Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Links

Opinion: What are the consequences of resurgent Baptist Calvinism?
By Fisher Humphreys--- an interesting succinct, thoughtful, perceptive, unbiased and fair analysis of the rise of Conservative Calvinism in the Baptist church especially the SBC.

Why I De-Converted from Evangelical Christianity: The Teachings of Jesus Contradict PST---an interesting and thought provoking critique on the more absurd aspects of the Penal Substitution Theory of the Atonement. The author argues that the Penal Substitution Theory of the Atonement clashes with "both the actions and the teachings of Jesus." Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts? I'll weigh in later but for now I'll just say that the author makes some good points that I agree with.

Old AOL News Articles:

Columbine Killer's Mother Speaks Out---interesting and heartbreaking interview.

'Hot Mormon Muffins' Calendar Debuts---funny and weird. This is not something that you associate Mormons with.

Study Finds Transcendental Meditation Reduces High Blood Pressure---interesting findings.

Church of Scientology Convicted in France---crazy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

November 10th Celebrations

Most importantly Nov. 10th of this year is my dad's 59th birthday---my mom just turned 58 on Saturday---so we are celebrating both of their birthdays tomorrow.

Also on Nov. 10th it is:
November 10: Remembrance of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (09:05 EET/06:05 UTC, Turkey)---Illness and death During 1937, indications that Atatürk's health was worsening started to appear. In early 1938, while he was on a trip to Yalova, he suffered from a serious illness. He went to İstanbul for treatment, where he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver due to heavy alcohol consumption.[103][104] During his stay in İstanbul, he made an effort to keep up with his regular lifestyle for a while. He died on 10 November 1938, at the age of 57. Atatürk's funeral called forth both sorrow and pride in Turkey, and seventeen countries sent special representatives, while nine contributed with armed detachments to the cortège.[59] Mustafa Kemal's remains were buried in a 42-ton sarcophagus in a mausoleum that overlooks Ankara,[105] Anıtkabir. In his will, he donated all of his possessions to the Republican People's Party, providing that the yearly interest of his funds would be used to look after his sister Makbule and his adopted children, and fund the higher education of the children of İsmet İnönü. The remainder of this yearly interest was willed to the Turkish Language Association and the Turkish Historical Society.

[edit] Legacy
[edit] Turkey

Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, in Ankara, TurkeyMustafa Kemal Atatürk is commemorated by many memorials throughout Turkey, such as the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul, the Atatürk Bridge over the Golden Horn (Haliç), the Atatürk Dam, and Atatürk Stadium. Atatürk statues have been erected in many Turkish cities, and practically all towns have its own memorial to him. His face and name are seen and heard everywhere in Turkey; his portrait can be seen in all public buildings, in schools, in school books, on all Turkish lira banknotes, and in the homes of many Turkish families.[106]

At the exact time of his death, on every 10 November, at 09:05 a.m., almost all vehicles and people in the country's streets pause for one minute in remembrance of his memory.[107] In 1951, the Turkish Parliament issued a law (5816) outlawing insults to his reminiscence (Turkish: Hatırası) or destruction of objects representing him.[108] The demarcation between a criticism and an insult was defined as a political argument and the minister of Justice (a political position) was assigned in Article 5 to execute the law rather than the public prosecutor.

The 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street is Nov. 10th of this year as well:
1969 – The first episode of Sesame Street was broadcast (Grover and Elmo greeting fans in 2009 pictured), pioneering contemporary standards of educational television, and eventually becoming the longest running children's television series in the United States.

AIDS Deaths #1 For Women

According to a study "the AIDS virus is the leading cause of death and disease among women between the ages of 15 and 44." Here is an excerpt from an AOL News article about the study:

AIDS Is Leading Cause of Death in Women
posted: 3 HOURS 38 MINUTES AGOcomments: 211filed under: Health News, World News

GENEVA (Nov. 9) - In its first study of women's health around the globe, the World Health Organization said Monday that the AIDS virus is the leading cause of death and disease among women between the ages of 15 and 44.
Unsafe sex is the leading risk factor in developing countries for these women of childbearing age, with others including lack of access to contraceptives and iron deficiency, the WHO said. Throughout the world, one in five deaths among women in this age group is linked to unsafe sex, according to the U.N. agency.

(Read whole article: Here).

While unsafe sex isn't the only cause for AIDs---it is a leading risk factor---so here are some thoughts of a Christian response to the sinful aspects of this devastating disease:
Christian response to AIDS must be guided by example of Jesus

Take the example of Jesus with the woman caught in the act of adultery - really the story of the missing man (1). Here are a bunch of angry men, looking for an excuse to lynch a woman, yet it takes two to and the man is nowhere to be seen. In Jesus' day there was a hierarchy of sin: woman sex sin punished by death, other sin was more or less acceptable, while man sex sin was hardly worth fussing about.

Jesus loathed their double standards and self-opinionated hypocrisy.

He cut right through them with just one sentence: "If any one of you is without sin let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (2). "Yes you sir, who's eyes have never strayed to the top shelf of WH Smith, you who have never been jealous, spiteful, rude or have never gossiped behind someone's back, you who are the perfect wife, you who have never lost your temper with the children, you who have never told a half-truth or broken the speed limit. You come now and cast the stone."

No one moved. Jesus stared them all out until they all left one by one - the oldest first. In one sentence Jesus had totally destroyed any possibility of judging others according to a ranking of sin. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (3), all are utterly dead outside of God's grace (4).

When it comes to pointing the finger, Jesus forbids the Christian community to put ourselves on a pedestal when it comes to HIV / AIDS.
He was the only person on this earth who had the right to condemn yet he says to the woman "neither do I condemn you". He also adds "go now and leave your life of sin" (5).

As Christians we get confused between the two things Jesus said: either we rush to make a moral statement, tripping up over judgmental attitudes along the way, or we rush to express God's mercy and love, falling into a deep hole where there is no longer a clear moral framework for living. The Jesus way is to hold infinite love and perfect standards in tension together - something we need his help to do. This is the Christian way.

Let us be absolutely clear that the teaching of scripture from Genesis to Revelation is constant regarding the wonderful gift of sex union, as a celebration of love and friendship between a man and woman committed together for life. God loves sex, it's the waste of sex outside marriage that causes him grief. The bible is far more daring and explicit than our sermons on sex, making clear that all sex union outside marriage is wrong.

Sex is shown to be a mystery, a spiritual event when two become "one flesh" (6). We see the physical side of this whenever a sperm fuses with an egg. Half a cell from a woman fuses with half a cell from a man to form literally one flesh: a new unique individual full of future personality and identity.

(Read full article: Here).

See also: A Christian response to HIV and AIDS.