I have been a follower of Christ for more than 30 years. During that time I have read innumerable books on Christian living, commentaries, study guides, Christian growth, and fiction. There is probably no category untouched. In addition to reading many books about the Christian life, I have poured over the Bible for both study and reading.
From all the books and commentaries I have used, though, if I were asked of a list of books followers of Jesus should read now to help them understand the Bible better, it would be these two:
The last month has been, on the surface, great for the Republican Party's electoral fortunes in 2014. President Obama's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, has been a mess, and it remains persistently unpopular in polling. Obama's approval rating has been on a steady decline for months, and the recent events have driven it increasingly downward. During the government shutdown, the Democratic lead in the House generic ballot - a simple poll measuring whether voters would support the Democratic or Republican candidate in their local House race - spiked to the high single digits in polling averages. Now Republicans hold a small lead in this key metric. Conditions such as these on Election Day 2014 would suggest at least a small Republican addition to their House majority and quite possibly a Senate takeover.
This is the macro view of the 2014 election, which matters a lot; in the event of a wave, smaller-bore factors - like the candidates running and the campaigns themselves - can be overwhelmed. But the candidates and campaigns remain important: Just look at the Todd Akins and Richard Mourdock's of the world.
On the candidate front, the Republicans still have a lot of work to do, and they largely have not turned their positive polling into the recruitment of new candidates or the expansion of the congressional playing field. more >>
Yet another phenomenon with a long paper trail in Islamic history has just taken place, even as the Western "mainstream"-little acquainted with true history or reality-dismisses it as an aberration. Asia News has the details:
Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula [an ancient Christian community where Christians were earlier forced to convert to Islam or die]… "Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon [Dec. 2]. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious," Mgr Zenari said …. Neither the nuncio nor the Greek Orthodox Church know [the] reason behind the kidnapping.
The "reason behind the kidnapping"? Sexual abuse and rape certainly should not be discounted, as these have been the lot of thousands of women abducted by U.S.-sponsored "freedom fighters" in Syria. Indeed, a new report issued by the National Reconciliation Commission in Syria states that some 37,000 women have been raped since the war started. more >>
"Obamacare" is here to stay, liberal journalists and President Barack Obama recently argued in what may be a coordinated effort. They are only partly correct.
If Republicans are given the reigns of power, most of Obamacare, officially called the Affordable Care Act, can be repealed, but the GOP will have to take into account those who are now able to get health insurance because of the new law.
The Obamacare-is-here-to-stay theory is mostly based upon the notion that once government gives benefits to certain citizens (in this case, subsidies to purchase health insurance), it is difficult to remove that benefit. The reason is simple – those who receive the benefit are unlikely to vote for someone who took away, or promises to take away, their benefit. more >>
The new film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" teaches important lessons, but it fails to capture the main character's deeper motivations and show how the Christian faith condemns the evils of apartheid, Christian reviewers said. Nelson Mandela, the South African civil rights leader, passed away Thursday at the age of 95.
"While the film is a remarkable example of forgiveness and reconciliation, it doesn't reveal the source of Mandela's ability to forgive," Craig Detweiler, associate professor of communication at Pepperdine University, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. Detweiler argued that "the film could have gotten into spirituality and faith," but didn't.
John Schmidt, associate professor of cinema and media arts at Biola University, echoed the same reservation. "I didn't feel that I got the spirit of the man, the roots of his passion for freedom and equality, which is after God's heart," Schmidt said. more >>
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, South African activist and president, has died at the age of 95 surrounded by his family at his home in the African nation he helped deliver from hundreds of years of racial segregation.
Mandela, loved by his countrymen and admired around the world for his relentless fight against racial injustice and oppression, gave audience to many global leaders, controversial ones included, and celebrities who stood in awe of his life's work.
Below are 10 photos of such meetings with Mandela. Read about the late South African president's passing here: Former South African President Nelson Mandela Is Dead at 95 more >>