Posts from December 2015 (Page 2)

‘That Was Wrong’: Check Out How Riding a Hoverboard Got This Priest Suspended

Hoverboards have accelerated into the center of pop culture. It was one of this year’s hottest Christmas gifts and celebrities have made headlines riding them. Now the two-wheeled gadget his made its way into the sanctuary.

During a Christmas mass last week, a priest in the Philippines was filmed rolling down the isle on a hoverboard while performing a song for his congregation. While the crowd seemed to enjoy the pastor’s pop culturally-conscience decision, the Diocese of San Pablo who oversees the priest’s parish was not amused.

“That was wrong,” the diocese said in a statement. “The Eucharist demands utmost respect and reverence. It is the Memorial of the Lord’s Sacrifice. It is the source and summit of Christian life. It is the Church’s highest form of worship.”

Additionally, the diocese went on to chastise the priest for treating the Eucharist as a “personal celebration,” using the opportunity to “capriciously introduce something to get the attention of the people.”

The diocese has temporarily removed the priest from his parish to “reflect on this past event,” which was described as “going around the nave standing on a hoverboard.” The priest has promised that it will not happen again.

Watch the “event” below:

-Ce curé est hilarant sur son hoverboard Weebot, leur E-shop : www.wee-bot.com – This Pastor is so funny on his Weebot, get yours on http://www.wee-bot.com- Este cura Sí está a la moda con su Weebot, Compra la tuya en http://www.wee-bot.com

Posted by FLOW CARTAGENA on Saturday, December 26, 2015

(H/T: Tech Insider)

Urbana Speaker: ‘Black Lives Matter Is a Movement on Mission in the Truth of God’

The internet erupted after Monday’s decision not to indict the white rookie police officer who killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Cleveland boy who had been carrying a pellet gun when he was shot outside of a city recreation center.

.@cristianafarias: No one was indicted in the Tamir Rice case. That was the plan all along https://t.co/BO5moLHqe3 #BlackLivesMatter

— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) December 29, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter activists call for LeBron James to sit out games following Tamir Rice decision https://t.co/obVuZEMptl #NoJusticeNoLeBron

— Newsweek (@Newsweek) December 29, 2015

Today has been incredibly numbing. My heart has consistently been broken watching a beautiful family b tormented over & over again

#Tamir

— Elle Hearns (@SoulFreeDreams) December 29, 2015

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (InterVarsity), an evangelical college ministry, is the co-sponsor of Urbana, a student missions conference held every three years. This year’s Urbana conference (Urbana 15), held in St. Louis, Missouri, runs December 27-31.

InterVarsity, an organization that does not shy away from social justice movements, devoted Urbana’s Monday evening session to #BlackLivesMatter. To kick off the night, the worship team took the stage donning Black Lives Matter t-shirts.

The keynote speaker was Michelle Higgins, director of Faith for Justice, a Christian advocacy group in St. Louis. Higgins, who is active in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the St. Louis area, just miles from Ferguson, Missouri, challenged attendees to listen to stories of those who have experienced discrimination and to get involved.

In her address, Higgins said Christians have been willing to actively oppose issues like abortion, but not issues like racism and inequality that are more uncomfortable to address.

Are we people who can enter in to the uncomfortable? .@AfroRising #urbana15 #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/xZ4kZDJ3NO

— Urbana Missions (@UrbanaMissions) December 29, 2015

“Black Lives Matter is not a mission of hate. It is a not a mission to bring about incredible anti-Christian values and reforms to the world,” Higgins said. “Black Lives Matter is a movement on mission in the truth of God.”

This was the most outward statement from InterVarsity on the Black Lives Matter movement, but the organization has voiced its support in the past.

Back in October, Joe Ho, director of InterVarsity’s Asian American ministries, wrote about why evangelical Christians should support #BlackLivesMatter despite a widespread resistance to support political causes, particularly those attributed to liberal politics:

I know that our tradition is suspicious of ‘liberal’ political organizations. I also know that #blacklivesmatter is a political organization as well as a hashtag. I can’t name all their various constituents, activities, and positions. I’m sure I’d feel compatible with some and not others. But our theological tradition failed to support the civil rights movement for that very reason. I don’t believe our neutrality in those years honored God, and it continues to impede our ability to bring the gospel to large swaths of our nation. I don’t want that to happen again.

InterVarsity’s decision to feature #BlackLivesMatter at Urbana 15 is one of the boldest moves made by an evangelical ministry to invoke social justice politics for the purpose of evangelism.

The goal of activism is not to defeat your enemy but to defeat the force that is making you hate each other. @AfroRising #Urbana15

— Urbana Missions (@UrbanaMissions) December 29, 2015

During the 2014-2015 school year, over 41,000 students and faculty participated in InterVarsity chapters across the country. Since 1946, five years after InterVarsity was established in the U.S., Urbana has joined thousands for four days of worship, seminar’s and discussion groups. This year’s conference hosted 16,000 students.

Bizarre Bills Blending U.S. Dollar and Jihadist Leaders Found in Northern Israel

The front of the bill featured images of the leaders of the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front. (Image source: Israel police spokesman)

Unusual currency notes merging the American $100 bill with photos of jihadist group leaders were found in northern Israel Tuesday, Israeli media reported, quoting police.

Israel’s Nana10 news site reported that the bills were found in the northern Israeli town of Sde Eliezer.

The notes feature a photo of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as well as the leader of the Nusra Front, known as Abu Mohammed al-Golani.

The front of the bill featured images of the leaders of the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front. (Image source: Israel police spokesman)

The back side of the bill had a photo of a slain militant and this Arabic warning which Nana reported read: “This is the end to filthy money. Return to Allah, because the good sinners are those who seek forgiveness in the end.”

The back side of the bill declared, “This is the end to filthy money.” (Image source: Israel police spokesman)

Israeli media suggested the currency note mock ups likely drifted over the border after being air dropped by Syrian jets as part of a propaganda campaign to encourage armed rebels into laying down their arms in exchange for amnesty.

Israeli police said Tuesday that they were investigating the origin of the bill which was being sent for a forensic analysis.

Earlier this year, the Islamic State posted images of gold coins it has minted that it hopes to one day put into wide circulation as the currency of the caliphate.

The “Islamic dinar” coins featured a map of the world and references to the Koran.

As Cruz Continues to Lead in Iowa, Trump Urges Voters to ‘Just Remember This’: ‘When You’re Casting Your Ballot, Remember…’

Businessman Donald Trump took a veiled jab at 2016 rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at an Iowa rally Tuesday night.

“Just remember this,” Trump told a crowd in Council Bluffs. “Just remember this. You got to remember in all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba.”

“Just remember that. Just remember. In all fairness, here we are,” the real estate mogul said while waving his copy of the Bible in the air. “Just remember that folks. When you’re casting your ballot, remember.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xo78F_yKc4&w=650&h=366]

Trump went on to tout how he has “so many pastors and so many ministers in favor” of his campaign.

“It’s just very important,” he said.

This is not the first time Trump has taken a veiled jab at Cruz’s religion. Earlier this month, he said: “I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba.”

The attack on Cruz comes as the Texas senator leads Trump in the Iowa polls. According to the Real Clear Politics average of the most recent polls, Cruz has a 2.8 percent lead over Trump in the Hawkeye State.

A spokesperson for the Cruz campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze.

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Follow @oliverdarcy

AP Poll: Americans More Likely to Support Preserving Religious Rights for Christians Than for Muslims

Pope Francis celebrates evening prayers at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Sept. 24, 2015. (Getty Images/VINCENZO PINTO/AFP)

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The majority of Americans believe it is more important to uphold the religious rights of Christians than Muslims, according to a new Associated Press/NORC poll released Wednesday.

Solid majorities said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to uphold religious freedom in general. However, the percentages varied dramatically when respondents were asked about specific faith traditions.

Pope Francis celebrates evening prayers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Sept. 24. (Getty Images/Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)

Eighty-two percent said religious liberty protections were important for Christians, compared with 61 percent who said the same for Muslims. About seven in 10 said preserving Jews’ religious freedom was important, while 67 percent said so of Mormons. People who identified with no religion were ranked about even with Muslims in needing support to live out their beliefs.

Republicans and Democrats largely agreed on the issue. Among Republicans, 88 percent said it was important to preserve the rights of Christians, while just 60 percent said the same of Muslims. On the other hand, 83 percent of Democrats said preserving the religious rights of Christians was important, compared to just 67 percent who said the same of Muslims.

Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, said the findings reflect deep divisions among Americans about the very definition of religious liberty.

“Religious freedom is now in the eye of the beholder,” Haynes said. “People in different traditions, with different ideological commitments, define religious freedom differently.”

The poll was conducted between Dec. 10-13, so more than a week after the Dec. 2 San Bernardino terror attack.

The survey of 1,042 adults was conducted via telephone and online. The margin of error is +/- 3.9 percent.

Bible Professor Believes This One ‘Mistranslated’ Word Means Eve Was Not Created From Adam’s Rib — but From a Very Different Body Part

Stained glass window depicting Adam and Eve expelled from Garden of Eden in the Cathedral of Tours, France (Photo: Shutterstock/Jorisvo)

A professor of the Bible in California has posed the theory that the Adam and Eve narrative in the book of Genesis was mistranslated and that Eve was created not out of Adam’s rib, but his baculum, or penis bone.

Ziony Zevit, a professor of biblical literature and Northwest Semitic languages at American Jewish University in California, recently presented his argument in an article in Biblical Archaeology Review based both on what he believes to be an erroneous translation for the Hebrew word for “rib” and also on the unique anatomy of the human male, one of the few mammals lacking a baculum.

He also pointed to the fact that men and women have the same number of ribs and that men have an even number of ribs, suggesting none are missing.

Stained glass window depicting Adam and Eve expelled from Garden of Eden in the Cathedral of Tours, France (Shutterstock/Jorisvo)

Zevit wrote that the translation of the Hebrew word “tsela” as “rib” was incorrect. In fact, leading Jewish Torah scholars have for centuries have been debating the meaning of the Hebrew word.

In a cover story in Biblical Archaeology Review, “Was Eve Made from Adam’s Rib—or His Baculum?,” Zevit argued that “tsela” appears 40 times in the Old Testament, but it was translated as “rib” only in the Adam and Eve context.

Elsewhere it was translated as “side,” referring to an object protruding from the main body.

“This Hebrew word occurs some 40 times in the Hebrew Bible, where it refers to the side of a building or of an altar or ark (Exodus 25:12; 26:20, 26; 1 Kings 6:34), a side-chamber (1 Kings 6:8; Ezekiel 41:6), or a branch of a mountain (2 Samuel 16:13),” Zevit wrote.

“In each of these instances, it refers to something off-center, lateral to a main structure. The only place where tsela might be construed as referring to a rib that branches off from the spinal cord is in Genesis 2:21–22,” he wrote.

Zevit believes “tsela” refers to “limbs lateral to the vertical axis of an erect human body: hands, feet, or, in the case of males, the penis.”

And the only one of those limbs lacking a bone is the penis. Eve’s creation from the penis bone could offer one explanation as to why humans differ from many other mammals in lacking the baculum, Zevit wrote.

In a 2007 article on the Union of Orthodox Rabbis website, Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University cited arguments from ancient and medieval Jewish scholars who also tried to determine if Eve was fashioned out of Adam’s rib, side or tail.

However, an article Tuesday in the Israeli Ha’aretz newspaper by contributor Elon Gilad cast doubt on Zevit’s mistranslation argument, citing other Semitic languages:

Not only is tzela “rib” in post-biblical Hebrew, it has cognates meaning rib in practically every Semitic language we know. That powerfully indicates that tzela meant “rib” thousands and thousands of years before proto-Semitic split up into the different Semitic languages: Aramaic has ala, Arabic has dhala, Akkadian has tzela. All these and other cognates are exactly in the form we would expect if the original proto-Semitic word slowly morphed into different words for rib as the different Semitic languages drifted apart.

Gilad pointed out that Genesis 2:21 specifically notes that “one of his ribs” was taken, suggesting it was an object of which Adam had many, and he observed, “For one, studying the verse in question, it is clear that God is taking something from Adam of which he has many: ‘And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof’ (Genesis 2:21).”

The word was first translated to “rib” in the third century B.C. Greek translation of the Bible from Hebrew, known as the Septuagint. The Septuagint translated the Hebrew “tsela” to the Greek word “pleura,” which means the “side of the body.” That could mean that the word may have been mistranslated from Greek, not Hebrew.

British Education Secretary Defends Prioritizing Religion Over Atheism in Schools: ‘Religious Traditions of Great Britain Are, in the Main, Christian’

Conservative Party Autumn Conference 2015 - Day 3

England’s Department for Education recently released new guidance regarding legal requirements for religious education in schools.

The document issued Sunday stated that secular schools do not have to give “equal parity” to non-religious views in their religious curricula.

British Education Secretary Nicky Morgan argued that schools should be free to prioritize religious teachings over atheism as Britain is a mainly Christian country.

Morgan’s statements came after humanists won a High Court case that found the government had unlawfully excluded atheistic views from the religious studies requirement specified under the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

Humanist groups said the verdict had “implications” for the curriculum, the BBC reported. Morgan disagreed.

British Education Secretary Nicky Morgan delivers her keynote speech to delegates during the Conservative Party Conference Oct. 6, 2015, in Manchester, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

“The guidance I have issued today makes absolutely clear that the recent judicial review will have no impact on what is currently being taught in religious education,” Morgan said.

The new guidelines confirm that non-religious schools must honor the fact that “religious traditions of Great Britain are, in the main, Christian,” while continuing to educate students on the teaching and practices of other prominent religions, too.

According to the BBC, Morgan was allegedly concerned that humanists were using the court ruling to pressure schools into giving non-religious views more prominence.

“I am clear that both faith and non-faith schools are completely entitled to prioritize the teaching of religion and faith over non-religious world views if they wish,” she said.

Morgan’s message comes after Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a Christmas speech in which he asserted that the U.K. remains a Christian country.

“This government is determined to protect schools’ freedom to set their own religious studies curriculum, in line with the wishes of parents and the local community,” Morgan said.

Report: Islamic State Morality Police Carry Out the Worst Punishment to a Mom Who Was Breastfeeding Her Baby Outdoors

Women living under Islamic State rule in Mosul, Iraq. (Screenshot: BBC/YouTube, FILE)

Female Islamic State morality enforcers killed a woman who was trying to quiet her crying baby by breastfeeding it outside, Britain’s Sunday Times reported.

According to the account which quoted an eyewitness who has since moved to Turkey, the atrocity took place in Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria.

Women living under Islamic State rule in Mosul, Iraq. (Screenshot: BBC/YouTube, FILE)

The Times reported that, though she was outdoors, the woman apparently was trying to hide what she was doing by sitting under a tree and tucking the child under her black burka.

However, a member of the Al-Khansaa Brigade, an all-woman patrol that enforces Islamic rules, saw her efforts to feed the baby.

“An [Islamic State] policewoman took the baby, gave it to another woman, and then killed the mother,” a former resident of Raqqa named Aisha told the Times.

TheBlaze is unable to independently authenticate the report.

Al-Khansaa was founded early last year and has drawn women from around the Muslim world, as well as European Muslim women, to join its ranks.

The Australian website news.com.au reported that an estimated 60 British women have joined the group.

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From a Preacher Dressed As Han Solo

A scene from Cosmic Christmas. Image source: Liquid Church

What do entrepreneurs and a pastor dressed as Han Solo have in common? A lot actually.

One of the great things about my job is getting to talk with incredible entrepreneurs and leaders about the strategies and values that make their organizations thrive. I recently had the privilege of interviewing my friend Tim Lucas, who launched a “Cosmic Christmas” campaign at his church, and the results have been incredible.

Tim is a pastor, but he’s also a savvy entrepreneur. He planted Liquid Church eight years ago in New Jersey, one of the most difficult regions in the country for church plants, and it has grown to 3,500 attendees a week.

A scene from Cosmic Christmas. Image source: Liquid Church

Like a business start-up, planting a church takes visionary leadership, the ability to time risks, resourceful strategy, and seamless team building, especially in New Jersey, where church isn’t typically the most talked-about thing in town. This Christmas, however, Tim and his team at Liquid Church set out to change that.

So far, it’s working. CBS, USA Today, TIME Magazine, and the Today Show are just a few of the many media outlets talking about the Cosmic Christmas buzz.

Why? Because on Christmas Eve, Liquid Church had a live nativity that replaces Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus with Princess Leia, Han Solo, and a Jawa. Sacrilege, right? Maybe. But the results have been hard to argue with after 7,000 people registered for their Christmas Eve service, doubling their average Sunday attendance.

What can entrepreneurs learn from Liquid Church and the Cosmic Christmas campaign?

1. Cultural Engagement

When entrepreneurs find opportunities for cultural engagement, they have the opportunity to break new ground. The beginning of that process is usually met with more skeptics and critics than friends and fans. As an entrepreneur, have confidence in the face of this skepticism by making sure that the cultural engagement you’re attempting has its roots in the core of your business.

Tim’s advice is to engage your target audience and consumers with things relevant to them. For Liquid Church, it’s taking the popularity of the Star Wars franchise and leveraging it to show the true story of Christmas.

“It’s not just a hook; we’re taking three weeks of the Christian year to take a popular myth and tell the true story of Christmas,” Tim said. Cultural engagement can be a hook, but its effectiveness is derived from the end product to which it eventually leads.

If your business is local, it may be good to engage with social and cultural happenings in the community around you. Look for ways to link your company to the things your target base cares about.

2. Timing Your Risks

When I first heard of Liquid Church’s Cosmic Christmas, my reaction was “What?!” And that’s exactly what Tim was hoping for. Tim told me, “We’re trying to cut through the noise and commercialism to get people to raise the question, ‘What’s that all about?’ Our answer is very simple. Come and see.”

The risk of the collective “what?!” from the public was worth it to Tim, because it gave Liquid Church the opportunity to say “come and see.”

One of the most difficult parts of entrepreneurship is constantly having to decide whether or not a risk is worth taking. The question is always, “How can I be confident in this risk?” The answer is timing. A well-timed risk can yield incredible confidence and, more importantly, results.

Tim’s ability to take risks in a timely and confident manner is something that was garnered over the course of Liquid Church’s eight year existence.

“We’ve built a trust with our user-base, our congregants. They say, ‘We don’t know how this is gonna fit together, and our pastor is preaching in a Han Solo costume, but we know (the risk) is going to be done with excellence, and in a way that doesn’t hit people in the head – in a way that is winsome.’ So we’ve cashed in on those chips relationally and pick our spots,” he said.

You can be confident in the risks you take when you’ve established trust both inside and outside of your company, and when the risks are well-timed with the direction in which your business is moving.

3. Know Your Origin Story

“I think every company, church, or organization needs a good origin story,” Tim said. “When people are thinking about getting onboard, they want to know your roots – your sense of place in time and history.”

As an entrepreneur, what drove you to begin your business? What is your “why”? What difference is your business making in the world?

Engaging clients with your origin story fosters the idea that they are part of what you’re doing. This also holds true for potential hires and investors. If they are able to see the macro-view of where you began, they will be able to see with clarity and excitement where your company is going. Sharing your story creates loyalty and a unified culture for everyone involved, which in turn will lead to word of mouth, repeat business and internal growth.

Following these three principles is a great starting point for taking your business to the next level. Take risks that are aligned with your company’s overall vision and strategy, and you might find the “Cosmic Christmas” idea that will take your business to the next level.

William Vanderbloemen is the co-author of “Next: Pastoral Succession That Works” and president/CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group, the leading executive search for churches, ministries, and faith-based organizations.

‘Social Jihad’: Why a New Jersey Imam is Calling on American Muslims to Join the U.S. Army, FBI and CIA

A New Jersey Muslim leader is urging members of his faith to join the U.S. Army and law enforcement agencies including the FBI and CIA, arguing that they should serve their country before asking the U.S. to serve them.

Sheikh Mohamed Moussa, in a sermon earlier this month at the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center, responded to a questions from Islamic-American youth about whether their faith allows them to enlist in the U.S. military.

“This is your country and you are required to serve it rather than wait for it to serve you,” Moussa told the congregation in Arabic. Excerpts of his speech were translated and posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Participating in military service is part of a concept Moussa referred to “social jihad.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM0mBOTRLNk&w=650&h=366]

“What does ‘social jihad’ mean? It means that we should join all the charities around, and compete for all the jobs and positions out there,” he said.

“Our youths still ask us: ‘Are we allowed to enlist in the [U.S.] Army?’ Of course you are. This is your country, so why shouldn’t you join the Army? This Army was created in order to protect you,” Moussa said.

Moussa recalled a conversation with a Muslim man who was offered a position as a doctor in the U.S. Marines, but was worried about accepting because he was afraid he might have to fight other Muslims. But the cleric said he told the man he had nothing to worry about, since so many armed conflicts in the world today are being fought by Muslims against Muslims.

“You are a citizen here. Join the police. Why not? Join the FBI. If the CIA will have you, join it. There is nothing wrong with this. These are the country’s institutions. Law enforcement, jobs in education, join whatever you can. This is your country and you are required to serve it rather than wait for it to serve you,” he said.

Muslims should become U.S. police officers, Moussa added, because they have the cultural sensitivity to know “the right way to treat our women and daughters.”