The focus on helping orphans worldwide needs to shift from simply perpetuating orphanages to equipping local churches in connecting children to parents, said leaders at the Christian Alliance for Orphans' annual summit this week.
On Friday, the final day of the two-day event hosted at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., included the megachurch's pastor, Rick Warren, and his wife, Kay, speaking about the need for Christians to refocus.
"Business as usual will not get the job done," Warren told about 2,000 people in attendance and a live webcast audience. "Jesus said you can't put new wine in old wineskins. The way we have been doing it for the last 100 years has not ended the crisis. We have to do a radical, revolutionary – may I say – biblical approach. The issue is to get these kids into families." more >>
Each year the Tony Blair Faith Foundation runs a blog series, "My Female Faith Hero," to highlight inspirational women of faith around UN International Women's Day. Kay Warren's reflection is part of this series. Read more faith hero stories including Tony Blair's at www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org
In 2008 Elizabeth Styffe was an extraordinary woman by any standard: she was a pediatric nurse, had a masters' degree in nursing, had been published in several peer-reviewed journals, was a professional harpist, co-founded the HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and somehow managed to be a wife and mom to four terrific children. A very impressive resume. But Elizabeth allowed her faith to take her on an unexpected journey into the pain and suffering of orphaned children in a way that radically altered her relationship to God, her view of Christians' responsibility to care for orphans, and ultimately altered the fabric of her family.
After traveling to Thailand, Cambodia, Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda in her work as an AIDS advocate, Elizabeth's natural compassion for hurting children, combined with the Biblical command to "care for widows and orphans in their distress "(James 1:27) began to gnaw at her. What could she do for the 163 million orphaned boys and girls in the world? She and her husband, Glenn, began to seriously pray about opening their hearts and their home to at least one of the precious little ones she had encountered in Rwanda. Within a few months, not one, but three orphaned children made the journey from an impoverished orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda, to the Styffes' warm, nurturing home in Southern California where they joined their new siblings. more >>
Getting involved in solving social ills should be an essential part of the Christian community, not an optional extra. That was the resounding message heard by 4,000 people at the Justice Conference this past weekend.
The second annual Justice Conference, a two–day event to promote dialogue about issues such as human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS and human rights was held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore. Speakers including an all-star lineup of leaders fighting for social causes were joined by representatives of 100 organizations to challenge attendees to integrate action into their faith, event organizers said.
Don Golden, who works at World Relief, which was a co-sponsor of the Justice Conference, told The Christian Post the event was about more than just bringing about awareness to today's problems. more >>
Best-selling author and pastor Rick Warren, who along with his wife, Kay, have for several years championed an initiative to combat HIV/AIDS globally, are outraged that a Christian conservative radio host is promoting a college professor’s theory that HIV is a harmless virus.
Earlier this month, Bryan Fischer, who is also the director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, featured the author of Inventing the AIDS Virus, Peter Duesberg, on his "Focal Point" radio show. Fischer told The Christian Post that he agrees with Duesberg that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and that he came to this decision after reading the University of California, Berkley professor’s book in 1996.
He said he also agrees with Duesberg that AIDS is the result of lifestyle choices, such as drug use and promiscuity, which weaken the immune system. Duesberg says that homosexual men are at special risk since they use drugs and engage in casual sex more so than other groups. more >>
Christian conservative radio host Bryan Fischer recently told his listeners that HIV is man-made and experts attacked his comments as irresponsible.
Fischer, who is Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, recently featured author of "Inventing the AIDS Virus,” Peter Duesberg, on his "Focal Point" radio show.
"The reason HIV was invented as the cause of AIDS is it was a way to get research money," Fischer said. more >>
I remember when I first heard of AIDS in church. It may have been called GRID (Gay Related Immune Disorder) at the time, but I know for certain the speaker that day called it "the gay plague." The speaker was half right, but also completely wrong.
He was right that it is a plague-- 34 million people worldwide are infected with HIV and 2.7 million more are infected each year (See World Health Organization data here). Yet, he used his sermon that day to claim so many crazy facts about homosexuality and this disease. Many Christians, once again, reacted poorly at first. He was wrong in that he never mentioned caring for the hurting and ministering to the sick. That's something that Christians should always care about-- regardless of the stigma or source of a disease. And, at first, many churches did not.
Yet, that is not the end of the story. Christians did get involved and still are. Ministries such as Samaritan's Purse, Every Orphan's Hope, He Intends Victory, and World Vision are involved and serving. Lately, we hear less about AIDS, but days like this help to remind us how prevalent it is-- here and around the world. more >>