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The Falling Away

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August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-11-new-fda-approved-hepatitis-b-vaccine-found-to-increase-heart-attack-risk-by-700.html
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
September 11, 2017, 06:59:33 am Psalm 51:17 says: The law of reaping and sowing. It's amazing how God's mercy and longsuffering has hovered over America so long. (ie, the infrastructure is very bad here b/c for many years, they were grossly underspent on. 1st Tim 6:10, the god of materialism has its roots firmly in the West) And remember once upon a time ago when shacking up b/w straight couples drew shock awe?

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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Psalm 51:17
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« Reply #210 on: April 05, 2014, 09:35:04 pm »

Matthew 13:20  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.


http://news.yahoo.com/gods-not-dead-low-budget-hit-says-christians-211652034.html;_ylt=AwrBEiRXu0BT8lYAqBHQtDMD
'God's Not Dead': What low-budget hit says about Christians and Hollywood

'God's Not Dead' plays to Christians who feel their faith is caricatured or mocked by Hollywood. It finished fifth at the box office this weekend amid sharply mixed reviews.

3/24/14

It may be “The Year of the Bible” in Hollywood, but American moviegoers are still startling the industry with their robust enthusiasm for faith-filled films targeting the tastes of the faithful.

This weekend, the little-known and small-budget “God’s Not Dead,” a narrative about a Christian college student who must defend his faith in front of an aggressive philosophy professor who makes each of his students sign a pledge affirming that God does not exist, took in more than $8.5 million Friday through Sunday – a surprising fifth-place in this weekend’s box office numbers.

Even more startling, say observers, is the fact that the movie, aimed toward Evangelical Christians, was shown in only 780 theaters – far fewer than those ahead of it, each of which were showing on more than 3,000 screens. Featuring cameos by “Duck Dynasty” stars Willie and Korie Robertson, “God’s Not Dead” beat nearly every other movie this weekend on an earnings-per-screen basis.

“While this huge opening may be a surprise to the industry, it is not so much to us,” said Mark Borde, co-president of Freestyle Releasing, the film’s distributor, said over the weekend. “The in-house tracking, the legitimate one million Facebook fans, the very high trending on Twitter and Fandango, among many other platforms, and the huge positive reaction from the hundreds of screenings over the many past months, gave us hope for a significant opening.”

While not a blockbuster of biblical proportions, the small film’s significant success this weekend comes at a time when Hollywood has been trying to capitalize yet again on the faith-based market, which also made a hit out of “Son of God” earlier this month. The film was condensed from the History Channel’s smash TV hit, “The Bible,” and has taken in nearly $56 million since its release Feb. 28.

It also comes a week before next week’s much-anticipated release of “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe, as well as the forthcoming “Exodus,” directed by action movie legend Ridley Scott. Both big-budget biblical epics have blockbuster expectations along the lines of “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s controversial and graphic depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus, released 10 years ago.

But “God’s Not Dead” is a very different kind of film, many observers say. It has a deep resonance in the Evangelical subculture, which often feels mocked and demeaned by the nation’s media and entertainment elites. And even “Noah” has already generated controversy among the faithful, who object to the liberties taken with the movie’s extra-biblical story lines.

“There's a negativity towards Christians in Hollywood,” said Kevin Sorbo, the actor who plays the atheistic philosophy professor and who also played Hercules in the hit TV fantasy drama in the 1990s. “And a negativity towards people who believe in God.”

“The silent majority is starting to get annoyed with what’s going on,” the Christian actor continued. “I think more people need to start speaking about it instead of just sitting there and taking it.... It’s happening; you’re getting attacked; you need to stand up for yourself and your beliefs.”

Indeed, the film leaps headlong into the culture wars, striking back against famous atheists, referencing the views of Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky, and others.

The film follows the ordeal of Josh Wheaton (played by Disney alum Shane Harper), a pre-law student who refuses to sign a “God is Dead” statement at the outset of his philosophy class. His philosophy professor (Sorbo) then tells him he must either drop the class or defend his belief in God in front of the rest of the students, if he is to pass.

But the movie also has a number of subplots that reference real-life issues that chafe many Evangelicals. A journalist, described as a radical vegan, conducts ambush interviews with “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson and his wife, who play themselves, referencing culture-war issues that have plagued the show since the family patriarch, Phil Robertson, compared homosexuality to bestiality in a magazine interview.

It also follows the story of a young Muslim woman, who converts to Christianity and secretly listens to podcasts of the evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. Her enraged father violently kicks her out of the house. There is also a subplot about a local pastor struggling with his faith, the vegan journalist who later discovers she has cancer, and the philosophy professor’s mistress, who becomes a Christian.

“I’m so glad a film like ‘God’s Not Dead' is bringing to the public the very real culture clash going on in American public life, especially in education,” e-mails Mitch Land, professor and dean at the School of Communication & the Arts at Regent University, an Evangelical school in Virginia Beach, Va. “We have a right and obligation to express our faith without fear of discrimination or reprisal.”

But responses to the film are as stark as red and blue.

Scott Foundas, chief film critic at Variety, called it a “ham-fisted Christian campus melodrama,” saying its depiction of the college professor was “rather like the Jews in the wartime **** propaganda films.”

And so far, some 2,000 ratings on the site imbd.com reveal a divide as wide as it could possibly be. On Monday morning, about half of the arm-chair critics on the site rate the film a "Citizen Kane"-level 10 out of 10 stars (46.3 percent). A full third, however, give it a rock-bottom, "Ishtar"-level 1 star out of 10 (32.8 percent). There's no shades of gray for those who see this film.

Still, others see it in a far less conflict-laden context.

“The success of 'God’s Not Dead' shows at least three things,” says Paul Levinson, media critic and professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University in New York: “Big budgets are not necessary to make popular movies, there is a significant part of the population that cherishes faith-based movies, and students like narratives about arrogant professors who get their due.”
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« Reply #211 on: April 09, 2014, 12:37:31 pm »

Look at all of the misdirection going on here - FYI, these Pentacostal and "money making" churches ARE branches of the Catholic Church! And to boot - Rwanda happens to be one of Rick Warren's Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan "Purpose Driven" countries, and guess what, the United Nations declared this very country to be under human rights abuses in recent years!

There's going to be NO "revival" in the last days of the Church Age!

http://news.yahoo.com/evangelism-booms-catholicism-suffers-post-genocide-rwanda-043338846.html
4/9/14
Evangelism booms, Catholicism suffers in post-genocide Rwanda

Kigali (AFP) - Jean-Claude Zamwita's family abandoned the solemn organ music and stained glass windows of the Catholic church in 2006, eight years after the genocide in Rwanda, and started visiting an evangelical church with tambourines and drumming.

Such churches have been springing up across Rwanda, partly because the traditional churches, notably the Catholic Church, were largely discredited by the role played by some of their clerics during the killings.

Since the end of the genocide, which left some 800,000 people -- essentially Tutsis -- dead, Rwandans have increasingly turned to pentecostal churches or in some cases to Islam.

Zamwita, who was 15 when his family changed churches, said it was an easy decision.

"When we used to attend mass there was no interaction between the priest and the congregation. I was like a slave, being told what to do and what not to do. Here I feel free," he said.

The new churches started when Rwandan refugees came back from neighbouring countries such as Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo, where evangelical churches are already well established.

**FYI, I believe Warren is also active in Uganda.

"These churches are attractive because there is singing, a big display of emotion and an opportunity for individual expression," explained Paul Rutayisire, a historian specialised in religious issues.

Inside the Celpar church that Zamwita and his family attend, the service looks more like a rock concert than anything else.

On a small stage a dozen members of the congregation sing, dance, leap into the air and then throw themselves to their knees. Others throw their arms into the air, wipe tears from their eyes before plunging their head into their hands as if the end was near.

"After the genocide people were spiritually weak. They were sick," explained James Nsengiyumva, the 39-year-old preacher and secretary general of Celpar. "We brought them a new message of empowerment and reconciliation."

This Ugandan-born Rwandan, dressed in a well-cut suit, has 29 churches in Rwanda, three in neighbouring Burundi and a further 40 in DR Congo.

The new churches have found post-genocide Rwanda to be fertile ground as the Catholic Church, while still powerful, no longer has the close relationship to the government that it enjoyed prior to 1994.

Rwanda is still dotted with the ruins of Catholic churches where the faithful seeking shelter were massacred, sometimes with members of the clergy acting in complicity with the killers.

The debate over the role of the Catholic Church was revived on Monday when Rwanda's representative to UNESCO lashed out at the Vatican.

The Catholic Church, a moral authority and an important institution remained silent," Jacques Kabale, Rwanda's ambassador to France and to the UN agency, said on Monday, the 20th anniversary of the genocide.

**Again, the human rights abuses continued when Warren made this one of his "Purpose Driven" countries.

"Its abandonment was felt all the more keenly in that some of its members hid criminal actions," he said.

In spite of everything the Catholic Church has not totally lost its influence, Rutayisire said.

"People go to the Catholics, then to the others. Some people even go to both... those are spiritual journeys."


"The debate over the role of the Catholic Church in the genocide is something that is of interest to an elite group of genocide survivors, for within the majority that was not persecuted (i.e. the Hutu) this is not an issue," he added.

"We don't see them as competition," said Smaragde Mbonyintege, the head of the Episcopal Conference in Rwanda, adding that the Catholic Church had a lot to learn from the preaching methods of the new churches.

The Rwandan government for its part considers that if the evangelical churches do not for the moment represent a threat to public order, they are nevertheless difficult to keep tabs on.

"They are sprouting up like mushrooms," said Felicien Usengumukiza, deputy director general of the Rwanda Governance Board, noting that many of those in charge of evangelical churches seem more interested in making money.

If the evangelical churches get financing from outside the country, they also depend on contributions from the faithful. Zamwita, who ekes out a living from odd jobs, gives, like many other member of the flock who can barely afford it, 10 percent of his earnings to the church.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's a lot like churches in America now - young people, in particular, are jumping ship from both these Catholic churches, as well as these Baptist/Protestant money-greedy/live under the law Babel buildings to these seeker-sensitive/social justice/liberal megachurches.
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« Reply #212 on: April 20, 2014, 06:56:44 pm »

https://movies.yahoo.com/news/captain-america-crushes-johnny-depp-holds-off-heaven-152800117.html
4/20/14

Excerpt:

Starring Greg Kinnear as a small-town pastor whose son claims to have seen heaven after a near-death experience, Sony's “Heaven Is for Real” was third for the weekend with $21.5 million and has taken in $28.5 million since opening Wednesday. It was the fourth faith-based film to score with moviegoers this year, coming on the heels of “Noah,” “God's Not Dead” and “Son of God.”
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« Reply #213 on: April 20, 2014, 09:21:57 pm »

http://ca.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idCABREA3J0L320140420
Hollywood plays to the faithful, finds hits with God
4/20/14

By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud
 
(Reuters) - Hollywood has embraced God in a big - and lucrative - way.
 
The movie "Heaven is for Real," which depicts the story of a young boy who claims to have visited heaven during a near death experience, is the fourth faith-based film this year to stir movie-going audiences with impressive box office numbers.
 
Made for $12 million, the film, which stars Greg Kinnear, collected $21.5 million over the Easter weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, finishing third at the box office behind bigger budget films "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" from Walt Disney and "Rio 2" from Fox.
 
Two other Christian-based films also cracked the top 10. "Noah," from Viacom's Paramount Pictures, stars Russell Crowe as the biblical figure and was ninth. It has generated more than $93 million at domestic theaters since opening in March, according to the site Box Office Mojo.
 
"God's Not Dead," about a religious freshman college student who debates his professor over the existence of God, was tenth and has totaled $48 million over five weeks, despite playing in only about half the numbers of theaters of Hollywood's larger films.
 
Fox's "Son of God," an adaptation of producer Mark Burnett's 10-hour TV mini series "The Bible," generated more than $59 million in domestic ticket sales after opening earlier this year.
 
"This audience has long felt left out by Hollywood and it certainly looks like this isn't the case anymore," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior market analyst of box office tracking firm Rentrak, in an email. "The numbers will encourage studios to make more of these types of films."

Studios have been searching for more faith-based films since Mel Gibson's 2004 "The Passion of the Christ," which tallied $611.9 million in worldwide ticket sales and was made on a modest $30 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo.
 
In the last five years alone, Hollywood has made 26 movies that the site classifies as "Christian" films, including three based on "The Chronicles of Narnia" fantasy novels by C.S. Lewis that literary academics say adopted several Christian themes.
 
"There's a core audience and they're very interested in seeing films with a faith-based center," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribute for Sony Pictures Entertainment, whose TriStar Pictures unit distributed "Heaven is for Real."
 
"The one main ingredient most have is that they are somewhat inspirational in nature," said Bruer. "People feel like they get something out of it."
 
Not all get great reviews. "Heaven is for Real" got a positive "fresh" rating from only 31 of 59 reviewers, according to the site Rotten Tomatoes.
 
But some of the films can have a built-in marketing vehicle, according to David A. R. White, whose company Pure Flix produced the film "God's Not Dead."
 
White told Entertainment Weekly that Pure Flix waged an aggressive grass-roots campaign that included screening the film for 8,000 pastors prior to its opening.
 
"We have a lot of relationships to the gatekeepers who can rally their people to go to the movie theater," White told the magazine. He added of the American audience, "160 million plus people call themselves Christians. They go to church once a month, at least. That's a lot of people."
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« Reply #214 on: April 20, 2014, 09:38:40 pm »

Quote
But some of the films can have a built-in marketing vehicle, according to David A. R. White, whose company Pure Flix produced the film "God's Not Dead."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing
Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.

Marketing can be looked at as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, delivering and communicating value to customers, and managing customer relationships in ways that also benefit the organization. Marketing is the science of choosing target markets through market analysis and market segmentation, as well as understanding consumer behavior and providing superior customer value. From a societal point of view, marketing is the link between a society’s material requirements and its economic patterns of response. Marketing satisfies these needs and wants through exchange processes and building long term relationships.

Organizations may choose to operate a business under five competing concepts: the production concept, the product concept, the selling concept, the marketing concept, and the holistic marketing concept.[1] The four components of holistic marketing are relationship marketing, internal marketing, integrated marketing, and socially responsive marketing. The set of engagements necessary for successful marketing management includes capturing marketing insights, connecting with customers, building strong brands, shaping the market offerings, delivering and communicating value, creating long-term growth, and developing marketing strategies and plans.[2]

Marketing may be defined in several ways, depending on the role of the advertised enterprise in relation to the strategic role in positioning the firm within its competitive market. The main definition is often credited to Philip Kotler, recognized as the originator of the most recent developments in the field, for the works that appeared from 1967 to 2009, with the latest work born from the last economic crisis: Chaotics.
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« Reply #215 on: May 22, 2014, 11:05:13 am »

http://www.dailypaul.com/247248/chick-fil-a-contains-msg-and-other-toxic-chemicals-christians-call-this-a-victory-insanity
Chick Fil A contains MSG and other toxic chemicals. Christians call this a victory? Insanity.
8/2/12

This is considered a victory? We`are doomed.

"Countless thousands of customers then line up all across the country to support Chick-fil-A's free speech rights, thinking, "Yeah, we're bad asses! We're gonna show those gay marriage people that we're powerful, too!"

And then, astoundingly, they all buy chicken sandwiches laced with MSG and made with anti-foaming chemicals and genetically modified soybean oil! (Chick-fil-A sandwiches are not organic, and they're not labeled non-GMO. Most soybean oil comes from genetically modified soybeans.)

So please help me figure this out here: WHO IS THE BIGGER RETARD IN ALL THIS?"

http://www.naturalnews.com/036653_Chick-fil-A_anti-boycott_ingredients.html
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« Reply #216 on: June 05, 2014, 12:37:19 pm »

Culture Upside Down: There Has Been A Colossal Shift In America’s Values Since 2001

The United States is becoming a place where “anything goes”, and most Americans are okay with that.  No matter which side of the “culture war” that you are on, you have to admit that our culture is being fundamentally transformed.  In fact, new numbers from Gallup confirm that there has been a colossal shift in America’s moral values just since 2001.  Over the past 13 years, we have become a dramatically different country.  Many of the things that used to be considered “evil” are now considered to be “good”, and many of the things that used to be considered “good” are now considered to be “evil”.  In other words, our culture is literally being turned upside down, and the “values” that our national leaders speak of today are far different from the “values” that our grandparents grew up with.  So is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Every year, Gallup conducts an “annual Values and Beliefs survey”, and the survey results for 2014 have just been released.  When you compare the numbers from 2001 to the numbers for this year, the difference in quite a few of the categories is quite striking.  Here are a few examples…

Sex between an unmarried man and woman

2001: 53%

2014: 66%

Divorce

2001: 59%

2014: 69%

Having a baby outside of marriage

2001: 45%

2014: 58%

Gay or lesbian relations

2001: 40%

2014: 58%

Medical research using stem cells from human embryos

2001: 52%

2014: 65%

Pornography

2001: 30%

2014: 33%

Suicide

2001: 13%

2014: 19%

Cloning Humans

2001: 7%

2014: 13%

As a nation, we are moving much more in the “socially liberal” direction.

But does that mean that everyone is changing?

Well, when Gallup broke the numbers down by political affiliation, they found something extremely interesting.

Gallup discovered that the values of Democrats had experienced a seismic shift since 2001, but that the values of Republicans had actually changed very little…

    In the 12 years Gallup has asked this overall question, Democrats have become significantly more tolerant on many issues, while independents generally show a smaller shift in the same direction and Republicans’ views have changed little. The percentage of Democrats who say an issue is morally acceptable has increased for 10 issues, including abortion, sex between an unmarried man and woman, extramarital affairs, cloning humans, divorce, cloning animals, suicide, research using stem cells from human embryos, polygamy, and gay and lesbian relations.

    In some cases, the change among Democrats has been substantial. For example, in 2003, 52% of Democrats said having a baby outside of wedlock was morally acceptable, and 40% of Republicans and 61% of independents agreed. This year, 72% of Democrats, a 20-percentage-point increase, say it is morally acceptable. Meanwhile, Republicans have seen no change, with 40% still saying it is morally acceptable, although a higher 50% viewed it as morally acceptable last year. Independents have also not seen a change, with 60% saying having a baby out of wedlock is morally acceptable this year.

In other words, the “values gap” between the two major political parties is now larger than it has ever been.

And Gallup has previously found that there are huge differences between age groups when it comes to moral values as well.

For example, only 19 percent of Americans 55 and older consider pornography to be “morally acceptable”, but 49 percent of Americans in the 18 to 34-year-old age group do.

This is true on issue after issue, and it is an indication that Americans will continue to become more “socially liberal” as older generations of Americans die off.

But as our values change, America is becoming a much different place.

You see, the truth is that moral values have consequences.  The following are just a few statistics about the current state of morality in America from one of my previous articles…

-18 percent of all women in the United States say that they have been raped at some point in their lives.

-It is estimated that one out of every four girls will be sexually abused before they become adults.

-Approximately one-third of the entire population of the United States (110 million people) currently has a sexually transmitted disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

-In the United States today, more than half of all couples “move in together” before they get married.

-For women under the age of 30 in the United States, more than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock.

-At this point, approximately one out of every three children in the United States lives in a home without a father.

-Right now, there are 70 million Americans that are on mind-altering drugs of one form or another.

-According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately two-thirds of all Americans in the 15 to 24-year-old age bracket have engaged in oral sex.

-During 2012, more than 85,000 military veterans were formally treated for sexual abuse that they suffered while serving in the U.S. military.

-According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, there are 747,408 registered sex offenders in the United States.  And those are just the ones that have been caught and convicted.

Can our society survive if everyone just does “whatever seems right in their own eyes” and young people are allowed to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong?

Some would suggest that our nation is “evolving” and that we are steadily becoming a more “progressive society”.

Others are deeply alarmed that we are abandoning the values that this nation was founded upon and are calling for a return to those values.

So what do you think?

Please feel free to share your opinion about America’s dramatic cultural shift by posting a comment below…

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/culture-upside-down-there-has-been-a-colossal-shift-in-americas-values-since-2001
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« Reply #217 on: June 05, 2014, 01:10:26 pm »

I remember when I was a kid in the 80's - they were really conditioning for all of these abominations going on now in the media then. For example, I remember seeing tv shows et al how parents would stop by their grown sons' homes, only to find a woman coming out of the shower. I also remember them using buzz phrases like, "You need to try it on first...".(Seriously - when you try on shoes before you buy them, do these shoe stores let you borrow them for a week or so? Roll Eyes ) And there were countless movies in that very decade with sex, violence, etc that were marketed toward children(ie-Eddie Murphy movies like "Beverly Hills Cop").

And come to think of it too - I don't recall these "religious right"/pro-family groups saying one word about all of this, why? B/c their "hero" Ronald Reagan was in the oval office at the time. It wasn't until Bill Clinton came into office when they started making a big deal out of all of this(ie-the Columbine shootings in 1999). And then they went back to staying quiet when George W. Bush came into office.

As for those 2001 poll figures compared to now - Wow! And I thought THOSE figures then were high! And no, I don't buy into the fact that professing Republicans haven't changed their stances on these issues - having been around these Babel church building-types, especially of late, even they have softened their stance at least somewhat on these issues. For example, they seem to at least tolerate this CCM/Purpose Driven nonsense.
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« Reply #218 on: June 05, 2014, 01:21:51 pm »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raushenbush/progressive-christianity_b_5437715.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592
6/4/14
The Stunning Resurgence of Progressive Christianity

Anyone born within the last 50 years would be justified in thinking that Jesus' teachings and Christian preachings were the exclusive domain of social and fiscal conservatives. The '70s, '80s, and '90s were dominated by Christians with names like Falwell, Robertson, and Dobson who leveraged television and radio to make theirs the default religious voice in America.

While important Liberation, Black, Womanist and Feminist theology was being lived out in communities around the world, when the media wanted a "representative" Christian voice it generally turned to these men with the largest megaphones who brought their faith language to conservative political stances on issues such as abortion, the role of women, LGBT rights, the death penalty, social welfare and war.

But that is so #TBT (ThrowBackThursday). There has been a largely unnoticed but radical movement over the last decade during which the spiritual fire has shifted to more progressive Christians and that has the potential to change both the political and spiritual landscape of America.

I had a feeling this was happening but was shocked during the past few weeks to note the extent to which the more progressive Christian leaders are speaking out and being heard in their effort to impact the public square. Pastors and priests have spoken out on blocked Medicaid expansions, gun control, and climate change.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops continued their push for immigration reform by celebrating a Mass on Capitol Hill, building on the powerful Mass they celebrated weeks earlier at the U.S.-Mexico border. The United Church of Christ continues to push, claiming that their religious right to perform gay marriages is being infringed upon in North Carolina and protesting the FCC's proposed new rules on Net Neutrality, while over a thousand clergy wrote a letter urging Congress to change drug sentencing laws.

Groups like Nuns on a Bus, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, The Cana Initiative, Moral Mondays, Faithful America and many others are consistently witnessing to injustice in visible -- and reportable -- ways. Now, when the mainstream media is looking for a Christian to comment on a story, they have a powerful progressive set of voices to chose from.

None of this is to say that the hardline religious conservative voice and influence has vanished. There are many on the religious right who still find traction on issues such as the contraception mandate, rallying against science and climate change, and perceived threats on religious freedom. However, these voices no longer control the narrative of what Christians care about, and the perception of a Christian conservative opinion monolith has been shattered.

Perhaps the change is as simple as the pendulum swinging back after years to the right -- who could have foreseen that Pope Francis would follow immediately after Pope Benedict -- but the shift also has to do with demographics. A survey on religion and politics that came out last summer from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) showed the numbers:

   
Quote
With each generation, the popularity of religious conservatism has declined. Forty-seven percent of the Silent Generation (ages 66 to 88) are religious conservatives, compared with 34 percent of Baby Boomers, 23 percent of Gen Xers and 17 percent of Millennials.

During that time the numbers of religious progressives have remained pretty steady. As PRII director explained: "If you're using a generational snapshot today as a proxy for the future, it is is safe to say that religious progressives hold a stronger appeal among Millennials."

The rebirth of progressive Christianity may also be connected with the advent of the Internet that allows immediate access and connection between Christian activists and communities on issues such as pro-lgbt, anti-poverty and torture. Progressive Christians may have also gained strength in partnerships with Americans of different faith traditions and secular Americans who together created the voting block that elected Barack Obama president both in 2008 and 2012.

Perhaps the most encouraging change are the many ways that more traditionally conservative and progressive Christians are working together on issues such as immigration, trafficking of women and children, and mental health. HuffPost Religion right now is collecting 100 stories on religious communities doing good in the world under the hashtag #ReligionDoingGood and it is no surprise to see that conservative, progressive and moderate Christians are all doing great things in the world to help other people and the environment.

Wile the influence of the old religious right has waned, I'm not sure that just replacing it with the "religious left" is what this county needs. The way forward is for people of good will of all faiths and no faith to work together on matters that promote the common dignity, respect and well-being of all Americans.
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« Reply #219 on: June 07, 2014, 05:11:37 am »

4 Trends in Christianity That Could Scare You, According to Ed Stetzer

Despite what many think, the church in America is not dying (and no serious researcher thinks that). However, there are some challenges and changes to be considered.

When we consider missiology, part of the discipline includes considering how churches relate to their culture. Since we live in changing times, it's worth thinking through what current cultural changes mean for future church engagement of that culture.

Here are four trends that are already evident, but will become even more important in days to come:

1. The word "Christian" will become less used and more clear. There are three broad categories that make up the approximately 75 percent of Americans who refer to themselves as Christians. I wrote about this earlier in The State of the Church In America: Hint: It's Not Dying, but it is worth keeping in our minds moving forward. The fact is that not everyone who uses the word "Christian" is using it the same way.

Cultural Christians, about 25 percent of the U.S. population, are simply those who, when asked, say they are a Christian rather than say they are an atheist or Jewish. They are "Christian" for no other reason than they are from America and don't consider themselves something else.

The second type is what I call a congregational Christian. They account for another close to 25 percent of the population. This person generally does not really have a deep commitment, but they will consider refer to themselves as Christians because the have some loose connection to a church—through a family member, maybe an infant baptism, or some holiday attendance.

Convictional Christians, also about 25 percent of the population, are those people who self-identify as Christian who orient their life around their faith in Christ. This includes a wide range of what Christian is—not just evangelicals, for example. It means someone says they are a Christian and it is meaningful to them.

So, what's the trend?

Well, first, the trend is that less people are calling themselves Christians and those who are will take it more seriously. In other words, cultural and congregational Christians, or the "squishy middle," is collapsing while convictional Christians are staying relatively steady.

In the future, the word Christian will mean more to those who would be considered convictional Christians. However, it will mean—and will be used—less to those who were nominal Christians in the first place. The word will be less used and more clear.

2. The nominals will increasingly become nones. Basically, type one (cultural) and two (congregational) are what we would generally call nominal Christians. Nominal comes from the Latin, meaning "name" or "name only." A growing number of people are name only Christians. They claim "Christianity" for survey reasons, but rarely attend church or give any consistent consideration to their faith identification.

They're simply calling themselves Christians because that's who they consider themselves to be, not because of any life change or ongoing commitment. Those types of Christians, about half of the population now, will become a minority in a few decades.

We are now experiencing a collapse of nominalism.

It is fair to say we are now experiencing a collapse of nominalism. Many of these who have been labeling themselves as Christians are starting to feel free to be honest about their religious affiliation, or lack thereof. The "Nones," those who give say they have no religious preference, could potentially represent as many as half of the population in the next 20 to 30 years—it's already over 30% among college students (with a third of college students still being religious).

The nominal Christians in the squishy middle (cultural and congregational Christians) are becoming those who now answer "none of the above" on religious surveys. In other words, the "nominals are becoming the nones."

As the Nones rise in their number, Christian influence on culture will begin to wane. The minority of Christians in a culture will begin to feel even more like a minority when more nominals become Nones. As people no longer claim to be Christians, Christianity will be further marginalized, which should change the way we think about engaging culture.

3. Christians will increasingly change cultural tactics. The next 20 years are going to be a challenge for convictional Christians and churches in many places. We will be engaging in cultural conversations often as the minority we truly are. Those who aggressively fight this as a culture war will find it hard to reach people. Instead of being seen as those who are seeking to engage and serve people in the culture, Christians will be seen as an enemy. That's not to say there are not important causes to engage—there are—but how we engage is almost as important as that we engage.

In biblical terms, we may experience what it means to be salt and light in the midst of an adversarial culture.

As the Nones rise in their number, Christian influence on culture will begin to wane.

In response, we should look to two groups of people from the Bible, which I profiled in Creating an Assessment Culture By Being of Berea and Issachar. We must hold the Word of God in high authority as the Berean Christians did in Acts 17:11. Christians must become seriously committed to Scripture and the Gospel in every aspect of our lives. We should also wisely discern the present culture and strategize how to best glorify God.

"From the Issacharites, who understand the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32).

I desire for the church and Christians to be examining the Scriptures daily to know the Word of God and also to know the times, the context, and the Spirit's wisdom to address the culture with the Good News.

As I see it, some Christians will go down fighting. Other Christians, will go on loving. But either way, convictional Christians will increasingly see they are not the moral majority and will advocate less for the legislation or traditional values and be more focused on protecting religious liberty.

There are ways to stand for the good, advocate for cultural realities that engender human flourishing, and do so in a loving way. That's the future convictional Christians need.

4. More robust churches will result from the death of nominalism. The next 20 years are going to be a challenge for convictional Christians and churches in many places.

It is beginning to cost something to be a Christian in America—not as much as in many places in the world or in much of history, but more than it used to. And, as living for Christ costs more in our culture, it will mean more in our context.

Churches that are preaching the Gospel and are focusing on biblical truths are going to become more clearly distinct from the culture around them. The end result? Robust Christian communities are going to get stronger.

These gospel-preaching churches will have members who are more, not less, committed and these committed churches will have less nominal Christians in the years to come. Christianity will become more of a minority in culture, but more refined, more biblical, and more missional churches will be the result.
Where From Here?

The lasting effects of these shifts will force churches to make a critical decision. They will either become a cultural church that allows the societal trends to dictate their ever-changing beliefs. Or they will become a counter-cultural church that faithfully adheres to Scripture and proclaims the gospel in a carefully considered way. The latter church will offer real hope in the midst of an adversarial culture and is the only real future for the American church.

http://www.charismanews.com/culture/44114-4-trends-in-christianity-that-could-scare-you-according-to-ed-stetzer
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« Reply #220 on: June 07, 2014, 05:49:17 am »

Here's What Americans Consider Moral And Immoral

Divorce, pre-marital sex, stem cell research, and abortion are becoming more morally acceptable to Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll.

The percentage of people who said these and other traditionally taboo issues are morally acceptable are at record highs, Gallup notes.

Below is a chart that displays the survey results, with an asterisk denoting the issues for which moral acceptability is at or near a record high:



Some issues, such as affairs and cloning humans, are still considered unacceptable, but even those areas are gaining traction and have a higher rate of moral acceptability than in past years.

Surprisingly, barely half of respondents said gay or lesbian relations were morally acceptable, but that rate is still a record high for the issue.

The difference in these rates over the past few years isn't drastic — 2010 numbers are fairly similar — but some issues that were contentious among the American people about 10 years ago have become largely acceptable today.

Americans have largely come to accept divorce, premarital sex, and homosexual relations since 2001, when Gallup first conducted a moral acceptability poll.

In 2001, 59% of respondents considered divorce morally acceptable, 40% said homosexual relations were OK, and 53% approved of premarital sex. Today, those rates are at least 10 percentage points higher on each issue.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/taboo-issues-are-becoming-more-morally-acceptable-in-america-2014-6#ixzz33wvGu9B3
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« Reply #221 on: June 14, 2014, 08:27:38 am »

The New Christian Divide - Cultural Christians Vs Practicing Christians

Are there any clear indications as to how the Church in America is headed? Ed Stetzer believes that based on certain researched trends, the church in America is not dying, but there are still some challenges and changes to be considered. He goes on to describe four “Mission trends” that need to be considered when it comes to the state of the church in America.

Stetzer argues that when we consider missiology (the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church), part of the discipline includes considering how churches relate to their culture in a dynamic way It also considers what current cultural changes mean for future church engagement of that culture.

In a recent article published in Christianity Today, Stetzer outlines four trends that are already evident and expected to increase in importance in future:

1. The Word "Christian" Will Become Less Used and More Clear.

There are three broad categories that make up the approximately 75 percent of Americans who refer to themselves as Christians:

• Cultural Christians, about 25% of the U.S. population, are simply those who, when asked, say they are a Christian rather than say they are an atheist or Jewish. They are "Christian" for no other reason than they are from America and don't consider themselves something else.

• Congregational Christians: They account for another close to 25% of the population. This person generally does not really have a deep commitment, but they will consider refer to themselves as Christians because they have some loose connection to a church—through a family member, maybe an infant baptism, or some holiday attendance.

• Convictional Christians, also about 25% of the population, are those people who self-identify as Christian and who orient their life around their faith in Christ. This includes a wide range of what Christian is—not just evangelicals, for example. It means someone says they are a Christian and it is meaningful to them.

Stetzer elaborates: “The trend is that less people are calling themselves Christians and those who are will take it more seriously. In other words, cultural and congregational Christians, or the "squishy middle," is collapsing while convictional Christians are staying relatively steady. In the future, the word Christian will mean more to those who would be considered convictional Christians. However, it will mean—and will be used—less to those who were nominal Christians in the first place. The word will be less used and more clear.”

Stetzer’s research also brings out another startling reality: America’s true Christian population is therefore at about only 25%, which means it is now only a Christian nation in name by virtue of about 50% of Americans professing Christianity as their religion of preference, as compared to just 25% of convictional and practicing Christians. The Bible indicates the test of the true Christian:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (I John2:3-5).

It certainly seems clear that as far as God is concerned, those we consider “nominals” are actually no different than the self-professed “nones”.

2. The Nominals Will Increasingly become Nones.

Stetzer explains: “Type one (cultural) and two (congregational) are what we would generally call nominal Christians…they're simply calling themselves Christians because that's who they consider themselves to be, not because of any life change or ongoing commitment. Those types of Christians, about half of the population now, will become a minority in a few decades. We are now experiencing a collapse of nominalism. The "Nones," those who give say they have no religious preference, could potentially represent as many as half of the population in the next 20 to 30 years…”

The natural consequence or conclusion of this is that as the Nones rise in their number, Christian influence on culture will begin to wane and Christianity will be further marginalized. In essence, those who profess Christianity in name only, and without a serious commitment to Jesus Christ, will find it easy to disassociate themselves when the tag ‘Christian’ starts to be seen as a liability or inconvenience, and will thus end up missing the “narrow gate” and the “difficult way” that leads to life (Matthew 7:14).

3. Christians Will Increasingly Change Cultural Tactics.

According to Stetzer: “The next 20 years are going to be a challenge for convictional Christians and churches in many places. We will be engaging in cultural conversations often as the minority we truly are. Those who aggressively fight this as a culture war will find it hard to reach people. Instead of being seen as those who are seeking to engage and serve people in the culture, Christians will be seen as an enemy…In Biblical terms, we may experience what it means to be salt and light in the midst of an adversarial culture.”

Stetzer suggests that to counter this “adversarial culture”, we must hold the Word of God in high authority as the Berean Christians did in Acts 17:11. Christians must become seriously committed to Scripture and the Gospel in every aspect of our lives. We should also wisely discern the present culture and strategize how to best glorify God. "From the Issacharites, who understand the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32).

Stetzer concludes that “...There are ways to stand for the good, advocate for cultural realities that engender human flourishing, and do so in a loving way. That's the future convictional Christians need.”

4. More Robust Churches will Result from the Death of Nominalism.

In Stetzer’s view, the next 20 years are going to be a challenge for convictional Christians and churches in many places. It is beginning to cost something to be a Christian in America—not as much as in many places in the world or in much of history, but more than it used to.

Churches that are preaching the Gospel and are focusing on Biblical truths are going to become more clearly distinct from the culture around them. The end result? Robust Christian communities are going to get stronger. These Gospel-preaching churches will have members who are more, not less, committed and these committed churches will have less nominal Christians in the years to come.

Christianity will become more of a minority in culture, but more refined, more Biblical, and more missional churches will be the result.

Stetzer concludes by saying that “the lasting effects of these shifts will force churches to make a critical decision. They will either become a cultural church that allows the societal trends to dictate their ever-changing beliefs. Or they will become a counter-cultural church that faithfully adheres to Scripture and proclaims the gospel in a carefully considered way. The latter church will offer real hope in the midst of an adversarial culture and is the only real future for the American church.”

How true. We are already witnessing the increasing divide between the culturally conforming churches that support such vices as abortion and homosexuality, and the uncompromising churches that do not. Preaching against sin and immorality is now being labeled “hate speech.” Sadly, much of the persecution that will be suffered by the true Church will come from the conforming, compromising churches. Jesus warned: They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.(John 16:2).

Yet, the promise of God still stands firm and secure:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:35-39).

Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/June13/135.html#kEXIO4DeDlSO7Bgt.99
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« Reply #222 on: June 14, 2014, 11:32:51 am »

Matthew 13:3  And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Mat 13:4  And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Mat 13:5  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Mat 13:6  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Mat 13:8  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Mat 13:9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Mat 13:12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Mat 13:13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mat 13:16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Mat 13:18  Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Mat 13:19  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Mat 13:20  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Mat 13:22  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Mat 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

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« Reply #223 on: August 07, 2014, 03:29:57 pm »

http://www.abpnews.com/faith/theology/item/29030-ornate-sanctuaries-no-distraction-from-the-word-baptist-pastors-say

Ornate sanctuaries no distraction from the Word, Baptist pastors say

While many Baptists have historically rejected religious symbolism in their sanctuaries, others have embraced it as a way to get worshipers focused on God.

8/1/14

By Jeff Brumley

You can strip a sanctuary of symbols, remove all vestiges of beauty and deny any value the aesthetic may have in worship. But experts say those elements almost always creep back into the church — one way or another.

That principle was illumined by the 1936 book Worship by Evelyn Underhill, in which she showed that Protestants who reject visual symbols simply heard them expressed in “hymns rich in concrete images and emotional suggestion” — in other words, the symbols were experienced “by means of the ear instead of the eye.”

It’s also evident in a more recent Christianity Today Her.meneutics blog by Michelle Van Loon titled, “The Church Deserves Better than Ugly Decorations.”

Even in congregations devoid of intentional spiritual aesthetics, buildings become the repositories of tacky sacred art, gaudy banners and the spurned leftovers from various home decorating trends.

“At a time where home design has its own network in addition to a host of shelter magazines, maybe it’s time to ask different questions before we bring in either Granny’s doilies or the latest wrought iron wall art from the craft store to adorn our worship space,” she wrote. 

‘A spiritual place’

The answers to questions Van Loon asks about the role of space in worship — its welcoming message and how it connects worshipers to God — have separated European and American Christians since shortly after the time of the Reformation. And while many — and possibly most — Baptists have ended up on the no-frills side of the debate, many have not.

First Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, was built in 1913 by a group of Baptists who valued beauty in art, worship and architecture. The result was a structure that resembles a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox cathedral more than the typical downtown Baptist church.

“I think that’s really important” to play up the aesthetic, said Rodney Kennedy, First Baptist’s senior pastor. “We want to do everything in our power to show that beauty is important in the message of Christianity.”

The American Baptist congregation recently spent $400,000 to enhance the sanctuary, which is adorned with massive stained-glass windows, vaulted ceilings and mosaics of each of the 12 apostles on the building’s pillars.

Kennedy said aesthetics can be used to instruct the faithful on theological concepts and bridge the gap between the sacred and the mundane.

“Beauty touches us in a spiritual place that plainness just can’t get to,” Kennedy told ABPnews/Herald.

“Mostly, what you get is people having a sense of reverence and a sense of awe when they walk into a place like this — that is what the people who build this building were trying to say,” he said.

Distractions from the Word

But there was a time when Baptists were almost uniformly agreed on a “less is better” approach to church architecture and decoration, said Bill Leonard, professor of Baptist studies and church history at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

“Baptists started out as Puritans in terms of their understanding of the worship environment, which in many ways was anti-Catholic and anti-Anglican,” Leonard said.

Ornate decorations were seen as opulent distractions from the centrality of preaching, he said. Many Baptists referred to their churches as meeting houses instead of churches.

Art, along with musical instruments, did not make their way into Baptist sanctuaries until the 19th century, when murals of the Jordan River became popular behind baptisteries.

More religiously overt architecture and art thrived as Baptists moved into the mainstream and began competing with Presbyterian, Methodist and other traditions, Leonard said.

However, the aversion to aesthetics has not disappeared in modern Baptist or other churches. The megachurch movement sanitized its worship spaces in order to attract and keep the unchurched and those with negative views of Christianity, Leonard said.

And there are still many congregations that see such decorations as either idolatrous or simply distractions from the preaching of the Word.

‘It draws you’

But beauty can actually help worshipers better connect with preaching and, for that matter, with God, said Brent Beasley, pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

Broadway is currently undergoing a renovation of its sanctuary, including all new seating and flooring, repairs of cracks and a complete repainting.

The huge sanctuary, with its stained glass and immense ceilings, draws people into worship the moment they enter the room, Beasley said.

“You are drawn upward by the vaulted ceilings and the beauty of the stained glass — it moves you.”

The experience of sacred space prepares worshipers for the preaching to come, he added.

“It’s definitely the opposite of a distraction,” Beasley said. “It draws you toward the presence of God.”

Simplicity ‘a valid choice’

Churches that reject visible or physical representations of the holy usually acknowledge those elements in other ways, said Lisa Cole Smith, pastor and artistic director of The Church at Convergence, a congregation that supports the arts and is a member of the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

“They do that with the Lord’s Supper and baptism … and the offering,” Smith said. “These are things that include a visual element — in other words, they require the use of our eyes.”

But Smith added that to be sacred, space does not need to be symbolically decorated.

“A bare space can have aesthetic beauty. Simplicity is a valid choice, like periods of silence.”

The key is to be intentional about connecting space with a congregation’s theological beliefs.

“It should not be a question of taste, but of how it reflects our view of God,” she said.

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Isaiah 53:2  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
Isa 53:3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isa 53:4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

1John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jn 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

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« Reply #224 on: September 21, 2014, 06:48:33 pm »

http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/60475/archbishop-of-canterbury-questions-gods-existence
Archbishop of Canterbury questions God's existence
9/18/14

 LAST UPDATED AT 14:46 ON Thu 18 Sep 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby last weekend gave a powerful statement about his recent doubts over the existence of God. Welby disclosed that recently, while he was jogging with his dog near his London home, he asked why God does not intervene to stop injustice in the world.

Welby’s statement appeared in a personal interview he gave in front of hundreds of people at Bristol Cathedral last weekend, The Guardian reports.

When the interviewer, BBC Bristol’s Lucy Tegg, asked Welby “Do you ever doubt?” the Archbishop paused and then said: “Yes. I do. In lots of different ways, really. It's a very good question. That means I've got to think about what I'm going to say. Yes I do." He added: "I love the Psalms, if you look at Psalm 88, that's full of doubt."

Welby said he was aware that his statement might be “not what the Archbishop of Canterbury should say", but he said that there are moments in life when people question the existence of God.

However, according to Welby, he is very certain that Jesus existed. “We know about Jesus, we can't explain all the questions in the world, we can't explain about suffering, we can't explain loads of things but we know about Jesus," he said. ·

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Uhm...Jesus Christ IS God!

John 8:56  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Joh 8:57  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
Joh 8:58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
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« Reply #225 on: September 25, 2014, 07:36:03 am »

The great falling away is often believed to be a falling away from truth into apostasy. For many years This is what I believed myself. I held this opinion because in my mind that is what my perception of a great falling away was. I saw apostate Christianity as a big group and Spirit filled believers as a smaller group, possibly much smaller.

But I progressed into better Bible study techniques and began leaving leaving my own perceptions,beliefs and
opinions behind in order to take a stab at looking at scriptures from God`s point of view instead of my own.
It`s a wonderful way to study the Bible.

Anyways, I found out that the term "fall away" always means a departure from the faith into a condition of unbelief. In the New Testament to "fall away" means to quit going to church and to quit being a Christian, apostate or otherwise.

When Paul said there will be a "great falling away" he means that a day will come when people will stop believing in great numbers. This event will occur at the same time that the "great delusion" Paul warns us
about comes.

Paul said it will be a delusion that is so strong that it will attempt to decieve even the elect of God who FYI are in a once and always saved condition. YaY Jesus!



 
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« Reply #226 on: September 25, 2014, 08:29:29 am »

And look at some of the stuff they're bringing into these "churches" - Rick Warren's PDL, Richard Foster's Christ-denying stuff, contemplative prayer(which the Roman Catholic Church practices, and is rooted out of Hinduism), etc.

Quit going to church? Hard to say - especially considering all of these 5-star-like comfy megachurches everyone's flocking to nowdays(and churches in America are putting their biggest emphasis on building bigger congregations and buildings).

But yes - they're not preaching biblical truth anymore.
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« Reply #227 on: September 25, 2014, 06:01:06 pm »

And look at some of the stuff they're bringing into these "churches" - Rick Warren's PDL, Richard Foster's Christ-denying stuff, contemplative prayer(which the Roman Catholic Church practices, and is rooted out of Hinduism), etc.

Quit going to church? Hard to say - especially considering all of these 5-star-like comfy megachurches everyone's flocking to nowdays(and churches in America are putting their biggest emphasis on building bigger congregations and buildings).

But yes - they're not preaching biblical truth anymore.

I`m still running windows xp on my computer so I can`t get on some websites, one of which is my online bible. But in a couple of days I`m going to get it upgraded to windows 7. Once I get that done and can get back into my online Bible I`ll post up some of the scriptures about it.

By the time the real deal "great falling away" occurs, churches will be getting put out of buisiness by the coming persecution. America might not even be around when this happens because it may not happen until after WW3. The great tribulation, great falling away and the strong delusion are all events that are related to each other.
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« Reply #228 on: October 08, 2014, 11:53:16 pm »

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-devout-are-deficient-study-shows-christians-are-bereft-bible-knowledge?cid=sm-facebook-100714-1.45pm-DevoutAreDeficientIn
The devout are deficient: Study shows Christians are bereft in Bible knowledge
10/7/14

The majority of Americans claim to be committed to their faith. Nearly three out of every four individuals identify themselves as a “Christian.” That said, perhaps it’s time they start reading the Word of God. A study, conducted initially in 2010 and recently updated, shows the devout are rather devoid when it comes to Bible 101.

The study, conducted by the Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project and reported on by the Pacific Standard magazine on Oct. 6, asked over 3,400 Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons and Atheists / Agnostics a total of 32 questions regarding elements of their own faith, knowledge of world religions and the role of religion in public life.

While Jews, Mormons and even those who profess no belief in God all individually answered at least 20 of the 32 questions correctly, Christians came in well under – flunking out with answering only 15.7 questions correctly on average. Catholics were one of the worst performers when it comes to religious academia, scoring only 14.7 of the questions correctly.

The survey included seven questions that should be fundamental for any Bible reader, and five additional questions on elements of Christianity.

For example, in answer to the open-ended question What is the first book of the Bible?, only 42 percent of the Catholics were able to correctly name "Genesis." By comparison, seven out of ten Atheists / Agnostics knew the name of the Bible’s opening book.

The numbers dipped even more for Catholics when they were asked to name the Gospels (the first four books of the Greek scriptures, or New Testament.) Only 33 percent could come up with Jesus’ contemporaries of the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Multiple choice questions made it a little easier for Christians; 65 percent knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (not Nazareth, Jerusalem or Jericho). Still, the unaffiliated were right on their heels with 62 percent knowing the birthplace of the Messiah.

The remaining four Bible questions broke down as follows:

Which of these is NOT in the Ten Commandments: Do unto others; Do not steal; Do not commit adultery; Keep the Sabbath.

(Only sixty-three percent of Catholics were able to answer correctly that Jesus’ words regarding treating others as we would like to be treated were not in the laws given to Moses on Mount Sinai.)

Which figure is associated with remaining obedient to God despite suffering?

(The answer is Job; not Elijah, Moses or Abraham. Only 25 percent of Catholics knew that, compared to 48 percent of Protestants
, 70 percent of Mormons and 47 percent of Jews. This despite the fact that what was recorded in the book of Job lays the groundwork for the age-old question: Why does God permit suffering?)

Which figure is associated with leading the exodus from Egypt?

(While over 90 percent of Mormons and Jews got this right – and even 72 percent of the Atheists and Agnostics – only 65 percent of Catholics were able to pick Moses out of the same four men named above.)

Which figure is associated with willingness to sacrifice his son for God?

The answer is the patriarch Abraham, who took his 25-year-old son Isaac
up mount Moriah, built an altar for the sacrifice, and had the knife in the air above a willingly bound Isaac before an angel stopped him. Abraham’s intense faith in God and the resurrection hope prefigured God’s sacrifice of his own son for mankind – something that only 61 percent of Christians knew.)

More difficult questions on elements of Christianity displayed pitiful results. A question on transubstantiation (The belief that the bread and wine transfigure into the actual flesh and blood of Christ) scored in the low 40th percentile for Christians; a question on the Protestant teaching of salvation was answered correctly by only 19 percent of Protestants, and additional questions on Martin Luther, the Reformation and John Edwards scored well under 50 percent accuracy all around.

Writes PewForum.org:

    Previous surveys by the Pew Research Center have shown that America is among the most religious of the world’s developed nations. Nearly six-in-ten U.S. adults say that religion is “very important” in their lives, and roughly four-in-ten say they attend worship services at least once a week. But the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey shows that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own. Many people also think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are stricter than they really are.

A lite version of the 32-question quiz is available here, though we’ve given you most of the answers already.

It’s a sad commentary when so many who claim to be Christians – churchgoing or not – know so little about the tenets of their faith. When is the last time you actually saw someone carry a Bible into a church? In place of studies in scripture, we have ceremonial formalities, traditions and prosaic observances done out of repetition.

Indeed, the Bible answers such broad questions as why bad things happen to good people, what is in store for the earth, who go to heaven and who have an earthly hope to live forever in paradise.

Even commonplace observances, taken for fact, are proved untrue with a simple reading through the Gospels. For example, the book of Luke explains why Jesus could not have been born on the 25 of December. (As does the Catholic Encyclopedia.) Matthew’s writings of the background of Jesus’ birth detail why the “star” was placed in the sky, not by Almighty God, but by his enemy, Satan the Devil, who was looking to do away with the Messiah. Later in Matthew we read about how to pray to God – and why mindless repetitions of the same prayers over and over do not stir a hearing ear.

Paul’s writings give us his eloquent, lawyer-like argument as to the need for Christ to suffer and die for us. The musings of David, the shepherd-king, tell us much of God’s forgiveness and compassion. In Acts of the Apostles, the stories of what the men of faith went through as they preached from door to door, across the sea and to Gentiles, would rival any modern action film. The prophet Daniel tells of a dream that helps us pinpoint the year that Christ was given the Messianic throne in heaven, and the book of Revelation tells us what happened next, and what’s to come.

The Bible does, in fact, answer all of our questions. That is, if you bother to read and study it.
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« Reply #229 on: December 20, 2014, 06:52:16 am »

End times for end times

Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist, recently warned that the rise of Ebola signaled that we are living in the last days. Few people noticed. Christian filmmaker Paul Lalonde released an awful movie in October about the end of the world. Despite snagging Nicolas Cage for the lead role, Lalonde’s retooling of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’s bestselling Left Behind books fell flat with audiences. Meanwhile, megastar preachers Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and T. D. Jakes all downplay the strident eschatology that characterized the churches of their youth.

Evangelical apocalypticism looks almost dead.

This was not always the case. As modern evangelicals’ grandparents and great-grandparents gave birth to fundamentalism and then its successor neo-evangelicalism, nothing animated their lives or their theology more than the conviction that Jesus was coming. And nothing distinguished them more from their liberal Protestant counterparts than the belief that the earth was beyond redemption.

Fundamentalists believed that the world was careening rapidly towards a series of cataclysmic events described in biblical prophecy. They taught that the Holy Spirit would soon turn this world over to the Antichrist, a diabolical world leader who would preside over an awful holocaust in which those true believers who had not already been raptured to heaven would suffer interminable tribulations.

But just when all hope would seem lost for those still on earth, fundamentalists preached that Jesus would return with an army of saints to defeat the Antichrist at the literal Battle of Armageddon. His victory would pave the way for God to establish a millennium of peace and prosperity, a new heavens and a new earth.

In crafting this argument they adapted traditional premillennial theology and fit it to their time and place. Fundamentalists and evangelicals saw in each of the major global events of the 20th century proof that the time is nigh. World War I, women’s suffrage, the Great Depression, World War II, atomic bombs, the creation of the United Nations, the “lawlessness” of the civil rights movement, and a 1970s oil crisis all seemed to be incontrovertible evidence of the looming tribulation.

Then came the rise of the religious right and the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and especially George W. Bush. Evangelicals, no longer prophets and dissidents, were welcomed into the highest echelons of power.

As their influence and power skyrocketed in the 21st century, the faithful have invested more and more time in working towards achieving the kingdom of God in this world rather than in preparing humanity for the next.

Most evangelicals no longer draw elaborate maps seeking to identify Gog and Magog, or look for evidence of the rebirth of the Roman Empire, or wonder when animal sacrifices will commence again in Jerusalem.

Evangelicals, and evangelicalism, have become respectable. Charles Colson made this clear immediately after 9/11. Rejecting prophetic prognostication, he counseled readers of Christianity Today: “I try to avoid end-times prophecy that makes Christians appear irrelevant to the world.”

Polls, however, tell a different story. A 2010 Pew Research Center study revealed that 41 percent of all Americans (well over 100 million people) and 58 percent of white evangelicals believe that Jesus is “definitely” or “probably” going to return by 2050. According to the 2014 Bible in American Life report, of the 50 percent of all Americans who had read the Bible at all in the previous year, over one-third claimed that they did so “to learn about the future.”

Evangelicals no longer have to obsess over an imminent rapture and the premillennial second coming of Christ. They have been so successful in equating their particular beliefs with the Christian faith writ large that premillennialism is now taken for granted. Ideas that originated among a small fringe of radicals 150 years ago are now assumed to be the faith, once and for all delivered to the saints.

So while Lalonde and Graham seem out of touch, and they embarrass many evangelicals, it is for one reason alone: they are fighting a battle that has already been won. Americans, well-versed in rapture theology and facing an environmental crisis, global warming, a new pandemic, and weapons of mass destruction, already know—the end is near.

http://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2014-12/end-times-end-times
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« Reply #230 on: December 20, 2014, 07:50:04 am »

'Hip' church gives biblical Christians new label: 'Hater'

Oddly, within American evangelicalism and media circles, a concept and term have emerged that place conservative Christians on the outside, in effect, becoming “other.”

And we all know what happens when a group is labeled “other” (see Jews, World War II).

Sometime back, the progressive mega church pastor, Steven Furtick (Elevation Church, Charlotte, North Carolina), mentored as he is by evangelical bigwigs like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, felt bold enough to post a YouTube video in which he sneeringly challenged what I’d call traditional Christians to basically get out of the way, because their time is past.

Presumably, to Furtick, it’s the “new generation’s” time now, so step aside with your stodgy hymns and expositional preaching style.

Never mind that Furtick’s goofy/disturbing video/rant looks like a “Saturday Night Live” parody.

His view is somewhat main stream among Christian Millennials. Masked a bit by a pious nod toward humanitarian causes, the leadership of this group is quite nasty, albeit in subtle ways.

Witness Mr. Jonathan Merritt. I consider Merritt – son of former president of the Southern Baptist Convention Dr. James Merritt – to be a leading change agent within evangelicalism, in the broader attempt to move evangelicals to center-left perspectives.

Jonathan Merritt is essentially Southern Baptist “royalty,” having moved from Atlanta to New York City sometime back. He uses his perch as columnist for Religion News Service to advocate for center-left (at best) perspectives.

Take his take on Rob Bell, from a Nov. 24 post, as he describes Bell’s move to the (Oprah) OWN Network: “Riding on the success of a pile of bestselling books and a hit video series, Pastor Rob Bell became one of the most sought after religious speakers in America during the early 2000′s. But after Bell questioned whether hell was real in his New York Times bestselling book ‘Love Wins,’ many conservative Christians tried to oust him from the inner circle of evangelicalism.

“How did Bell respond? By quietly bidding his haters adieu, leaving his church, and attaining even more success,” Merritt concludes.

Okay, this is really interesting. Let’s look at what Merritt is doing here, because in my opinion, in this column, it is Merritt and not Bell who is the real story.

It’s all about propaganda.

Notice that Merritt (a quasi-journalist?) injects plenty of his own feeling into the piece, which reads somewhat as a straight news story. He lets us know that Bell has produced a “pile” of bestselling books, has had a “hit video series” and is a much sought-after speaker.

Is Merritt moonlighting as Bell’s press agent? Such writing resides in the realm of what David Bar-Illan used to call “glow jobs,” in which journalists would fawn over their subjects, because they identified with them – much like Patrick Seale and his sycophantic relationship with Hafez Assad of Syria.

What I really want to focus on with Merritt is his jab at Bell’s critics: “By quietly bidding his haters adieu, leaving his church and attaining even more success.”

Bell’s (justified) critics are “haters.” Once he shed those persimmon-sucking has-beens, Bell has gone on to the kind of success that would make any modern hipster preacher giddy.

Merritt likes it. He likes Bell. He presumably likes Bell’s wacky theology (when Ed Dobson hired Bell way back when for the Wheaton grad’s first ministry gig, he assured the church board that while Bell didn’t know much Bible, the dude sure could communicate!).

He also likes the fact that Bell has moved over to the community run by the High Priestess of American Spirituality Oprah Winfrey.

This is the new face of American Evangelicalism, and anyone who thinks it hasn’t arrived is either clueless or wants to be.

The key thing here is Christian media, 2014-style. Merritt, as a well-positioned writer, injects all sorts of his personal biases into his writing, in an attempt to shape public opinion, mostly among Millennials.

Actually, I think he’s succeeding. Spectacularly.

And that’s the problem.

When “pastors” like Rob Bell are mainstreamed, one knows that the American church is in deep trouble. I’m talking the big, visible, mega-church/church growth model, for there one will find the embracing of any glitzy personality at the expense of truth.

Yet Merritt’s hit-piece on “haters” of Rob Bell (the very term is a straw man, since those of us in conservative circles have never heard anyone say they hate Bell personally) is deeply disturbing. It signals that from our own camp, there are those who wish to marginalize, defame and mock Bible-believing Christians.

Don’t like Bell’s leftist theology? You’re a hater. Can’t stomach Tony Jones jettisoning of original sin as a key doctrine? You’re a hater. Chagrined by Furtick’s punkish persona and loose handling of Scripture? You’re a hater.

Not just a hater, but a petty and jealous one, at that.

Do you see how Jonathan Merritt is doing it? He’s implanting false notions into readers’ minds, that those who uphold the authority of Scripture are in some way weak-minded weirdoes.

A couple predictions: No one in evangelical circles at the leadership level will ever say a word about Merritt’s nasty agenda, and it will get worse.

Just get a load of the pages of Relevant magazine sometime, as publisher Cameron Strang mocks anyone he disagrees with, or even mentor Andy Stanley’s casual handling of biblical concepts.

Or check out the venom coming from the aw-shucks writer, Donald Miller.

For these men are part of a group that I maintain controls the narrative (if you want to call me a conspiracy nut and hater, please do) within American evangelicalism.

Dissenters aren’t welcome. Far more chillingly, they/we are now presented as “other.”

Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/12/hip-church-gives-biblical-christians-new-label-hater/#3pTmljJYlpJYdeEB.99

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« Reply #231 on: December 20, 2014, 07:56:41 pm »

Quote
Polls, however, tell a different story. A 2010 Pew Research Center study revealed that 41 percent of all Americans (well over 100 million people) and 58 percent of white evangelicals believe that Jesus is “definitely” or “probably” going to return by 2050. According to the 2014 Bible in American Life report, of the 50 percent of all Americans who had read the Bible at all in the previous year, over one-third claimed that they did so “to learn about the future.”

By 2050? I'm not at liberty to date-set the rapture of the church(as we don't know the day nor hour) - but I'll be very surprised if it doesn't happen before 2020. OK, I'll up it a notch and say by the next midterm elections(2018).

Look how close we're getting now - and there's so many things starting to come to pass that you can poke holes through. Sodomy marriage to be legalized in the USA by next June? The microchip implant slowly getting into the mainstream? Megachurches becoming the new norm? Occultism getting into the mainstream? Need we say more?

As for the word "haters"? These people are acting like 10 year old kids - I remember when I used that word as a young boy, my parents would be quick to correct me. Now? You have Baby Boomers using it at will?

And yes, been called just that when I merely exposed the heresies of the RCC, Rick Warren, and Rupert Murdoch.
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« Reply #232 on: January 26, 2015, 05:13:57 pm »

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« Reply #233 on: February 14, 2015, 10:16:26 am »

http://www.wlox.com/story/28078378/advance-ticket-sales-for-50-shades-highest-in-ms
Mississippi tops nation in advance ticket sales for "50 Shades"
Posted: Feb 10, 2015 10:18 PM PST
Updated: Feb 11, 2015 11:19 AM PST

PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A new, hot and steamy movie is making a huge impact across Mississippi.

Based on the bestselling novel by E-L James, "50 Shades of Grey," opens nationwide this weekend, but advance ticket sales in Mississippi are already reaching record numbers.

In fact, the state has sold four times more advanced tickets for this movie than it has for any other movie in Fandango's 15-year-history, according to the online ticket seller.”

"I think that '50 Shades of Grey' has been great for the American economy," said Tami Rose, manager of Romantic Adventures in Pearl.

Rose says since the book, "50 Shades of Grey" has been out, her sales have soared.

"I have really seen this affect our industry for the last two years ever since the kindle book came out we started with husbands coming in saying, my wife read this book and I'm like oh yes we know exactly what you need," Rose explained.

We saw quite a steady flow in her store Tuesday afternoon and we asked customers what's behind all the hype.

"It's kind of new to American culture," said Ben McKeithen. "We're kind of Christian rooted and it's exploring stuff that's been shunned upon."
“Especially here in the South , sex is something we're real hush hush about, now it's become a healthy thing, people are talking about it with their kids
," Ashley Meetze, Assistant Manager of Romantic Adventures explained.


However, some critics, strongly encourage parents to think twice before letting your teen go to see this film.

"Teens exposed to sexually explicit media are more likely to act out in those ways to have sex at younger ages with multiple partners,” Dr. Michelle Cretella, Vice President of American College of Pediatricians said.

Dr. Cretella says the novel and the film promotes unhealthy relationships.

We got mixed reviews from the public.

"I think parents should see it first then make their own decision as to what they want their child exposed to and then from that point they should be able to make an informed decision about if their child should view the movie or not," Millicent Adams a parent of a 17 year old said.

"Much better to send you kids out informed and ready to make good choices than it is to keep them sheltered their whole lives and let them be blasted when their 18," Rose explained.

"50 shades of Grey" opens nationwide Friday, but there are already some selected local theatres showing advanced showings as early as Thursday night.
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« Reply #234 on: February 28, 2015, 05:46:14 pm »

And these "evangelicals" insisted how the 2014 midterms would change the direction of this country? Roll Eyes

http://news.yahoo.com/homeland-security-funding-fight-shows-limits-gop-power-083050253--politics.html
2/28/15

GOP leaders are struggling to show they really are in charge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two months into full Republican control of Congress, GOP leaders are struggling to demonstrate they really are in charge.

The stunning House defeat Friday of a three-week spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security exposed Speaker John Boehner's weakness in the face of rebellious conservatives.

It also again demonstrated his need to rely on Democrats at critical moments as the minority party's agreement to a one-week spending bill helped the speaker get it over the finish line with only hours to spare before a threatened agency shutdown.

President Barack Obama signed the bill shortly before midnight.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., already had bowed to Democrats' demands and stripped the contentious provisions rolling back Obama's immigration policies from his chamber's version of the Homeland Security spending bill.

The two leaders face different, and often competing, challenges as they try to produce the responsible governance they promised voters after November elections, when Republicans won control of the Senate and increased their House majority to the largest in 70 years.

Two months into the new Congress, the severe limits to their powers are confronting Boehner, R-Ohio, and McConnell as they aim to chart a course for the final two years of Obama's presidency. That path could help lead their party back into the White House, and perhaps even produce a few legislative achievements.

"Obviously we're not getting good results, are we? I base everything on results," said Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana, one of the many Republicans frustrated with the GOP's performance, particularly on the Homeland Security bill.

"Our leadership set the stage for this," Fleming said. "Yet we didn't really see much messaging, coordination or communication."

Even though Boehner has large numbers on his side, it's still not enough to ensure he can line up a majority on any given bill, especially on issues such as immigration, education or abortion. The GOP advantage is 245-188 with two vacancies.

A frustrated Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee chairman, lashed out at "a small group of phony conservative members who have no credible policy proposals and no political strategy to stop Obama's lawlessness" and seem to be "unaware that they can't advance conservatism by playing fantasy football with their voting cards."

McConnell is contending with Senate rules that give important rights to the minority party, which Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada is adept at exploiting.

Republicans hold 54 seats, but that is six short of the 60 needed to ensure passage of most legislation.

Democrats united against and ultimately blocked GOP attempts to use the Homeland Security spending bill as the measure to overturn Obama's immigration directives extending work permits to millions of people in the country illegally.

Many Republicans campaigned for re-election last fall on promises to stop Obama on immigration, and their inability to do so is infuriating to conservatives. That's why 52 of them in the House voted down a three-week agency spending bill Friday night in a humiliating defeat for Boehner and other Republican leaders.

"The problem is there are a whole lot of us, including leadership, who put out statements saying Obama's executive order was illegal, unconstitutional. How do you backtrack off of that?" asked Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.

GOP leaders regrouped to offer a one-week bill, but it required the blessing of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She assured fellow Democrats the vote would pave the way for passage of a full-year bill next week, without the immigration language that has drawn a White House veto threat.

Boehner aides denied that any such assurances had been given.

The chaos was the most high-profile debacle for the GOP so far this year, but not the only one. Earlier in the day, House Republican leaders shelved an education overhaul bill amid conservative opposition. Previously they had retreated on border security legislation and an abortion bill.

In the Senate, McConnell has devoted much of the past two months to debates and votes related to the Homeland Security bill, as well as passage of the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill, which Obama has vetoed.

Along the way, there were lower-profile achievements.

The Senate approved Obama's defense secretary nominee, Ash Carter, on a resounding bipartisan vote. The House passed bills aimed at reining in Obama on taxes and regulation, although the measures are likely to hit a dead end in the Senate, just as they did when Republicans were in charge.

But the GOP majority has been defined as much by infighting among Republicans and between the House and the Senate as by any achievements. That raises questions about Congress' ability to accomplish the many tasks before it, including passing a budget, increasing the nation's borrowing authority and passing a new use of force agreement to battle Islamic State militants.

"The DHS funding fight is the first test of the new Republican Congress, and so far they're failing," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "If the Republicans can't even fund something as simple as Homeland Security, we shudder to think what will happen when it's time to fund the whole government or raise the debt ceiling."
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« Reply #235 on: March 09, 2015, 09:49:32 pm »

There is NO "revival" in the last days! And look at what is promoted here!

http://www.newsmax.com/US/Christianity-on-rise-increasing-10-signs/2015/03/09/id/629134/
10 Signs Christianity Is on the Rise
3/9/15

Christianity is a dying relic of an ancient past. The Internet is killing it. Science is killing it. Western sophistication is killing it. Right?

Wrong.

In many ways, Christianity is on the rise as never before—worldwide, and in America. Here are the ways we can tell:

1. Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds worldwide.

The research shows Christian numbers rising, not falling worldwide. "Christianity should enjoy a worldwide boom in the coming decades, but the vast majority of believers will be neither white nor European, nor Euro-American," writes Philip Jenkins of Baylor University, author of "The Next Christendom."

In America, this will mean that as white descendants of Europeans fall off a demographic cliff, they will be replaced by the growing Southern Christian and Catholic populations.

2. Nominal Christianity is dead — and that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, in America, research showing that Christian numbers are tanking is a little misleading. What it really shows is a fall in the number of people who call themselves Christians but have never darkened the door of a Church. We no longer feel we have to dishonestly mark the "Christian" box, and we now feel it's OK to be honest and mark the "atheist" box—but this shows health rather than weakness.

It is an interesting dynamic: In the West, the nominal Christianity that was inherited unthinkingly is disappearing and in the East and South, real Christianity is a rapidly growing grassroots movement. Books like God's Century by Monica Duffy Toft of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and God Is Back by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist are trying to figure out what that will mean.

3. The Church is promoting the sacraments.

But the nominal Catholic rate still causes problems. We know various polls place Mass attendance at various small percentages. What we don’t know is the extent to which they merely show that nominal Catholics still mark "Catholic" on polls.

Another thing we also know is that the Church is promoting the first necessary step to increased Mass attendance: confession. The Vatican’s 24 hours for the Lord March 13-14 is doing this church-wide, seeing promotions pay off in Great Britain, while events such as Chicago’s Festival of Forgiveness and Philadelphia's confession push are doing the same in America.

4. Eucharistic Adoration is on the rise.

A good measure of whether Catholics are more than nominal is Eucharistic adoration. To spend time with Jesus Christ is the very definition of a Christian, after all. Adoration is offered at 7,094 U.S. parishes as listed by RealPresence.com. In 2005, that website’s president, Mike Mortimer, estimated that there were 715 perpetual adoration chapels in America. The Vatican now estimates that there are 1,100 perpetual adoration chapels in America.

The worldwide church is led by a man who prays a daily Eucharistic hour and the Church in America is actively promoting Eucharistic adoration through events like the Eucharistic Adoration Novena.

5. Catholic youth movements have never been stronger.

A movement’s future is only as strong as its next generation, and so for Catholicism to have a future it has to have a youth movement. Catholicism does. Our most recent World Youth Day attracted 3.7 million — one of the 30-year event’s largest gatherings ever.

At home, we see a pro-life force largely led by young American Catholics, which dwarfs almost every other activist movement. Tens of thousands of Catholic young people descend on Washington each January for the March for Life, and you can add to that the young people at the 115 smaller marches for life throughout the United States and the nationwide life chain events in October.

6. … and the Catholic youth movements are linked to higher education.

When I went to college, people referred to "the **** four" or "thriving five" Catholic colleges faithful to the magisterium. Now I work at a college and we continually hear new stories of schools trying to reclaim their Catholic identity in order to compete. Today, the National Catholic Register’s latest Catholic Identity Guide lists more than 30 schools that are promoting the strength of their Catholic identity.

At the same time, new Catholic centers at state schools are trying to make inroads in hostile environments that dismantle students’ faith: The Seek 2015 conference of FOCUS (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students) attracted nearly 10,000 college students this year.

7. New, young vocations.

Another phenomenon you can’t help but notice in Catholic circles is hidden from official numbers: the new young vocations. We see them at Benedictine College all the time — in our classrooms, in our Abbey, and among our alumni. But because of the huge numbers of elderly priests and nuns, the total numbers of priests and nuns keeps dropping in America.

Research does show that millennials are "even more likely" to consider vocations than the generation before them, and anecdotal evidence shows that there was a Benedict Effect before there was any Francis Effect in vocations, and that priests under 35 represent a sign of hope in the Church.

8. Strong, engaged Bishops.

Complaining about bishops is a pastime as old as the Church itself. It can be done in a helpful way (see the letters of St. Paul in your New Testament) and in an unhelpful way (as in the joke about the part of the bishop-making ceremony where the candidate’s spine is removed).

But the 21st century has seen a huge change in the way American bishops engage the world. It first became noticeable with the candidacy of John Kerry, a radically pro-abortion politician whose nominal Catholicism forced bishops to take a stand. Then came the rise of Obama and the HHS mandate — which every U.S. bishop denounced. Finally, new strong bishops are emerging from what Thomas Peters calls the "Benedict Bishop Bump."

9. A new interest in Scripture.

Many people predicted when "The Da Vinci Code" was popular that the long-term effect of the novel’s crazy anti-Scriptural premise would be to increase interest in Scripture. That paradoxical prediction has proven true. In the wake of "The Da Vinci Code," a new interest in Scripture can be seen in popular books, television miniseries, and major Hollywood movies.

10. The witness of the martyrs.

Last but not least by a long shot is the witness of the martyrs. The beautiful way Christians are showing their deep faith and love for Jesus Christ, as I've said before, will grow the Church just as it did in the former atheist communist bloc, and indeed as it did in the early Church.

The bottom line is that if Christianity is true, then we can expect it will continue to rise and not die. If it's not true, then it will certainly die — and the sooner, the better. But since Jesus Christ really did die and rise and leave us the sacraments, don’t expect it to go away any time soon.

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« Reply #236 on: March 11, 2015, 09:08:41 am »

How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel

Peek behind the curtain of some "progressive" or "hip" evangelical churches, past the savvy technology and secular music, and you will find more than just a contemporary worship service. You'll find faith leaders encouraging young evangelicals to trade in their Christian convictions for a gospel filled with compromise. They're slowly attempting to give evangelicalism an "update"—and the change is not for the good.

It's painful for me to admit, but we can no longer rest carefree in our evangelical identity—because it is changing. No doubt you have seen the headlines declaring that evangelicalism is doomed because evangelical kids are leaving the faith. It is no secret that there is an expanding gulf between traditional Christian teachings and contemporary moral values. But the sad truth is that the ideological gulf between America's evangelical grown-ups and their kids, aka the "millennials," seems to be widening too.

Somehow the blame for this chasm is being heaped on traditional churches. They are accused of having too many rules as well as being homophobic and bigoted. Yes, we've heard those false claims from popular culture in its desperate attempt to keep Christianity imprisoned within the sanctuary walls. But now popular culture is being aided by Christ-professing bedfellows whose message to "coexist," "tolerate" and "keep out of it" is more marketable to the rising generation of evangelicals.

The seasoned Christian soldiers are noticing these distortions of the gospel. But for young evangelicals, the spiritual haze is harder to wade through. Desperate for acceptance in a fallen world, many young evangelicals (and some older ones) choose not to take Christ out of the chapel, and so they are unwittingly killing the church's public witness. In this uphill cultural battle, mired by scare tactics and fear, three types of evangelical Christians are emerging:

    Couch-potato Christians: These Christians adapt to the culture by staying silent on the tough culture-and-faith discussions. Typically this group will downplay God's absolute truths by promoting the illusion that neutrality was Jesus' preferred method of evangelism.
    Cafeteria-style Christians: This group picks and chooses which Scripture passages to live by, opting for the ones that best seem to jive with culture. Typically they focus solely on the "nice" parts of the gospel while simultaneously and intentionally minimizing sin, hell, repentance and transformation.
    Convictional Christians: In the face of the culture's harsh admonitions, these evangelicals refuse to be silent. Mimicking Jesus, they compassionately talk about love and grace while also sharing with their neighbors the need to recognize and turn from sin.

I know about these three types of Christians because at one time or another I have fallen into each of these three categories. My parents will tell you that even though I was raised in church, I morphed into a full-fledged feminist, told my parents they were ignorant for not endorsing homosexuality and bought into the distorted social justice rhetoric that confuses caring for the poor with advancing socialist or big government systems and demonizing the United States for its free market system.

I'm not ashamed to share my story because my experiences and those of my fellow bold evangelicals are a testimony of God's awesome, transforming power. Being countercultural for Christ isn't easy. What does the Great Commission say? Jesus commanded us to go, "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20).

Where Did We Go Wrong?

I see so many parents scratching their heads trying to figure out where they went wrong with young evangelicals. Following the instructions of Proverbs 22:6—"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it"—many evangelical parents took their children to church and prayed with them every night before bed. Yet the values those children now hold dear do not reflect the traditional teachings of Jesus.

To be perfectly clear, I want to let you know upfront that this isn't a parenting how-to guide that, if followed, will lead your loved ones to salvation. Instead, what I can offer you is a glimpse into the world of a twenty-something who sees thousands of young evangelicals being spiritually and emotionally targeted on Christian university campuses, in college ministries and at churches nationwide by a growing liberal movement cloaked in Christianity.

Research tells us that evangelicals are drifting further away from the orthodox truths their parents and grandparents held dear.   

Our churches have rarely—if ever—faced the exodus we are seeing today. This will have a direct effect on the spiritual and moral values that will shape the nation in the coming years. That is why it is urgent that concerned Christians start acting now before the situation gets worse.

The Collision of Faith and Culture

Faith and culture will continue to collide in America. The culture wars, the growth of family, the success of missions, the prosperity of our great nation—the future rests on millennial evangelicals' worldview. And that is cause for concern, because something has gone wrong with young evangelicals' theology.

The millennial generation's susceptibility to "feel-good" doctrine is playing a big part in America's moral decline. Millennials' religious practices depend largely on how the actions make us and others feel, whether the activities are biblical or not. For example, we only attend churches that leave us feeling good about our lifestyle choices, even if those choices conflict with God's clear commandments. We dismiss old hymns that focus on God's transforming salvation, love and mercy and opt for "Jesus is your boyfriend" songs. Or we contribute to nonprofits that exploit and misuse terms such as justice, oppressed and inequality because tweaking the language makes us feel more neutral, less confrontational.

Popular liberal evangelical writers and preachers tell young evangelicals that if they accept abortion and same-sex marriage, then the media, academia and Hollywood will finally accept Christians. Out of fear of being falsely dubbed "intolerant" or "uncompassionate," many young Christians are buying into theological falsehoods. Instead of standing up as a voice for the innocent unborn or marriage as God intended, millennials are forgoing the authority of Scripture and embracing a couch potato, cafeteria-style Christianity all in the name of tolerance.

This contemporary mindset is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian whose Christian convictions put him at odds with the Nazis and cost him his life, called "cheap grace." In his book The Cost of Discipleship Bonhoeffer wrote: "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

Right now cheap grace theology is proliferating around evangelical Bible colleges, seminaries and Christian ministries.

Christian Doctrine Hijacked

It is not that millennial evangelicals were not taken to church by their parents. It is that their training has been hijacked by ineffective and sometimes intentionally distorted doctrine.

As constant and pervasive as the attacks on Christianity are at public universities, it is important to remember that millennials' worldviews do not start taking shape after they move out of their parents' houses. Their understanding of Jesus' teachings and cultural convictions begin to form while they are still at home and under the influence of their local church.

What I hope and pray evangelical parents and leaders come to realize is that the church has been too trusting. In our jampacked lifestyles, parents have treated Sunday school as they do softball or ballet class—drop off the kids for an hour then pick them up and hope they learned something.

Early on in my Sunday school teaching days, my co-teacher and I followed the curriculum pretty narrowly, the exception being that my co-teacher had an outstanding knowledge of biblical history that he imparted to the kids.

We taught all about Jesus' birth, resurrection and saving grace. Thinking the fluffy kids ministry curriculum covered all of the necessary bases, I felt confident these kids had a firm grasp on their Christian worldview. Boy, was I wrong!

One day my co-teacher and I decided to play "True or False." We casually went down a list of worldview questions with our class, sure that our little evangelicals would nail every question correctly.

No. 1: Jesus is God. "True." Great job.

No. 2: Jesus sinned. "False." Bingo!

No. 3: Jesus is one of many ways to heaven. "True." What?!

Shocked is the only way to describe how I felt. Hadn't they been listening to us? When I asked who taught them that, one girl said, "Coexist." Yes, these young evangelicals had been listening to their Sunday school teachers and their parents, but they had also been listening to their public school teachers, TV celebrities and rock stars.

Youth ministers, volunteer leaders and pastors also have to start preparing these kids to deal with the very real hostility that faces young evangelicals. 

If we never talk about abortion in church, how can we expect the rising evangelical girl to calmly explain the option of adoption to her frightened best friend who just admitted she is pregnant?

What will surprise you is how much young evangelicals actually crave honest discussions about abortion, sexuality, sexual exploitation, feminism and radical Islam. My friend and Evangelical Action adviser Richmond Trotter has two non-negotiable topics when addressing youth: creation and life. Having volunteered in church youth ministry since 1996, Richmond is not afraid to have serious discussions about what Scripture says about abortion, evolution and homosexuality. Make no mistake: The trend away from biblical truth is not concentrated in the hipster city limits. It is unfolding in the crevices of America's plains, hills, mountains and swamplands. All across this nation, "old-fashioned" conservative evangelicalism is being traded in for a bright and shiny, mediocre Christianity.

If America's evangelicals disengage from the public square and fail to engage the rising generation of Christian leaders, then we risk losing our public voice, then our religious liberty, then liberty altogether.

What Happened to the Religious Right?

The last several decades witnessed tremendous evangelical influence in the United States. Leaders such as Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Paige and Dorothy Patterson, James Dobson, and James and Betty Robison made a bold impact on America's families, churches and government. Now that those few leaders are aging or retiring, or have died, there are very few traditional evangelical leaders left holding the torch and even fewer candidates to whom they can pass it.

But religious convictions in America are not on the verge of disappearance just yet. There is still hope. In the book God Is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America, Gallup Inc. Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport ensures: "Christianity will prevail in the U.S. America will remain very much a Christian nation in the decades ahead, albeit less so than in the past because of an increase in Americans who don't have a religious identity."

Heed the Warning Signs

Evangelicals and culture warriors in the U.S. do not have to look far to discover what happens when Christian denominations give up on their traditional convictions and teachings. All we have to do is look at the dwindling memberships of mainline Protestant denominations.

In order to safeguard the trajectory of young evangelicals, we must uphold the authoritative Word of God. It is imperative that those in a position to influence millennials have transparent and honest discussions about the culture wars evangelical youth are already engaging. Otherwise they will be silent and accepting in the face of persecution and false doctrine.

The importance of arming the next generation of evangelicals cannot be overstated. If we continue to follow the example of mainline Protestants, evangelicalism will have a gloomy future. We must offer sorely needed leadership, but before we can do that, we need to know exactly whom and what we are up against.

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48678-the-new-christian-left-is-twisting-the-gospel
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« Reply #237 on: March 11, 2015, 10:34:38 am »

Quote
The last several decades witnessed tremendous evangelical influence in the United States. Leaders such as Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Paige and Dorothy Patterson, James Dobson, and James and Betty Robison made a bold impact on America's families, churches and government. Now that those few leaders are aging or retiring, or have died, there are very few traditional evangelical leaders left holding the torch and even fewer candidates to whom they can pass it.

It's b/c they were controlled opposition to begin with - these people were also yoking up with Emergent Church leaders and the Roman Catholic Church.

Yes, they had an OUTWARD APPEARANCE of being fundamentalists, but nothing more - when all was said and done, they just passed the baton to all of these Christian Leftists like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Max Lucado, Beth Moore and Rob Bell.

IOW - in the 80's, the Apostate Church decided to become political(which ended up polarizing the nation). Then when they saw that didn't evangelize the lost, they turned to secular forms of entertainment like this "contemporary" christian music and emergent church theologies to try to bring in the lost.
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« Reply #238 on: March 13, 2015, 01:03:23 pm »

http://www.salon.com/2015/03/13/the_end_of_white_christian_america_is_nigh_why_the_countrys_youth_are_abandoning_religious_conservatism_partner/
3/13/15
The end of white Christian America is nigh: Why the country’s youth are abandoning religious conservatism
White Christians are now a minority in 19 states. America's growing racial diversity only tells part of the story


There’s been a lot of media attention recently to the changing demographics of the United States, where, at current rates, people who identify as “white” are expected to become a minority by the year 2050. But in many ways, the shift in national demographics has been accelerated beyond even that. New data from the American Values Atlas shows that while white people continue to be the majority in all but 4 states in the country, white Christians are the minority in a whopping 19 states. And, nationwide, Americans who identify as Protestant are now in the minority for the first time ever, clocking in at a mere 47 percent of Americans and falling.

The most obvious reason for this change is growing racial diversity. Most Americans still identify as Christian, but “Christian” is a group that is less white and less Protestant than it has been at any time in history. The massive growth in Hispanic Catholics, in particular, has been a major factor in this shift in the ethnic and religious identity of this country. White Catholics used to outnumber Hispanic Catholics 3 to 1 in the 2000s, but now it’s only by a 2 to 1 margin.

But another major reason religious diversity is outpacing the growth of racial/ethnic diversity is largely due to the explosive growth in non-belief among Americans. One in five Americans now identifies as religiously unaffiliated. In 13 states, the “nones” are the largest religious group. Non-religious people now equal Catholics in number, and their proportion is likely to grow dramatically, as young people are by far the most non-religious group in the country. This isn’t some kind of side effect of their youth, either. As Adam Lee has noted, the millennial generation is becoming less religious as they age.

These changes explain the modern political landscape as well as any economic indicator. While not all white Christians are conservative, these changing numbers definitely suggest that conservative Christians are rapidly losing their grip on power. And while some non-white Christians are conservative, their numbers are not making up for what the Christian right is losing. And whether conservative leaders are aware of the exact numbers or not, it’s clear that they sense that change is in the air. Just by speaking to young people, turning on your TV, or reading the Internet, you can sense the way the country is lurching away from conservative Christian values and towards a more liberal, secular outlook. And conservative Christians aren’t taking these changes well at all.

To look at the Christian right now is to see a people who know they are losing power and are desperately trying to reassert dominance before it’s lost altogether. The most obvious example of this is the frenzy of anti-abortion activity in recent years. Anti-choice forces have controlled the Republican Party since the late ’70s, but only in the past few years have they concentrated so singlemindedly on trying to destroy legal abortion in wide swaths of the country. In 2011 alone, states passed nearly three times as many abortion restrictions as they had in any previous year.

None of this is a reaction to any changes in people’s sexual behavior or reproductive choices. It’s not like there was a spike in abortions causing this panic. In fact, the abortion rate has been declining. And despite continuing media panic over adolescent sexuality, the fact is that teenagers are waiting longer to have sex, on average, than in the past. Despite this, not only are you seeing a dramatic increase in attacks on legal abortion, the Christian right has expanded its attacks to contraception access, suggesting that something has worked them into a panic they believe can only be resolved by trying to reassert their religious and sexual values.


That something isn’t changes in sexual behavior, but it’s reasonable to believe it’s because of changes in sexual values. People might not be having more sex, but they are feeling less guilty about the sex they are having. Since Gallup first started polling people in 2001 on moral views, acceptance of consensual sex between adults has skyrocketed. In a decade’s time, acceptance of premarital sex swelled from 53% to 66% of Americans and acceptance of gay Americans grew from a mere 38% to a majority of Americans. Even polyamory has become more acceptable for Americans, rising from being accepted by 5% of Americans to 14%.

The fact that these changes in attitude are rising alongside the growth of irreligiosity is not a coincidence. More perhaps even than the 1960s, Americans are in a period of questioning rigid sexual and religious mores, and concluding, in increasing numbers, that they are not down with guilt-tripping people for victimless behavior and demanding conformity for its own sake. Some of them–now a whopping 22% of Americans!–are leaving religion entirely. Some are continuing in their faith but choosing to interpret their values differently than Christian conservatives would like.

And so we see Christian conservatives cracking down in a desperate bid to regain control. They claim that they’re being oppressed by increasing tolerance for religious diversity. They have latched onto, with some success, the claim that “religious freedom” requires giving Christians the right to oppress others. The Republican Party is in complete thrall to the religious right, to the point where giving the Christian right one go-nowhere symbolic bill instead of another one created a major political crisis.

**I really hate to say it - but b/c of their hypocrisy, they reaped what they sowed. I say this b/c I've grown up in these "conservative" SBC churches all my life - they act like they are better than everyone just b/c they promote "good morals", are anti-abortion, vote Republican, go to a church building every week, etc. Ultimately, even these hireling pastors' children didn't turn out well either.

The irony is that this panic-based overreach is just making the situation worse for the Christian right. One of the biggest reasons the secularization trend has accelerated in recent years is that young people see the victim complex and the sex policing of the Christian right and it’s turning them off b/c they are not getting sound doctrine, the King James Bible, being introduced and taught to them by their Baby Boomer parents, and these hireling Babel buildings. And they’re not just rejecting conservative Christianity but the entire idea of organized religion altogether. In other words, the past few years have created a self-perpetuating cycle: Christian conservatives, in a panic over changing demographics, start cracking down. In reaction, more people give up on religion. That causes the Christian right to panic more and crack down more. In the end, Christian conservatives are going to hasten their own demise by trying to save themselves. Not that any of us should be crying for them.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**OK - this is obviously a far-left leaning news site(Salon) - but I really hate to say it, they are right. I say this b/c look how the previous generation(Baby Boomers) and their respective hireling Babel building pastors never trained them Millenial children in the proper word of God, the King James Bible.

And now they are shocked over what's going on? They really need to examine themselves to see if they're in the faith.

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« Reply #239 on: March 16, 2015, 08:41:27 am »

What about being active to preach the gospel to lost and thirsty souls?

How about those *liberal* justices Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and George W Bush appointed?(that voted to legalize abortion, sodomy, the Police State, and socialized medicine)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/16/us/evangelicals-aim-to-mobilize-an-army-for-republicans-in-2016.html?_r=1
3/15/15
Evangelicals Aim to Mobilize an Army for Republicans in 2016

DES MOINES — One afternoon last week, David Lane watched from the sidelines as a roomful of Iowa evangelical pastors applauded a defense of religious liberty by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. That night, he gazed out from the stage as the pastors surrounded Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana in a prayer circle.

For Mr. Lane, a onetime Bible salesman and self-described former “wild man,” connecting the pastors with two likely presidential candidates was more than a good day’s work. It was part of what he sees as his mission, which is to make evangelical Christians a decisive power in the Republican Party.

“An army,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

And Mr. Lane is positioning himself as a field marshal. A fast-talking and born-again veteran of conservative politics with experience in Washington, Texas and California, Mr. Lane, 60, travels the country trying to persuade evangelical clergy members to become politically active.

His hope is that the politicized pastors will help mobilize congregations that have been disheartened by the repeated failure of socially conservative candidates, and by a party that has softened its opposition to same-sex marriage.

It is an organizing approach far different from those in the days when larger-than-life leaders like the Moral Majority founder, Jerry Falwell, who died in 2007, or Pat Robertson, now 84, could activate evangelical voters simply by anointing a candidate.

But close observers of evangelicals and their political involvement say Mr. Lane is emblematic of a new generation of evangelical leaders who draw local support or exert influence through niche issues or their own networks.

Unlike political operatives such as Ralph Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition who helped elect George W. Bush before becoming ensnared in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, Mr. Lane does not have an extensive organization.

What Mr. Lane, a former public relations man, does have going for him is a decentralized landscape in which a determined believer with an extensive network of ground-level evangelical leaders and a limitless capacity for talking on the phone can exert influence on Republican presidential candidates eager to reach evangelical voters.

“David is the real deal,” said the Rev. Brad Atkins, a prominent pastor in South Carolina. “He really believes that this is his calling.”

And it is here in Iowa, where conservatives traditionally have an inordinate influence in the state’s Republican presidential caucuses, that evangelicals have their best shot of shaping the field. In what he says is his effort to restore “our Christian heritage,” Mr. Lane’s American Renewal Project has already shown its influence in Iowa by helping to unseat three State Supreme Court justices who voted to allow same-sex marriage.

But Mr. Lane’s ambitions are national — he focused on battleground states in 2014 and has built an email list of 100,000 pastors around the country.

His goal now is to get 1,000 pastors to run for public office, and their potential support has drawn a virtual pilgrimage of conservative candidates eager to join the tours Mr. Lane organizes to Israel and to his “Pastors and Pews” events.

“A good friend” Mr. Cruz said.

“A great friend,” *Roman Catholic* Mr. Jindal said.

With some of the energy gone from the evangelical movement, said John C. Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron and an expert on evangelicals, “this is about keeping the pressure on for the next election.”

“Lane has influence with pastors, and they listen to him,” Mr. Green added.

All this activity has caught the attention of liberal opponents, who call Mr. Lane an extremist for his belief that abortion will incur divine vengeance on America and his argument that the Republican Party will be destroyed by its acceptance of same-sex marriage just as the Whig Party was destroyed by its acceptance of slavery in the 19th century.

They have sought to cast him as the de facto travel agent for the American Family Association, a Mississippi-based conservative religious organization, which had to distance itself from a spokesman, Bryan Fischer, who called homosexuals “Nazis” and argued that Muslims should not enjoy First Amendment rights and should be converted to Christianity.

Mr. Lane said that he raises his own money for his trips and events from a handful of wealthy donors, whose names he declined to divulge, and that the American Family Association pays him a retainer and provides him with legal and accounting assistance. In return the group, which has an expansive radio network, Internet constituency and budget, gets its name on all of Mr. Lane’s events and adds to its database the contact information of all the pastors he organizes.

Questions about his associations or accusations that he is an opportunist clearly get under Mr. Lane’s skin. But, he said, they show how he is “on the radar.”

And it is a long way from where he started. Raised in rural Oklahoma by his grandparents after his parents divorced in his infancy and his father left, Mr. Lane hit bottom as a partying student at the University of Mississippi, where for four summers he sold Bibles door to door.

“I’d stay drunk all night and sell Bibles all day,” he said. With about a semester to go in 1977, he dropped out, instead pursuing a life of “drugs, wine, women and song.” (“Le Freak” by Chic and “****,” he clarified.)

He eventually sought redemption from the Bible and a series of motivational speaking mentors. Judge Ziglar, author of “Timid Salesmen Have Skinny Kids” and brother of the famed motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, took an interest in him.

Then, after having a conversion moment in a downtown Atlanta alley following a motivational seminar, he moved to Houston and came under the wing of Judge Paul Pressler, a key figure in the resurgence of the Baptist conservative movement and the Moral Majority.

Bob Perry, the wealthy Texas home builder and Republican donor, who later funded the Swift Boat Veterans campaign against John Kerry in 2004, gave Mr. Lane $3,000 of seed money to get started in Washington, where Mr. Lane began working for Carl Channell in support of President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” defense system.

“Spitz taught me the fund-raising business,” said Mr. Lane, using a nickname for Mr. Channell. “He was a homosexual.”

He eventually worked for Mr. Falwell, and throughout his career gained a reputation as a “pastor’s friend,” said his own former pastor, the Rev. Gary Miller, who tearfully recalled Mr. Lane’s handing him a pair of new shoes during a period of tight finances in his own life.

And it is as a pastoral impresario that Mr. Lane has found his influence and attracted an audience of auditioning politicians. He organized an event with Gov. Rick Perry and hundreds of evangelical pastors in Texas in 2005. Dozens of events and candidates and seven years later, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky attended an event in South Carolina.

“They say you’re anti-Israel,” Mr. Lane said he told Mr. Paul when they met, and asked if he had ever been to Israel. When Mr. Paul said he had not, Mr. Lane, whose daughter now works for Mr. Paul, asked if the senator would be interested in going on a tour with evangelical leaders from Iowa and South Carolina.

Two years ago, Mr. Paul, his wife, Kelley, and their sons joined about 50 pastors and evangelical leaders on the trip. Afterward, Mr. Lane said, he received a note from Mr. Paul in which he wrote that he had awaked from a dream singing “How Great Thou Art” and that two of his sons had committed their lives to Christ.

After Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey made a good impression at a Republican event later that year, Mr. Lane offered him the chance to join primary state pastors on a “Reagan, Thatcher, John Paul II tour to California, London and Rome.

“They turned it down,” said Mr. Lane, who smiled when asked if he thought that was a mistake.

Instead, Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, jumped at the opportunity, subbing former Nazi concentration camps and Oskar Schindler’s former factory in Poland for the stop in Rome.

Last month, Mr. Lane took 60 members of the Republican National Committee to Jerusalem at a cost, he said, of about $500,000. A trip to Israel with Mr. Jindal is planned for July.

Missing from his travel manifests and events are the Republican Party’s establishment candidates. While Mr. Lane is technically neutral at this point, he clearly is no fan of the more moderate wing of his party. He said he tried to rescue the 2008 and 2012 tickets by advocating Mr. Huckabee for vice president.

While he admires Jeb Bush’s record as governor of Florida, especially his opposition to taking Terri Schiavo off life support, he scoffed at Mr. Bush’s choice for evangelical liaison, noting that he was “26 years old” and that his father was “behind Romney.” And as far as Mr. Bush’s hiring an openly gay communications director, he said: “I don’t understand what he’s up to. Personnel is policy.”

Mr. Lane is himself something of a one-man operation. He said that he shares the same hard-charging engine as his father, a car dealer who made the Chevrolet Hall of Fame, and since setting up shop in Southern California in 1998, Mr. Lane has acted mostly behind the scenes. Last week’s conference, and the two presidential hopefuls, was a calculated step into the spotlight.

“If the Lord were to call 1,000 pastors in America — 1,000 — and they ended up with an average of 300 volunteers per campaign in 2016, that would be 300,000 grass-root, precinct-level, evangelical conservatives coming from the bottom up,” he said to the ballroom full of pastors. “It would change America.”
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