Connecting man to man to God
For week of March 14, 2010
Issue 295


The Men’s Ministry newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others.

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“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10


    
CONSIDER
“If you are in the wrong place, the right place is empty.”
Unknown Author


    
LENT'S TERRIBLE GIFT: LESSONS IN DYING
by Kay Lynn Northcutt
At the end of every yoga class we practice dying. Our teacher cautions us that the corpse pose, or shavasana, is the most difficult of all yoga postures to master, but for those of us whose legs and arms are trembling from an hour's exertion in warrior pose, downward-facing dog and cobra, the prospect of relaxing horizontally on one's yoga mat brings both relief and the impertinent question, "How hard can it be?"

Fascinated, I report to my husband, "Every day at the conclusion of yoga class we practice dying." "That's interesting," he says, trying to share my enthusiasm. "It's kind of like Lent," I venture, "except it's a physical practice, not so much a spiritual one. Lent is when we're supposed to practice dying, right?"

When I was a young woman and my best friend died of lung cancer, my minister told me, "You've been given a terrible gift at so young an age, Kay. A terrible gift." That two-word phrase, "terrible gift," functions as a parable for me. New Testament scholar Brandon Scott re minds us that the Greek word parabole can mean to "throw beside." Most typically a parable throws something beside something else -- unexpectedly.... Read this in full at
http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=8258


    
COMING HOME
by Roger Lovette
More than anything else, for me Lent is coming home. Nothing captures this idea more than the story of the Prodigal son. We know it like the back of our hands. The boy, mad and foolish, went far from home and found that over there was not all it was cracked up to be. In time, he lost everything and had no place to go. Finally—in desperation he decided to go back home, groveling in the dust, ashamed and embarrassed. Hopefully his father would take him back, maybe as a servant. We know the rest of that story.

As I think of these forty days that lead up to Easter, I think of homecoming. A place to come home to. At the end of the road there is a light in the window and someone who waits. There are clean, white sheets just for the likes of us. Let us leave it all behind, the broken promises, the shattered dreams, the fears and rage of so much. A world that some days seems like an insane asylum. Let’s begin again that long journey. At Lent I remember we have a place to come to. Thanks be to God.... Read this in full at
http://rogerlovette.blogspot.com/2010/02/coming-home.html


    
WITH LESS THAN A MONTH UNTIL EASTER, CHRISTIAN SECURITY NETWORK WARNS MOST CHURCHES NOT PREPARED
So far in 2010 Christian organizations in the United States have experienced 13 acts of violence resulting in three deaths, 20 arsons, and tens of thousands of dollars in property loss, according to the Christian Security Network.

"Criminals are becoming more aware that churches are 'soft targets' and targeting them with greater frequency, whether it is property crimes or personal attacks" stated Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network (CSN)
(www.christiansecuritynetwork.org)

CSN published a report this January for 2009 crimes against Christian churches, however with Easter approaching, Hawkins knows that crimes will increase.... Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/5631613283.html


    
COURT: 'UNDER GOD' IN PLEDGE IS CONSTITUTIONAL
The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are an appeal to patriotism, not religion, and do not violate the separation of church and state, a federal appeals court has ruled - the same court that declared the pledge unconstitutional in 2002.

In a separate ruling, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco upheld the placement of the national motto, "In God We Trust," on coins and currency. The language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious, the court said.

Both suits were filed by Michael Newdow, a Sacramento atheist who has filed numerous challenges to government-sponsored religious invocations.... Read this in full at
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/11/BAS71CEC9F.DTL


     NOT ENOUGH RELIGION NEWS COVERAGE, AMERICANS SAY
A new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that 41% of Americans say that the news media does not devote enough coverage to religion and spirituality. Young adults and women are particularly likely to express a desire for increased coverage of religious issues.

The most popular online news subjects are the weather (followed by 81% of internet news users), national events (73%), health and medicine (66%), business and the economy (64%), international events (62%), and science and technology (60%).

Asked what subjects they would like to receive more coverage, 44% said scientific news and discoveries, 41% said religion and spirituality, 39% said health and medicine, 39% said their state government, and 38% said their neighborhood or local community.
http://www.journalism.org/node/19537


    
HOLOGRAM PREACHERS SLATED TO APPEAR IN CHURCHES
Holographic preachers are stirring another technology-gone-too-far debate among Christians. While the dust over beaming preachers on a video screen on multi-site campuses has somewhat settled, the new 3D tool is raising more questions and concerns among some believers.

"Since so many of us in the west are convinced that entertaining pew fodder is critical to advancing 'the gospel' and that only a very few have the necessary gifts to preachertain – this will become the 'perfect' solution," Bill Kinnon, author of A Networked Conspiracy, Social Networks, The Church & the Power of Collective Intelligence, wrote in a recent blog post.

What has Kinnon and many other Christians talking is the holographic technology that music artist Madonna famously used at the Grammy Awards in 2006 and that one company wants to promote in churches.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100305/hologram-preachers-slated-to-appear-in-churches/index.html


    
A WIN-WIN AT HOME
“‘How can I apply this win-win concept with my spouse and kids?’ The skills we use at work that are almost second nature really can be taken home and put to good use. That doesn't mean it will be easy to make your marriage stronger using these skills; it only means that you already have them and don't need to learn anything new.

“Just as it would be disastrous for my business if I insisted on being right all of the time, our families suffer when we are inflexible and act as if we're the final word on everything. Win-win at work means growing your business by helping your customers succeed. It means resolving conflicts so that both you and your customer gain more than you lose. It doesn't mean letting your customer win at your expense; it means having a mutually positive experience.

“At home, win-win means enabling your spouse and children to be as successful as you are, being willing to sacrifice some of what's important to you in favor of what's important to them. And as you negotiate the daily conflicts that are normal in every family, it means trying to find solutions that address your family's needs rather than fighting only for what is important to you.”
Louis Upkins, Jr., Treat Me Like A Customer


    
WHY DO WE RUN TO IDOLS AND AWAY FROM GOD?
“The shameful apostasy of Israel is unparalleled among the heathen nations of the world, God charges (Jer. 2:9-13). Search through every pagan nation, inquire in every idol temple, investigate the religious life of the idolaters of the world, and there will be found a fidelity to these false gods that will put Israel's unfaithfulness to her God to shame. Israel's conduct was unheard of even among the heathen. The idolatrous nations remained true to their gods, in spite of the fact that they did not actually exist and could not help them in any way. God, as it were, marvels at Israel's unbelief.”
Hobart E. Freeman (1920-1984), An Introduction to the O. T. Prophets, Chicago: Moody Press, 1968, p. 238


    
VICTIMS OF RADICAL ISLAM: CHRISTIANITY'S MODERN-DAY MARTYRS
The rise of Islamic extremism is putting increasing pressure on Christians in Muslim countries, who are the victims of murder, violence, and discrimination. Christians are now considered the most persecuted religious group around the world.

Kevin Ang is cautious these days. He glances around, taking a look to the left down the long row of stores, then to the right toward the square, to check that no one is nearby. Only then does the church caretaker dig out his key, unlock the gate, and enter the Metro Tabernacle Church in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur.

The draft of air stirs charred Bible pages. The walls are sooty and the building smells of scorched plastic. Metro Tabernacle Church was the first of 11 churches set on fire by angry Muslims -- all because of one word. "Allah," Kevin Ang whispers.

It began with a question -- should Christians here, like Muslims, be allowed to call their God "Allah," since they don't have any other word or language at their disposal? The Muslims claim Allah for themselves, both the word and the God, and fear that if Christians are allowed to use the same word for their own god, it could lead pious Muslims astray.

For three years there was a ban in place and the government confiscated Bibles that mentioned "Allah." Then on Dec. 31 last year, Malaysia's highest court reached a decision: The Christian God could also be called Allah.

Imams protested and disgruntled citizens threw Molotov cocktails at churches. Then, on top of everything, Prime Minister Najib Razak stated that he couldn't stop people who might protest against specific developments in the country -- and some took that as an invitation to violent action. First churches burned, then the other side retaliated with pigs' heads placed in front of two mosques. Sixty percent of Malaysians are Muslims and 9 percent Christians, with the rest made up by Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. They managed to live together well, until now.

It's a battle over a single word, but it's also about much more than that. The conflict has to do with the question of what rights the Christian minority in Malaysia is entitled to. Even more than that, it's a question of politics. The ruling United Malays National Organization is losing supporters to Islamist hardliners -- and wants to win them back with religious policies.... Read this in full at
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,680349,00.html


    
NIGERIAN ARCHBISHOP: GENERATIONS WIPED OUT BY MASS ATTACKS
The Nigerian Anglican archbishop, who oversees the area where more than 500 people were recently killed, grieved over the history lost and said people need to understand the sacredness of human life. “Some of these communities may never again be recognized in history because generations have been wiped out,” said the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria. "Hundreds of corpses of men, women, children and grandchildren littered the burned houses, roads, bush paths, farm areas and hiding places,” he said.

March 6-7, two predominantly Christian villages in the Jos area were attacked by machete-wielding Muslim extremists. At a superficial level the violence appears to be religiously motivated. Some say the most recent violence is revenge for the attacks on Muslims in January. But local experts say the conflict is also fueled by competition over resources, land, and jobs in the poverty-stricken area.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100310/nigerian-archbishop-generations-wiped-out-by-mass-attacks/index.html


    
MYSTICISM FOR ALL
by Ross Douthat
Mysticism is dying, and taking true religion with it. Monasteries have dwindled. Contemplative orders have declined. Our religious leaders no longer preach the renunciation of the world; our culture scoffs at the idea. The closest most Americans come to real asceticism is giving up chocolate, cappuccinos, or (in my own not-quite-Francis-of-Assisi case) meat for lunch for Lent.

This, at least, is the stern message of Luke Timothy Johnson, writing in the latest issue of the Catholic journal Commonweal. As society has become steadily more materialistic, Johnson declares, our churches have followed suit, giving up on the ascetic and ecstatic aspects of religion and emphasizing only the more worldly expressions of faith. Conservative believers fixate on the culture wars, religious liberals preach social justice, and neither leaves room for what should be a central focus of religion — the quest for the numinous, the pursuit of the unnamable, the tremor of bliss and the dark night of the soul.

Yet by some measures, mysticism’s place in contemporary religious life looks more secure than ever. Our opinion polls suggest that we’re encountering the divine all over the place. In 1962, after a decade-long boom in church attendance and public religiosity, Gallup found that just 22 percent of Americans reported having what they termed “a religious or mystical experience.” Flash forward to 2009, in a supposedly more secular United States, and that number had climbed to nearly 50 percent.... Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/opinion/08douthat.html


    
LEARNING TO LOVE OURSELVES LESS
by Erich Bridges
American Christianity has become so worldly, to use an old-fashioned word, that believers of an earlier age would barely recognize many of us as followers of Christ.

The ancient spiritual practices of extended prayer, fasting and silence are rare in a culture addicted to constant sensory stimulation. Abstaining from pleasures and entertainments for the purpose of holiness is rarer still.

Voluntary poverty and self-denial in our day sound so medieval.... Read this in full at
http://www.lifeway.com/article/170127/


    
Q&A WITH WORLD VISION PRESIDENT
Among the 25 members of President Obama's Faith Council, Richard Stearns occupies an interesting spot in the political spectrum. As president of World Vision, he heads one of the largest Christian relief organizations in the world. His group has also been at the forefront of recent fights over the right of religions organizations to hire employees based on their beliefs. His background is also unusual in the faith-based, nonprofit, world. He came to World Vision after decades in a lucrative career as a corporate CEO -- a journey chronicled in his book last year "The Hole in Our Gospel."

Q: Obama has dealt with the controversy over religious hiring by saying it will be dealt with by the Justice Department on a case by case basis. To your mind, what does that mean? What's now the status of the religious hiring?

A: Our right to hire people who share our faith has been articulated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a 1972 amendment to that act and there have been several cases that uphold that right. We feel the law is on our side. President Obama has essentially upheld that status quo, and we applaud him for not trying to change or tinkering with the law.... Read this in full at
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2010/03/qa_with_world_vision_president.html
also see Richard Stearns interviewed on Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/march-5-2010/richard-stearns-extended-interview/5837/


    
SURVEY: COLLEGE GRADS TAKE DIM VIEW OF TEN COMMANDMENTS
College graduates are more likely to consider the Ten Commandments irrelevant, and reject the Bible as the word of God, than those with no college degree, according to a recent study.

A “distinct shift” occurs after college regarding beliefs and opinion, said Richard Brake, director of university studies at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

The ISI surveyed 2,508 Americans on questions intended to measure the impact of a college degree on people’s beliefs. The Wilmington, Del.-based ISI has administered the survey for the past three years.

The study also found that people with college degrees were more likely to support same-sex marriage, as well as abortion available at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason. Graduates were also more likely to believe that public school teachers should not be allowed to lead prayers in schools.

In addition, the more academic degrees a person acquires, the more extreme his or her beliefs land on the spectrum. For example, 57 percent of high school graduates agree that public school teachers should be allowed to lead prayers in schools, compared to only 39.4 percent of college graduates, 30.3 percent of those holding a master’s degree, and 17 percent of those with a Ph.D.

The shift may be attributed to the unpopularity of strong religious views in academia, Brake said. “I think one of the reasons you see this shift is the people that work in academia share these same views,” he said. .... Read this in full at
http://ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=15726


    
STUDY FINDS COHABITING DOESN’T MAKE A UNION LAST
Couples who live together before they get married are less likely to stay married, a new study has found. But their chances improve if they were already engaged when they began living together.

The likelihood that a marriage would last for a decade or more decreased by six percentage points if the couple had cohabited first, the study found.

The study of men and women ages 15 to 44 was done by the National Center for Health Statistics using data from the National Survey of Family Growth conducted in 2002. The authors define cohabitation as people who live with a sexual partner of the opposite sex.... Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/us/03marry.html?ref=us

Also see “Study: Cohabiting normative but harmful”
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=32460


     MILLENNIALS TRADITIONAL ON SOME FAITH BELIEFS
Young adults today are considered less religious than previous generations, but a recent report shows Americans age 18 to 29 still remain traditional on a few religious beliefs.

"Though young adults pray less often than their elders do today, the number of young adults who say they pray every day rivals the portion of young adults who said the same in prior decades," reported a study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The report, "Religion Among the Millennials," is part of a Pew Research Center series that focuses on the values and behaviors of teens that make up the millennial generation -- those who were born after 1980.... Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=32461


    
VERSE TO PONDER
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7


    
CONSIDER
“My son, now will I teach thee the way of peace and inward liberty. Be desirous to do the will of another rather than thine own. Choose always to have less rather than more. Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior to everyone. Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in thee.”
Thomas Kempis


    
HOW MANY PEOPLE REALLY ATTEND A HOUSE CHURCH? BARNA STUDY FINDS IT DEPENDS ON THE DEFINITION
Numerous shifts are occurring among church-goers in the US as they choose from many new forms and formats of the local church. One of the least understood forms is the house church, and one of the fundamental questions is exactly how many people are attending house churches. According to a new report from The Barna Group, it depends on how such involvement is described to survey respondents.

The California-based research firm has explored people’s involvement in non-traditional ministry settings in a dozen nationwide studies it has conducted in the past five years. The researchers discovered that the number of participants varies significantly according to the definition used, ranging from a minimum of 4% of the adult population to a maximum of 33%!.... Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/19-organic-church/291-how-many-people-really-attend-a-house-church-barna-study-finds-it-depends-on-the-definition


    
MACARTHUR TELLS CHRISTIANS: DON'T FORNICATE WITH THE WORLD
“The church, if it is to be anything, it is to be absolutely distinct from the culture, absolutely distinct from the world, absolutely distinct from unbelievers," said prominent author and evangelical pastor John MacArthur. Speaking from the pulpit to thousands of fellow pastors at the Shepherds' Conference, MacArthur underscored the biblical command not to be yoked with nonbelievers and to be a separated people. "Paul demands a total break," he said at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., citing the apostle in the New Testament.

MacArthur, author of Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World?, grew up in a fundamentalist environment. At that time, the word "separation" was a big word on the evangelical word list. Fundamentalists built high walls in terms of church conduct and relationships, he explained. If those walls or lines were crossed, the violator was vilified.

Even MacArthur was a victim of the highly separatistic fundamentalism. He recalled being stripped off of about 55 radio stations in one day when they felt he was behaving outside their parameters.

The fundamentalism back then was cruel and unbiblical, he said. And it was so cannibalistic that it consumed itself and disappeared. But MacArthur feels there needs to be a "biblical (not traditional) understanding of separation" among Christians today.... Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100305/macarthur-tells-christians-don-t-fornicate-with-the-world/index.html


    
HOW I FOUND GOD AND PEACE WITH MY ATHEIST BROTHER: PETER HITCHENS TRACES HIS JOURNEY BACK TO CHRISTIANITY
During his teenage years and early 20s, Peter Hitchens lost his faith and rebelled against everything he had been brought up to believe in. Here, in a moving and thought-provoking account from his controversial new book, he describes his spiritual journey back to God -- and the end of his feud with his brother

I set fire to my Bible on the playing fields of my Cambridge boarding school one bright, windy spring afternoon in 1967. I was 15 years old. The book did not, as I had hoped, blaze fiercely and swiftly. Only after much blowing and encouragement did I manage to get it to ignite at all, and I was left with a disagreeable, half-charred mess. Most of my small invited audience drifted away long before I had finished, disappointed by the anticlimax and the pettiness of the thing. Thunder did not mutter.

It would be many years before I would feel a slight shiver of unease about my act of desecration. Did I then have any idea of the forces I was trifling with? .... Read this in full at
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255983/How-I-God-peace-atheist-brother-PETER-HITCHENS-traces-journey-Christianity.html


    
BOOK REVIEW: 'IN THE LAND OF BELIEVERS'
Following the trend in hip nonfiction, Gina Welch's "In the Land of Believers" records something of a wacky stunt: A 20-something, Yale-educated secular Jew from California infiltrates a nerve center of the religious right, pretending to get saved and evangelizing with the faithful, all the while concealing her true identity.

For all that, Welch explains, the impetus for the project was serious. She wanted to understand, for her own edification, "what my evangelical neighbors were like as people, unfiltered and off the record, not as the subjects of interviews conducted by the 'liberal media.'" To get at the truth, she writes, her subjects "needed to know the microphone was off."

And yet, this is disingenuous, for Welch's microphone is never off. The people she encounters are always on the record; they just don't know it. They also don't know her, although they think they do.... Read this in full at
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-book2-2010mar02,0,3637943.story


    
SPEAKING TO A BIBLICALLY ILLITERATE GENERATION
Across the USA, thousands of people, especially young people, are biblically illiterate. Many give up trying to read the Bible at all -- confused and intimidated by its length and complexity. In their new book, Storylines: Your Map to Understanding the Bible (David C Cook, March 2010), Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft address this issue head on by providing readers with the keys to unlocking their understanding.

Intended for beginners, rather than biblical scholars, Storylines explores the six main themes of the Bible-- Jesus, Covenant, (Divine) Presence, Kingdom, Salvation, and Worship--and takes an exciting journey into the "big pictures" of Scripture. On the way, readers will also uncover amazing truths about the Person to whom all Scriptures ultimately point.
http://www.davidccook.com/catalog/Detail.cfm?sn=106231&source=search


    
JOEL OSTEEN: THE NEW FACE OF CHRISTIANITY?
by Daniel Kalder
Forget Billy Graham and Jimmy Swaggart -- the most popular and influential pastor in the US is Joel Osteen. On the surface he is modest and quietly spoken, but his belief in the "prosperity gospel" is changing the way people pray.

Osteen, "America's pastor," is at the edge of the church stage with his glamorous wife and co-pastor, Victoria. I've watched his televised sermons, seen him on the cover of his bestselling books, and observed interviews on TV with megastars such as Larry King, Sean Hannity, and Barbara Walters. Powerful politicians from both parties crave to be seen with him, just as in the past they paid homage to Billy Graham (who has endorsed Osteen). The Republican governor of Texas, Rick Perry, made sure to attend the grand opening of Houston's Lakewood Church -- a vast, converted stadium that seats 16,000 -- in July 2005; Osteen in turn led the prayer during Perry's inauguration two years later. But Osteen doesn't pick political favorites; when Houston elected its first openly gay mayor this year (a Democrat), he said the prayer during her inauguration. The Clintons like to be seen worshipping at Lakewood when they're in town, and John McCain was happy to sing the praises of Osteen while campaigning in 2008. And while Obama is yet to pay a visit, last December he found the time to receive Osteen at the White House. These disparate and often opposed politicians recognize one thing: if anybody is the face of evangelical Christianity in America today, it is Joel Osteen.... Read this in full at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/07/joel-osteen-america-pastor


    
DOES A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE'S FAITH EVEN MATTER ANYMORE?
Supreme Court scholars, political scientists and constitutional experts have long debated how the religion of modern justices affects their decisions on the bench, with results that can only be categorized as negligible or inconclusive.

For every conservative Catholic such as Justice Antonin Scalia, the current member who most openly and publicly embraces his religion, there is a liberal Catholic such as former justice William Brennan, his philosophical opposite. The Catholic majority that in 2007 endorsed a law restricting abortion also staunchly defended the death penalty. The lone member of the court who has said he now believes capital punishment violates the Constitution, in fact, is Stevens, who has always been one of the most adamant about separating church and state.

Clearly, the court thinks of itself as post-religious. Last fall, Alito said he was frustrated that discussions about the court's Catholic majority became "one of those questions that does not die." He complained of "respectable people who have seriously raised the questions in serious publications about whether these individuals could be trusted to do their jobs." .... Read this in full at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/07/AR2010030702705.html


    
OBAMA’S SPIRITUAL CABINET SHAPES POLICY, TENDS HIS SOUL
Near the end of a bumpy first year in office, President Obama readied for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii, but before he left, he called on a group of five ministers for a spiritual recharge. Like previous prayer calls, this one was more personal than political.

“He certainly does not ask us how we would run the country and what issue to pursue or not pursue,” said Bishop Charles Blake of the Los Angeles-based Church of God in Christ, who was on the phone last December.

For 10 minutes, the president and the pastors prayed for peace, an economic recovery, protection for US soldiers, and for Obama to be guided by a wisdom and power beyond himself.

Glimpses into Obama’s spiritual life have been rare since he became president. He split with his longtime Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after the fiery minister nearly derailed Obama’s campaign, and has not joined a church in Washington.... Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/obamas_spiritual_cabinet_shapes_policy_tends_his_soul/


    
ARCHBISHOP: KENNEDY'S 1960 SPEECH DAMAGED BELIEVERS' ROLE IN PUBLIC LIFE
Speaking to the Greater Houston Ministerial Alliance on Sept. 12, 1960, less than two months before his election as the first Catholic US president, John F. Kennedy said that if his duties as president should "ever require me to violate my conscience or violate the national interest, I would resign the office." He also said he would not "disavow my views or my church in order to win this election."

"But in its effect, the Houston speech did exactly that," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver says. "It began the project of walling religion away from the process of governance in a new and aggressive way. It also divided a person's private beliefs from his or her public duties."

He says Kennedy's talk led to a situation today when there are "more Catholics in national public office than ever before" but at the same time fewer who could "coherently explain how their faith informs their work, or who even feel obligated to try."

"Too many Catholics confuse their personal opinions with a real Christian conscience," the archbishop says. "Too many live their lives as if it were a private idiosyncrasy -- the kind that they'll never allow to become a public nuisance. And too many just don't really believe.

"Maybe it's different in Protestant circles," he adds. "But I hope you'll forgive me if I say, 'I doubt it.'" .... Read this in full at
http://www.uscatholic.org/news/2010/03/chaput-kennedys-1960-speech-damaged-believers-role-public-life


    
TEXAS CONSERVATIVES SEEK DEEPER STAMP ON TEXTS
Even as a panel of educators laid out a vision for national standards for public schools, the Texas school board was going in a different direction, holding hearings on changes to its social studies curriculum that would portray conservatives in a more positive light, emphasize the role of Christianity in American history, and include Republican political philosophies in textbooks.

The hearings are the latest round in a long-running cultural battle on the 15-member State Board of Education, a battle that could have profound consequences for the rest of the country, since Texas is one of the largest buyers of textbooks. A final vote will come in May.... Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/us/politics/11texas.html


    
2010 CENSUS BY THE NUMBERS
This year, America conducts its 23rd census. The nation’s largest domestic mobilization began in a remote corner of Alaska and will continue throughout the rest of the country -- and in Puerto Rico and the Island Areas (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the Virgin Islands) -- with the goal of counting every resident once, and only once, and in the right place.

Although the 2010 Census questionnaire is simple and easy to fill out, the census is a massive, complex operation involving millions of forms and hundreds of thousands of census workers. To mark this milestone in the nation’s history, the Census Bureau presents some of the amazing numbers involved in counting the nation’s estimated 309 million residents.

More than $400 billion
Amount in federal funds distributed each year to states and communities based in part on census population data.

435
Number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to be apportioned according to the 2010 Census. Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution requires a census once a decade.... Read this in full at
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/014611.html


    
CONSIDER
“Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; we do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ.”
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensees (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #548, p. 177


    
VERSE TO PONDER
"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."
Ephesians 6:12-13


    
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS
Words: George H. Smyttan, 1856
Music: melody attributed to Martin Herbst (1654-1681); harmony by William H. Monk (1823-1889)

Forty days and forty nights
Thou wast fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted, and yet undefiled.

Sunbeams scorching all the day;
Chilly dew-drops nightly shed;
Prowling beasts about Thy way;
Stones Thy pillow; earth Thy bed.

Should not we Thy sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with Thee to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Jesus, Savior, hear our call!
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fall!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as ministered to Thee.

Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,
Ever constant by Thy side;
That with Thee we may appear
At the eternal Eastertide.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/f/o/fortyday.htm


     ON PRAYER
“Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life”
Jonathan Edwards


     PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
http://christiansincrisis.net/


     DAILY BLESSING PACT
Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

PERSONAL
Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

FINANCIAL
Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Benefits
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Settlements
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you'd like the church guys to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your name to the list for the time you'll be away.]


     CLASSIFIEDS
Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I'll put it in this newsletter.

Book your next vacation with us!
Http://www.ChristianConnectionTravel.com

Books, Music & More!
http://www.ChristianConnectionBooks.com

Get your domain name here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
http://www.earnGlobalVacations.com/
It's as easy as 1-2-3!


     SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES
Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Shake the Jello Mold
http://www.jellotime.com/

Online Alarm Clock
http://kukuklok.com/

Scroll Clock
http://toki-woki.net/p/scroll-clock/

The Instant Soundboard (for would-be comedians)
http://deevier.be/

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by this ministry.

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.)


I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
Rev.frank@gmail.com


Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

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CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

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The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, frank@frankcoleman.com if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/  

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