Christianity 101 is in Iraq!

The Christianity 101 books have found their way around the world to such places as England, Australia, the Phillippines...and Iraq! We got an email from a soldier stationed there. His wife had sent him a few of the books, including "Bible Answers to Life's Big Questions. " We will post more pictures from this great guy and his family in the days ahead, and we will tell you a little of their story.

Oh Baby!

I can't help it. I'm a new grandfather, and I just have to show you a picture of Jackson, my new grandson. He's less than 24 hours old in this photo, but already I can see signs of great intelligence and superior athletic ability. I know it's a little risky to be talking about grandchildren in the context of a site like this. For one thing, who wants to hear somebody brag about their grandkids. It can get nauseating. For another, telling you that I have grandkids (Jackson is actually my third) makes it virtually impossible for me to seem like a hip guy. So, I admit it. I'm old enough for grandchildren. But then again, so is my wife, and in my opinion, she's still got it going on. So at the risk of being unhip, I am letting you know. Being a grandpa is pretty nice.

Lee Strobel talks about Creation

Bruce & Stan sit down with Lee Stobel to discuss Creation and Intelligent Design.

China Here I Come!

I love the Olympics! Next summer the Olympic Games will be held in China, and I want to go there so badly. I once had a dream to try for the Thailand national team in the shot put, but that was before I found out that Thailand doesn't have a national track team. No big deal. If they had a team, I probably wouldn't have qualified. My best distance is only 15 feet. I think the world record is something like 50 feet.

Even if I can't compete as an athlete, I still want to go to China and attend as a spectator. Better yet, I'd like to go as a field reporter for News. Wouldn't that be cool? Let me know what you think. Post your comments so the guys at Conversant will know I have a groundswell of supporters.

It would be very cheap to send me. I can fly on Air Thailand (I get a discount because I was born in Thailand), and then I can stay in the Olympic Village instead of a fancy hotel.

Is This What It's All About?

Perhaps you've read about the investigation being conducted by the Senate Finance Committee into the alleged financial irregularities of some high-profile Christian ministries. If not, check out the two articles posted by some Conversant users (see User Submitted News). Hopefully you won't get as sick to your stomach as I am. Or perhaps you are so jaded that this kind of stuff doesn't surprise you.

Anyone who's followed the so-called prosperity gospel teachers knows that these ministry leaders have taken full advantage of two gigantic "loopholes" that allow them to collect and keep vast amounts of money. The first loophole is found in Scripture, and it's a doozy. The typical gospel huckster takes a few verses completely out of context and basically twists them to conclude that God wants every one of His followers to be filthy, stinking rich. But not until they give money to the particular ministry that's sharing this valuable information with them. So millions of dollars roll in, which leads us to the second loophole.

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Biblicallly illiterate?

"The person who doesn't read the Bible is no better off than the person who can't read the Bible." Those words were once uttered by Dan Jantz, legendary Christian bookseller and the father of Stan. Dan said it to illustrate that biblical illiteracy isn't restricted to those who aren't able to read the Bible, either because they are literally illiterate (there's a mouthful), or because they don't have access to a Bible. In a culture surrounded by the Word of God in multiple translations and versions, those who rarely (or never) crack open a Bible may as well be lumped together with those who can't read, or who don't have the privilege of owning even a portion of Scripture.

There are regions in the world where Bibles are rare, either for economic reasons or because the government in power frowns on it. Christians in these places are thrilled to have even a single book of the Bible to read. How sad that those of us living in an area overflowing with Bibles spend so little time reading it.

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Christianity Has an Image Problem

I just picked up a copy of "unChristian," a somewhat startling book by Dave Kinnaman. Dave is the president of The Barna Group, a research organization that specializes in providing resources "that facilitate spiritual transformation in people's lives." The information in his new book came out of a research project that revealed "the increasingly negative reputation of Christians, especially among young Americans." The results aren't good. According to Kinnaman, most people looking at Christianity from the outside think it no longer represents "what Jesus had in mind." For many people, the Christian faith "looks weary and threadbare."

While I don't think Christians should make it a goal to win popularity contests, we should be concerned if people perceive that we no longer represent the substance of our name. It's one thing for people to criticize Christianity for being out of touch with culture. That's not always a bad things. But when they conclude that we no longer follow Christ--whether that's true or not--that's a really bad thing.

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What’s So Great about Christianity?

Dr. Craig Hazen, Director of Apologetics at Biola University, answers this increasingly common question.

Tags | Belief

An Introduction

You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Shouldn’t the same be true in regard to movies?

Let’s try an experiment…

If tied to a chair and forced to make a statement, I would probably confess to Anglophile tendencies (the early suspense comedies of Alfred Hitchcock, the dreamy fantasies of Michael Powell, the pessimistic tone poems of Carol Reed), with a soft spot for what Carlos Clarens calls the “classic era” of horror and science fiction (1895-1967). I find few things more bracing than the existential puzzles of Alain Resnais (Last Year at Marienbad, Muriel), few things more heartbreaking than the spiritual inquiries of Robert Bresson (A Man Escaped, Pickpocket), but I also like to unwind to the soothing rhythms of an old fashioned Disney adventure (Treasure Island, In Search of the Castaways) or a Charlie Brown holiday special. I prefer Buster Keaton slightly to Charlie Chaplin (although there’s room in my heart for both), French crime, Italian neorealism, and anything with Orson Welles’s name attached to it (yes, even the wine commercials). I also sometimes think that happiness is watching Laurel and Hardy perform a soft shoe dance.
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Tags | Film

Compassionless Christians

On the user-generated posts, "surferguy" posted an article about the Westboro Baptist Church. This is the church that continues to protest at the grave site of Matthew Shepard on the anniversary of his death with "God Hates Faggots" signs. The church claims that the War (and therefore theses casualties) are God's judgment upon the U.S. for being tolerant of homosexuality. So, they protest at funerals of soldiers -- these aren't necessarily the funerals of gay soldiers, just any soldiers, straight or gay. According to the article posted by surferguy, the church has been stung with an $11 million judgment for protesting at a funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq at which they caused emotional suffering to the parents of the deceased soldier.

How is it possible that Christians, or any thinking person, could engage in such dispicable behavior. Even if homosexuality is a sin, is not the cruel taunting by the Westboro pharisees during a family's grief equally repulsive to God? Can they not see that their conduct is the opposite of everything Christ stands for?

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