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religion, Bible, Christianity, church, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost, faith, salvation, baptism, Christian, Church of Christ, Baptist, Catholic, Non-denominational, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, inspiration, agnostism, divorce, Calvinism, premillennialism, evolution, creation, morals, feminism, late term abortions,
Presbyterian Church, PCA, Presbyterians for Gay and Lesbian Concerns, Church of England,
New International Version, NIV, New Revised Standard Version, unisex, Wheaton College,
Bill Hybel, Willow Creek Community Church, WCCC, Homosexual, American Airlines, Psychology,
Sequestration, Joe Beam, Rubel Shelly, United Church of Christ, evolutionism, agnostic,
Ellen, ABC, Jesus Seminar, theologians, National Performance Review Board

Potpourri, August 1997

religion, articles, christianity
To the Earl of Chicago Up From Apes Ellen
Presbyterians Psychology Jesus Seminar
Papworth Sequestration Take Note
Feminist at Work Goth Him Today and Her Tomorrow
Homosexual Friendly Persecution in Our Time  

To the Earl of Chicago

Our friend, Earl Davis, has favored us with another envelope full of good and useful information. Thank you, Earl. (He is in Chicagoland and keeps us supplied with information about religion from the Chicago Tribune.) He wrote, "March FF outstanding in every way. Appreciated the Editorial-much needed. God bless you and your good work." Well, what can we say?

The Earl sends the following:

Ann Spaeth, Niceville, Fla., wrote to Mike Royko: "I have read your columns relating to late term abortions. I have been waiting for someone to address the ridiculous aspect of a bunch of men, piously denouncing abortion. The problem is that neither you nor these other men have a clue as to what is involved in carrying an unwanted child, nor will you ever do so."
Royko answered: "True, a man doesn't know what it is like to bear a child. On the other hand, I don't know if any woman knows what it is like to have a hole poked in the base of her skull and her brains sucked out, although some talk as if they might have experienced it."

Earl sent an article from Joan Beck which includes the following: "Children playing in a field near San Bernardino, CA., find 30 human fetuses stored in a plastic container and packaged in five boxes. They may have come from an abortion clinic, police surmise. Are any of these babies? Are any of them human? (If they are not, what are they?) Which deserves life? Who has the right to decide?

Another article sent by the loyal Earl says Charles Krauthhammer (Chicago Tribune, March 17) quotes Dr. Curtis Cook as follows: "The only possible advantage of partial­birth abortion, if you call it that, is that it guarantees a dead baby."

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The Presbyterian Church (USA) passed a "Fidelity and Chastity Amendment" to the denominations' Book of Order. The amendment, proposed after a three­year church­wide study of sexuality, requires that all unmarried ministers, deacons, and elders be sexually celibate-a requirement that Presbyterians for Gay and Lesbian Concerns characterized as "a club ... to beat up gay and lesbian people in the Presbyterian Church" (World, Mar. 29, 1997).

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John Papworth, 75, a minister in the Church of England, pronounced a theology of thievery. It's OK, Papworth said, to shoplift from large chain stores such as Britain's Marks & Spencers, because they put small stores out of business, create unemployment, and encourage greed and consumerism ... I don't regard it as stealing. I regard it as a badly needed reallocation of economic resources" (World, Mar. 29, 1997).

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Feminist at Work

World magazine (May 29) advises that the New International Version (NIV) is going "gender-neutral." Say goodbye to the generic he, man, brothers, or mankind. Make way for people, person, and humankind.

Pressure for unisex language came from women who, in the words of Larry Walker, a member of the Committee for Biblical Translation-the NIV's controlling body-"felt left out" by the traditional language.

The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), a unisex language revision of the RSV, also put pressure on the NIV The NRSV includes passages that are tortured-"Let us make humankind in our own image. … So God created humankind" (Gen. 1:26). "What are human beings that you are mindful of them or mortals that you care for them" (Heb. 2:6).

Walker thinks "the shift to unisex language may be to cloud the uniqueness of men and women ... it reflects gains made by feminists over the past decades." The move away from male and female gender may be inspired by the increasing demand to make women preachers in mixed­public assemblies. It fits in with religious egalitarianism-the denial of any distinctions between men and women in the home and in the church. The move pushes for women to be preachers and elders and co­heads of families.

Gilbert Bilezikian, professor emeritus at Wheaton College, puts it bluntly: "There cannot be authentic community as described in the New Testament without full inclusion of the constituency of members into the ministry, life and leadership of the group" (Beyond Sex Roles).

Mr. Bilezikian is a founding elder and influential theologian at Bill Hybel's Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC) in South Barrington, Ill. Willow Creek has had women elders since its founding in 1978. WCCC issued a position paper in which it is said, "When the Bible is interpreted comprehensively, it teaches the full equality of men and women in status, giftedness, and opportunity for ministry."

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Homosexual Friendly

American Airlines was named the official carrier of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network, a group founded to teach schoolchildren about homosexuality. American has made donations to homosexual lobbying organizations such as Human Rights Campaign and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

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Up From Apes

"We don't need evidence. We know it to be true" (Richard Dawkins, professor of zoology at Oxford University, in a speech at Washington University in St. Louis. Mr. Dawkins was explaining his intellectual commitment to Darwinian evolution as the explanation of human origins).

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News of a psychiatric advance called rage­reduction therapy might have escaped us, except that a patient so treated sued. The patient was to experience rage "in a controlled and loving environment," which turned out to mean being held down, punched, and asked what she was angry about. ("You," she said.) Courts awarded her $8.4 million, and the rage reducers are now out of business (National Review, Apr. 7, 1997).

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Former NAACB honcho Ben Chavis has changed his name to "Chavis Muhammad" and announced his spiritual transformation: he now belongs to the Nation of Islam and works directly for Louis Farrakhan. A former minister in the United Church of Christ, Mr. Muhammad explained that "the same God that called me into the Christian ministry called me into the Nation of Islam."

Makes sense for those who think that God sends signals by hunch and impulse rather than clear instruction through revelation. It gives you the willies to see people formerly possessed of sense turning to mysticism. It is tragic for men like Joe Beam and Rubel Shelly to become purveyors of "immediate consciousness of the transcendent or ultimate reality or God." To observe people who "tasted of the good word of God" turn away from it to a "belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are central to being and directly accessible by subjective experience"-vague, groundless speculation. No wonder they talk in circles.

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A new sub­culture is attracting the foundation­less. Evolutionism and agnostic teachers have laughed the one true, invisible, eternal, living God out of their existence. The Bible is no longer a light to their way and they walk in darkness. They dress in black, pierce everything, and revel in Gothic music (an offshoot of punk rock). Bars catering to confused teens of Goth persuasion are found in Manhattan, Boulder, Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Tulsa. They yearn to be vampires (and many claim they are) and have a suicide fantasy. In many places there are Live

Action Role­Playing Games (LARPs). More than 3,000 people play every Friday night, according to the Seattle Times. They turn parking lots, city parks, and living rooms into stages for these games, filling roles such as "vampire" and "fallen angel."

Police in Bellevue, Wash., charged a 17­year­old self­styled Goth, Alex Baranyi, with four counts of first­degree murder; they say he killed an entire family. His actions have been linked to his obsession with a vampire role­playing game.

Police charged four teens in Florida in the slaying of another teen's parents in Orlando; Rod Ferrell, 16, Sarah Remington, 16, Scott Anderson, 17, and Dana Cooper, 19 are accused of bludgeoning to death Richard and Ruth Wendorf. The couple's 15­year­old daughter, Heather, was with the group after the murders, in a stolen car heading to New Orleans (the new Goth Mecca).

Young people must have something in which to believe. How sad it is that our nation and especially our educational institutions are failing the young by systematically robbing them of an opportunity to know about the Bible. God. love, service and salvation. Government has joined hands with the ACLU and many public schools to destroy Christianity.

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Persecution in Our Time

Mindy Belz in a recent article ("A Village Burns Amid Shouts of Allah Is Great") reports that Muslims in Pakistan make violent attacks against Christians. Two people were killed when an angry Muslim mob descended on Khanewal district, a farming community south of Lahore. Riotings began when more than 30,000 Muslims were told that Christians set pages of the Koran on fire-a report that proved to be doubtful.

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The main character on the ABC sitcom Ellen, played by Ellen DeGeneres, came out of the closet on April 30, 1997, to kick off the May sweeps, in which networks vie for high ratings for the purpose of setting prices for commercials in the months that follow. The plot calls for her to fall for a woman played by Laura Dern. Confused about her sexuality, Ellen goes to a therapist played by Oprah Winfrey. The script was approved at a special meeting of Walt Disney executives, including president Michael Elsner.

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Jesus Seminar

The Jesus Seminar is made of a group of theologians who meet to vote on what Jesus said and did. They do not agree among themselves and settle their differences by voting, but expect others to accept the outcome without question or vote. Paul Verhoeven, who is not a theologian, but who is a director of sleazy movies (Showgirls and Basic Instinct) is now a part of the Jesus Seminar. He joined the group in 1986 and plans to make a movie about Jesus based on the Seminar's findings. Look for it to be salacious and expect it to tickle the demons.

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Take Note

Hard­core video rentals rose from 75 million in 1985 to 90 million in 1992. The total climbed to 665 million in 1996 (U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 10,1997).

A busboy in Key West Florida was apparently shot as the result of an argument over how to put silverware into the dishwasher. The suspect, Jose Antonio Borrell, told Reyes Blas Morales (the busboy) that he wasn't putting the flatware into the proper containers to be washed. The two argued, then Mr. Borrell left and returned 45 minutes later with a 9mm semiautomatic.

The New York Times reports that an abortionist, Richard Hausnknecht, said, "When I did second­trimester abortions late in the day, and when I'd get home, my wife would say, 'You did one today, didn't you?' It would be all over my face."

According to a nationwide poll of over 1,300 high school students: Students hate it when schools fail to demand that they pay attention, fly straight, and do all their homework (Reason, May 1997).

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Him Today and Her Tomorrow

It is reported (Weekly Standard, April 7, 1997) that Al Gore's National Performance Review Board has just recognized Richard Green of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who wrote a computer program to streamline OSHA compliance. Last Friday the programmer accepted the award-as Jewel Margueritta Cameroon, the woman to whom the former Mr. Green is reinventing himself.

He/she sent a letter to the Washington Post to inform them that by the time they read it, he'd be someone else. "I am in the process of changing my legal name to Jewelia Margueritta Cameroon and my legal gender to female." So, although Green/Cameroon wrote the program as a man, he/she would accept the award as a "transgendered female," on behalf of "me, other transpeople, and America." A similar letter went to Vice President and Mrs. Gore, imploring the veep to attend, since the award ceremony would be "greatly enhanced if either of you would congratulate me personally and shake my hand." Green/Cameroon a onetime Navy submarine crewman, didn't want to overplay his/her hand. "I understand," he/she wrote, "how your staff might be wary of allowing America to see an image of you and Ms. Gore touching me."

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H. A. (Buster) Dobbs