Monthly Archives: September 2014

10 Questions for the Kinsey Institute:

1)      The founder of the Kinsey Institute, Alfred Kinsey, co-authored, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female and Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Both publications are currently in print and widely available.

Regarding pedophilia, in the Female volume, Kinsey writes:

“It is difficult to understand why a child, except for its cultural conditioning, should be disturbed at having its genitalia touched, or disturbed at seeing the genitalia of other persons, or disturbed at even more specific sexual contacts… Adult contacts…are not likely to do the child any appreciable harm if the child’s parents do not become disturbed.”

Please explain:

  • If the current position of the Kinsey Institute is that adult-child sexual contact is an acceptable and harmless behavior under any circumstance.
  • The Institute’s position on pedophilia or “adult/child sexual contact” of any kind.
  • If the institute has repudiated the position represented in the above quote, please also provide the earliest repudiation statement in context and the date it was made. Also, please provide a list of any other statements or conclusions presented in this volume that have been repudiated, withdrawn or otherwise modified by the Institute.

2)   In the book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Kinsey, states that bestiality, (human sex with animals) is a “normal” part of life, and that therapists should “reassure” people who practice bestiality that it is a normal sexual behavior (p. 677). Currently, bestiality is illegal in the majority of UN Member States. Please explain to the Committee in detail what the Kinsey Institute’s position is on bestiality today.

3)   Please explain how the data on child orgasms (including from infants and toddlers) in Table 34 (below) ofSexual Behavior in the Human Male were obtained? Specifically, please make available the following: 

table34

  • Information on how the Institute came in contact with the pedophiles who conducted the sexual experimentation on children.
  • All files relating to the communications the Kinsey Institute or their past or present staff members had with the pedophiles who allegedly brought these children to orgasm.
  • Information on any follow up efforts to see the impact on the sexual development and well-being of children who were subject of the sexual experiments by pedophiles that were document in Table 34..
  • Information on any attempts by the Kinsey Institute to report illegal sexual activities with children to authorities.
  • Information on any current or past Kinsey Institute researchers, employees, staff, or affiliates that have been arrested for child molestation or other serious crimes.

4)   Please explain why the Kinsey Institute has cosponsored at least one event with and raised funds for the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, which advocates for many things that are illegal in numerous UN Member States, including sex with multiple partners, bondage sex, anal sex, homosexuality, and the public display of pornography.

5)   Regarding the Kinsey Institute’s new cellular phone app, “The Kinsey Reporter,” (www.kinseyreporter.org), and which the Institute is encouraging people around the world to download to their phones, please explain:

  • Why, on the website, the Institute tells people, “by using the Kinsey Reporter, you are contributing to the research on human sexual behavior,” but then also states on the page that describes the app that the data have no scientific value. Please explain this discrepancy.
  • Your representative stated in her testimony to the Committee that the Kinsey Institute is a research organization. Since the Institute admits that the data collected through the app have no research or scientific value, what is the Institute’s purpose for asking people to report on the type of pornography they are watching and the sex acts they are engaged in or witnessing? Please explain in detail why such information is being collected by the Institute on an international basis and the purpose for the interactive world map where the sex data are posted.
  • Is it the intention of the Institute to allow the sex data collected through this app or by any other means to be used by advocacy organizations to modify or repeal laws relating to sexual behavior in any UN Member States?

6)   Conclusive scientific evidence accumulating over the past decade shows that pornography can alter normal brain structure and function and can become addictive for many people.  Research also shows that the harmful effects are particularly severe in young people.  Since the Kinsey Institute collects and preserves an extensive collection of erotic and pornographic movies, books, and magazines, including depictions of homosexual and heterosexual sex acts, and periodically makes this kind of material available to the public, please explain in detail:

  • How the Institute, an organization that states it is dedicated to the promotion of “sexual health,” reconciles its position on pornography, which is not only unhealthy, but is illegal in many UN Member States.
  •  Whether any of the erotic or pornographic materials in the Kinsey collection depict the nudity of children or could be considered in any way to be child pornography. (Please provide a list of all of the titles in the Kinsey collection.)
  • The Institute’s purpose for collecting this material and making it available to the public.
  • Whether the Institute would ever exhibit its collection at the United Nations or in any UN Member State, and if so, under what circumstances.

7)   It is widely reported that the founder of the Kinsey Institute, Alfred Kinsey, engaged adultery, masochistic masturbation and in heterosexual and homosexual sex (with his students, staff and their spouses), and made pornographic films, including filming the sex acts of his co-workers and students as part of his scientific research, even though many of these activities were illegal at the time, and are illegal in many UN Member States today. Please explain in detail:

  • Which, if any, of these research techniques are still used by the Institute currently or are condoned by the Institute as acceptable research techniques.
  • If the Institute intends to gather data on any of these behaviors in any UN Member State in which these behaviors are illegal.
  • The Institute’s policy on respecting the national, state and local laws in any country in which it may become active.

8)   In 1949, in Kinsey’s testimony before the California Subcommittee on Sex Crimes, he stated that the research conducted by the Institute confirms that sex offenders do not re-offend. He then called for full parole for all sex criminals without exception. These positions are directly contrary to extensive research showing the high incidence of repeat sex crimes by sex offenders. This problem is so severe that a number of countries have instituted mandatory sex offender registries to warn communities and law enforcement regarding the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders. Please explain what the position is of the Kinsey Institute on these issues today? If it has repudiated this position statement by Dr. Kinsey, please provide evidence of such.  

9)   There are reports that Kinsey Institute research has been subsidized by sex industry businesses that may benefit financially from its findings and, therefore, the findings might be biased or compromised. Please provide the following:

  • A list of any sex industry businesses or leaders (i.e., any individuals, companies, organizations, or businesses that profit from the sale of pornography or explicit images via the Internet, magazines, videos or any other medium) that have made financial contributions of $1,000 or more to the Kinsey Institute since its founding.
  •  Any current or past connections, if any, that the current or past Kinsey Institute staff, researchers or associates may have had to sex industry businesses, as per above..

10)   In “The Kinsey Reports” volumes, the Kinsey Institute continues to publish controversial sex research that it has admitted was based on flawed methodology and not based on random or representative samples. Numerous critics over the years have pointed out that, in a similar position, any responsible research institute would have withdrawn and/or repudiated its questionable findings and ceased to perpetuate them. The fact that the Kinsey Institute has not done so, critics say, is proof that it is not a research organization as it claimed in its testimony before the Committee, but rather a group that is fabricating science to be used to advocate for legal and social change on controversial laws and policies related to sex and sexuality. Please explain in detail:

  • How the Kinsey Institute responds to such criticism.
  • All efforts the Kinsey Institute has made to correct, withdraw or repudiate Kinsey published sex research findings known to not be based on sound scientific methodology, or which failed to use random and representative samples.

http://www.stopthekinseyinstitute.org/

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Who am I in Christ?

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Breaking the Silence: Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me – and Our Children

The push to present a positive image of same-sex families has hidden the devastation on which many are built. We must stand for marriage—and for the precious lives that marriage creates.

Every time a new state redefines marriage, the news is full of happy stories of gay and lesbian couples and their new families. But behind those big smiles and sunny photographs are other, more painful stories. These are left to secret, dark places. They are suppressed, and those who would tell them are silenced in the name of “marriage equality.”

But I refuse to be silent.

I represent one of those real life stories that are kept in the shadows. I have personally felt the pain and devastation wrought by the propaganda that destroys natural families.

The Divorce

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved—the life we had built together—was shattered.

I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

Try as I might to save our marriage, there was no stopping my husband. Our divorce was not settled in mediation or with lawyers. No, it went all the way to trial. My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

I truly believe that judge was legislating from the bench, disregarding the facts of our particular case and simply using us—using our children— to help influence future cases. In our society, LGBT citizens are seen as marginalized victims who must be protected at all costs, even if it means stripping rights from others. By ignoring the injustice committed against me and my children, the judge seemed to think that he was correcting a larger injustice.

My husband had left us for his gay lover. They make more money than I do. There are two of them and only one of me. Even so, the judge believed that they were the victims. No matter what I said or did, I didn’t have a chance of saving our children from being bounced around like so many pieces of luggage.

A New Same-Sex Family—Built On the Ruins of Mine

My ex-husband and his partner went on to marry. Their first ceremony took place before our state redefined marriage. After it created same-sex marriage, they chose to have a repeat performance. In both cases, my children were forced—against my will and theirs—to participate. At the second ceremony, which included more than twenty couples, local news stations and papers were there to document the first gay weddings officiated in our state. USA Today did a photo journal shoot on my ex and his partner, my children, and even the grandparents. I was not notified that this was taking place, nor was I given a voice to object to our children being used as props to promote same-sex marriage in the media.

At the time of the first ceremony, the marriage was not recognized by our state, our nation, or our church. And my ex-husband’s new marriage, like the majority of male-male relationships, is an “open,” non-exclusive relationship. This sends a clear message to our children: what you feel trumps all laws, promises, and higher authorities. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want—and it doesn’t matter who you hurt along the way.

After our children’s pictures were publicized, a flood of comments and posts appeared. Commenters exclaimed at how beautiful this gay family was and congratulated my ex-husband and his new partner on the family that they “created.” But there is a significant person missing from those pictures: the mother and abandoned wife. That “gay family” could not exist without me.

There is not one gay family that exists in this world that was created naturally.

Every same-sex family can only exist by manipulating nature. Behind the happy façade of many families headed by same-sex couples, we see relationships that are built from brokenness. They represent covenants broken, love abandoned, and responsibilities crushed. They are built on betrayal, lies, and deep wounds.

This is also true of same-sex couples who use assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy or sperm donation to have children. Such processes exploit men and women for their reproductive potential, treat children as products to be bought and sold, and purposely deny children a relationship with one or both of their biological parents. Wholeness and balance cannot be found in such families, because something is always missing.I am missing. But I am real, and I represent hundreds upon thousands of spouses who have been betrayed and rejected.

If my husband had chosen to stay, I know that things wouldn’t have been easy. But that is what marriage is about: making a vow and choosing to live it out, day after day. In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, spouses must choose to put the other person first, loving them even when it’s hard.

A good marriage doesn’t only depend on sexual desire, which can come and go and is often out of our control. It depends on choosing to love, honor, and be faithful to one person, forsaking all others. It is common for spouses to be attracted to other people—usually of the opposite sex, but sometimes of the same sex. Spouses who value their marriage do not act on those impulses. For those who find themselves attracted to people of the same sex, staying faithful to their opposite-sex spouse isn’t a betrayal of their true identity. Rather, it’s a decision not to let themselves be ruled by their passions. It shows depth and strength of character when such people remain true to their vows, consciously striving to remember, honor, and revive the love they had for their spouses when they first married.

My Children Deserve Better

Our two young children were willfully and intentionally thrust into a world of strife and combative beliefs, lifestyles, and values, all in the name of “gay rights.” Their father moved into his new partner’s condo, which is in a complex inhabited by sixteen gay men. One of the men has a 19-year-old male prostitute who comes to service him. Another man, who functions as the father figure of this community, is in his late sixties and has a boyfriend in his twenties. My children are brought to gay parties where they are the only children and where only alcoholic beverages are served. They are taken to transgender baseball games, gay rights fundraisers, and LGBT film festivals.

Both of my children face identity issues, just like other children. Yet there are certain deep and unique problems that they will face as a direct result of my former husband’s actions. My son is now a maturing teen, and he is very interested in girls. But how will he learn how to deal with that interest when he is surrounded by men who seek sexual gratification from other men? How will he learn to treat girls with care and respect when his father has rejected them and devalues them? How will he embrace his developing masculinity without seeing his father live out authentic manhood by treating his wife and family with love, honoring his marriage vows even when it’s hard?

My daughter suffers too. She needs a dad who will encourage her to embrace her femininity and beauty, but these qualities are parodied and distorted in her father’s world. Her dad wears make-up and sex bondage straps for Halloween. She is often exposed to men dressing as women. The walls in his condo are adorned with large framed pictures of women in provocative positions. What is my little girl to believe about her own femininity and beauty? Her father should be protecting her sexuality. Instead, he is warping it.

Without the guidance of both their mother and their father, how can my children navigate their developing identities and sexuality? I ache to see my children struggle, desperately trying to make sense of their world.

My children and I have suffered great losses because of my former husband’s decision to identify as a gay man and throw away his life with us. Time is revealing the depth of those wounds, but I will not allow them to destroy me and my children. I refuse to lose my faith and hope. I believe so much more passionately in the power of the marriage covenant between one man and one woman today than when I was married. There is another way for those with same-sex attractions. Destruction is not the only option—it cannot be. Our children deserve far better from us.

This type of devastation should never happen to another spouse or child. Please, I plead with you: defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. We must stand for marriage—and for the precious lives that marriage creates.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/09/13692/

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The Quran, the Bible, and the Islamic Dilemma

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Chapman Center to be Built on Moody’s Chicago Campus

A generous gift from Dr. Gary and Karolyn Chapman has been given to Moody for the establishment of the Chapman Center on its Chicago campus.
The historic announcement was made by Moody Global Ministries’ president, Dr. Paul Nyquist, during a Sept. 16 town hall meeting with the staff, faculty and students. It took place in Torrey-Gray Auditorium on Moody’s Chicago campus, with campuses in Spokane, Wash., and Plymouth, Mich., and owned and operated Moody Radio stations around the country, joining via a live video webcast.

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Preleminary artist rendition of the Chapman Center.
Dr. and Mrs. Chapman were on hand for the announcement, along with their daughter, Shelley, whose presence and touching tribute was a surprise to her parents. Dr. Nyquist announced that just north of the Sweeting Center on Moody’s Chicago campus, the new four-story, 50,000-square-foot Chapman Center will house the following.
Gary D. Chapman Library and Exhibit:
This will include a full collection of Dr. Chapman’s works and counseling resources. A multi-media exhibit celebrating the life and ministry of Dr. Chapman in the area of marriage and family will be open to the general public

Moody Theological Seminary (MTS) Counseling Clinic and Study Center:
Featuring a separate, private entrance for clients utilizing counseling services, the clinic will provide valuable practicum experience for students enrolled in MTS’ Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP) and Moody Bible Institute’s (MBI) Pre-Counseling major.

The Gary D. Chapman Chair of Marriage and Family:
Current Chair Dr. John Trent will be located in close proximity to the counseling clinic, Moody Publishers and Moody Radio. This will help foster collaboration as Dr. Trent serves as Moody’s voice on marriage and family.

Global Media Center:
Moody Radio and Moody Publishers will reside and collaborate in this state-of-the-art space in the areas of digital publishing, multimedia production and Internet technology. It will also serve as a hands-on laboratory for training MBI’s Communications students in a real-world media environment.
“The Chapman Center will help propel Moody into an unprecedented expansion of education, radio and publishing ministry in our 129-year history,” said Dr. Nyquist.
“The Chapman Center will build on the Chapman’s legacy in marriage and family, as well as media and conference ministry,” said Dr. Nyquist. “We are extremely grateful for the Chapman’s gift, along with the gifts and prayers of many others toward this effort, which will result in an unparalleled number of people here and around the globe being reached with Christ’s message of hope.”
After the announcement, Dr. Chapman addressed those in attendance, reflecting on his heart for Moody and appreciation for the ministry. “Karolyn and I are grateful for the opportunity to have an impact on the next generation, and the vision for the Chapman Center that Dr. Nyquist and the leadership at Moody presented to us was exciting,” said Dr. Chapman, a 1958 graduate of Moody Bible Institute and author of Moody Publishers’ #1 New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages.
“We know that God’s blessings are always so that we can bless others,” said Dr. Chapman. “Our prayers will always accompany our gift. We appreciate all that Moody does for the Kingdom.”
Dr. Chapman speaks to thousands of couples nationwide through his weekend marriage conferences, and he also hosts a nationally syndicated Moody Radio program, A Love Language Minute, and a Saturday morning program, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, on almost 400 stations.
Following Dr. Chapman’s address to the staff, faculty and students of Moody, assistant professor of music at MBI Desirée Hassler sang “Find us Faithful.” Moody Board of Trustees member Richard E. Warren prayed, and a time of worship concluded the historic town hall meeting.

A construction timetable for the Chapman Center is currently being developed, with more information to be announced in early 2015.

http://www.moodyglobal.org/news/gary-karolyn-chapman-center/#sthash.y8Aeo7r9.dpuf

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Kate Shellnutt: Jesus Loves the Little Children… But I Don’t

A childless millennial’s quest to become a “kid person.”

To say I don’t have kids is an understatement. I barely interact with children, save for brief conversations with friends and fellow churchgoers with offspring in tow.

I can’t remember the last time I changed a diaper, pushed a stroller, or let a kid win at board games. When a friend passed her newborn to me this spring, I admitted it had been years since I held a baby.

And in 2014, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s no longer a given in our society that every woman, or even every married woman, will have kids or want to have kids.

Absolutely, marriage and family remain a priority in Christian and evangelical circles. It may seem like a week doesn’t go by without another pregnancy announcement popping up on Facebook or another desperate plea to help with the full church nursery, but in general, Americans are having fewer kids. Actually, fewer kids than ever.

Among us childbirth-delaying millennials, it’s not uncommon for whole circles of friends—20-somethings and 30-somethings—to be childfree. We live in a society where we have fewer opportunities to interact with children because, in general, everybody—our brothers and sisters (if we have siblings—more of us are only children than ever), our classmates, our coworkers, our neighbors—are less likely to have them.

Here’s how TIME outlined the numbers in its “The Childfree Life” cover story:

The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history, which includes the fertility crash of the Great Depression. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%.

A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.

Even before the recession hit, in 2008, the proportion of women ages 40 to 44 who had never given birth had grown by 80%, from 10% to 18%, since 1976, when a new vanguard began to question the reproductive imperative.

For married women who don’t have kids, or simply don’t have kids yet, an increasingly childless culture can take the pressure off. There are still people who badger, “When are you going to have kids?,” but that question doesn’t come up as much when surrounded by kid-free friends.

And not only do some childless folks not want kids of their own, they also don’t want to be around other people’s kids. Our worst kid-hatred comes out during travel (leading to a new airline class “for the child-intolerant” in Asia), but also atrestaurants, in movies, and on Facebook.

Some of the most unabashedly childfree won’t keep their preferences secret when faced with rambunctious offspring. They’ll tell you in a “no-offense,” joking tone: “That’s why I’m never having kids.” Or, “Aren’t you sick of them?” Deep down, they mean it.

Parents, of all people, are in on it too. Social media updates gripe about their kids of all ages, as if they’re a part of the anti-kid PR team: Pregnancy’s gross! Babies are a mess! Kids interfere with your plans! The whole thing is too expensive!

The most talked about parenting book of the year, Jennifer Senior’s New York Times bestseller, All Joy and No Fun, argued that happiness may be a misguided expectation for childrearing. “Senior scrupulously chronicles the lack of fun. The joy, she admits, is difficult to quantify,” writes onereview.

Parents also gush about their kids—but the conversation about children can so quickly skew negative, with rarely any pushback for the child-averse. No one dares to question a person who “just doesn’t like kids.”

There are plenty of single people and childless people who love kids, but for a while, I was not one of them. Never struck with baby fever, I distanced myself from children and occasionally repeated smug lines about the perks and freedoms of childlessness.

That changed once my best friend revealed to me earlier this year that she was going to have a baby. I didn’t have to fake my excitement; I started crying right in the baby section of Target, where I happened to be shopping for a gift when she called. I knew this was not going to be some tiny human that I could nod approvingly toward and then ignore. This was my best friend’s baby, and both of them were going to be a part of my life for a long time.

I started paying more attention to the mothers I knew and to their kids—no matter how sad their fussy faces, how sticky their fingers, how nonsensical their questions. I willed myself to like them. I reminded myself that there were many topics that Jesus was silent on in Scripture, but how we should treat children was not one of them.

In Mark, Jesus takes a child into his arms and tells the disciples, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mark 9:36-37, ESV). In Matthew, he says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). The Savior of the world is not too busy or too holy for playtime. His call to care for children is as direct and straightforward as, “Love thy neighbor.” Even if your neighbor can’t quiet talk or walk or read yet.

Little by little, my fear and dismissal of parenting has grown into downright awe. I still find kids to be annoying and needy and cringe at wailing babies and dripping toddler noses, but I’m trying. There are lessons to be learned from the mouths of babes.

People may have a range of reasons for not wanting or not liking children, but I realized that my kid-aversion had its roots in a familiar, dark place: my desire for control. As every parent will tell you, and has told me, kids don’t come with a foolproof guide. From the littlest moments (Why are you crying?) to the biggest questions (How will you turn out?), we won’t always be able to figure them out, to program them, to raise them perfectly. Even as a non-parent, that frustrates me and scares me.

The childless-inept, perhaps, can remember that Christ is with us in the nursery and at babysitting time too. It is God who qualifies us, who takes our obedient, open-hearted not enoughs and multiplies them to more than we expect.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2014/september/jesus-loves-little-children-but-i-dont-.html?paging=off

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Needtobreathe bounces back after crisis point

Needtobreathe is still one of my favorite bands today. But after seeing them in concert about two years ago, I thought they were just another “Christian” band that made it mainstream and were slowly fading away from having anything to do with God. I still remember the surprise and the feeling of disbelief I had when I listened to their first couple songs off their new album, Rivers in the Wasteland! I remember thinking, “Did they just sing about God?!”, and pressing repeat to play the song over again. I have learned that at their concerts they go into a little bit more detail of what caused the change, either way I am glad they are back and ready to go! 

Bo Rinehart describes Needtobreathe’s latest release, April 15’s “Rivers in the Wasteland,” as “the toughest record we had to make.”

Rinehart says after 14 years together, he and band mates Bear (his brother) and Seth Bolt were feeling the stress.

“We were trying to chase our opportunities as much as possible. There are only so many things we can control, and you never know if you’re going to get a good break or what’s going to happen that’s out of your control,” Rinehart says.

Over the years, the South Carolina rock band — which plays tonight at the Gillioz Theatre — has seen considerable success. Every year since 2008, the band has been nominated for a GMA Dove Award. Every year since 2009, Needtobreathe has taken home awards for nearly every category in which the band has been nominated, including five wins for Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year and three wins for Group of the Year.

But the pressure just got to be too much, Rinehart says.

“It was a downward spiral from there. We put a lot of added pressure that we didn’t need,” he says. “…We just kept hitting a wall and at some point we had to take a break and slow things down and regroup and figure out what was most important.

“Early on as things started to get bad, you start to blame one another. We, of course, went down that path. It took us a minute. We finally had to step back from the project for a couple of months before we started realizing we needed each other and our identity didn’t need to be Needtobreathe. Our identity is in Christ,” Rinehart says.

Rinehart says that realization changed everything for “Rivers in the Wasteland,” which is ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart.

“I think it crossed all of our minds that this could end any second. I think really embracing that concept and that idea was what allowed us to step away from it fully for those three months and get our heads on straight.

“We wanted to know if we backed away from this right now, would that be OK?” he says.

They realized it would be, that there were more important things than the band.

“I began writing songs immediately once that release and surrender came. I felt that was the freedom I needed to keep going,” Rinehart says.

It also liberated the band from overworking the sound in the studio.

“We just really wanted to make a record that was as honest as we could be. The best way we could do that was to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable so some of the errors and mistakes would show up in the music,” he says.

Rinehart says the result was worth the journey.

“I think the excitement is back. We’re completely ready, we’re anxious. This is the first time in a long time that we’ve been sitting at home jotting down what we need to do during the sets,” he says. “We have a love for what we do. The show will be fun. It’s going to be loud at times, it’s going to be intimate at times, but I think we’re ready for putting on a show that’s the best of Needtobreathe and what we can do.”

http://www.news-leader.com/story/entertainment/weekend/2014/05/01/needtobreathe-bounces-back-crisis-point/8494329/

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City Harmonic’s Elias Dummer on Unifying Hometown Area of Toronto

When The City Harmonic finally decided to make a go at it as a band, the four band members weren’t exactly kids.

In fact, some had kids of their own. Married. In their late 20s.

“The rock star dreams were long gone,” said the band’s lead singer, Elias Dummer, now 31, with a self-deprecating laugh.

But if you’ve ever seen The City Harmonic live, you don’t have to squint to see how they could be rock stars in another life, filling arenas like Coldplay and Arcade Fire, some of the piano rock bands their sound has been oft-compared to.

And while the stage presence of Dummer on the piano during an anthem of their biggest hit “Manifesto” could be easily compared to Coldplay’s energetic Chris Martin, Dummer’s career goal has never been to fill stadiums or entertain the masses.

“One of the things we’ve really come to terms with in a big way is why do we bother to do what we do?” Dummer said. “Why do we do worship music?”

It’s a question that’s equal parts rhetorical and motivational.

The band comprised of four guys from four different churches from the Toronto suburb of Hamilton, Ontario, find themselves not just making good music that sells on iTunes, but bringing people closer to God.

All you had to do was take one look at the crowd, worshiping during their set at the Three Rivers Festival of Hope last month at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

And if you missed their show in Pittsburgh, you can watch them on Friday night here at theGreater Toronto Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (ET). The City Harmonic will perform live, along with Newsboys and the Toronto Mass Choir.

More than 600 churches have come together to reach Toronto, a city where more than 160 languages are spoken.

“I really respect and admire the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,” Dummer said. “That’s one of the greatest fruits of these events, is getting churches to work together on a common ground.”

Seeing people come to Christ certainly makes it a bit easier for Dummer to keep doing what he’s doing. But it doesn’t mean being a Christian artist and husband and father of four young children doesn’t have its challenges. And it goes beyond the intense travel schedule.

For starters, three of the four members were on track to enter full-time ministry of some sort. And now? They’re making a joyful noise? For a living?

“We’re in a sense pastors, really, where music just happened to work out for us,” said Dummer, who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and four children ages 7 and under. “We’re kind of always wrestling with the tension of what it supposedly means to be in Christian music compared to what it means to make great art.”

But if there’s a place in Canada that appreciates that art, it’s the melting pot of Toronto-the big city 40 miles north of where Dummer grew up-that now has more residents born outside of Canada than inside.

“You can find a subculture with almost anything in Toronto,” Dummer said. “There’s a community of every kind. There’s a sense where that diversity is right in front of you all the time.”

Toronto-and Canada as a whole-is also very much a post-Christian society, which isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to winning people to Christ.

“In a lot of ways you don’t have to undo the work of the church,” Dummer said. “You don’t have to deal with all the assumptions of what Christianity is. You just have to deal with who Jesus is.”

The guys from The City Harmonic have seen firsthand how much Christians can accomplish when the Church strips away the denominational divides and works together. TrueCity, in fact, is a living testimony of this.

Ten years ago, when national Canadian publications were labeling the dilapidated steel town of Hamilton as the “Armpit of Canada,” according to Dummer, many of the urban Hamilton churches, as well as some in the suburbs, created TrueCity as a way to band together and make a difference in Hamilton.

An event called Cross Culture started, where people of all denominations came together to worship the same God. The four guys, who became the house band-Dummer, Eric Fusilier, Aaron Powell and Josh Vanderlaan-are now The City Harmonic. But more importantly than that, Christians started to roll up their sleeves and make a difference in their community.

“It was this idea of missional living,” Dummer said. “Being involved in your community in an intentional way.”

Ten years later, that same publication just named Hamilton the “No. 1 real estate investment opportunity in Canada,” Dummer said. “It’s just God uniting churches in Hamilton.”

And Dummer knows that exact same thing can happen in Toronto, surrounding this weekend’s Festival of Hope. It starts with churches locking arms together.

For the kingdom.

“At the end of the day, if it’s one thing we can do for evangelism,” Dummer said, “something like this with a united front speaks volumes.”

http://www.crossmap.com/news/city-harmonics-elias-dummer-on-unifying-hometown-area-of-toronto-12120

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GOOD NEWS! SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL AWAKENING IN JAPAN by Michael Oh & Brett Rayl

Japan is known by many to be a difficult mission field. But for those who know missions in Japan well, the phrase “hard mission field” is merely a euphemism for a grimmer expression that was previously used about Africa, one that has been recently applied to Japan: “the missionary’s graveyard.” One would expect such a bleak designation to be used in reference to a land known for physical hardship or violent persecution, and there have been martyrs in Japan’s Christian history. That is not the case today, however. Religious worker visas are readily available, and the Japanese often politely thank missionaries for coming to their country.

This missionary graveyard reputation does not result from missionary deaths; rather, it results from the death of missionary careers. Serving for years amid great spiritual oppression with little to no apparent spiritual fruit has led numerous missionaries and entire agencies to abandon Japan or transfer the work to another field. Supporting churches and sending agencies have often discouraged missionaries from pursuing ministry in Japan. The words of one recruiter for another mission field summarize the thoughts of many: “Japan had its chance.”

Meanwhile, Japan is more spiritually needy than ever. Remarkably high suicide and depression rates attest to the inward longings and deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. The people long for refuge from earthquakes and nuclear catastrophe and desire rescue from rampant bullying and sexual exploitation.

Pertinent Questions

What does it look like just before an unreached people group becomes reached?

What does it look like in the moments preceding a movement of large-scale renewal generated by God’s Spirit?

Could God do the great work he has planned for Japan in our time even after so many have given up hope?

As missionaries in Japan, these are the kinds of questions we are asking today with mustard seed-sized faith and steadfast hope in our great God. We have already witnessed a glorious revival in South Korea, and we are currently tracking it in China. Why do we not expect to see it in Japan? Surely the great multitude of Revelation 7 will include many Japanese worshiping and joining the chorus, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!”

Throughout the country we hear more and more testimonies of responsiveness to the gospel. Many mission teams and local churches throughout Japan attest to a greater openness to hear and quickness to respond among the Japanese than has been seen since the end of World War II.

God at Work in Japan

The ministry continues to be difficult, but we are seeing a wonderful season of fruit-bearing in Japan. That is also true within our own ministry, Christ Bible Institute (CBI), Japan. Our seminary has more than tripled in size over the past five years with many of our students being first-generation believers. We have the glorious privilege of seeing young men and women join investigative Bible studies and pray to receive Christ in the Heart & Soul Café, a safe space for young people in our building. We are now making preparations to send out young men to plant churches in our city of Nagoya and in the almost entirely unchurched prefecture of Toyama with hopes for other locations in the future. To bolster this movement, a new generation of missionaries from churches around the world is beginning to join the work in Japan. God is at work in Japan, and we have reason for great hope.

One of the most encouraging signs of renewal is a three-day conference called Love Japan, set for October 11 to 13 to unfold simultaneously in Japan’s three most prominent metropolitan areas—Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. The purpose of the conference is to celebrate and proclaim the glorious love of God for the Japanese people. Love Japan will introduce the preaching and teaching ministries of John Piper and Don Carson and, in conjunction with this event, CBI has partnered with TGC International Outreach to translate and give away 2,000 copies of Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching. Attendees will also hear the gospel preached by Japanese, Korean, and Chinese pastors paired up with Piper, Carson, and Michael Oh.

As this event draws near, we ask that you would join us in praying for Love Japan and for the Japanese people. Pray that God will open a window of opportunity for the Word to be proclaimed to many who might otherwise never hear it. And pray for the day to come soon when Japan will no longer be known as “the missionary graveyard” but as “the missionary springboard to the world.”

http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/signs-spiritual-awakening-japan

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Kevin DeYoung: Five Questions for Christians Who Believe the Bible Supports Gay Marriage

So you’ve become convinced that the Bible supports gay marriage. You’ve studied the issue, read some books, looked at the relevant Bible passages and concluded that Scripture does not prohibit same-sex intercourse so long as it takes place in the context of a loving, monogamous, lifelong covenanted relationship. You still love Jesus. You still believe the Bible. In fact, you would argue that it’s because you love Jesus andbecause you believe the Bible that you now embrace gay marriage as a God-sanctioned good.

As far as you are concerned, you haven’t rejected your evangelical faith. You haven’t turned your back on God. You haven’t become a moral relativist. You’ve never suggested anything goes when it comes to sexual behavior. In most things, you tend to be quite conservative. You affirm the family, and you believe in the permanence of marriage. But now you’ve simply come to the conclusion that two men or two women should be able to enter into the institution of marriage–both as a legal right and as a biblically faithful expression of one’s sexuality.

Setting aside the issue of biblical interpretation for the moment, let me ask five questions.

1. On what basis do you still insist that marriage must be monogamous?

Presumably, you do not see any normative significance in God creating the first human pair male and female (Gen. 2:23-25; Matt. 19:4-6). Paul’s language about each man having his own wife and each woman her own husband cannot be taken too literally without falling back into the exclusivity of heterosexual marriage (1 Cor. 7:2). The two coming together as one so they might produce godly offspring doesn’t work with gay marriage either (Mal. 2:15). So why monogamy? Jesus never spoke explicitly against polygamy. The New Testament writers only knew of exploitative polygamy, the kind tied to conquest, greed, and subjugation. If they had known of voluntary, committed, loving polyamorous relationships, who’s to think they wouldn’t have approved?

These aren’t merely rhetorical questions. The issue is legitimate: if 3 or 13 or 30 people really love each other, why shouldn’t they have a right to be married? And for that matter, why not a brother and a sister, or two sisters, or a mother and son, or father and son, or any other combination of two or more persons who love each other. Once we’ve accepted the logic that for love to be validated it must be expressed sexually and that those engaged in consensual sexual activity cannot be denied the “right” of marriage, we have opened a Pandora’s box of marital permutations that cannot be shut.

2. Will you maintain the same biblical sexual ethic in the church now that you think the church should solemnize gay marriages?

After assailing the conservative church for ignoring the issue of divorce, will you exercise church discipline when gay marriages fall apart? Will you preach abstinence before marriage for all single persons, no matter their orientation? If nothing has really changed except that you now understand the Bible to be approving of same-sex intercourse in committed lifelong relationships,we should expect loud voices in the near future denouncing the infidelity rampant in homosexual relationships. Surely, those who support gay marriage out of “evangelical” principles, will be quick to find fault with the notion that the male-male marriages most likely to survive are those with a flexible understanding that other partners may come and go. According to one study researched and written by two homosexual authors, of 156 homosexual couples studied, only seven had maintained sexual fidelity, and of the hundred that had been together for more than five years, none had remained faithful (cited by Satinover, 55). In the rush to support committed, lifelong, monogamous same-sex relationships, it’s worth asking whether those supporters–especially the Christians among them–will, in fact, insist on a lifelong, monogamous commitment.

3. Are you prepared to say moms and dads are interchangeable?

It is a safe assumption that those in favor of gay marriage are likely to support gay and lesbian couples adopting children or giving birth to children through artificial insemination. What is sanctioned, therefore, is a family unit where children grow up de facto without one birth parent. This means not simply that some children, through the unfortunate circumstances of life, may grow up without a mom and dad, but that the church will positively bless and encourage the family type that will deprive children of either a mother or a father. So are mothers indispensable? Is another dad the same as a mom? No matter how many decent, capable homosexual couples we may know, are we confident that as a general rule there is nothing significant to be gained by growing up with a mother and a father?

4. What will you say about anal intercourse?

The answer is probably “nothing.” But if you feel strongly about the dangers of tobacco or fuss over the negative affects of carbs, cholesterol, gmo’s, sugar, gluten, trans fats, and hydrogenated soybean oil may have on your health, how can you not speak out about the serious risks associated with male-male intercourse. How is it loving to celebrate what we know to be a singularly unhealthy lifestyle? According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of anal cancer increases 4000 percent among those who engage in anal intercourse. Anal sex increases the risk of a long list of health problems, including “rectal prolapse, perforation that can go septic, chlamydia, cyrptosporidosis, giardiasis, genital herpes, genital warts, isosporiasis, microsporidiosis, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis B and C, and syphilis” (quoted in Reilly, 55). And this is to say nothing of the higher rates of HIV and other health concerns with disproportionate affects on the homosexual community.

5. How have all Christians at all times and in all places interpreted the Bible so wrongly for so long?

Christians misread their Bibles all the time. The church must always be reformed according to the word of God. Sometimes biblical truth rests with a small minority. Sometimes the truth is buried in relative obscurity for generations. But when we must believe that the Bible has been misunderstood by virtually every Christian in every part of the world for the last two thousand years, it ought to give us pause. From the Jewish world in the Old and New Testaments to the early church to the Middle Ages to the Reformation and into the 20th century, the church has understood the Bible to teach that engaging in homosexuality activity was among the worst sins a person could commit. As the late Louis Crompton, a gay man and pioneer in queer studies, explained:

Some interpreters, seeking to mitigate Paul’s harshness, have read the passage [in Romans 1] as condemning not homosexuals generally but only heterosexual men and women who experimented with homosexuality. According to this interpretation, Paul’s words were not directed at “bona fide” homosexuals in committed relationships. But such a reading, however well-intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical. Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstances. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any Jew or early Christian. (Homosexuality and Civilization, 114).

The church has been of one mind on this issue for nearly two millennia. Are you prepared to jeopardize the catholicity of the church and convince yourself that everyone misunderstood the Bible until the 1960s? On such a critical matter, it’s important we think through the implications of our position, especially if it means consigning to the bin of bigotry almost every Christian who has ever lived.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/06/17/five-questions-for-christians-who-support-gay-marriage/

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