Friday, 30 August 2019

Practicing "extreme yoga" may produce extreme results

You tell me just how I can take this Yoga serious
When all it ever gives to me is a pain in my posterious.

--Yoga is as Yoga Does, as performed by Elvis Presley (with Elsa Lanchester) in the movie Easy Come, Easy Go (1967).

Yoga is a Hindu practice that is not only dangerous spiritually, but can be dangerous physically if taken to an extreme. The young lady mentioned in the following article is very pretty, if the photographs are accurate, but not very bright.

As reported by Meaghan Wray of Global News, August 27, 2019 (links in original):

Alexa Terrazas, 23, was pictured hanging upside down on a balcony in Mexico Monday. Moments later, she survived a 25-metre fall that resulted in 110 broken bones.

The college student, originally from Chihuahua, was supposedly practising “extreme yoga,” a tweet by social media user Javier Rayado reads.

Speaking to Global News, Rayado says he received the photo from a friend he has in common with Terrazas, but would not provide a name.

The fall occurred in the area of Las Privanzas in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León.

According to the New York Post, the woman was treated by paramedics with the Red Cross and Nuevo León Civil Protection before being brought to the hospital.

She reportedly needs full reconstruction of her ankles, knees and face, and likely won’t walk for another three years after the fall.

Local publication El Universal says she underwent an 11-hour surgery at Hospital Zambrano Hellion, and that the fall is being investigated by the Nuevo Leon Attorney General’s Office.

According to numerous Mexican publications, the woman’s family is requesting blood and platelet donations through, though her profile is no longer visible on the donation website.

A student of nutrition at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Terrazas is known to be a thrill-seeker, per her Instagram account featuring many images of skydiving, bungee jumping and other adrenaline-fuelled activities.

She has more than 4,000 followers.

According to Extreme Yoga: Challenging Poses for a Cutting-Edge Practice by Jessie Chapman, the practice asks participants to perform over-the-top postures that “add challenge and excitement to the yoga practice of anyone who can handle them.”

The cover shows a woman doing an extreme backbend with her feet over her head in a traditional pose taken to the next level.

A Pinterest board for similar poses shows many options for one or two people on the ground.
Miss Terrazas succeeded in taking the practice of yoga to the "next level," but that level turned out to be in the wrong direction, giving her more "thrills" and "challenge and excitement" than she was expecting. Her more than 4,000 followers should refrain from following her to that extent. Now that the Lord has graciously spared Miss Terrazas' life, let's pray that she will come to know Him during her long convalescence.

Elvis Presley took a safer position on yoga than the promoters of the extreme variety:

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Britain's largest funeral provider reports 80% decline in religious funerals since 2011

There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:18

The figures quoted in the following article don't surprise me, but this blogger is surprised by the fact that the decline has occurred in such a short time; eight years is not a long time. The collapse of societies once nominally regarded as Christian is accelerating; as reported by Gabriella Swerling of the London Daily Telegraph, August 29, 2019 (link in original):

An all-black dress code, pallbearers marching in unison, and a steady stream of tears are not often associated with golf courses, zoos and Chinese takeaways.

Yet according to the most extensive ever report on UK funeral trends which, the religious funeral is dying a death.

Instead of services in crematoriums, churches and cemeteries, Britons are instead opting for increasingly quirky ways to mourn their loved ones.

The Co-op, the UK’s largest national funeral provider which conducts more than 100,000 every year, has today published a report revealing that since 2011 there has been a 80 per cent decline in religious funerals.

Eight-years-ago 67 per cent of people requested traditional religious services and just 12 per cent were non-religious. However by 2018, just 13 per cent wanted a religious funeral.

Undertakers have reported a “staggering shift” towards unique, secular ceremonies. Among the more niche requests, there have been milk floats, canal boats, converted steam trains and quad bikes being turned into hearses.

The location of funerals has also provided opportunities for the more imaginative mourners. Zoos, buses, a cattle auction house, next to the 18th hole on a golf course - and even a McDonald’s Drive Thru - have hosted processions for the deceased. A total of 77 per cent of Co-op’s employees have had requests for funerals to be held outside of traditional religious settings.

Among the 4,000 people surveyed for the report, researchers have found that tributes to loved ones have even extended to creative ways of immortalising or memorialising their ashes; some mourners opt to place them inside the furnace of a steam train, create a tattoo or scatter them during a skydive, while others choose to keep them inside a rucksack so they can take them everywhere they go.

Funeral directors also reported that 22 per cent of people have already decided what they want inside their coffins. Among the more unusual requests are Chinese takeaways, a false leg, a moble phone, a Wizard of Oz costume, a broomstick and an Argos catalogue.

The report, entitled Burying Traditions: The Changing Face of UK Funerals, revealed that experts noted that this “shift” towards more unique funerals was because “people feel more able to act on their loved ones’ personal wishes than they would have previously” as the nation becomes increasingly secular.

In July The Telegraph reported that atheism was on the rise in the UK as Christianity is suffering a “dramatic decline”.

According to the National Centre for Social Research, the number of people who define themselves as "confident atheists", rose from 10 per cent in 1998 to 18 per cent in 2008 and hit its record high of 26 per cent in 2018.

Teddy Prout, director of community services at the charity, Humanists UK, said that the trend for bespoke, personalised funerals “is reflective of the huge societal shift of more people identifying as non-religious than ever before and with that, perhaps, comes more open attitudes towards death”.

In the last five years, the report found that requests for traditional pallbearers to carry coffins has dropped from 91 per cent in 2014 to 20 per cent in 2019. Furthermore, requests to arrange obituaries have declined by over a third (37%) and asks for traditional limousines have declined by a sixth (16%).

Samantha Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: "The funeral sector is rapidly changing. Whilst 16.5 million of us still feel uncomfortable talking about death, we're clear on what we want and, in the majority of cases, it's no longer a traditional funeral service.

"Our funerals represent the unique life an individual has lived. More so now than ever before, we're seeing requests for wonderfully personalised ceremonies, whether that be on the 18th hole of a golf club, or having a pet dog present on the day. The choices are endless."

The Satanic Temple seeks to establish a student group at the University of Alberta

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come...
...Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away...
...But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
II Timothy 3:1,5,13

The evil that has been prophesied to be characteristic of the last days is increasingly out of the closet, and university campuses provide ample evidence. From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (bold in original):

secular adjective
sec·​u·​lar | \ ˈse-kyə-lər \

Definition of secular (Entry 1 of 2)

1a: of or relating to the worldly or temporal
// secular concerns

b: not overtly or specifically religious
// secular music

c: not ecclesiastical or clerical
// secular courts
// secular landowners

As posted on Reddit late in July 2019 (bold, link in original):

Posted byu/shinygoldhelmet

Would anyone else be interested in helping start a new student group as a chapter of the Satanic Temple?

Ooooo, Satanism. I know. It's scary! Those are the people who put subliminal messages in rock music, and who sacrifice goats! Aaaahhh!

Before you run off clutching your pearls and turning pale, have a read through the actual philosophy of the group:

There are seven fundamental tenets:

1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.

2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.

3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.

4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend.

5. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own.

6. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.

7. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and remediate any harm that may have been caused.

Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought.

The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Politically aware, Civic-minded Satanists and allies in The Satanic Temple have publicly opposed The Westboro Baptist Church, advocated on behalf of children in public school to abolish corporal punishment, applied for equal representation where religious monuments are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women's reproductive autonomy, exposed fraudulent harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners and claims in mental health care, and applied to hold clubs along side other religious after school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations.

You may have heard of TST in the news lately as they've just been granted tax exempt status as a religion from the IRS, the first satanic organization to do so!

Anyways, I just thought I'd see if anyone else out there would be interested in forming a new student group. We need at least 10 members to register with the SU and receive official status and be able to apply for grants and funding.
A subsequent post, also from late in July 2019 (bold, link in original):

Posted byu/shinygoldhelmet

Meeting to form a new student group - Secular Students for Reason and Justice. Please come out and see what it's about!

Hello folks!

Some of you may recall my previous post about starting a group as an unofficial chapter of The Satanic Temple. This group is still that, however after speaking with representatives of TST, I have been told that while they approve of the group forming and are excited for us to do so, we cannot use their name or logos or call ourselves an official chapter or say we're affiliated ... yet.

I know a few people on this sub were very interested in joining up, and we need 10 altogether in order to do so. Since I am a grad student, I also need two others to be on the executive. Well, probably one other, as /u/delciopp already expressed interest in being part of the founding executive.

What the group will be about

We cannot call ourselves a part of TST, but we are able to state that we follow the 7 Tenets that are the guiding principles of life as a Satanist...

...Our mission will be to promote these tenets, but it's not like we're going to go door knocking or riding around on bikes. We will promote them by being examples of reason and justice in our daily lives. We will advocate for those who have no voice, we will show up at protests, Pride parades, and charity events and show that one can be good without a god or religion in one's life. We will also be active in promoting debate and free speech on campus, potentially sponsoring or bringing in speakers at some point in the future.

There is an unofficial chapter of TST in Edmonton called Friends of TST Edmonton Chapter, and I've spoken with them. They're overwhelmingly supportive of us forming, especially since there are student groups on campus for pretty much all other religions. Anyone who wants to join this group would be more than welcome to also join that group, I've been told. We are welcome to go to their events and to join in on their charity drives. Once they become an official chapter (the process for which could take a year or so), then we would be free to officially affiliate with them.

Do you have to call yourself a Satanist in order to join? No, not at all. You must, however, agree to abide by the tenets to the best of your ability.

Who can join? Anyone! We will welcome anyone, from lifelong atheists to those who've left a religion, to agnostics or people who don't give a fuck about religion and just want to do some good in their life.

When and where is the meeting? I'm a little open on this one, but I have time from 1p - 2p on Saturday the 27th, and anywhere from 1p - 5p on Sunday the 28th. I haven't decided on a location yet, but somewhere on or near campus. Specifics to come once there are people interested!
In the first post, the group claims affiliation with the Temple of Satan, which claims to be "the primary religious Satanic organization in the world." In the second post, however, they call themselves "Secular Students for Reason and Justice." The Temple of Satan's own claims don't fit the definition of "secular" given by Merriam-Webster. How can this group be both "religious" and "secular"? To quote Sherlock Holmes out of context, "Most singular! Most remarkable!"

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Jerry Falwell, Jr. accused of using Liberty University assets to benefit his personal trainer in real estate deal

Some "non-profit" organizations and the people who run them seem to have a suspiciously large amount of wealth; as reported by Aram Roston and Joshua Schneyer of Reuters, August 27, 2019 (link in original):

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Evangelical leader and prominent Donald Trump backer Jerry Falwell Jr personally approved real estate transactions by his nonprofit Christian university that helped his personal fitness trainer obtain valuable university property, according to real estate records, internal university emails and interviews.

Around 2011, Falwell, president of Liberty University in Virginia, and his wife, Rebecca, began personal fitness training sessions with Benjamin Crosswhite, then a 23-year-old recent Liberty graduate. Now, after a series of university real estate transactions signed by Falwell, Crosswhite owns a sprawling 18-acre racquet sports and fitness facility on former Liberty property. Last year, a local bank approved a line of credit allowing Crosswhite’s business to borrow as much as $2 million against the property.

Falwell, one of the most influential right-wing Christian leaders in the United States, has been buffeted by disclosures about his private dealings over the last year and a half.

A Florida lawsuit brought public scrutiny to a relationship between the Falwells and Giancarlo Granda, a young man they befriended while he was working as a pool attendant at a luxury Miami Beach hotel and later backed in a business venture involving a youth hostel. Falwell filed an affidavit in 2018 saying he used his own wealth to lend $1.8 million to the $4.65 million project with Granda.

And U.S. President Trump’s now-jailed fixer, Michael Cohen, has said he helped the Falwells suppress racy personal photos, as Reuters reported this May, in the months before Cohen persuaded Falwell to endorse Trump’s 2016 White House bid. There is no evidence that Cohen’s efforts to suppress the photos were a quid pro quo for Falwell’s vital political backing.

The support Falwell provided to the two young men, Granda and Crosswhite, has some parallels. Both were aided in business ventures and both have flown on the nonprofit university’s corporate jet.

One difference: When Falwell helped Crosswhite, he used the assets of Liberty, the tax-exempt university he has led since 2008. Among the largest Christian universities in the world, Liberty depends on hundreds of millions of dollars its students receive in federally backed student loans and Pell grants.

In 2016, Falwell signed a real estate deal transferring the sports facility, complete with tennis courts and a fitness center owned by Liberty, to Crosswhite. Under the terms, Crosswhite wasn’t required to put any of his own money down toward the purchase price, a confidential sales contract obtained by Reuters shows.

Liberty committed nearly $650,000 up front to lease back tennis courts from Crosswhite at the site for nine years. The school also offered Crosswhite financing, at a low 3% interest rate, to cover the rest of the $1.2 million transaction, the contract shows.

Crosswhite declined to answer questions about the deal. “All I will say is that my wife and I consult each other before every major business deal and we bought the complex from Liberty together,” he said in an email. “My wife and I both work around the clock to make our business succeed.”

Falwell referred Reuters to the university for comment. Liberty issued a statement describing the transaction as both proper and beneficial for the school.

Liberty had received the athletic center as a gift in 2011 from a trustee who has since died, but it quickly became a “drain on university resources,” the statement said. Crosswhite had been leasing gym space at the property since 2013, and was thus “the most viable purchaser.” Liberty said it adjusted the price and financed Crosswhite’s purchase because its tennis team would continue to use the courts.

Falwell has “tried to be a business mentor” to Crosswhite, the university statement said, but that effort did not “cause him to abandon his fiduciary duties” to Liberty.

As Liberty’s leader, Falwell draws an annual salary of nearly $1 million, and is obligated to put the university’s financial interests before his own personal interests when conducting Liberty business.
Liberty University denies the charges; you can see Liberty's side of the story here, and Dr. Falwell's response here.

See also my previous posts:

Libertine University (May 9, 2009)

Look who Liberty University's commencement speakers are for 2010 (April 24, 2010)

Adulterer and New Ager-turned Roman Catholic Newt Gingrich to speak at The Awakening 2011 conference at Liberty University in April (March 15, 2011)

Liberty University (and another "Christian" school) stage a work by Jesus Christ Superstar composer (March 24, 2011)

Liberty University has Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin as a guest speaker--after he's been exposed as a Jesuit (March 14, 2012)

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to deliver keynote address at 2018 commencement of Liberty University (March 27, 2018)

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Chinese government issues 17,000 smart watches to track movements of schoolchildren

With each passing day, conditions are increasingly resembling those prophesied in Revelation 13:11-18. What's "voluntary" today will be compulsory tomorrow. As reported by Sophia Yan of the London Daily Telegraph, July 17, 2019 (links in original):

Beijing -- A local government in southern China has handed out smart watches to nearly 17,000 primary school pupils, capable of pinging their real-time locations and emergency alerts to their parents.

The watches, distributed to students in 60 schools, are equipped with chips powered by BeiDou, China’s own version of GPS, according to the Guangzhou Daily, a Chinese state media outlet. GPS is a system developed and owned by the US government.

“With this watch, Mom and Dad can know where I am, and I can call and voice message them immediately after class,” one enthusiastic fourth-grader told state media.

The smart watch-tracking government program is entirely voluntary and about half of the devices distributed have already come online. Plans are in place to issue another 13,000 smart watches to students, and the authorities will soon begin handing them out to elderly people.

User information will be uploaded to a database maintained by China’s ministry of public security and the ministry of industry and information technology, according to state media.

Cities in China have been getting creative in finding new ways to monitor students and curb truancy with the latest technologies.

In December, more than ten schools in Guizhou and Guangxi provinces began requiring students to wear “intelligent uniforms” embedded with computer chips to track their movements and trigger an alarm if they skip class, according to state media.

Two chips, sown into the shoulders of school jackets, can sustain around 500 wash cycles and temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius.

Facial recognition scanners at school gates match the chips with the correct students, meaning anyone who tries to swap jackets in order to play truant will be caught. Alarms will also sound if a pupil falls asleep in class.

Last May, a high school in Hangzhou installed facial recognition technology to check how attentive pupils were in class.

Movements of students are watched by three cameras positioned above the blackboard, and can pick up seven different emotions, including neutral, happy, sad, disappointed, angry, scared and surprised. If the technology concludes a student is distracted in class, it will send a notification to the teacher to take action.

BeiDou was originally developed by the Chinese military to reduce reliance on the US-owned GPS system, but its positioning accuracy is to within 10 metres while GPS can track down to 30 centimetres.

In efforts to speed up adoption of the system, Chinese authorities have ordered taxis, buses and other vehicles to install BeiDou, and many domestic phone brands including Huawei and Xiaomi are now also compatible with the system.

There are only a handful of other global satellite navigation systems, including Russia’s Glonass and Europe’s Galileo, which has suffered an outage over the last two weeks.

The UK has been involved in developing Galileo, sinking £1.2 billion in the project, but now intends to build its own as part of Brexit fallout.

90 years ago: The Palestine Riots and the Hebron Massacre

From the "some things never change" department: On August 23, 1929, 700 Arabs, incited by rumours that Jews were planning to seize the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, gathered at the bus station in Hebron and began rioting. One of the instigators of the riots was Haj Amin al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem; if that name sounds familiar, it's because he's the same Mufti who made propaganda broadcasts on behalf of the Nazis during World War II. On August 24, the rioting escalated into the massacre of 67 or 69 people in Hebron, seriously injuring many more. Jewish homes and synagogues were ransacked. Some of the 435 Jewish survivors were hidden by local Arab families.

The massacre was part of a series of riots that occurred in August 1929 in Palestine, which was then administered by the United Kingdom under a League of Nations mandate.

By the time the rioting concluded on August 29, 133 Jews and 116 Arabs had been killed, and 198 Jews and 232 Arabs had been injured. 55 Arabs were convicted of murder; 17 of attempted murder; 150 of looting and or/arson; and 219 of lesser offenses. 2 Jews were convicted of murder; 1 of attempted murder; 7 of looting and/or arson/ and 9 of lesser offenses. 26 Arabs were sentenced to death, 14 for the Hebron massacre; the Jews convicted of murder were also sentenced to death. All of the death sentences were either overturned on appeal or commuted, except for those against Arabs Atta Ahmed el Zeer, Mohamamed Khalil Abu Jamjum and Fuad Hassab el Hejazi, who were hanged on June 17, 1930.

The riots led to the Shaw Commission of Enquiry, which in turn led to the Hope Simpson Royal Commission, whose report, issued in October 1930, recommended limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine because of a lack of agricultural land to support continued Jewish immigration at current levels.

90 years after the Palestine Riots of 1929, the Hebron massacre is being commemorated by Israeli leaders, while the Palestinian authority continues to mourn as martyrs the three Arabs who were hanged for murder:

775 years ago: Jerusalem's Tower of David surrenders to invading Muslims

and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Luke 21:24b

On August 23, 1244, Jerusalem's citadel, the Tower of David, surrendered to forces of the Khwarezmian Empire, a Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic Mamluk origin that ruled parts of Greater Iran from approximately 1077-1231. The surrender of the citadel came 39 days after the Khwarezmian forces had concluded a siege of Jerusalem by sacking the city, which had been under nominal Christian control since the end of the Sixth Crusade in 1229.

Jerusalem has been "trodden down of the Gentiles" through the centuries, but the time is approaching when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem and sit on the throne of David:

And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. Isaiah 16:5

While the Tower of David surrendered to invading forces, there is another tower that provides complete safety:

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10

Friday, 23 August 2019

50 years ago: "Christian" fanatic sets fire to Al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:
Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.
And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God...
...Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.
Zechariah 6:12-15, 8:9

And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. Zechariah 12:3

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Revelation 11:1-2

On August 21, 1969, Denis Michael Rohan set fire to the pulpit of Al-aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Mr. Rohan, a 28-year-old Australian who had been working on a kibbutz for several months in order to learn Hebrew, said that he considered himself "the Lord's emissary," acting on God's instructions and enabling the Jews to rebuild the Temple in fulfillment of Bible prophecy in preparation for the return to Earth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mr. Rohan was a subscriber to The Plain Truth, the magazine published by the pseudo-Christian Worldwide Church of God, and claimed to have been led to his act by WCG President Herbert W. Armstrong's "Personal From" in the June 1967 issue. On September 26, 1969, Mr. Armstrong, in a letter to supporters, completely disavowed any connection to Mr. Rohan or responsibility for his crime. I have no doubt that Mr. Armstrong's claim was true; I subscribed to The Plain Truth in 1979-1980 (although, unlike Mr. Rohan, I never took any Ambassador College correspondence courses), and I wasn't a member of the WCG, nor did I become one. I was just starting to really read the Bible then, and as I followed Mr. Armstrong's advice to "blow the dust off your Bible," God used His word to reveal and protect me from the deception of the WCG's teachings. The literature of organizations such as the Worldwide Church of God can be very deceptive indeed to those who merely accept what they say without searching the scriptures in the manner of the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11.

On August 23, 1969, Denis Michael Rohan was arrested; he was pronounced insane at his trial, and was committed to a mental institution. On May 14, 1974, Israeli authorities deported him to Australia on compassionate grounds so that he could be treated near his family. Mr. Rohan was transferred to Callan Park Hospital for the Insane in New South Wales, and was still there when he died in 1995 at the age of 53 or 54.

Since the Israeli capture of Old Jerusalem in the Six-Day War in June 1967, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate had been hesitant to conduct activities on the Temple Mount, much less to begin rebuilding the Temple, in part because of uncertainty over the previous Temple's exact location. In the aftermath of Mr. Rohan's act, the Jewish authorities became even more reluctant to provoke a violent reaction from Muslims. Muslim leaders, on the other hand, used Mr. Rohan's crime as justification for their continued pursuit of jihad against non-Muslims. On September 21, 1969, the Islamic Summit Conference opened in Rabat, Morocco, hosting 27 delegations. Four days later, the charter establishing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was signed at the conference. The Jerusalem Muslim Council called for a protest strike in Israeli-occupied areas and all of the Arab world. Egyptian President Gamal Nasser urged force to regain Jerusalem and restore the Al-aqsa Mosque, and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia called for an Islamic jihad to liberate Jerusalem.

None of us know exactly when the prophecies of the rebuilding of the Temple will be fulfilled, but they will be, and according to God's timing, not ours, which may be why Denis Michael Rohan's act of arson had the opposite effect to that which he intended. Had Mr. Rohan succeeded in his intentions, it may have upset the prophetic timetable. Mr. Rohan's actions smack more of fanaticism than faith; Christians and non-Christians should be wary of anyone claiming to have a unique calling to fulfill Bible prophecy. To quote (out of context) the eminent Australian philosopher Mark "Jacko" Jackson, "Well, prove it! And until they do...I'm gonna wait! Oi!"

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Anglican Church of Canada will review its governance structure in order to remove those who stand in the way of the alphabet pervert agenda

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

The following item about the Anglican Church of Canada is an excellent example of Vox Day's second law of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs): They always double down. The alphabet pervert activists, like the feminists and other apostates before them, would rather destroy the churches than dial back their agenda. They don't like the result of the current policy of governance, so they want to change the rules. They'll keep pushing, never accepting rejection as final, and the instant it tips in their favour, they will declare the issue settled, and no further debates or votes will be permitted.

As reported by Nicole Thompson of The Canadian Press, July 16, 2019:

One of Canada’s largest Christian denominations will spend the next three years considering whether to change its governance structure amid outrage that just two bishops’ votes stood in the way of having same-sex marriage recognized by the Church’s laws.

Some in the Anglican Church of Canada say the current system to alter doctrine and policy — which requires a two-thirds majority from three groups of delegates — unfairly gives the most voting power to a small group of bishops.

The denomination’s outgoing senior officers in charge of its tri-annual policy meeting said Tuesday that the Church will look at ways it can change its governance structure between now and the next General Synod in 2022.

“We acknowledge that it is not only ‘what’ we do at synod but, equally important, ‘how’ we do our work, and we confess and lament that some of the ways in which we deliberated in this session of synod caused alienation and hurt,” they wrote in a statement.

Cynthia Haines Turner and her deputy, Rev. Peter Wall, said the Council of General Synod would review the size, structure and composition of denomination decision-makers.

“I’m not going to predict that the group will come back with wholesale or sweeping changes,” Wall said in a phone interview. “But I think it’s really healthy for our group to sit down and look at it, and say, ‘OK, here’s what is if not broken then a little cracked. What can we try to do fix that if anything?”‘

Haines Turner and Wall are both at the end of their terms on the council, but Wall said they may take on an advisory role going forward.

The Church doesn’t prohibit same-sex marriage outright and in 2016 declared that leadership at the provincial level could decide whether to allow it within their jurisdictions. A motion on same-sex marriage that was defeated on Friday, however, would have formalized the Church’s position on the issue in its laws.

The failed motion has drawn expressions of disappointment from church members and even from its newly elected leader.

One member of the clergy said the vote highlighted a need for reform in Church structure.

“I went from tears to anger and from anger to action,” Rev. Kevin George of St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in London, Ont., said Tuesday. “I called my community to stand in solidarity and to mobilize against a governance model which is clearly broken.”

He said that it feels antithetical to give so much voting power to the bishops — who accounted for 39 of the 234 delegates at synod — when a tenet of church philosophy is that the Holy Spirit is in all Christians.

“My community doesn’t — pardon the expression — give a rat’s tahootie about what 14 bishops across this country think, and that’s what it came down to is 14 bishops,” George said. “If we’re going to follow what God is telling us to do, we need to be able to hear all the voices that are in the room.”

He said he believes that giving each lay and clergy delegate as much voting power as each bishop would lead to policies that better represent the position of the 1.6 million Canadians who Statistics Canada says identify themselves as Anglican.

He also takes issue with the lengthy process for changing doctrine — amendments to Church laws concerning religious belief need to get passing votes at two consecutive synods, which are held three years apart.

“In the 21st century, to be making decisions that take three years to come into effect is just antiquated,” he said. “We live in a society where things change in the 30 seconds it takes to send out a tweet.”

The denomination has been mulling the role of LGBTQ Christians for decades, and leadership requested that a motion to amend the denomination’s position on marriage equality be prepared in 2013. That resolution, approving same-sex marriages, passed in 2016, but needed a successful second reading — which failed Friday — to be entered into the Church’s laws.

The Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island said he understands the desire for the Church’s policies to keep pace with society at large — and he voted in favour of marriage equality — but at the same time, he noted that there’s a reason the process is slow.

“As Anglicans, we are deeply appreciative of tradition,” the Most Rev. Ron Cutler said. “There are always new ways to try to understand, I think, a God who keeps on calling us to look forward and not back, but we’re not going to move quickly doctrinally.”

Cutler said he’s not sure what the Church’s governance structure will end up looking like in five or 10 years, but ultimately, what matters is that the it has the right priorities.

“For me as a Christian, it’s about what I believe God is calling me to do in a world which is transformed.”

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

10 years ago: Evangelical Lutheran Church in American allows sexually active sodomites and lesbians to act as clergy

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

On August 21, 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as apostate a "Christian" denomination as there is, voted at their Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis to lift the ban on sexually active sodomites and lesbians from serving as ministers. By the time of the 2011 Assembly it was reported that this decision had resulted in a net membership loss of 270,349 (5.95%) of baptized members, and a net loss of 340 congregations just in 2010. However, in keeping with Vox Day's second law of Social Justice Warriors--SJWs always double down--the ELCA continued on its apostate way. This was another link in the ELCA's long chain of apostasy, in which "evangelical" churches are increasingly participating.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Dominionists and compromising evangelicals team up with the intention of praying for every person in the United States by name

The reader will notice quite a mixed bag of organizations involved in this, but one should always beware of International House of Prayer, which denies being part of the New Apostolic Reformation, but which has similar doctrines and practices. Useful information on IHOP can be found at some of the blogs on my blogroll, but I especially recommend IHOP is New Age. If this keeps up, maybe these people will adopt the Mormon Latter-day Saints practice of praying for the dead.

As reported by Phil Anderson of the Topeka Capital-Journal, August 16, 2019 (link in original):

Praying for every single person in the United States by name may seem like an overwhelming assignment, but a group of local pastors and church leaders say they are committed to taking on that task.

Leaders from various Topeka-area churches have been meeting as part of the All America prayer initiative, which is being organized by an organization named “call2all.”

Organizers say the goal of the All America prayer initiative is to mobilize millions of Christians “to pray for and connect with their neighbors until all 127 million households and every school campus in America is adopted.”

As part of the initiative, which is starting in Kansas, organizers said participants will pray for their neighbors regularly, then “connect with them personally, connect them with Jesus, connect them with the Bible” and finally “connect them with a Christian community.”

New forms of technology, including the All.American phone app, are being used in the effort, organizers said.

A recent meeting in Topeka, which was held at First Assembly of God Church, 500 S.W. 27th, attracted about 200 people from the capital city and northeast Kansas.

The Rev. Doyle Pryor, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Topeka, was among attendees at the meeting.

Pryor noted the initiative includes a number of major Christian mission organizations.

“They all got together and said, ‘Why don’t we pool our resources and work together?’ because what we’re doing isn’t working,” Pryor said. “Let’s turn our eyes back to America. They all said, ‘Let’s start with Kansas.’ ”

According to information provided by the All America prayer initiative, nationally known ministries taking part in the effort include the International House of Prayer, the Luis Palau Association, Youth With a Mission, the Family Research Council and the American Bible Society.

Pryor said one of the main motivations of the All America prayer initiative is focusing on the United States as a mission field.

While other areas of the world are experiencing growth in the number of Christians, organizers of the All America prayer initiative said, the United States has seen a “rapid spiritual and moral decline.” Leaders said they believe God has granted the United States a “reprieve” for a brief period of time.

Hal Smith, pastor of Oakland Community Church, said the first goal of the initiative is to pray for every home and every individual in the United States, starting with Kansas.

Then, Smith said, the goal is to pray for every individual in the world.

Smith said “it’s a huge task,” noting that what is learned in Kansas will be taken nationwide.

Ricky Cruse, of Topeka, also attended the recent meeting at First Assembly of God Church. He said he hopes the prayer initiative “ignites a fire” and results in spiritual renewal.

“This is huge,” Cruse said. “There’s power in prayer.”

For more information, visit

Friday, 16 August 2019

Cult expert claims that Church of Scientology is headed for extinction

The following article isn't new, but is still relevant. As reported by Geoff McMaster in the University of Alberta publication Folio, January 11, 2018 (bold, links in original):

Stephen Kent knew he’d become a threat when the Church of Scientology sent no fewer than 16 letters to University of Alberta administrators demanding he stop disparaging the church.

“They wrote letter after letter to different levels of administration—from the president on down—to curtail my activities, to silence me, to get me somehow sanctioned,” said the sociologist and cult expert.

It’s not surprising when you consider Kent has been tracking the tactics of the church since the early 1980s. As a post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, he began collecting stories of confinement, sexual assault and coercion not widely known at the time.

Since then he’s amassed one of the world’s biggest collections of testimonials and documents on Scientology, and last year co-edited a book with former student Susan Raine, now a professor at MacEwan University, called Scientology in Popular Culture.

Kent has also become a top go-to expert for media commentary. Just last month he was quoted in the Irish Times when the newspaper discovered the church had sent thousands of pamphlets to Irish schools under the guise of a human rights organization—just one recent attempt in a concerted campaign to infiltrate Irish society and promote the doctrine of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

But in Kent’s view, the strategy may be just a desperate ploy to stay alive. There has been significant opposition to Scientology in Ireland, he said. The last census revealed its membership at just 87, reflecting a more global public relations crisis that has been plaguing the church for years.

"Historically, most new religions die, and it's fairly clear now that Scientology is on a downward path,” said Kent.

The seeds of Scientology

The Church of Scientology was created by Hubbard in 1954, developed from ideas he presented a few years earlier in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. A form of self-help psychology, the book was a populist challenge to questionable psychiatric practices of the time, such as lobotomies and electroshock therapy.

Although the principles of Hubbard’s therapeutic process have never been accepted by science, said Kent, they initially held considerable appeal as “the poor person's psychoanalysis.”

Hubbard claimed people could free themselves of the trauma and neurosis associated with painful events of the past—what he calls engrams—by answering a series of questions in “auditing” sessions, the content tested by a lie detector, or e-meter. After enough of these sessions, so the theory goes, the debilitating engrams are erased, and the person reaches a state of being “clear,” capable of fulfilling their full potential.

To avoid charges of practising medicine without a licence, Hubbard rebranded his pseudo-therapy as a religion—calling it Scientology—and proved adept at exploiting celebrity culture to promote it.

“Movie stars in Hollywood had significant status, and Hubbard realized these people influenced popular consumer trends,” said Kent. “He figured out early on that getting media endorsements from key celebrities would be beneficial for his organization."

By the ’60s and ’70s, Scientology’s membership exploded with the countercultural movement, emphasizing self-knowledge, spiritual fulfilment, a distrust of established medical science and aspirations towards world peace.

Celebrity backlash, secrets revealed

"Scientology had its heyday in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” said Kent, “but then the controversy started," as stories started to leak about abuse within the movement and the exorbitant donations required of its members to reach higher levels of spiritual purity.

Much of Scientology’s recent decline, however, can be attributed to a number of high-profile celebrity defections over the past decade, including by Canadian director Paul Haggis, singer Lisa Marie Presley and actors Leah Remini and Jason Beghe.

Remini especially has been a tenacious and vocal critic. First recruited at the age of nine, she left the church in 2013 and has since published a revealing memoir and hosted a documentary series called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, exposing many of the organizations failings.

But the main cause of Scientology’s downfall, said Kent, is the growing influence of the Internet. "Critics started posting material—including some of the church's own confidential documents—and former members started telling their stories.”

Some countries, such as Germany and France, have taken a firm stand against Scientology. The German government views it as an abusive sect masquerading as a religion, and France has classified it as a dangerous cult.

"With so much criticism of Scientology and so many of its secret documents available either in whole or in part, the impetus for continued membership is greatly diminished," said Kent.

The curious irony in all of this, he added, is that the trends Hubbard exploited so successfully when he created Scientology in the 1950s—emerging communications technology and the power of popular culture, especially celebrity recruitment—are the very forces conspiring against it now.

"Celebrities helped boost Scientology’s image in its early days, and now they're helping to diminish its appeal internationally.”

Mired in 1950s beliefs

But beyond its image problem—documented in the 2015 HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief—the most destructive seeds of Scientology’s demise were sown in its inception, said Kent. Based as it is on “fixed revelation,” or the unalterable word of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology is unable to change with the times and is therefore doomed.

One case in point is the inescapable homophobia that lies at the heart of the church, said Kent. Hubbard classified homosexuality as a sexual perversion, writing in Dianetics that “the sexual pervert is actually quite ill physically…. He is very far from culpable for his condition, but he is also far from normal and extremely dangerous to society.”

Since then, Scientology has tried to “backpedal and respin its position on homosexuality,” said Kent, adding that nonetheless, “Hubbard's statements on it are fairly clear.

"Any group that has a fixed revelation has great difficulty adjusting to change,” Kent explained. “What you see with the books is greatly upgraded glamorization of the covers and the marketing. But the content is still rooted in Hubbard in the ‘50s.”

His doctrine is so fixed, in fact, that the Church of Scientology began transcribing his texts onto stainless steel plates in the 1980s, placing them in titanium capsules in underground vaults. Located in a remote desert location, the vaults are accessible only through a secured tunnel.

“Compare that with the Mormons, for example, who have a doctrine of ongoing revelation," said Kent. In 1890, for example, Latter-Day Saints president Wilford Woodruff received a revelation to ban polygamy, resulting in a policy change that partly made possible Utah’s acceptance as a state in 1896. And in the 1970s, the Mormons abandoned their position that black people are branded with the mark of Cain.

“It’s been able to adjust to the times," said Kent.

The Church of Scientology still has significant wealth, including lavish properties around the world, "but from what I can see, nobody is in them,” said Kent. “And there are some that have closed down because they just don't have the staff."

In the end, the U of A never did cave to legal pressure from the church, said Kent.

“In all instances, university officials responded professionally and appropriately, and in no way interfered with my activities,” he said.
The Church of Scientology's offices in Edmonton have moved several times over the years, and according to their website, are now way out in the west end in Mayfield Common, far from their traditional downtown locations. Oddly, a Google search under "Scientology Edmonton" shows photos of the now-vacated building on 97th Street.

See my previous post:

Former high-ranking Scientologist claims that organized Scientology is dead (September 7, 2010).

Campus Crusade for Christ Cru19 staff conference promotes enneagram, contemplative spirituality, secular psychology, native spirituality, and social gospel

In May 2006, when Campus Crusade for Christ announced a "new paradigm," I predicted that they would henceforth be heading in a more liberal direction; the following therefore comes as no surprise to this blogger.

The organization historically known as Campus Crusade for Christ changed the name of its American campus ministry several years ago to "Cru"--a name that isn't even a word, and has no meaning. When an organization changes its name, it's often a sign of a change in direction.

Cru continues the practice of holding annual summer conferences for staff. This year's conference, Cru19, took place in Fort Collins, Colorado from July 19-25. There was much, such as Josh McDowell's apologetics, that seems to be good; other people have warned about some things or people who seem questionable, and I noticed a few others.

Cru19 included workshops, described as "...interactive, hands-on, smaller group hour in length and facilitated by authors, pastors, CEOs, missionaries, Cru staff members, faculty, and many others."

The use of the enneagram is becoming popular in evangelicalism, and Cru is no exception (bold in original):

Saturday, July 20, 1:30-2:30 PM

Going Deeper With the Enneagram

Gina Butz | LSC 382

So you know your enneagram type. Now what? Come here thoughts and practices for how to use the enneagram to go deeper in your personal and spiritual growth.

The use of the enneagram is a New Age technique. See The Enneagram— Does It Have A Place In Christianity? and other information on the subject at Lighthouse Trails Research Project.

Contemplative spirituality was promoted in this workshop, taking place at the same time:

Creating Space to Hear God’s Voice: Solitude and Silence

David Neibling & Paul Lucido | Clark A104

Silence and solitude help us to counteract the noise and busyness of our daily lives, creating space for us to experience God’s presence, hear His voice and be transformed. Come and learn about these spiritual practices as they relate to quieting our minds and hearts, deepening our relationship with God and impacting our capacity to connect with others.

Several of the blogs on my blogroll have useful information on contemplative spirituality; I particularly recommend Lighthouse Trails Research Project.

Secular psychology was promoted in this workshop:

Thursday, July 25, 2:45-3:45 PM

Birkman, Because ...

Cy & Diane Farmer, Francine Smalley & Mark McGowan | Clark A201

Those attending this workshop will learn that Birkman can be used to encourage personal growth by acknowledging strengths and challenges alike and how individuals and teams benefit from the Birkman Method through better communication and a clearer understanding of people’s interests, needs, usual behaviors and stress behaviors. Birkman can be used to help fulfill the admonishment in Galatians 6:4, "But each one must carefully scrutinize his own work (examining his actions, attitudes, and behavior), and then he can have the personal satisfaction and inner joy of doing something commendable without comparing himself to another.” (AMP).

Birkman is a company promoting a method of organizational psychology originated by Dr. Roger Birkman, and includes personality assessments. It's unfortunate that Cru doesn't regard the Bible as sufficient for personal growth, and has to adopt unbiblical methods.

Cru19 also included "Super Seminars," described as "select, large group, lecture gatherings." This one caught my attention:

Wednesday, July 24th | 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Shalom and the Community of Creation

Randy Woodley | Lory Student Center Ballroom Grand Ballroom B

Materialism. Abuse of nature. Injustice. War. The problems facing America today are staggering. We need restoration. But how?

Randy Woodley offers an answer: the Native American “Harmony Way,” a concept that, like shalom, can bring reconciliation between Euro-Westerners and Indigenous Peoples, connectedness with Creator and creation, justice, an end to imperial warfare — and a more authentic spirituality. Rooted in redemptive correction, Dr. Woodley calls for partnership through the co-creation of theological systems that foster wholeness and peace.

I'd never heard of Randy Woodley, but the description of the seminar immediately set off alarm bells with me. The idea that Native Americans are in harmony with the environment is politically correct nonsense that ignorant white people are happy to believe. As Canadian journalist Stephen Hume--a man generally sympathetic to Natives--pointed out in his book Ghost Camps (1989), the reason that Natives haven't slaughtered all the wildlife long before now isn't because of their respect for the environment, but because they lacked the technology. A quick search for Dr. Woodley turned up the following resume for him at Portland Seminary, affiliated with George Fox University (bold, links in original):

Randy Woodley, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Faith and Culture

Director of Intercultural and Indigenous Studies


Rev. Randy Woodley (PhD, Asbury Theological Seminary) is a Keetoowah Cherokee (legal descendent) teacher, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist and historian. Woodley received his baccalaureate degree from Rockmont College in Denver. He was ordained to the ministry through the American Baptist Churches in the USA in Oklahoma after graduating with a Masters of Divinity degree from Eastern Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) in Philadelphia. Randy's PhD is in intercultural studies from Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Woodley’s books include The Harmony Tree: A Story of Healing and Community, 2016 (Friesen Press), Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision, 2012 (Eerdmans) and Living in Color: Embracing God’s Passion for Ethnic Diversity, 2004 (IVP). He has authored numerous book chapters and contributed essays and articles in compilations such as the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (Baker Academic), An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Baker), The Justice Project (Baker), and The Global Dictionary of Theology (IVP).

Professor Woodley is active in the ongoing discussions concerning new church movements, racial and ethnic diversity, peace, social justice, interreligious dialogue and mission. He regularly blogs in these areas and publishes his own blog, Ethnic Space and Faith. He is also a regular contributor to God's Politics Blog: Jim Wallis and Friends, Emergent Village Voice and The Huffington Post’s religion page.

He also hosts the "Peacing it all together" podcast about journey and place with Bo Sanders.

Rev. Woodley was pastor of the Eagle Valley Church in Carson City, Nevada, which for many years served as a unique role model as an authentic Native American Christian church. He and his wife Edith, cofounders of Eagle's Wings Ministry, are considered early innovators in what has been dubbed the “Native American Contextual Movement.” The Woodleys have spent over 25 years of culturally contextual service in Native North American communities.
I don't even need to click on the links to see what Dr. Woodley is like. The American Baptist Churches (formerly the Northern Baptist Convention) are the liberal Baptists; this is the denomination that includes people such as Tony Campolo and Ron Sider. Jim Wallis, who seems to have been around forever, is someone I've long regarded as a Communist masquerading as a Christian; he hasn't changed, but evangelicalism has moved so far to the left in recent years, that it's caught up to him. Just the words "Emergent Village Voice" speak volumes; it should be noted that George Fox University is named after the founder of the Quakers, and is thus naturally likely to be favourable toward contemplative spirituality. And of course, The Huffington Post is hardly a bastion of biblical Christian doctrine.

Campus Crusade for Christ founder and president Bill Bright (1921-2003) had his faults, but I doubt if he would have approved of some of the things now being promoted by the movement that he founded; he must be turning over in his grave.

October 3, 2019 update: Jeff Maples at Reformation Charlotte has an excellent post on the cultural Marxism-infested social gospel content of CRU19, as shown in this video:

HT: The Watchman's Bagpipes

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Shroud of Turin continues to inspire superstition and idolatry

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Exodus 20:4 (also Deuteronomy 5:8)

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) II Corinthians 5:7

Another item that isn't recent, but is still relevant; as reported by Aleteia, March 28, 2018 (links in original):


"This statue is the three-dimensional representation in actual size of the Man of the Shroud, created following the precise measurements taken from the cloth in which the body of Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion,” explains Giulio Fanti, teacher of mechanical and thermal measurements at the University of Padua, who studies the Shroud. Based on his measurements, the professor has created a “carbon copy” in 3D which, he claims, allows him to affirm that these are the true features of the crucified Christ.

“Therefore, we believe that we finally have the precise image of what Jesus looked like on this earth. From now on, He may no longer be depicted without taking this work into account.” The professor granted exclusive coverage of his work to the weekly periodical Chi, to which he revealed: “According to our studies, Jesus was a man of extraordinary beauty. Long-limbed, but very robust, he was nearly 5 ft. 11 in. tall, whereas the average height at the time was around 5 ft. 5 in. And he had a regal and majestic expression.” (Vatican Insider)

Through the study and three-dimensional projection of the figure, Fanti was also able to count the numerous wounds on the body of the man of the Shroud:

“On the Shroud,” the professor explains, “I counted 370 wounds from the flagellation, without taking into account the wounds on his sides, which the Shroud doesn’t show because it only enveloped the back and front of the body. We can therefore hypothesize a total of at least 600 blows. In addition, the three-dimensional reconstruction has made it possible to discover that at the moment of his death, the man of the Shroud sagged down towards the right, because his right shoulder was dislocated so seriously as to injure the nerves.” (Il Mattino di Padova)

The questions surrounding the mystery of the Shroud are still intact; certainly, in that tortured man we see the signs of suffering in which we find also a piece of each one of ourselves, but also—seen by the eyes of faith—hope that this man was not just anyone, but the Man par excellence, that “Behold the Man” who appeared docilely before Pilate and who, after the terrible flagellation, was raised up on the cross as an innocent man; not only innocent, but taking upon himself the guilt of all people. While belief in the Shroud is not obligatory, even for Christians, the exceptionality of that piece of linen remains there to challenge our understanding and our certainties, almost like a certain Jesus of Nazareth, who challenged our certainties by loving his persecutors, forgiving them from the cross, and conquering death, 2,000 years ago …

This article first appeared in the Italian edition of Aleteia.
If the man described by Professor Fanti was of "extraordinary beauty," he couldn't possibly have been the Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the messianic prophecies of Isaiah 53, including:

...he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:2b

HT: W.H.M.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Austrian parliament votes to shut down Saudi-financed interfaith centre

As reported by Agence France-Presse, June 13, 2019:

The Austrian foreign ministry said on Wednesday it would implement a vote by MPs on the topic of closing a controversial Saudi-funded centre. The facility was created for religious dialogue in the capital Vienna.

MPs voted on Wednesday to demand the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) be closed down following repeated criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

The latest vote was prompted by a recent case in which an 18-year-old was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for alleged crimes committed when he was a child.

Austria's foreign ministry said that it would comply with parliament's decision and was "checking the necessary legal steps" in order to do so.

The centre would be closed in a way that "will not cause damage to Austria's foreign policy interests and which is in line with international practice," the ministry said in a statement.

The centre has been a periodic source of controversy since opening in 2012, with critics saying it offered the government in Riyadh a way to gloss over accusations of severe human rights violations.

In a statement on Wednesday KAICIID said it had "received the news of today's parliamentary vote with concern".

"KAICIID stands by its record in fostering dialogue all over the world. It should be judged on this record," the statement said.

KAICIID said its "activities cannot... be identified with any particular state".

The centre was opened with great pomp by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and senior figures from the world's main religions.

Its founding treaty was signed by Austria, Spain and Saudi Arabia, with the Holy See participating as a founding observer.

Until recently the centre had always enjoyed a degree of political protection in Austria, particularly from the centre-right People's Party (ÖVP) and its leader Sebastian Kurz.

But the collapse of Kurz's government last month, and his subsequent removal as chancellor in a confidence vote, meant that other parties were able to join forces to vote for Wednesday's motion on KAICIID.

In 2015 the then Chancellor Werner Faymann, who hailed from the centre-left, threatened to withdraw support from the centre unless it condemned the public flogging of Saudi blogger Raef Badawi.

At that time Kurz was foreign minister and the ÖVP did not join Faymann's criticism.

European Union court rules against Austrian law regarding Good Friday

Another item I missed when it was first published; as reported by Agence France-Presse, January 23, 2019:

Austria is wrong to make Good Friday a public holiday only for members of certain Christian churches, the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday.

Most Austrians are Roman Catholic, but Good Friday is a paid holiday only for members of the Evangelical Churches of the Augsburg and Helvetic Confessions, the Old Catholic Church and the United Methodists.

Members of these minority faiths can take the last Friday before Easter off as paid leave, or expect to be paid extra for working that day.

A private detective, Markus Achatzi, complained to the Austrian courts that his employer Cresco Investigation had not paid him extra for work he carried out on Friday April 3, 2015 -- alleging discrimination.

Achatzi is not a member of one of the churches granted the holiday right.

The country's supreme court in turn referred the matter to the European Union's top court, which ruled that Austria is indeed guilty of "direct discrimination on grounds of religion."

"Until Austria amends its legislation in order to restore equal treatment, a private employer must, subject to certain conditions, also grant his other employees a paid public holiday on Good Friday," the Luxembourg-based court said.

In its ruling, the court noted that Austrian law says employers have a duty of care to make sure that employees have an opportunity to perform certain religious rites, depending on their faiths.

There is no reason, it therefore argued, to single out members of certain churches for special treatment on Good Friday.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Gamma-ray bursts decoded by Israeli astrophysicists

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalms 8:3-4

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

As reported by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich of Breaking Israel News, August 1, 2019:

The mechanism for gamma-ray bursts – short and intense barrages of energetic radiation coming from outer space – has been decoded by astrophysicists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The scientific breakthrough was published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters by Prof. Tsvi Piran of the Racah Institute of Physics at the university and a member of the institute’s Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science.

The bursts were deciphered following an eruption observed last January and describes how a stream of particles moving towards us at close to the speed of light emits gamma radiation.

Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest explosions in the universe. As gamma-rays are blocked by the atmosphere the bursts were discovered accidentally in the late 1960s by the Vela satellites, defense satellites sent to monitor man-made nuclear explosions in space.

Since their discovery, the bursts have been at the focus of attention with several dedicated satellites launched to explore their origin. In the late 1990s, it was realized that long bursts (lasting more than a few seconds) arise during the death and collapse of massive stars. In the first decade of the 21st century, it was found that shorter bursts (lasting less than a few seconds) arise in neutron star mergers. This last realization was confirmed dramatically two years ago with simultaneous observations of gravitational waves by the gravitational wave detectors LIGO and Virgo and a short burst by two satellites, NASA’s Fermi and the European Space Agency’s INTEGRAL (INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory).

But many mysteries involving these bursts remained. Especially puzzling was the question of how the high-energy radiation is produced. Last January a gamma-ray detector on board of NASA’s Neil Gehrls Swift satellite detected GRB190114C, a bright burst that took place 4.5 billion years ago in a distant galaxy.

Following a trigger from Swift, the MAGIC telescope – a Cherenkov detector at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Spain – flew towards the burst’s location and detected extremely high-energy photons (at TeV energies) coming from it. The ultra-high energy TeV photons, that were observed about 50 seconds after the prompt emission, in the so-called “afterglow” phase, were at least 10 times more energetic than the highest energy photons detected previously from any burst.

By now, only preliminary data of the MAGIC observations have been posted. Still, Prof. Evgeny Derishev from the Institute for Applied Physics in Nizhny Novogorod and Prof. Piran from Jerusalem combined these data with observations of lower energy (x-ray) photons carried out by the Neil Gehrles Swift and have shown that they reveal the details of the emission mechanism.

In the just-published paper, the authors show that the observed radiation must have originated in a jet moving at 0.9999 of the speed of light towards us. The high energy radiation observed by MAGIC is was emitted by electrons accelerated to TeV energies within the jet. The emission process can also be identified, it is the so-called “inverse Compton mechanism” in which ultra-high-energy electrons collide with low-energy photons and boosts their energy. Remarkably, the same relativistic electrons are also producing the low-energy “seed” photons via synchrotron radiation.

“MAGIC has found the “Rosetta stone of gamma-ray bursts,” Pirat declared. “This unique detection enables us for the first time to discriminate among different emission models and discover what are the exact conditions in the explosion. We can also understand now why such radiation wasn’t observed in the past.”

Future Cherenkov telescopes such as the planned Cherenkov Telescope Array, a multinational project under construction will be much more sensitive than MAGIC. The current detection suggests that many other such events will be detected in the future and will continue to shed light on this cosmic mystery.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Amusement park ride at Norwich Cathedral draws criticism

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Matthew 23:27

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
II Timothy 3:1-4

If the following item seems familiar, it's probably because it's an excellent companion piece to my recent post Rochester Cathedral provides more evidence that the Church of England is beyond the possibility of satire (August 3, 2019). As reported by BBC News, August 9, 2019 (link, video in original):

The clergy at a cathedral has been accused of being unprofessional and "poisoning the medicine" a church offers by installing a fairground ride.

A full-size helter skelter has been put in the nave of Norwich Cathedral to give people a different view of the inside of the building.

The Right Reverend Dr Gavin Ashenden, former chaplain to the Queen, said the cathedral had made a "mistake".

The cathedral said it was a creative way to share the story of the Bible.

It took four people two days to build the 55ft (16.7m) fairground ride in the Norman cathedral.

The cathedral said it allowed people to stand close to its medieval roof, believed to be the largest display of its kind in the world.

Dr Ashenden, Missionary Bishop for the Christian Episcopal Church, said the clergy at Norwich Cathedral had been "unprofessional" and were "making a mistake about what a cathedral is good for".

He said there was no evidence that tourists become Christians and "just to put in entertainment is naff".

"For such a place, steeped in mystery and marvel to buy in to sensory pleasure and distraction, is to poison the very medicine it offers the human soul," he said.

The Reverend Canon Andy Bryant, from Norwich Cathedral, said he could see why people would be surprised to see the helter skelter.

But in addition to showcasing the roof, he said it was "part of the cathedral's mission to share the story of the Bible" and was a "creative and innovative way to do that".

Norwich Cathedral is not the only place of worship to use unconventional methods to attract members of the public.

The central aisle of Rochester Cathedral has also been converted into a crazy golf course.

The apostle Paul, writing under divine inspiration, didn't tell Timothy to find a "creative and innovative" way to "share
the story of the Bible." He said, merely, "Preach the word..." (II Timothy 4:2). The Church of England and its clergy don't seem to believe in the truth of Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Anglican Church of Canada General Synod votes overwhelmingly to remove prayer for the conversion of the Jews from the Book of Common Prayer

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

The Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles initially targeted Jews--almost exclusively--for evangelism. The following is more evidence that the Anglican Church of Canada isn't a Christian church at all; as reported by Ron Csillag of Canadian Jewish News, July 26, 2019:

The Anglican Church of Canada’s move to expunge a prayer for the conversion of the Jews from its liturgy is being hailed as a milestone.

Meeting in Vancouver, the church’s General Synod – its governing body – approved a measure on July 16 to delete an invocation calling for the conversion of Jews from the Book of Common Prayer, and replace it with a prayer entitled “For Reconciliation with the Jews.”

Successful resolutions before a synod must pass in all three of the church’s “houses.” This one was approved with near unanimous support: Among the laity, it passed by a 99 per cent plurality, and by 100 per cent among both clergy and bishops.

The amendment will require ratification at the next General Synod in 2022. But Edward Simonton, the church’s Vicar General of Quebec, told The CJN the resolution’s passage at the next synod will be “just a formality,” given its overwhelming support this time.

Besides, he added, only 230 of nearly 2,800 Anglican churches in Canada still use the Book of Common Prayer. The rest use the Book of Alternative Services, introduced in 1985.

A similar resolution failed at the church’s 2016 General Synod. The following year, Right Rev. Bruce Myers, the Anglican bishop of Quebec, spearheaded a formal consultation to remove the old prayer and replace it with a new one.

Addressing the 2019 synod, Rev. Myers said persecution of Jews “is not a thing of the past, nor is it restricted to other parts of the world,” citing last year’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 11 people dead.

Changing the prayer exhorts Anglicans “to acknowledge and repent of the church’s participation in anti-Semitism, to stop singling out Jews as a target for our evangelistic efforts, and to assume a humble and reconciliatory stance with our Jewish elders in the faith,” Rev. Myers said in a statement. “It also invites Anglicans to be ever mindful of Christianity’s deep Jewish roots.”

The “Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews,” among some 50 prayers in the Book of Common Prayer that are recited discretionally, beseeches God to “hasten the time when all Israel shall be saved,” and that his “ancient people…open their hearts that they may see and confess the Lord Jesus to be thy Son and their true Messiah.”

The prayer “For reconciliation with the Jews” was a joint effort between the Anglican Church, the Prayer Book Society of Canada, and the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, an affiliate of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

It reads: “O God, who didst choose Israel to be thine inheritance: Have mercy upon us and forgive us for violence and wickedness against our brother Jacob; the arrogance of our hearts and minds hath deceived us, and shame hath covered our face. Take away all pride and prejudice in us, and grant that we, together with the people whom thou didst first make thine own, may attain to the fulness of redemption which thou hast promised; to the honour and glory of thy most holy Name.”

Rabbi Adam Stein of Congregation Beth Israel in Vancouver, who addressed the synod on behalf of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, praised the new prayer and the hope and friendship it offers to Jews, reported the Anglican Journal.

“I think it’s just such a wonderful thing, and a really wonderful feeling for us, that a prayer that certainly made the Jewish community quite uncomfortable might soon be replaced with one that’s so beautiful and so positive,” Rabbi Stein said.

Rabbi Reuben Poupko of Montreal, speaking on behalf of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, commended the synod for its “principled decision, which represents a milestone in Anglican-Jewish relations.”

The church “has sent a strong signal to the Jewish community that it stands with us against anti-Semitism – both past and present.”

In 1992, the Anglican Church of Canada deleted a prayer recited on Good Friday that asked for God’s mercy on Jews for wilfully rejecting and denying Jesus.

Religious liberalism on display at World Scouting Jamboree

As reported by Alan Smason of Crescent City Jewish News via Jewish Telegraphic Agency, August 2, 2019 (link in original):

GLEN JEAN, West Virginia — A Reform rabbi from Maryland is leading the Faith and Beliefs program at the World Scouting Jamboree, the first such event held in the United States since 1967.

For the past two weeks, some 45,000 Scouts representing 156 nations have gathered at the Summit Bechtel Reserve here for sports, camping, stadium shows and cultural celebrations.

As the chair of this year’s Faith and Beliefs area, Rabbi Peter Hyman is supervising all 10 participating religions – Protestantism, Won Buddhism, Buddhism, the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, Sikhism, Islam, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Judaism and Hinduism.

Also included are the Messengers of Peace, a global community service program Hyman helped establish with funding from the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Hyman, a longtime religious leader of the Boy Scouts of America, is no stranger to world Jamborees, which are organized by the World Organization of the Scouting Movement, of which the BSA is a member. This is his eighth World Scouting Jamboree.

Hyman, who has previously served congregations in Sarasota, Florida, Beaumont, Texas and suburban Philadelphia, has only missed two national and world jamborees – each typically held every four years, since 1981.

“The first time I was a chaplain at an international event was the Jamboree in [New South Wales] Australia in 1988,” said Hyman. “It was the most moving, inspirational and hope-filled experience I’ve ever had and, to this day, it remains that.”

An Eagle Scout, Hyman as been immersed in the Scouting movement since his youth and was drawn to serve as a Jewish leader early on. He previously served as the chairman of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting for four years and was its National Chaplain for 24 years.

Hyman said he was chosen to lead this year’s faith programming “because of the depth of my experience. But also the fact that I enjoy – with great humility and a real sense of gratitude – a good reputation in the Boy Scouts of America. The senior leadership with whom I’ve had relationships over the years at various events nationally and internationally felt that I was capable of making it work.”

Chip Turner, the rabbi’s co-chair and a former Religious Relationships Committee chair for the BSA, has been working with him for more than three decades, sometimes as his boss, at other times as his co-chair.

“We’ve grown to be great friends, strengthened by our opportunities to serve together and joined by Scouting principles,” said Turner, who has served on the board of Programs of Religious Activities with Youth, an organization of Protestant and independent Christian churches. “Hyman is gifted with tremendous personal skills, which makes working with him an even greater pleasure.”

At this year’s World Scouting Jamboree, the chaplaincy was located in four major camps for scout contingents and a single camp for the International Service Team comprised of nearly 9,000 adults from around the world. Each camp was further subdivided into four subcamps.

In addition to a daily minimum of four Catholic masses in each of the subcamps, the Faith and Beliefs program is responsible for an exhibits area that includes all of the participating faith groups. A large worship tent has been designated for the daily prayers and meditations of Muslims and Buddhists, for example.

A Torah scroll was borrowed from a nearby Charleston congregation for observant contingent members to hold worship services on Monday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. Observant Jewish scouts, predominantly from England, France and the United States, were treated to a kosher Oneg Shabbat on Friday night and a Kiddush following Shabbat worship services.

Kosher meal services were available to all observant Jewish scouts who requested them and special events such as a central Havdalah service were coordinated through the Faith and Beliefs team.

Sunday morning brought services for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a unified Protestant offering, an Eastern Orthodox service officiated by an Archbishop from Sitka, Alaska, and several Catholic masses, all attended by groups from the hundreds into the thousands.

A papal nuncio officiated at the Sunday morning Jamboree Catholic along with several bishops and priests.

Hyman is mindful of his duties as a Jewish faith leader, but he has to be open and welcoming as well as to the other, larger numbers of scouts from the world’s religions.

“What the Boy Scouts of America has allowed me to do is nothing short of amazing,” the rabbi said. “It gives me goose bumps and it humbles me. I’ve been able to represent the United States, the BSA and Judaism in a number of fronts and a number of places and been relatively successful in those moments.”

Hyman was the first BSA chairman of the Messengers of Peace in 2006, which has a huge worldwide Islamic component, he said.

“This makes a statement on a global level for me to have been chosen as the chairman of the Messengers of Peace. That I got to chair it and that I was selected by the World Jamboree leadership also makes a profound statement of inclusion of recognizing that talent is spread out among all of us,” he said. “It’s remarkable.”

As a result of his work with the Messengers of Peace, Hyman traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2006 and was given an award by King Abdullah, an event he considers one of the most significant of his life.

Hyman also weathered a storm of controversy during the turbulent years when the BSA’s adult standards policies dealing with the LGBT community forbade same-sex parents and leaders along with gay scouts. That put him at odds with his own Union for Reform Judaism and the Conservative movement.

“When we were going through the issue of membership standards, there were people in my congregation who tried to make me resign,” Hyman said. “What I basically said to them was: in order to enact change, one must be on the inside. You can never change from the outside in, only from the inside-out.”

A 2013 vote by the BSA’s membership allowed gay youth in the organization. In 2015, the executive board voted to end its ban on gay adult leaders.

“I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to move that in a direction that allowed many of us to remain in the organization, loyal to the organization and continue to participate in it,” Hyman said.

What hasn’t changed is the BSA’s insistence that scouts and leaders demonstrate “an obligation to God” and subscribe to its “Declaration of Religious Principle.”

“Baden-Powell had a vision for the world,” Hyman said, referring to Robert Baden-Powell, the British army officer who founded the scouting movement in 1922. “It is not unlike the vision of the world that we see presented in Jewish liturgy, a world where people are connected, where people get along, respect each other and recognize the image of God on the face of the person whose eyes you are looking into.”
As reported by Mr. Smason in Crescent City Jewish News, undated (late July or early August 2019):

Religious figures have always provided integral and necessary counseling at World Scouting Jamborees. Rabbis, rectors, priests, pastors, and imams representing all of the major established religions have dispersed spiritual guidance and pastoral support for the thousands of Scouts who make the journey from near and far to encamp with their counterparts in Scouting once every four years.

Such is the case again at this year’s 24th World Scouting Jamboree being sponsored by the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM) in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. Held at the Boy Scouts of America’s Summit Brecthel Family Scout Reserve, some 45,000 Scouts from 156 countries are actively camping for the fortnight period that ends on August 3 expressing mutual respect and love of Scouting.

For the first time this year’s Faith and Beliefs chaplain staffers are a part of the International Service Team (IST) at the Jamboree. Great strides are being achieved by ladies, who are assuming more responsibilities than ever before at this year’s World Scouting Jamboree.

As the leader of a small, pluralistic Jewish congregation mostly attended by octogenarians, Rabbi Susan Elkodsi’s new role as a Jamboree chaplain is a major change for her. “This is a big difference and I have to say it’s a wonderful experience to see all these young people behaving as though there’s no difference – the Americans in one campaign and the Senegalese and the Poles and the Galicianna – they’re behaving like teenagers and it’s just wonderful,” she said.

Elkodsi envisions bringing her years of experience as a rabbi to the Jamboree participants. “To me, a chaplain is someone who helps a person to access his or her own spiritual resources (and) to help that person cope with what’s going on,” she mused.

She believes that international events like the World Scouting Jamboree can have a positive effect on the world at large. “We hate what we feel,” the rabbi continued. “When we get to know each other and we realize what other people fee like, we can bond over the things that unite us rather than focus on the negativity.”

Although she is a veteran of the 2007 National Jamboree in her native Sweden, the Rev. Mali Karlsson is attending her third World Scouting Jamboree, having been to both the 22nd gathering held in Sweden in 2011 and 2015’s 23rd , but more importantly, her first as a Lutheran chaplain.

Karlsson sees her job as a chaplain as not much different from her male counterparts. “It’s mostly the same,” she considered. “I’d say when it comes to the chaplaining parts, there shouldn’t be any difference.”

Karlsson oversees Alpha Camp, one of four Scout encampments with a population of about 6,700 Scouts. he Scouts are amping at four camping sites at the Summit, the largest World Scouting Jamboree in history.

“I have two chaplains in every sub-camp,” she explained. “They are the ones who are primarily in charge of the people in their sub-camp. The way I’ve interpreted my role is I’m more in charge of them and, I think they will have more stress than me.”

Two years ago, at the 2017 Boy Scout National Jamboree (also at the Summit), United Methodist Church Scouter Tanya Edwards Evans was both the first woman chaplain and the first African-American to be selected to serve. A woman of French, Caribbean, Native-American and African heritage, Evans, a minister, was selected to serve Scouting by her UMC bishop after a long association as both a church member and a mother of Scouts.

It turned out that many Scouting units charter-partnered with the United Methodist Church were being run by women instead of the traditional male Scout leaders. As there was little or no female or African-American representation from the church, Evans was asked to help support the existing units.

“I’ve learned how to use coping skills,” Evans said in recounting her life’s struggles as a member of two minorities.

“A lot of countries accept women in this role,” Evans added. “It’s harder for Americans to accept this role,” she noted. “We’ve got to change the culture in this country.”

The World Jamboree has given Evans an opportunity to appreciate all the possibilities found in the Scouting program internationally. “It is wonderful to see the diversity of women that are here from India to Korea to Viet Nam. Some of them are wearing their native dress, but all of them are Scouts. All of them; have the (inter)national Scout symbol. All of them know the scout Law,” Evans observed.

She has accepted her position as a chaplain with gratitude and hopes to make a difference at the World Jamboree and beyond. “I fill that position, but I also know how to treat people with dignity and respect,” she commented and then added: “You tell me what you need.”

As a final comment, the chaplain issued a challenge to other churches to support Scout troops. “It’s mentoring young people. Period,” she explained. “It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female, find a group of young people and give them structure.”