Church and Chickens
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We have six chickens. Just a few weeks ago we bought four chicks. At the beginning of summer we have plans to add some more. I was raised in the suburbs, so this has been quite the learning experience for me. I’ve turned to the wealth of all knowledge—the Internet—to learn all the ways we have to prepare our current hens to get used to the new ones. Apparently chicken psychology is involved. There is, literally, a pecking order. If... Read More
The Moment of Death
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It seems to me that people in centuries past were much more familiar with death up close and personal than we are today. Citizens of Rome watched both animals and people killed before their very eyes. Public crucifixions and other forms of public executions were commonplace. Since there were few if any hospitals, people died in their homes; and everybody, young and old, was in close contact with the dying process. Warfare brings dying close to a civilian population, but... Read More
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In just a few days, Christians will be celebrating the biggest victory ever. For many, the day that God raised himself from the dead is tied with Christmas for “Best Day in the Whole Church Year.” Those two days are also when your church doesn’t have to work too terribly hard to get visitors to walk through its doors. After all, there’s a special nickname for people who come to church twice a year: Chreaster Christians, or more simply, Chreasters... Read More
Cross and Crescent
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In A.D. 537 the Byzantine Emperor Justinian dedicated what was then the largest cathedral in the world in his capital city of Constantinople. It was called the Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God (referring to the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ), known more commonly by its Greek name Hagia Sophia. For its time it was a stupendous miracle of engineering and construction. Its inner walls were covered with mosaics, and it boasted a 49-foot-tall iconostasis, the screen... Read More
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Sometimes Satan’s attacks are obvious. Lately, though, I’ve been seeing how “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Case #1: Conscious Uncoupling Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, have decided to end their marriage. Instead of sticking with the original design that called for them to stay married until they die, they’ve decided to go through the process of “Conscious Uncoupling.” Wordplay tries to make the hurting, searing pain of divorce sound lovely, peaceful, full... Read More
Another Slow Cooker
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You’ve heard of John Newton, haven’t you? No? Well, you know his famous hymn “Amazing Grace,” one of the most famous Christian songs ever written. In just a few deft lines, Newton expresses the depths of human sin and his gratitude for God’s grace, amazing grace, that could forgive a wretch like him. A lost man was found; a blind man got his sight back. The song is, of course, autobiographical. Newton was born in London in 1725, and his... Read More
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On March 21 Iran celebrated its new year. Saeed Abedini didn’t have much to celebrate. Saeed was raised Muslim, and when he was 20 years old, he trained to be a suicide bomber. The training led to depression, which led to his conversion to Christianity. From then on, he shared the good news through underground house churches until persecution led him and his wife, Naghmeh, to move to the US in 2005. He served as a pastor in Boise, Idaho, and... Read More
Crime in Crimea
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The Western world is staring at Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea, slack-jawed and impotent. The educated elite and the chattering classes of newsies just can’t believe that in this modern, advanced, socially evolved world such naked power grabs can still happen. Guess they do. The UN has a tongue but no teeth. But nobody should be particularly shocked. Nations have been pushing and shoving for territory and resources for millennia. I’ve been reading First and Second Samuel devotionally lately and... Read More
Seven Sour Prayer Attitudes
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What keeps people from praying more? Enjoying their prayer life more? What hindrances do you find in your own prayer life (or lack thereof)? Here are seven sour attitudes that I've come across (full disclosure—some of these attitudes come from within my own brain, I’m sorry to say): #1  Patronizing attitude: I don’t want to insult God by appearing to tell him things he already knows. If he’s really omniscient, he doesn’t need my reports. If he really loves me,... Read More
God is . . . hate?
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Fred Phelps, Sr., died on Wednesday. As the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, (which isn’t really fair to either Baptists or churches) Phelps was best known for picketing military funerals. In a convoluted logic, (which isn’t really fair to logic) he felt that every military service member’s death was God’s condemnation on the United States’ acceptance of homosexuality.  Still, his death doesn’t mean the church is closing. Instead, this group of 100-ish people (how does such a small group made up almost... Read More