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Christians in the Music Industry

by on Oct.31, 2014, under Christian News Articles

As a business man, my entire life and working with Fortune 500 companies, I was taught through men’s groups and church leaders to always be a witness in the workplace. Whenever I had the opportunity to share my faith, I should wait patiently for the door to open in a conversation with a non-believer and do what God asked us to do… spread the gospel in the highways and byways. It was a common practice to introduce my faith views in conversation and then invite them to the church where they would get the full sales pitch and hopefully join the ranks of God’s army here on earth.

This method of marketplace ministry still exists and is the very essence of every believer’s goal after becoming a Christian. They are to be a witness to the lost and help them come to know a personal relationship with their creator. Jesus himself dispatched disciples to do just that. He specifically sent them out to share the gospel. The entire New Testament is filled with the charge to proselytize as many as possible to the Christian faith.

I’ve met many professionals in my years in business who are Christians. I’ve met many who do their best to be an example and ambassador of their faith in how they conduct themselves and their conversations. I’ve met many that actually have Bible studies in their offices and warehouses with employees and some engage with customers in Bible studies. I’ve known the CBA (Christian Business Association) and members. One of my favorite books is “Jesus CEO” which likens Christian discipleship to a corporation where Jesus is the CEO.

So why is it so commonly accepted to have everyday workers in real world situations represent their faith whenever possible, but if a Christian chooses a career in the music industry, their music must be conforming to church praise and worship lyrical standards and style? In fact, why does music itself get singled out as the one area where judgement from other Christians becomes so commonplace and justified?

Having spent only a few years now in Nashville and working with Christian music producers and industry executives, I’ve discovered an ironic reality about the double-standards that exist with artists who have a Christian foundation and may want to have their music released by de facto Christian labels or radio stations.

There exists a radical chasm about the purpose and intent of music to a Christian. There is more than enough scriptural reference to how music is used within the gathering of like believers as well as a talent or skill that is bestowed by God on humans in order to perform for an audience of God Himself through repeated worship and praise words and music. This I get.

But how does a Christian, let’s say a devout and conservative Christian, rationalize music that is neither praise and worship or directly anti-God in nature. Let’s say the nursery rhymes that we share with our children. We use musical notes and melodies along with innocent lyrics to stimulate a message for our kids.

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.”

This example is certainly not evil nor is it directly edifying the creator of heaven and earth. It’s in a vacuum of sorts which can’t be easily defined. It’s just a simple nursery rhyme.

What about the Star Spangled Banner. It hints to a time in our country where One Nation Under God was easily accepted, but the song in itself is not a direct worship or praise of God. Yet, Christians hold their hands on their heart and pledge loyalty to our nation whenever it is sung. Some may consider this idolatry but most would consider it what God would want for representing a Christian nation.

To me, the current controversy over what is or isn’t appropriate for music started in the 60’s when the Jesus movement and flower power introduced a merging of pop culture and religion. The music of the time was blended with seemingly spiritual lyrics that created a move away from traditional church to a privatization of Christianity for an individual. That era was a very complex cultural time in our county’s history, but nonetheless, the introduction of the stage show JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSTAR and the film adaptation became a platform for a crossing over of the arts and religion into each others worlds.

Today, the baby boomers and their immediate children are watching the same thing happening. The secular music style and beat is infiltrating church worship sets and a blurring of the lines between CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and pop culture is rapidly occurring.

In 2012, my son and I attended one of the largest music tours in the world, Winter Jam, which happens to be Christian themed. During the event, 10,000 plus fans screamed at a deafening level as band after band performed on stage. There were moments of old-school traditional worship songs being sung, but for the most part, it was a rock concert. During the event, a youth pastor and speaker took about 15 minutes to share with the largely teen and young twenties crowd in attendance. He had 10 second clips of the most popular secular artists shown on the overhead video screens. As Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj and One Direction filled the screens, the audience went nuts. They screamed uncontrollably. It was a shock to me. The speaker’s goal was to illustrate the dangers in listening to these artists because of the lyrical content and lifestyles they were presenting as acceptable. Of course I agreed with the speaker, but apparently the Christians in attendance that night didn’t seem to have a problem with those artists based on their cheers and shrill screams.

I left the event scratching my head as to why the Christian music industry didn’t have an alternative to those artists which provided Godly lyrics and lived a holy lifestyle.

Getting back to our experiences in Nashville brings this whole discussion back to the reason I wrote this article.

Do Christians pursuing music as a career have to create traditional Christian praise and worship music?

Does a Christian who is an accountant have to inject scripture in their IRS returns? Do Christians who are chefs need to prepare only Biblical based meals using ingredients found in the Old Testament? Do plumbers need to make sure their customers watch them bless the water that comes through the pipes in order for them to be a true Christian?

I know these are facetious, but think about it. Jesus told us to let our light shine before men so that they may see our good works and glorify God in heaven. If we simply function as Christians in our work place, doesn’t that become the witness Jesus asked us to be?

I’ve read many articles online about Christian music and the role of entertainment in the life of a Christian. The dogma was sickening to me. But then again, I’m looking at it through the eyes of a former pastor who spent the majority of his adult life trying to filter all witnessing recipients through a church building to ensure they were properly saved. I fully believe churches have a place in the life of a new believer, but I find it difficult to swallow that whatever traditions that church or denomination has regarding the role for music should be the end-game for how we look at music as Christians.

I learned a particularly funny acronym these past few years in Nashville. It’s called JPM’s. The terms means JESUS’ PER MINUTE. It’s a flippant reference to making sure a song’s lyrical content has enough spiritually discernable references to make it clearly CCM. It’s a mocking of the reality of the business side of Christian Music. In order for a song to be played on a Christian radio station, it must have a clear JPM measure of some sort. In other words, soft lyrics that elude to good and love aren’t enough to pass their litmus for authentic GOD music. While on the other hand, several CCM artists over the years have met the JPM requirements, but have been strung out on drugs, alcohol, fornication, adultery, stealing, etc. It’s an indictment to the merging of business, money and faith. So while the music industry in general tends to laugh at the Christian Music business, Christians who are trying to live a life pleasing to God are stuck in a hard place where morals and ethics are up to interpretation.

Add to that the fact that most Christian radio stations are non-profit and rely on donations from Christian organizations and every day believers, the programming directors at those stations are especially sensitive to ensure the music has the appropriate JPMs.

More recently, among the Christian music festival world, is the reality that unless an artist plays an instrument or raps, it most likely isn’t suitable for the festival world. In fact, there is a clear bias against any artist that may be more of an entertainer than praise and worship artist. It’s basically an outdoor church service.

The secular music industry doesn’t take Christian artists seriously as a whole. With very few exceptions, Christian artists who crossover to secular radio and are esteemed by secular fans, are an anomaly. One-off hits like “I Can Only Imagine” or “Butterfly Kisses” have reached non-Christian audiences without having to bludgeon the listener with Bible scriptures or references to God’s holiness. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for praise and worship in the church and on the radio, but it must not be the only way to measure whether music is acceptable or not.

If we listened to an instrumental arrangement, is it possible to tell whether it is Christian or not? If we observe an athlete perform at the highest level from the stands or on TV, do we know whether they are Christians or not?

I choose to believe that it is possible to create music that is inspiring and reflective of your personal faith stance in God without it being categorized as praise and worship music. I believe the artist can choose to live a life off the stage that represents their faith in God and being His ambassador. I also resonate with Lecrae’s testimony of needing to be a light to a heavily oppressed and sin-laden rap industry where he can help other artists find hope in Jesus instead of drugs or violence.

The Bible clearly states that you can’t serve God and Money at the same time. One of them will be your master. Unfortunately, that is often the easy write-off given by Christians if a fellow Christian chooses to be in the music industry and not clearly write praise and worship music.

I wonder how they reconcile what that Christian mechanic, Christian attorney, Christian teacher, or Christian architect are doing with the gifts and talents that God gave them.

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Kirk Cameron Called to ‘Repent’ for Encouraging Christians to Celebrate …

by on Oct.31, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Kirk CameronKirk Cameron, who has been making appearances promoting a new documentary film, is now being called to repentance after raising concerns by statements he made encouraging Christians to celebrate Halloween.

Cameron, best known his role as Mike Seaver on the 80’s TV sitcom Growing Pains, is on a mission, not only to save “Christmas,” but to also save Halloween according to a recent interview with The Christian Post.

During the interview, Kirk discussed his new film “Saving Christmas,” which attempts to debunk various concerns on the pagan origins of the holiday and encourages support for the various annual traditions from trees to Santa Claus. However, Cameron likewise encouraged Christians to celebrate Halloween, stating that “Christians should have the biggest Halloween party on your block.”

The actor explained his views by saying that “The real origins have to do with All Saints Day and all Hallows Eve.”

“If you go back to old church calendars, especially Catholic calendars, they recognize the holiday All Saints Day, with All Hallows Eve the day before, when they would remember the dead. That’s all tied to Halloween.”

Cameron went on to encourage Christians to participate in Halloween by dressing up and partying in order to show that Christians have the upper hand in the holiday.

“When you go out on Halloween and see all people dressed in costumes and see someone in a great big bobble head Obama costume with great big ears and an Obama face, are they honoring him or poking fun?” Cameron asked.

Answering his own question, Cameron said, “They are poking fun at him.” He then went on to offer an explanation for why Christians should wear costumes and celebrate Halloween.

“Early on, Christians would dress up in costumes as the devil, ghosts, goblins and witches precisely to make the point that those things were defeated and overthrown by the resurrected Jesus Christ,” Cameron continued. “The costumes poke fun at the fact that the devil and other evils were publicly humiliated by Christ at His resurrection. That’s what the Scriptures say, that He publicly humiliated the devil when He triumphed over power and principality and put them under his feet. Over time you get some pagans who want to go this is our day, high holy day of Satanic church, that this is all about death, but Christians have always known since the first century that death was defeated, that the grave was overwhelmed, that ghosts, goblins, devils are foolish has-beens who used to be in power but not anymore. That’s the perspective Christians should have.”

Cameron also encourages Christians to celebrate Halloween by having the biggest parties in order to show that death was already defeated because of Jesus’ resurrection.

“You should have the biggest party on your block, and you should have the reason for everyone to come to your house and before anyone else’s house because yours is the most fun,” he argued.

“Halloween gives you a great opportunity to show how Christians celebrate the day that death was defeated, and you can give them Gospel tracts and tell the story of how every ghost, goblin, witch and demon was trounced the day Jesus rose from the grave. Clearly no Christians ought to be glorifying death, because death was defeated, and that was the point of All Hallows Eve.”

Gendron

Gendron

Mike Gendron of ProclaimingtheGospel.org, however, told Christian News Network that he does not agree, stating that the historical origins of Halloween are connected to the pagan practices of Roman Catholicism, and that its affiliations are far removed from biblical Christianity.

“The two faiths are diametrically opposed to one another,” Gendron stated. “I strongly disagree with Kirk Cameron and would encourage him to avoid celebrating anything that has to do with the pagan practices of the apostate Roman Catholic Church,” he said.

Gendron explained that according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the origin of All Hallows Eve goes back the the 11th century Catholic monks who set aside a day to pray for the dead.

“Very quickly a tradition of baking cakes for diseased people emerged. People would go to cemeteries at nightfall to kneel at the graves of their loved ones, and to anoint the hollow of the tombstone with holy water,” Gendron continued.

Gendron is concerned that the connections with the pagan holiday originated because of Catholicism’s fabrication of a place called purgatory where Catholics must go after they die to have their sins purged by fire before they could enter into heaven.

“The reason Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis on a church door on Oct. 31, 1517 was because the very next day, All Saints Day, Catholics would be coming to the church to venerate the bones and relics of dead ‘saints’. The Castle Church of Wittenberg had over 1900 relics of dead ‘saints’ on display. Catholics were granted indulgences for the remission of sins if they venerated the relics and made confession of their sins. This practice of necromancy is strictly forbidden by God who commands us ‘Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them’ (Leviticus 19:31). ‘Whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord’ (Deut. 18:9-12).”

Gendron admonished Cameron to repent of his message that encourages Christians to celebrate Halloween.

“Kirk Cameron needs to repent of his message that urges Christians to participate in this dark holiday that glorifies the devil, ghosts, goblins and witches. Furthermore, the celebration of Halloween obscures and overshadows the anniversary of the Reformation, one of the great dates of the Christian calendar,” Gendron stated. “On October 31st while Kirk Cameron is urging people to celebrate Halloween, our ministry will be encouraging people to remember the Reformers who were brutally tortured, murdered and burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he concluded.

In a recent talk at Liberty University, Cameron associated criticisms on the pagan origins of holidays to Chinese food, using sarcasm to mock those who would object to celebrating over pagan concerns. Cameron ended the talk by stating that the earth is the Lord’s and everything it contains, everything God created is sacred, and the whole earth belongs to Him, implying that Christians are allowed to enjoy worldly traditions.

Gendron, however, counters Cameron’s stance: “Kirk needs to realize that Satan attempts led people astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ which is what Halloween has done (2 Cor. 11:3) For him to encourage people to have a little fun by taking part in the unfruitful works of darkness is not honoring to God or pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:11).” 

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How should Christians vote? Case for voting progressive

by on Oct.31, 2014, under Christian News Articles

There’s a new term being bandied about. It is “Progressive Christianity.” Essentially, Progressive Christians are interested in looking at the life and teachings of Jesus through a modern lens that includes what has been learned in the areas of science, Biblical scholarship, archaeology and other disciplines since Jesus walked the Earth.

RELATED How should Christians vote? Case for voting conservative | Can political divide stretch Christian unity?

To be a Progressive Christian does not place one squarely amidst those who are progressive politically but there is some overlap. Progressive Christians are more apt to release their hold on the old way of thinking and doing things just as those who identify themselves politically as Progressive are.

Letting go of the old way of doing things has to do with releasing the doctrine and dogma espoused by organized religion while retaining and honoring the original teachings of Jesus. Progressive Christians are interested in revisiting the teachings and actions of Jesus as a guide for how we might behave in today’s world.

Progressive Christians look at Jesus’ teachings and actions and see an emphasis on:

• Inclusiveness – All are welcome at the table: men and women, young and old, rich and poor, all ethnicities, all sexual orientations, skeptics and believers alike.

• Non-judgment – “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

• Compassion – Everyone is my neighbor and what I do to him or her I do to myself. All of life is connected and sacred.

• Action – What we do is a more important expression of our faith than what we say.

• Peace rather than war as a way of addressing perceived problems and differences.

• A reverence for all creation and a desire to honor the integrity of the Earth.

• A concern for the welfare of the other rather than an emphasis on “what’s in it for me.”

Former President Jimmy Carter, who identifies himself as a Progressive Christian, has been quoted as saying: “If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying that you want a country based on Christian values. Because you don’t!”

Jesus himself had nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality or abortion or the rights of women. He never talked of school prayer or freedom of religion. He was too busy acting out of compassion for his fellow men and women to create and impose judgments.

If you were to look for him in our community today, you would be more apt to find him working at a food bank or demonstrating for peace or putting cabinets in the new house being built by Habitat for Humanity than lobbying to include prayer in schools or eliminate the teaching of evolution.

You are far more likely to hear reference to the “Christian Right” than the “Christian Left.” Those on the left are certainly less organized and less apt to link their politics with their spiritual beliefs. A predisposition not to judge leads to very little public criticism in the name of the Christian Left and less political action.

Finally, Progressive Christians tend to live more in the questions than in pat answers. We honor one another’s views and seek deeper understanding in the place of prevailing in argument. Dialogue is seen as more useful than debate. Lining Progressive Christians up behind anything other than what they perceive to be Jesus’ teachings is a doomed effort.

For this and other elections, no political party can automatically count Progressive Christians in their rank and file and a Progressive Christian would be the first to say that is a good thing.

Rev. Barbara Ryon Hill is the founder and minister of The North Shore Gathering in Sheboygan. She may be reached at 920-377-1762.

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Sione Maumau, former Valor Christian lineman, found dead

by on Oct.31, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Eagles senior lineman Sione Maumau (71) celebrated the win Friday night. The Valor Christian High School football team rolled over ThunderRidge High 49-3 at Shea Stadium on Nov. 23, 2012. (Denver Post file)

In this Nov. 23, 2012, file, Eagles senior lineman Sione Maumau is shown during a game between Valor Christian and ThunderRidge. (Denver Post file)

Sione Maumau, a former Valor Christian football player, was found dead Wednesday in a residence hall at Baker University in Kansas.

Maumau, a sophomore at Baker in Baldwin City, Kan., was discovered dead in Irvin Hall, where he was a resident assistant, according to police, who were dispatched at 6:28 p.m. local time and arrived a few minutes later.

“It is with deep sadness that I inform the campus community of the untimely passing,” Baker president Lynn Murray wrote in an email to the school’s faculty and staff.

Sgt. Mike Underwood of the Baldwin City police department, who is leading the investigation, told The Denver Post that foul play was not believed to be a factor and said the death of a student on campus was “very rare.” He declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation. An autopsy to officially determine the cause of death is expected to take between a few weeks and several months to complete.

“He was a very well-liked student,” Underwood said.

Maumau was one of the few Valor Christian Eagles who played on all four state championship teams. He was a two-way player on the defensive line as a senior.

“He was one of the best kids I’ve coached in all of my years,” said Brent Vieselmeyer, his former coach, now an assistant at Houston Baptist University in Texas told The Post. “He’s from a spectacular family. I’m just heartbroken over this.

“I mean, he was the most-opportunistic kid, friends with everybody and had great talent. He wasn’t as big as what the colleges wanted, but you don’t get better people. The kids (who knew him) are crushed, just shocked.”

Valor defensive lineman Sione Maumau  pounces on a fumble in the second half of a game against  Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. (Denver Post file)

Valor defensive lineman Sione Maumau pounces on a fumble in the second half of a game against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. (Denver Post file)

Murray, the school president, canceled her scheduled inauguration as president on Thursday after Maumau’s death. A prayer service will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Baldwin City.

“It’s a tough day,” said Rod Sherman, Valor’s athletic director, former assistant and current head coach. “Sione had such a vibrancy that he brought to all aspects of life, a true blessing to be around. It’s a huge loss and our whole community is saddened.”

The 5-foot-11, 235-pound Maumau was a defensive lineman for the Wildcats. He was a Denver Post 5A honorable mention as a senior at Valor in 2012, helping the Eagles to their first 5A state football title. During his high school career, he was a part of four championship teams.

Maumau, who was born in Boulder and grew up in Highlands Ranch, is survived by Viliami and Michele Maumau and three siblings. His father played defensive tackle in the NFL.

Joe Nguyen: jnguyen@denverpost.com or twitter.com/joenguyen


Updated 6:51 p.m., Oct. 30, 2014: This story has been updated to include comments from Valor head coach Rod Sherman.

6:34 p.m., Oct. 30, 2014: This story has been updated to include comments from Baldwin City police department Sgt. Mike Underwood and former Valor Christian football coach Brent Vieselmeyer.

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Evangelicals hold more traditional religious beliefs than other Christians …

by on Oct.30, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Evangelicals in the United States hold more traditional religious beliefs than any of their Christian counterparts, according to new research.

The poll, released Tuesday by Lifeway Research, a Christian group that conducts custom research on Christian life, demonstrates that nearly all evangelicals believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead (96%), that salvation can be found through Jesus Christ alone (92%).

Mostly all evangelicals in America believe that the Bible is the direct word of God (88%), and that the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches (76%). In comparison, less than half of Americans believe that the Bible is the direct word of God (48%).

Christian evangelicals are among some of the strongest supporters of Israel. Numerous evangelicals support Christian Zionist organizations that are dedicated to protecting and supporting Israel, such as Christians United for Israel, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.

One thing that the majority of American Christians agree on is the existence of heaven, according to the survey. More than two-thirds of each Christian denomination polled stated that they believe that “heaven in a real place.” In contrast, the majority of Christian denominations polled do not believe that “there are many ways to heaven. Evangelicals expressed the most certainty about the existence of heaven (90%), whereas they also expressed the least confidence in there being multiple ways to get to heaven (19%).

“People like to believe in a generic Christian-ish god with cafeteria doctrines,” Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research said. “However, when we asked about harder beliefs—things that the church has and still considers orthodoxy—the numbers shift.”

The poll surveyed more than 3,000 Christians in the United States who identified as Black Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical or Protestants well as well as non-Christians.  

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Christians Worldwide Mourn Ex-KKK Turned Evangelist

by on Oct.30, 2014, under Christian News Articles

People across the world are remembering evangelist Rev. Johnny Lee Clary, a former imperial wizard of the Klu Klux Klan who experienced a radical conversion to Christianity.

Clary, 55, died of a heart attack Oct. 21.

CBN spoke to the evangelist in 2011 about his journey to becoming a Christian after years of hating blacks and other minority groups. Watch his story below.

He said he felt compelled to give his life to the Lord after reading Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son.

“I finally got on my knees and said, ‘God, my life is screwed up.God, I’m in a mess. I need Your help,” he recalled. “I felt like a new person, brand new creation. I felt like I had had a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

In becoming a Christian, Clary learned how to love and live in unity with all people. He became the first Caucasian elder in the Church of God in Christ, a predominantly African-American denomination.

Clary is survived by his wife, Melissa (Edwards) Clary of Baton Rouge, his brother Larry of Colorado, brother Terry, sister Sandy and a daughter Savannah all from Oklahoma.

He passed away in his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

A funeral service will be Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Family Worship Center, 8919 Ministry Ave., Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The service begins at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made online to Operation Colorblind, the organization founded by Clary promoting racial reconciliation.Or send a donation to:

Operation Colorblind
P.O. Box 83535
Baton Rouge, LA 70884

Johnny Lee Clary: Christ and The Ku Klux Klan

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Let’s join Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and help Middle East Christians

by on Oct.30, 2014, under Christian News Articles

  • January 8, 2014: Television producer Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey arrive at the 2014 People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles, California . (Reuters)

  • Actress Roma Downey arrives at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles June 5, 2011. (MTV-ARRIVALS) REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) (MTV-ARRIVALS) – RTR2NC6W

American Christians have been slow to the point of near silence when it comes to speaking out about the atrocities committed against their fellow believers by the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS). The Jewish people are much better models in solidarity when Jews are persecuted.

Members of ISIS have targeted Christian churches, destroyed symbols of Christian faith and killed Christians because of their beliefs, but from American Christians we hear very little. Even President Obama, a self-described Christian, rarely speaks about the persecuted.

Reality television producer Mark Burnett and his actress wife, Roma Downey, are trying to raise awareness and money to help displaced and threatened Iraqi Christians who survived the genocidal attacks against them.

Fighting ISIS and other branches of Islamic extremism will take more than airstrikes. Iraqi Christians need to know that not only American Christians, but Jews and people of other and no particular faith stand against genocide with more than statements of condemnation.

Burnett and Downey, who produced the highly-rated “The Bible” for The History Channel and are working on another biblical epic, “A.D.”, which NBC will broadcast next Easter season, have announced a campaign to raise $25 million to aid homeless Christians in the region with housing, food and clothing. They say they are donating the first $1 million and have set up a website called “The Cradle of Christianity Fund” through which people can give. They promise the money will go directly to the churches for distribution to those in need.

Twenty-five million is more than the European Commission’s entire 2014 humanitarian budget of $17 million euro ($21.6 million USD), which goes to aid “internally displaced Iraqis in the country and Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.”

Johnnie Moore, Mark Burnett’s chief of staff, recently returned from the region. In an email he reports, “The need is simply overwhelming. There are over 800,000 displaced people in Kurdistan alone. According to the United Nations, if it operates at 100 percent efficiency, it can only take care of 40 percent of these desperate people.”

In a cruel twist to the Book of Exodus story about Jews marking their doorposts in Egypt with blood so they would be passed over when the Angel of Death struck down every firstborn male, Christian homes across northern Iraq have been marked by ISIS fighters with the Arabic letter for “N,” which means Nazarene, a reference to the hometown of Jesus. They have reportedly been given a choice: convert to Islam, leave the country, or be killed.

As Moore writes: “In the northern Iraqi town of Mosul (where Jonah is buried) most (Christians) fled in the middle of the night, before the evil arrived, with nothing but the clothes on their backs. And now winter is coming. For the first time since the 4th century — when a monk named Matthew fled Roman persecution and established a monastery in Mosul — there is no church in Mosul. Make no mistake, this is evil’s goal for the region … a goal that will be achieved if good people do nothing.”

Fighting ISIS and other branches of Islamic extremism will take more than airstrikes. Iraqi Christians need to know that not only American Christians, but Jews and people of other and no particular faith stand against genocide with more than statements of condemnation.

Hollywood celebrities are known for promoting humanitarian efforts. Helping Iraqi Christians should be included in that work and not limited just to Christians. Jews and people of other faiths, or none, should fight evil deeds with good deeds. If one faith is under attack and there is little or no pushback, other faiths are potential targets. Only light can dispel darkness.

The One these Iraqi Christians follow warned of persecution for those who proclaim His name. That does not excuse anyone from remaining silent when persecution occurs.

If American Christians won’t help their Iraqi brethren, who will? If they refuse to help, the terrorists win. My online contribution is on the way.

Cal Thomas is America’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

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Christian Bale Slams Moses: He Was ‘Barbaric’ & ‘Schizophrenic’

by on Oct.30, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Fans may be excited to see Christian Bale star as Moses in the new film, ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’, but the actor bashed his character during a press conference last month! Christian described Moses as ‘barbaric’ and ‘schizophrenic.’ Ouch!

Christian Bale, 40, sure knows how to create buzz before the release of one of his new movies! Although Christian signed on to play Moses in Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings, he doesn’t seem to be a fan of his role in the film. And now, the actor is under attack for describing the religious prophet as ‘”barbaric” and “schizophrenic.”

Christian Bale Slams Moses — ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ Character Is Schizophrenic

Christian reportedly blasted his character while speaking at a recent press conference in Los Angeles, according to Daily Mail.

“I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life. He’s a very troubled and tumultuous man who fought greatly against God, against his calling,” the Academy Award-winner said.

Christian continued to criticize Moses, saying, “He was very troubled, tumultuous man and mercurial.”

While Christian researched the religious prophet to prepare for the biblical film, the actor’s off-the-cuff comments provoked question’s about the film’s accuracy, upsetting film and religious communities alike.

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Christian Bale’s Religious Remarks Spark Controversy

Equally, the actor even admitted to having little knowledge about his character before assuming the role, citing he “had no idea about Moses at all.”

Even after researching his role by reading religious texts, such as the Torah and Qur’an, we think Christian Bale should stick to acting instead of religious theory.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 23, it was confirmed that Christian will play the lead in a biopic about another icon: Steve Jobs.

The actor was handpicked by screen writer Aaron Sorkin, 53, to play the late Apple co-founder and CEO.

Let’s just hope the actor doesn’t sound-off on the complexity of the tech icon, too!

HollywoodLifers, what do you think? Were Christian’s comment offensive? Tell us!

– Jordyn Shaffer

More Christian Bale News:

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‘God is not a magician': Pope says Christians should believe in evolution and …

by on Oct.29, 2014, under Christian News Articles

The “Big Bang” and evolution are not only consistent with biblical teachings, Pope Francis told a Vatican gathering – they are essential to understanding God.

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything — but that is not so,” the pope told a plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

“He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment,” Pope Francis said.

The earth’s origins were not chaotic, the pontiff said, but were created from a principle of love, reported Religion News Service.

“He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality, and so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things,” the pope said.

Pope Francis said the theory of evolution did not contradict the Bible or church teachings, as creationists claim.

“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” the pope said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

Catholic teaching has not traditionally been opposed to evolution, unlike evangelical Christianity in the U.S., although a close associate of Pope Benedict XVI criticized the scientific theory in a 2005 opinion piece published in the New York Times.

Pope Francis made the speech while unveiling a bust of Benedict, his predecessor.

The pope said biblical teachings gave humans the responsibility to care for the earth and its inhabitants.

In the Book of Genesis, God commanded Adam “to name everything and to go ahead through history,” Pope Francis said. “This makes him responsible for creation, so that he might steward it in order to develop it until the end of time.”

He warned that it was a “grave sin against God the creator” to destroy the environment, and scientists held a special responsibility to protect God’s creation.

“Therefore the scientist, and above all the Christian scientist, must adopt the approach of posing questions regarding the future of humanity and of the earth, and, of being free and responsible, helping to prepare it and preserve it, to eliminate risks to the environment of both a natural and human nature,” Pope Francis said. “But, at the same time, the scientist must be motivated by the confidence that nature hides, in her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities for intelligence and freedom to discover and realize, to achieve the development that is in the plan of the creator.”

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Thomas: Help Mideast Christians

by on Oct.29, 2014, under Christian News Articles

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