 31 states—or 46 if counting those states allowing the medical use of CBD oils. (Only nine of those states authorize recreational use.) Medical marijuana can be used to reduce muscle spasms, improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, and reduce vomiting and nausea during chemotherapy. The FDA has approved three synthetic marijuana-related drugs for prescription use, and on June 25 it for the first time approved a plant-derived one, Epidiolex. That puts pressure on federal authorities to remove marijuana from their list of drugs with “no medical benefit.”One of the synthetic drugs, Syndros (oral dronabinol), an anti-nausea solution and appetite stimulant, emerged from the laboratories of Insys Therapeutics. Insys, stating its concern for child safety, was the largest contributor ($500,000) to the defeat of a 2016 Arizona measure to legalize marijuana. But an Insys disclosure statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission stated: “If marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids were legalized in the United States, the market for dronabinol product sales would likely be significantly reduced and our ability to generate revenue and our business prospects would be materially adversely affected.”Other pharmaceutical companies have also fought recreational use of pot. Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive opioid OxyContin, was a major contributor to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Vicodin producer Abbott Laboratories was also a big partnership donor. Some within Big Pharma see marijuana as unwelcome competition—especially in states where legalized marijuana and reductions in opioid overdoses are correlated.Whether moving quickly, slowly, overtly, or covertly, all players are jockeying and politicking for a piece of the pot pie—with eyes on the profits and costs in the periphery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 30 percent of users will develop some sort of dependence on the drug, with 9 percent becoming addicted. The 2016 World Health Organization report and a 2017 National Academy of Sciences study depict marijuana as harmful and potentially addictive for up to 50 percent of users.In 2015, 138,000 Americans voluntarily sought treatment for marijuana abuse. Online, a Reddit forum, “r/leaves,” is “a support and recovery community for practical discussions about how to quit pot … or whatever THC-related product you’re using, and support in staying stopped.” It has 66,000 subscribers.Teenage abuse is perhaps the most worrisome—17 percent of adolescent users turn into addicts, and three-fourths of adolescent admissions to publicly funded addiction treatment centers are marijuana-related. One study of a Colorado children’s hospital found that cannabis-related emergency room admissions for youth ages 13-21 quadrupled between 2005 and 2014, the year the state legalized marijuana for recreational use. Studies show marijuana to be dangerous to the adolescent brain, in some cases leading to permanent reductions in IQ.The benefits of marijuana in relieving pain are clear, but it’s usually not hard to find a doctor who liberally passes out prescriptions. CNN reported that only 3 percent of Colorado’s medical marijuana prescriptions were for people suffering from cancer or HIV/AIDS. Some 94 percent cited unspecified “pain.”And, as the Green Rush escalates, some children’s advocates are reminding us of “Joe Camel,” Big Tobacco’s 1987-1997 advertising mascot that attracted children to smoking. THC concentrate is now infused in colorfully packaged sodas, gummy candy, lollipops, and cupcakes. The cannabis industry recently sued and blocked an attempt by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, to have marijuana magazines containing cartoon ads and coupons for $1 joints placed behind counters and out of the reach of children. If government officials can’t withstand the Green Rush, can kids?—Caleb team members: Charissa Crotts, Juliana Chan Erikson, Jim Long, Marvin and Susan Olasky, Harvest Prude. Our next article in this series will concentrate on Big Alcohol’s marijuana involvement. DefinitionsCanabis (Marijuana): A flowering plant containing 85-plus chemical compounds called cannabinoids that are unique to the plant.Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): The most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana gives users a psychoactive “high” effect.Cannabidiol (CBD): The second-most-abundant cannabinoid, often used for medicine, does not produce a “high.”Hashish (Hash): Concentrated cannabinoid in powder, resin, or oil form that typically contains a potent level of THC.Hemp: A fiber and seed extract from cannabis used for rope, paper, or cosmetics. Because the extract is not derived from the flowering bud, it has no drug value. Drug AbuseFeatures
    - 13 hours ago 18 Jul 18, 9:05pm -

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 -