Monday, February 28, 2011

We got snow near San Diego this weekend.

We got snow near San Diego this weekend. The attached photo is awesome. It was taken from Point Loma looking east across North Island Naval Air Station and downtown San Diego toward the eastern SD County Mountains. Courtesy NBC Channel 7, San Diego.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

a man's perspective

a man's perspective

Doctrinal Boot Camp

Conforming to the truth of the faith is necessary for survival.
If you have survived a Marine Corps boot camp, read no further. If not, this article is for you.

Over the years I've grown concerned about Christians—especially younger ones—who express little interest in the basic doctrines of the faith. They don't want to appear to be dogmatic or judgmental. I can understand why; after all, as Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman pointed out in unChristian, we older evangelicals have often come across that way. But our failures do not alter the fact that understanding and living by these doctrines are essential to, well, being Christians. (continued…)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

Whether someone is Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, - or yes, even Christian - all can identify at times with the cry, "Lord, Save Us from Your Followers!" Fed up with the divisive bumper sticker mentality overtaking America, director (and follower) Dan Merchant donned his Bumper Sticker Man suit and set out on the daring search for meaningful dialogue and the true face of faith.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Somali Pirates Kill Bible Distributors

Scott Adam, a graduate of Fuller Seminary, was killed with three others after they were taken hostage.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey | posted 2/22/2011 11:39AM
Bible distributors who were taken hostage by Somali pirates were killed while negotiations between the pirates and U.S. military forces were underway Tuesday morning.
U.S. forces boarded the yacht in response to gunfire, and discovered that four hostages had been shot. Two of the pirates were killed, and 13 captured in a confrontation, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command. Scott and Jean Adam's vessel Quest was taken hostage last week; 19 pirates were believed to be involved in the hijacking.
"As (U.S. forces) responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors," the U.S. Central Command statement said. "Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds."
Scott Adam is a master of divinity graduate from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. He also received a master of theology from the school in 2010, says Fred Messick, Fuller's associate vice president of public affairs.
The couple had expressed some unease in an e-mail sent several days before the hijacking, says Craig Detweiler, a professor at Pepperdine University, who attended Fuller with Adam.
"They acknowledged that they were navigating a global hot spot," he said. "But it was also not like them to shy away. Things grew strangely silent in the last week."
The Adams were married later in life, Detweiler said, describing Scott as having a "deeply liturgical" Anglican and Catholic faith.
"They had a rooted confidence in the authoritative power of God's word," Detweiler said. "Their notion of traveling the world and spreading the word of God connected to all that they understood about our calling in life."
The couple had been distributing copies of Scripture, including "Catholic Bibles" from the American Bible Society and NIV Bibles from the International Bible Society, to places like Tahiti, New Zealand, and Fiji. "Because Catholics have a slightly different Bible than Protestants we carry both Bibles, and at several different reading levels," they wrote on their website.
The couple wrote on their website that part of their travels include "friendship evangelism—that is, finding homes for thousands of Bibles, which have been donated through grants and gifts, as we travel from place to place."
"Often people have an agenda behind their 'gifts,'" Jean wrote on the website. "Scott & I feel that we can do more as 'unassociated missionaries.' (Our only association is that of fiscal oversight by the Quest Mission Church in Bakersfield.) This allows us to follow the Spirit as we search for 'homes' for our Bibles."
The organizers of a yacht race called the Blue Water Rally said the Quest was part of the race but left on February 15 to chart a different course. Philis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle were traveling with the Adams on that portion of their trip.
The Adams were members of Saint Monica's Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California. "They were very heartfelt in their response to this great gospel and they came to know Jesus in a very special way here," their pastor, Lloyd Torgerson, told KABC.
"Jean actually sang in our 11:30 choir Sunday mornings. Both of them had a great outreach, of course, through this ministry to take the scriptures, the Bibles, to places across the world. And they felt that call to do that, and that's what they were doing I presume when this happened."
The retired couple might be a reflection of a generation interested in combining their faith with another stage of life, said Scott Moreau, professor of missions at Wheaton College.
"They have a set of personal interests, they've dreamed about retirement but the gospel becomes intertwined with that," Moreau said. "This couple might be a small microcosm of that."
The Adams' distribution of Bibles on a vessel is unusual, Moreau said, but many Christians are finding a retirement outlet in missions.
"We see people retiring and ready for second or third careers," Moreau said. "You see things that offer unique opportunities that, this case, ended very tragically for them."
The Vatican is becoming increasingly concerned about piracy, and held a conference last week on providing better assistance to hijacked sailors and their families back home, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
The pirates in northern Somalia are not hard-line Islamists and a yacht carrying Bibles is not likely to be a problem, the AP reports.
Two Somali pirates spoke with Reuters by telephone.
"Our colleagues called us this morning, that they were being attacked by a U.S. warship," a pirate who identified himself as Mohamud told Reuters. "The U.S. warship shot in the head two of my comrades who were on the deck of the yacht by the time they alerted us," Mohamud said. "This is the time we ordered the other comrades inside yacht to react—kill the four Americans because there was no other alternative—then our line got cut."
Scott Stolnitz, a friend of the couple, told CNN that vigorous evangelism was not a major emphasis for the couple. "They were not proselytizing evangelicals," Stolnitz said. "They were using their Bible mission as a way to break the ice in the Christian community, particularly in the Pacific."

Where the Veterans Are:

County Supervisor Bill Horn declared this month that San Diego is home to more Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than any other place in the country. San Diego Fact Check wondered if that could be true. It is.

We've got more veterans of those two wars in our county - at least about 29,000 - than any other in the United States.

Why does it matter? For one thing, high numbers can mean that veteran's hospitals need to serve more people. And, as data reporter Keegan Kyle explains, "A growing population with wartime injuries and mental health problems can place greater pressure on county social services and law enforcement, who ultimately serve as the last line of support."

Featured Article

Q & A: Mike Huckabee on Faith, Social Issues, and a Possible Run FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY
Q & A: Mike Huckabee on Faith, Social Issues, and a Possible RunHuckabee speaks with CT on issues like immigration and the environment, the faith of politicians, and a possible presidential candidacy.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Spiritually Malnourished

February 16, 2011

Is it possible to be surrounded by Christianity without actually being fed by it?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about nourishment.

A few months ago, I was surprised to find myself dealing with some issues that I thought had long been resolved. Despite fervent prayer and careful action, I found the problem cropping up in ways that reminded me of a persistent cough: ill-timed, intrusive, and occasionally embarrassing.
As I prayed and sought the insight of wise Christians, I slowly realized that one component of my problem was that I was spiritually malnourished.

This was not the kind of issue I was used to dealing with.

I’m surrounded by spiritual resources—at home, my bookshelf holds several Bibles and sags with faith-oriented books, and I own more Christian music than it’s possible to listen to. I live in an area where there is no shortage of churches. Yet I’d been engaging these resources in the most perfunctory of ways, if at all. I’d mistaken being surrounded by these things for actually being fed by them.

Although I’d been enjoying good music, good art, and even television shows that spoke to my situation, I’d failed to seek nourishment from spiritual sources.

As a result, my soul had withered in a land of plenty. I didn’t have the strength to speak God’s truth to my heart, or to stand firm in spiritual battle, the way Paul instructed Christians to in the sixth chapter of Ephesians.

As I thought about this one evening, I wondered: What if I fed my body at the same frequency I’ve been taking in spiritual food? I imagined my body, once well-nourished, shrunken and emaciated. I saw my limbs, spindly and lost in the bright clothes I like to wear. My normally full cheeks were hollow, my hair flat and sparse.

I imagined myself struggling through the basic tasks of my day, like climbing stairs or walking uphill. At the same time, I was cheerfully impervious to my struggle. I noticed looks of concern on the faces of my co-workers and friends, but didn’t realize why they were worried.

I appeared satisfied on the food I’d eaten in the past. After all, I knew where to find food if I wanted it, and had even been able to feed others before.

Startled, I realized that God had used my imagination to give me insight into the condition of my heart. He gently revealed my need for humility, repentance, and recommitment to the nourishing spiritual practices I’d neglected.

I memorized Matthew 4:4 as a child. But lately I’ve appreciated the contemporary rendering of the verse in The Message: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” Now, more than ever, I’m mindful of my need for that steady stream.

This Week in Christian History

Friday, February 18, 2011

269 - Martyrdom of St. Valentine
On Valentine's Day we exchange cards expressing love or appreciation for one another. According to tradition, on February 14, 269, a young man named Valentine was executed in Rome for his faith. But what does our exchange of sentimental cards have to do with a third century martyr? (Read more)
Read the full article here

309 - Pamphilius Beheaded for Faith
Almost everyone who has read church history is familiar with the name of Eusebius of Caesaria, the man who gave us a priceless pastiche of the first three centuries of Christianity. But Eusebius could not have put together his valuable work if it had not been for his mentor, Pamphilius.
Read the full article here

1678 - Every Pilgrim's Story, by John Bunyan
The most popular book of the Christian world, next to the Bible itself saw publication on February 18, 1678. The story is Pilgrim's Progress, authored by John Bunyan while he lay in prison for preaching without a license. Since its publication, it has never been out of print. Surprisingly, the Chinese Communist government also printed the book and 200,000 copies sold out in three days. (Read more)
Read the full article here

1689 - Down with King James II!
William III of Orange came to the throne of England on February 13, 1689 in a bloodless revolution. It was not that England had no king. James II sat in Whitehall and did not hesitate to exert his royal prerogative as he saw fit. The problem was the Roman Catholic king used his powers to browbeat Anglicans and... (Read more)
Read the full article here

1858 - Cause for Waldensian Rejoicing
February 17 marks the anniversary of the day in 1858 when the Waldensians finally received a guarantee of civil and religious rights. Their saga began in 1176. For 682 years they fled across Europe or hid in caves, persecuted, hunted, and exterminated like vermin. With the coming of the Reformation, many joined the Protestants. Survivors gathered in 1561 and pledged themselves to adhere to the Scriptures. They were reduced by persecution to only a few thousand individuals... (Read more)
Read the full article here

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Coptic Christian Christmas service, Church of St. Barbara, Old Cairo
A Coptic Christian service at the Church of St Barbara in Old Cairo.
Although some media reports say that Christians make up 10% or more of Egypt's approximately 80 million people, Pew Forum researchers have been unable to find any Egyptian census or large-scale survey that substantiates such claims. Read more about Egypt's Christian population »
If you have a question related to the Pew Research Center's work, please send it to

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just like us, only better

Posted on: Feb 15 2011

Seems like everybody over the age of 40 likes to talk about how messed up this new generation is: how we’re raising spoiled underachievers who (eye roll here) have no work ethic, feel entitled, and need an app to get out the front door.

The underlying assumption is that previous generations were smarter, savvier, scrappier. What’s going to happen to our country? We all need Dragon Moms to whip these kids into shape.

So I was happy to read the report this week that set it all straight: America hasn’t fallen behind the rest of the world in academic achievement – we were never world leaders when it came to math and science. It’s a myth that we’ve fallen from our glory days. Our standing is actually improving, thanks to the current generation. According to the Brookings Institution report, there never were any glory days – they were just the exaggerated dreams of older generations looking back through rose-colored glasses. Back in 1964, American 13-year-olds took the First International Math Study and ended up ranking in 11th place. Considering that only 12 nations participated, including Australia, Finland, and Japan, our next-to-last performance was pretty abysmal. Other international tests American students have taken over the years have also never showed that we were in the top spot.

Personally, I think that our children are improving with every generation. They’re much more progressive, open-minded, and intelligent than we ever were.

I spotted this message on a high school student’s Class of ’12 T-shirt the other day: “It’s not the end of the world, we’re just taking over.”

All I can say is, what took you so long?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When Bad Things Happen to Good Relationships

Conflict occurs over things you least expect. Here's what you can do.

One of our family scrapbooks contains a note written many years ago by our daughter's best friend, Cindy. It was written when the girls were both 8 years old and inseparable. They walked to school together every morning, enjoyed frequent sleepovers, and consulted one another on homework assignments each night.

Then one day a tiny incident stressed their friendship. Our daughter, becoming impatient when Cindy would not walk fast enough on the way to school, called her a slowpoke.

It was impulsive, a bad choice of words. One can only guess what it may have meant to Cindy. At any rate there was instant enmity between the girls. That evening there was no collaboration on homework. An upcoming sleepover was canceled. And the following morning the girls walked to school by different routes.

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