Daily Archives: May 12, 2015
Vicky and Sandhya Bhardwaj are expecting their first child in August. Once their son arrives, the couple will be living dangerously close to their financial edge.
Mr. Bhardwaj’s entire paycheque ”“ he earns $73,000 a year ”“ goes toward the mortgage payments on the four-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom Mississauga house they bought in 2011 for $747,000. Mrs. Bhardwaj’s salary of $55,000 covers everything else, from utilities, groceries, and gas and insurance on their cars, to the interest on their two lines of credit and credit card.
“I’ve made a spreadsheet of our expenses ”¦ and right now, we are $1,000 a month short for what we will need to live on, once my wife is on mat leave,” says Mr. Bhardwaj, 39.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has become the first patron of debt charity Christians Against Poverty.
The charity runs debt services through local churches with the aim of releasing people from the prison of debt. Around 60 of its 280 debt centres are based in Church of England churches.
The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.
To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans ”“ roughly seven-in-ten ”“ continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith.But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated ”“ describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” ”“ has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. And the share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths also has inched up, rising 1.2 percentage points, from 4.7% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2014. Growth has been especially great among Muslims and Hindus, albeit from a very low base.
More than 300,000 people are without “life-saving” aid in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state after heavy fighting forced aid agencies to withdraw, the UN has said.
Government forces have been advancing towards Leer, the birthplace of rebel leader Riek Machar, reports say.
Emergency relief has come to a stop in areas worst-affected by fighting, the UN said.
International mediation efforts to end the 17-month conflict have failed.
The deciding factors in Volvo’s decision to build its first North American manufacturing plant near tiny Ridgeville ”” population 2,000 or so ”” have by now become a familiar economic development tune: a nearby seaport that’s efficient and quality workforce training.
It’s what convinced Daimler AG in March to build a campus in North Charleston that will make the company’s popular Sprinter vans. On Monday, Lex Kerssemakers, CEO of Volvo’s American operations, said the Swedish automaker was lured to South Carolina by the same song.
“One of the main criteria is accessibility overseas,” Kerssemakers said, explaining why Volvo chose the spot along Interstate 26 in Berkeley County, about 30 miles from the Port of Charleston. “And we think we will get a good pool of workers. We can make use of an already established recruiting and training program. That makes us feel very confident.”
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday, the largest since last month’s massive 7.8 tremor, sending residents scurrying into the streets and causing rocks and bricks to fall from damaged buildings.
Nepal’s Home Ministry has raised the death toll from the latest quake to at least 36 and said another 1,117 people had been injured.
Thirty of the country’s 75 administrative districts had been affected, state-run Radio Nepal said.
At least four were killed Tuesday in Chautara, the seat of Sindhupalchowk district, said Paul Dillon, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, citing reports from colleagues there. The town of about 6,000 people, which is built on a rugged ridge line, had seen roughly 90% of its buildings damaged or destroyed in last month’s quake.
Most of us were trained to minister to a culture that had a Christian baseline, but we weren’t trained how to reach people who don’t accept the Bible as true or know about Christ.
In other words, we were trained to focus on Nominals but now we increasingly need to reach Seculars.
There are resources to help with that.
I’m a big fan of Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God. Many use that curriculum for reaching secular people. I also recommend the work of George Hunter, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. His book How to Reach Secular People is good, as is James Emery White’s book called The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated.
Do you deal more with Nominals or Seculars? Has your church made progress in reaching either group? What have you found that works in bringing these people to Christ?
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV
The international community stepped in, investigated, and found enough to warrant a further investigation by the International Criminal Court. In the meantime, the country tried to put things back together. By 2010, post-crisis reforms had come into being along with a new constitution that brought about a coalition government.
These were the first few steps toward reconciliation, but they were surface deep, nowhere near the restoration of the people. David Shibley with Global Advance says their organization was called in to help the church rebuild in 2010. God used them as a catalyst; sometimes it takes someone coming from the outside, speaking into a situation, to be the fresh eyes needed. “God graciously used our first Frontline Shepherds Conference there, five years ago, to bring healing and reconciliation. We saw a marvelous move of God’s Spirit as men who had not talked to each other suddenly were embracing each other, asking for forgiveness.”
Since that time, says Shibley, reconciliation efforts reawakened a sense of belonging to one nation. “The pastoral leaders of that area have been used of God to bring a real healing in that area, and now there is tremendous cooperation among most, if not all, of the evangelical churches of that area.”
Then came the al-Shabaab attack on the Nairobi University campus in Garissa in April. 147 Christian college students were killed. “Since that time, there has been a real galvanizing of the Church in Kenya: kind of a ”˜snapping to attention’ that I saw,” explains Shibley.
Give salvation and strength, O King of saints, to those who, being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, are in great tribulation; and grant that these thy followers, loving not their lives unto the death and leaving all to follow thee, may overcome by the word of their testimony, and overcoming, may inherit all things.
He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”
And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ”˜Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ”˜Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Update: Note this letter has been updated with an addendum on May 12th
..Some will say that it is impossible for gay couples to fully assent to the baptismal covenant, especially the question “do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?” I wrestle with that as well. But I also know that the baptismal covenant is written in language so demanding that I am still discovering places in my life where I live below its demands. The renunciation of sinful desire is a daily discipline. The call for justice forces me not only to care about the plight of the least of these, but it also challenges me to face the places where injustice works to my economic and social advantage.
I know that for some, saying yes to this baptism feels like nothing more than pastoral logic, particularly when one starts with the spiritual needs of the child, regardless of the child’s family situation, and especially if the church is willing to take up her responsibility for spiritual formation. For others it feels like a betrayal of the Gospel and a capitulation on my part in my opposition to gay marriage in the church. Please know, for those on both sides of the gay marriage issue, that I have not changed- at all- my opposition to the church’s recognition of gay marriage as Holy Matrimony. I still believe, strongly, that civil gay unions do not conform to the Biblical definition of Holy Matrimony nor do they conform to the definition of Holy Matrimony found in our Book of Common Prayer.
Given our own brokenness as a people, it seems to me that none of us has the right to cast the first stone…
Brandon Wade thinks monogamy can be monotonous. “The majority of people are not swingers,” he said, “but they probably are monogamish.” What does that mean? “You get a hall pass to date others.”
…And now, for his next act, Wade has created OpenMinded.com, “a safe and stigma-free environment that brings the ease and flexibility of online dating to the currently underserved world of open relationships”
“The traditional model of marriage and monogamy isn’t working out for everyone,” Wade told CNBC. “In my own case, after three or four years, things get monotonous. …I think a lot of people suffer from that, especially men.”