Strolling through Jerusalem's historic Yemin Moshe quarter on a pleasant August morning, my ears caught a ringing, melodic sound emanating from within the walls of the Old City, perhaps half a mile from where I stood. This being a Sunday, the sound I heard was the chiming of church bells, welcoming Christian worshippers to morning services.
Normally, there is something joyous about the sound of those bells, particularly in a city that contains the key holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But on this day, I felt a profound sadness upon hearing them. For Jerusalem, the capital of Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where—despite what malicious anti-Zionist propagandists will tell you—Christians can practice their faith freely.
In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, about one day's drive from here, only a minuscule handful of terrified Christians remain, the vast majority having been driven out by the savage terrorists of the Islamic State jihadist group. The ethnic cleansing of Mosul's Christians was accompanied by the destruction of numerous holy sites, including a 1,800-year-old church and the tomb of the prophet Jonah. As Mosul's Patriarch Louis Sako mournfully observed at the end of July, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians." On any Sunday morning in that beleaguered city, you will no longer hear the sound of church bells. more >>
Kurdish forces continue to fight with the terrorist group Islamic State, better known as ISIS, over control of Mosul Dam, the largest dam in Iraq.
With the aid of U.S. airstrikes, it is being reported that Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have taken back the Mosul Dam, which is a major victory against ISIS.
Police in Ferguson, MO arrested two journalists for covering the protests over their fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager six. Officers shoved Wesley Lowery, of The Washington Post, into a soda machine for taping them, before he was cuffed in plastic binds. A Ferguson officer rammed Ryan Grim's head against glass. The reporter for The Huffington Post wasn't packing up his reporting gear quickly enough. Both journalists' respective papers released statements condemning the Ferguson police, but the decline of free press reaches further than one town in Missouri.
Unfortunately state suppression of the press is hardly isolated to Ferguson. The problem goes all the way up to the White House, where the Obama Administration is preventing journalists from accurately reporting on policy.
According to The Society of Professional Journalists, the Obama Administration has engaged in "excessive message management and preventing journalists from getting information on behalf of citizens." The grievances were also supported by 37 other journalism and open government groups. The report details the use of "Public Information Officers," whose roles are to filter reports before they're available for mass consumption. Stories coming from the White House are trimmed and primed to perfection before the public can even get access to the latest information. more >>
Notable atheist author and intellectual Richard Dawkins has recently claimed that nonviolent religious believers enable acts of violent extremism by being "nice."
While speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Dawkins blamed "nice Muslims, nice Christians" for acts of religious terrorism.
"It's very important that we should not demonise ordinary, law-abiding, very decent Muslims, which of course is the vast majority in this country," Dawkins said Wednesday, according to the UK Telegraph. more >>
Believers throughout the English-speaking world were shocked and saddened to hear that Vicky Beeching, a greatly loved songwriter and worship leader, has announced that she is gay. How should we respond?
1. This should not be about your own feelings. When you sing to God words of worship and praise that someone else has written, it's easy to feel betrayed when that person lets you down. So it's understandable that some believers are asking, "How could she do this to us?"
The fact is that she didn't do this to you any more than she wrote worship songs for you. more >>
A few days ago, I attended The Family Leadership Summit 2014 in Iowa. The privilege of addressing the crowd, and signing my newest book King Rules was superseded by the awesome honor of being among genuine Christians who are committed to humbling ourselves in prayer that God will heal our land.
I came away encouraged, bearing Bob Vander Plaats' new book If 7:14. I've been setting my clock at 7:14 (2 Chronicles 7:14) twice daily and crying out to God for our nation, for my family, and for myself. Oh, if only I could have stayed up on that mountaintop, where GOD's mighty presence enveloped us and gave us hope. Yet, like Moses, we must come down again, into a lost and dying world that needs the Light and Love of Christ.
As I left Iowa, I didn't know what was ahead of me. I came home to startling and somewhat saddening reports of the death of yet another young Black male, Michael Brown; Robin "Popeye" Williams death by suicide; and the escalating Iraq crisis. Added to these reports, are some personal "issues" that are requiring a double strong dose of faith and love to overcome in my own life. more >>