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Posts Tagged ‘current events’

prayer invite

Sunday’s horrifying attack was the worst mass shooting in America’s history and it is the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.

Pray for the injured in this tragedy and the families of all the victims who lost their lives. Ask God to comfort those who mourn the loss of family and friends.

May Christian men and women rise up to support each other in this time of tragedy. Help us to remember that you are the strong tower we seek when times are tough. Guide our hands and feet to respond in a Christ-like manner.

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weddingRingsBible

There is an ever growing list of people who want nothing to do with marriage.  You can now add Lindsey Vonn to the list.  Vonn recently announced she has no plans to walk down the aisle again.

Vonn, the 2010 gold medal Olympian and girl friend to Tiger Woods, shared, “I’m done with that.  The box is checked.  I don’t really believe that you need to be married to someone to be their life partner.”

Her attitude on marriage is increasingly common.  Many couples prefer to live together or in a word cohabit, instead of getting married.  I’ve heard the arguments for the practice.  Folks want to save money, spend more time with the person they love, or test the compatibility of their relationship without all the messy legal problems if it should fail.

Some view the practice as a strong commitment while dating.  Others see it as a prelude to marriage.  But contemporary opinions now view cohabitation as a substitute for conventional marriage.

While attitudes and opinions support cohabitation, the facts do not.  In a piece entitled “The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage,” psychologist Meg Jay of the University of Virginia describes what is known as the “cohabitation effect”: “Couples who cohabit before marriage . . . tend to be less satisfied with their marriages-and more likely to divorce-than couples who do not.”  67% of cohabiting couples divorce compared to 45% of all first marriages.  Additional studies show that women who cohabit are more likely to be abused and to be depressed than women in a marriage.  And if that wasn’t enough bad news, researchers also found that couples who cohabit are more likely to cheat on one another.

This entire notion that you can test drive marriage hurts people and creates unnecessary heartache.  The biblical warnings against cohabitation are affirmed by statistics and the burgeoning trail of wounded people.  Couples often try cohabitation because they have not seen a successful marriage up close.

Pastors can help to reverse the trend by requiring premarital counseling before couples tie the knot.  Churches can also make a difference by mentoring engaged couples.  This is a great way to teach the biblical examples of marriage and build strong relationships.  When couples receive mentoring by their church, 76% stay together, 19% break up before marrying, and only 5% divorce or separate.

We can no longer accept a laissez faire approach to marriage in our community. God has designed the covenant of marriage and we need to continue teaching a biblical approach for couples.  They also deserve quality mentoring from pastors and church leaders who are willing to help the next generation.  May God raise up quality couples who are willing to mentor others and increase successful marriages throughout our community.

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PX

Congress and the administration continue to seek answers in fighting military rape and sexual assaults.  As part of the sexual assault reduction effort, service chiefs instructed commanders to remove offensive and degrading material from military offices and workplaces.  This written policy required units to remove pornographic and offensive material like, “books, pictures, photographs, calendars, posters, magazines, videos . . . .”

While this is a good reminder on maintaining an appropriate work area and promotes equality, it seems highly contradictory to continue selling pornography on military installations when it is not allowed in other public areas.

Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Exchanges continue to sell inappropriate magazines which treat woman as little more than objects for sexual pleasure. Please keep in mind that this smut is located in aisles where service members, spouses, families, and kids walk past every day.  While a placard may be present to hide the magazine cover, pornography continues to be sold on US military installations across the globe.

It is high time for this practice to stop.

If the military is truly concerned about this fight, then let us attack the attitude that allows sexual exploitation in the first place!  Let us create a better environment where people can truly be seen and respected as equals.  If pornography cannot be allowed in the workplace, why is it allowed in every government-sponsored store on post?

While pornography is not the sole cause of sexual assaults in the military, it is degrading the environment for women in the force and polluting a military climate built on respect, service, and integrity.

Many will call me outdated, old-fashioned, pre-historic, a Bible thumper, a religious zealot, or worse.  I have big shoulders if folks disagree, but pornography is part of the problem with our military culture.  We also deserve consistent policies guiding its removal.  If Big Army is listening, it is time to remove pornography from the PX.

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Military news outlets confirmed that the officer in charge of the U.S. Air Force effort to curb sexual assaults and harassment was arrested over the weekend.

A Lieutenant Colonel was arrested on Sunday and charged with sexual battery after he allegedly grabbed a woman by the breasts and buttocks.   An Arlington County Police spokesman said the woman fended off the attacker, who was under the influence of alcohol, and when he attempted to grab her a second time she was able to call the police, who arrived a short time later and detained him.

The attacker was initially held on a $5,000 unsecured bond.  He has since posted bond and been released from the Arlington County Detention Facility.

The Air Force said that the Lieutenant Colonel, had been removed from his job as chief of the service’s sexual assault prevention and response branch after his arrest.

Stories like this need to be shared in military circles.  It is an odd and ironic story because of the person’s duty assignment, but there are some common themes that need to be highlighted.

1.  The military has a zero tolerance policy on sexual assault and harassment.  You will be punished for violating this policy.  It may cost you your paycheck, your current assignment, your job, your military career, or your freedom as you sit in a jail cell.

2.  Alcohol use is reported in a majority of sexual assault causes.  If you drink, be responsible.  Do not allow excess to impair your judgment or behavior.  If you are serving alcohol, recognize when a person has had enough.

3.   You have the right to physically defend yourself.   Let us applaud the victim for defending / protecting herself, immediately calling the police, and standing up for her rights as an individual.

4.  Make time to file a report.  Too many service members fail to report incidents like this.  Know that you can always file an unrestricted report in a military setting.  This will limit who knows the incident took place, but allows you to receive care and counseling.

If you have questions, want to know your options, want to talk with a counselor, or need to report a sexual assault in the military, call 877-995-5247 or click www.safehelpline.org.  The DoD Safe Help Line is a 24/7 resource for all service branches.

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Reports are sharing that an American Stratotanker crashed in Kyrgyzstan.  The Wichita Eagle reported on its website the plane was a KC-135 refueling tanker, which was based at Wichita’s McConnell Air Force Base.

A search is underway for members of the crew.

Little is currently known and updates will likely be slow.  Right now the unknown is a heavy burden for military families across the Midwest as they are dealing with the “what ifs” of this situation.

One thing that we can do is pray for all the families at McConnell Air Force Base.  May the peace of Christ sustain them and minister to their needs during this difficult time.

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The tragic events of April 15th continue to unfold.  Today, two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing two people and injuring more than 130.

Please continue to pray for the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one.  Boston area hospitals also reported at least 134 injured, with 15 of them critically.  We also need to pray for the wounded who are in critical condition.

While not immediately apparent, we should also praise God that more were not injured in this senseless act.  The Boston Marathon routinely has some 23,000 runners and countless supporters along the way.  It is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathons that draws participants from across the globe.  It is held on Patriots Day, which commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution, at Concord and Lexington in 1775.

As people continue to compile their prayer lists, we should also remember first responders like the EMS, police, firefighters, and National Guard.  Their efforts today, though bloody and traumatic, helped to preserve life and provide emergency care to the wounded.

Cry out to the Lord and share the concerns of your heart, no matter how heavy it may be.

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Bible

Hollywood can say what it wants, but The Bible is the top-rated cable program on Sunday nights.

The History Channel’s mini-series The Bible drew an impressive 14.1 million viewers on its first night.  Horizon media, meanwhile, said some 50 million viewers tuned in to at least some portion of the program over the first three weekends of the five part series.

The show is an outright success.  The latest installment pulled in 11 million viewers and audience retention rates are just as remarkable. To put the numbers into perspective, the premier had better ratings than The Walking Dead and every episode beat Fox’s American Idol.  If the ratings don’t impress you, they certainly confound Hollywood’s entertainment experts.

This Judeo-Christian-themed show reveals an appetite for religious programming that is consistently overlooked in Hollywood.  Did they forget that The Passion of the Christ made over $600 million to become the highest grossing R rated film in history?  Did they also miss The Chronicles of Narnia, Courageous, and Fireproof?

Some critics claim that the calendar is artificially inflating interest around the series.  I don’t see how this argument holds water.  Sure the mini-series airs during Lent and will end on Easter Sunday, but that does not speak to the desire for clean stories and religious programming every day of the year.  The content is drawing the audience, not the calendar.  Content is what drew people to the show and developed a loyal following.

The series is truly unique in that the creators wanted to honor the integrity and accuracy of Scripture.  Nancy Dubuc, president of the History Channel, told MovieGuide.com that a group of theologians and scholars were regularly consulted on the accuracy of the project. “This is probably the most important book in mankind, regardless of your beliefs or religious affiliation,” Dubuc says. “We spend a lot of time talking about this book, and probably not enough time knowing what’s in it.”

Again, that is the entire point.  People are curious about the Old Testament, the New Testament, and how the Bible impacts us.  While Hollywood has not cracked the code, people want to connect with the story of God.

Thanks to the History Channel and The Bible leadership team, people are watching the series, having conversations about the text, and finding out what the story of God holds for them.  That is the ultimate success no matter how the ratings turn out next week.

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