Thursday, December 30, 2010

A dad at 94

Geez whiz! a dad at 94

December 30, 2010

It's never too late to start a family.

A 94-year-old Indian man -- who relies on a high-fat diet -- claims he's the world's oldest new dad after his wife gave birth last month to their first child.

"This child is God's gift to me," Ramjit Raghav said of the baby, Karamjit.

He said the secret of his miraculous virility was being in shape as a wrestler in his youth and adhering to a remarkable nuts-and-dairy diet.

Raghav said he drinks about 3½ quarts of milk a day, and eats a pound of almonds and a pound of clarified butter, which is known as ghee in India.

Doctors confirmed that his wife, Shankuntala Devi, had a normal delivery -- at age 59. They said the baby boy is healthy.

"Having babies at such age is a remote possibility, but then it can't be ruled out as it just needs one sperm to fertilize the egg," said Dr. Paramjeet Singh, at Kharkhoda Civil Hospital, where the child was born.

Raghav is a farmer in a northern Indian village about 50 miles from New Delhi.

He and his wife own no land and manage to get by with the two cows they own, a government pension and about $100 a month in wages from farming.

Pension records confirm that Raghav is 94.

The title of world's oldest dad was last set three years ago by another Indian, Nanu Ram Jogi, who sired his 22nd child at 90.


Chasing Methuselah
Exercise, technology, and diet help us live longer than ever. Should those who look to eternal life care?

Stay Younger! Live Longer!
That's not just a silly promise of our culture.
Our Favorite Books by Women
Or at least the ones that we read in 2010.
For Many Missionaries, More Tech Means Shorter Furloughs
Constant connection keeps missionaries on the field, but has its costs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 10 News Stories of 2010

The events, people, and debates of the past year that have shaped, or will significantly shape, evangelical life, thought, or mission.
  1. Aid groups rush to help an already-hurting Haiti after its 7.0-magnitude earthquake, raising $750 million in a mere five weeks. But scandal over Baptist missionaries' efforts to move 33 children to the Dominican Republic becomes a major plot line and raises questions about "amateur" aid.
  2. Thousands of global evangelical leaders gather in Cape Town to discuss missions, highlight evangelicalism's global diversity, pray for religious liberty, and build relationships that will likely bear unexpected fruit in the decades to come.
  3. In a closely watched case, World Vision wins its employment case at the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled 2–1 that the organization can fire employees who aren't orthodox Christians. A loss would have caused turmoil for faith-based organizations' hiring rules.
  4. Midterm elections halve the number of pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives. Activist groups say the vote is a backlash against March's health-care reform bill, which also prompted new state abortion funding restrictions and the rise of the tea party (whose social concerns are still unclear).
  5. The U.S. Supreme Court rules against the Hastings College of the Law chapter of the Christian Legal Society, saying the school's policy that student groups must open all positions to all students—even those who oppose the group's core values—"is a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral condition."
  6. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill shifts the creation care debate. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary dean Russell Moore calls it a "defining moment" comparable to Roe v. Wade, and oversees sbc resolution calling for "full corporate accountability."
  7. American evangelicals find themselves at odds with African Christians over Uganda's proposed anti-gay bill, which would punish homosexual acts with life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
  8. Prominent Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke resigns from Reformed Theological Seminary under pressure amid debate on the historicity of Adam. "If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution," he said in a video for BioLogos, "to deny that reality will make us a cult."
  9. Christian musician Jennifer Knapp announces she is in a same-sex relationship, spotlighting questions of pastoral response to gay Christians.
  10. Terry Jones, the pastor of a small church in Gainesville, Florida, sparks worldwide condemnation when he threatens to burn a Qur'an. He later promises never to burn one.
Copyright © 2011 Christianity Today.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010


Glory to God in the highest,
and peace on earth to all men

God’s glory is in the highest heavens,
but his high state is now found in the stable,
what was lowly has now become sublime.
God’s glory is on the earth,
it is the glory of humility and love.
And even more: the glory of God is peace.
Wherever he is, there is peace.
He is present wherever human beings do not attempt,
apart from him, and even violently,
to turn earth into heaven.
He is with those of watchful hearts;
with the humble and those who meet him at the level of his own "height",
the height of humility and love.
To these people he gives his peace,
so that through them, peace can enter this world.

Benedict XVI

Back from the Dead, Reborn Into the Light

They called a time of death on Jeff. Then, his doctor heard the Lord say, 'Pray for him.'

Didn't These People Ever Go to Sunday School?

By Gary DeMar

With Christmas not too far away, we will hear the inevitable revisionist version of the Nativity story: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph exemplify the poverty stricken homeless family that needs the government to help them. Jesse Jackson was the first to turn Joseph and Mary into a "homeless couple" when he claimed that Christmas "is not about Santa Claus and `Jingle Bells' and fruit cake and eggnog" (true) but about "a homeless couple" (false).1 He continued the fabrication in 1999 by repeating the biblical sleight of hand.2 Barbara Reynolds, a former columnist for USA Today, following Jackson's early lead, scolded the Christian Right for opposing government welfare programs: "They should recall," she wrote, "that Jesus Christ was born homeless to a teen who was pregnant before she was married."3 Hillary Clinton, in comments critical of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's homeless policies, sought to remind all of us that "Christmas celebrates ‘the birth of a homeless child.’"4 What does the Bible actually say?
  • Mary did not engage in premarital sex. Her circumstances, to say the least, were unique (Luke 1:26–28). We don't know if Mary was in her teens.
  • Mary went to live with her cousin Elizabeth upon hearing about her pregnancy and "stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home" (Luke 1:56). Presumambly her parents owned a home and did not throw her out when they learned of her pregnancy.
  • Mary and Joseph were actually married at the time she learned she was pregnant even though a formal ceremony had not taken place. Joseph is called "her husband" (Matt. 1:19).
  • Joseph was a self-employed carpenter (Matt. 13:55).
  • An edict from the centralized Roman government forced Joseph and Mary to spend valuable resources to return to their places of birth to register for a tax (Luke 2:1-7). This meant lost wages and unplanned expenses because of a mandate by the State.
  • Typical of governments that make laws without considering the consequences, there was not enough housing for the great influx of traveling citizens and subjects who complied with the governmental decree (Luke 2:1).
  • Mary and Joseph had enough money to pay for lodging, but "there was no room in the inn" (Luke 2:7).
  • Joseph and Mary owned or rented a home. It was in their home that the wise men offered their gifts: "And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh" (Matt. 2:11).
Isn't it curious how politicians and social critics are quick to quote and misquote the Bible when they believe it supports their quirky political views but are shocked when conservatives appeal to the Bible in support of their causes. If a conservative were to quote the Bible pointing out the evils of abortion and homosexuality, we would hear the cry of "separation of church and state" on talk shows from coast to coast.
1. As reported in The Atlanta Journal/Constitution (December 28, 1991), A9.
2. Jesse Jackson, "The Homeless Couple," Los Angeles Times (December 22, 1999).
3. Barbara Reynolds, "These political Christians neither religious nor right," USA Today (Nov. 18, 1994), 13A.
4. Cited in "Washington" under Politics in USA Today (December 1, 1999), 15A.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Arne Duncan Returns to Reality Changers

For the second time in less than a year,
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Reality Changers -
this time with his wife and kids. "I'm thrilled to be back,"
said the Secretary during his second visit.
"I'm just a huge fan of Reality Changers (and)
I wanted my family to see the great work going on here." 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Barna Group Research

Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010
An annual tradition of the Barna Group has been the year-end summary of trends that emerged from the company's research conducted throughout the year. This year's overview provides six megathemes that were consistently found across the entire year's worth of studies. To find out more about the direction of the culture and the Church within it, read this new Barna Update report >

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The BBC Debate

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of Britain, goes head-to-head with the author and atheist Christopher Hitchens to debate whether religion is a force for good in the world.

Does religion provide the common values and ethical foundations needed in the 21st Century or do deeply held religious beliefs promote intolerance and exacerbate ethnic divisions?

Chaired by Rudyard Griffiths in front of a 2,000 strong audience in Toronto, Canada.

Listen to part one    (25 minutes)
Listen to part two   (28 minutes)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The gospel is for Christians too.

Evangelizing Ourselves
Mark Galli | posted 12/02/2010 09:43AM

When Christians share their faith with others—especially those of other faiths—our conversation sometimes begins with an unfortunate assumption: that we Christians have absorbed the message of Jesus and that non-Christians have not. That we are on the righteous side of God's ledger, and that Muslims and Jews are the sinners' side. We are near to God, and Buddhists and Hindus are far from God. Our conversation implicitly assumes that non-Christians need spiritual help and we do not so much. Non-Christians are lost, and we are not; people of other faiths need to hear the words of the gospel, and we do not.

We never say any of this in so many words—this is not the sort of thing that can be said at interfaith dialogues! But we Christians sometimes come across that way, and when we do, we are labeled arrogant and self-righteous. This puzzles us, because at such forums or in personal conversation with non-Christians, we usually work hard at being civil and kind. I suspect the problem in some cases is the above assumptions.

Let me suggest, in fact, that whenever we communicate to non-Christians that we have found it and that they have not, that we have been chosen and that they have not, that we are the apple of God's eye and that they are not—whenever we assume that stance, consciously or not, we are communicating something other than the gospel, the Good News.

Let us rehearse a core dimension of that gospel: All have sinned—including Christians—and fall short of God's glory (Rom. 3:23). And while we were sinners—all of us—Christ died for us, all of us (Rom. 5:6). And in Christ God was reconciling the world — Muslim, Jew, and Christian—to himself (2 Cor. 5:19). For God so loved the world — Sufi, Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan, and Christian—that he gave his Son (John 3:16).

Last week in this column, I began to explore the question, How do we talk about our faith without making others feel denigrated or angry? For one, we can talk about our faith so that everyone feels equally denigrated and equally inflamed! So that everyone—even the Christian—feels addressed by the one who is both Judge and Father. So that everyone—even the Christian—recognizes his or her sinfulness. So that everyone—even the Christian—stands at the foot of the Cross, in desperate need of a savior.

If we can do that, a couple of remarkable things will happen. First, we will recognize afresh that we're not talking about our religion versus their religion, not about how we are right and they are wrong, not about how we are peaceful and they are violent, not about how we are righteous and they are not. We will see that we're not on opposites of a religious war, but allies in the foxhole of faith. We will realize that Christian and non-Christians alike are going to have to cover each other's backs, because all of us—Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian—are being assaulted by a divine judge with a whip of cords who looks at us with equal concern and says "hypocrites" and "blind fools."

At the same time, we will also see a merciful divine hand extended to all of us, like the hand that Jesus used to grab and raise up the lame man, the hand that touched the eyes of the blind and gave sight and cupped the ears of the deaf and restored hearing. That's when we all will hear afresh the invitation that comes to any who are weary and heavy laden, that there is a yoke that can give us rest and a peace that passes understanding.

We are tempted at this point to wonder, "But haven't we Christians accepted that invitation, and non-Christians have not? Doesn't that make a difference? Aren't we called to invite non-Christians to follow Christ?"

But of course! By grace through faith we have been made aware of God's global reconciling work in Christ, and those who know this reality are commissioned to share the message of Christ's reconciliation work with the whole world (2 Cor. 5:19).

Then again, is this not an invitation we Christians need to accept anew every morning? Is this not a gospel that shakes us to our core daily and yet raises us daily to new life? Is not today, once again, the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2)? Should we not preach this gospel as if we also need to hear and accept it daily? And if so, can we ever preach to others a gospel that does not apply equally to us?

Can we see, then, how if we preach this gospel, it will be nigh impossible for anyone to dodge the message by charging us with self-righteousness? And can we see why the only hope for civil and humble interreligious dialogue hinges, from our side, on our entering it with a firm grasp of this gospel? And can we see why when Christians enter into interreligious dialogue—especially in those contexts where evangelism is explicitly ruled out—that we cannot help but evangelize? That is, when asked what we believe, how can we not share this extraordinary Good News that affects everyone in the room?

Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today, and author of Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable God (Baker).