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[Cfamily]Ex-Christian Post Publisher, Bible College Convicted in $35M Fraud Scheme
« Reply #1568 on: February 25, 2020, 12:00:08 AM »

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Ex-Christian Post Publisher, Bible College Convicted in $35M Fraud Scheme

The money laundering case left a Christian media network out of business and Olivet University owing $1.25 million.

Fifteen months after investigators uncovered a $35 million scheme involving the former publishers of Newsweek and The Christian Post, a Christian college, and a tech vendor, the accused parties have been convicted of money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud.

IBT Media’s former owner Etienne Uzac and Christian Media Corporation International’s former CEO William Anderson—who was also the CEO and publisher of its flagship site, The Christian Postentered guilty pleas before the Manhattan district attorney last week.

Today, California-based Olivet University—represented by its president Tracy Davis—pleaded guilty to falsifying business records and engaging in conspiracy, and was fined $1.25 million, according to the DA’s press officer. Andrew Lin, who resigned as Olivet’s board chair earlier this month, was convicted of fraud and has been barred from leadership for the next two years.

While maintaining claims of their independence from each other, each of the entities and leaders has ties to controversial Korean American pastor David Jang. Considered the “Second Coming Christ” by some followers, Jang’s expansive global network founded Olivet, The Christian Post, Christian Today, and the International Business Times, whose parent company bought Newsweek in 2013.

In the criminal scheme, as CT reported in 2018, the media companies and Olivet inflated their financial standing to secure $35 million in loans to purchase high-end computer servers. They instead obtained cheaper servers (or none at all) and used the loans for their own operations as well as transferring funds to each other, according to the Manhattan DA’s office.

The defendants pointed out that the loans ...

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[Cfamily]Baseball, Trashcans, Signs, and Numbers
« Reply #1569 on: February 26, 2020, 12:00:07 AM »
Baseball, Trashcans, Signs, and Numbers

Why Moses struck out during spring training.

Hope springs eternal every winter as baseball teams assemble in warmer climes to make ready for the long and glorious season some still call our national pastime. Baseball surely takes time, whether it be the interminable hours of a single game or the 162-game season itself. Still, I love baseball. I love the stats and the strategy. I love that failure is status quo (the best hitters still only manage success 3 times out of 10). I love the bursts of delirium amid all the tedium. And I love the peanuts and Cracker Jack—still sold in ballparks mostly because you sing about it every seventh inning stretch.

This spring, baseball reels from a self-inflicted integrity crisis. The crux centers on the Houston Astros being found guilty of sign-stealing, a sin as old as baseball itself. In case you somehow missed the news, the 2017 World Champions and last year’s American League leader employed a deviously high-low technology scheme to cheat their way to their World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. A center field camera aimed at the opposing catcher caught signs sent to the pitcher, enabling Houston hitters to know what pitch was coming. The stolen signs were relayed to the Astros’ dugout using a “dark arts” technology called Codebreaker. Players would tip off their teammate at the plate batter by banging a trashcan if the pitcher was throwing a breaking ball or a changeup. No bang meant a fastball.

A whistleblower led to an investigation and verdict, though latest reports say everybody already knew (and thus the Nationals beat the Astros in the 2019 World Series). Managerial heads rolled, though no players were fined. Dodgers fans clamor for Major League Baseball to revoke Houston’s championship ...

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[Cfamily]Going Vegan for Lent Can Orient Us to Christ’s Calling
« Reply #1570 on: February 27, 2020, 12:00:09 AM »
Going Vegan for Lent Can Orient Us to Christ’s Calling

Following church tradition and the Bible could help us steward creation through our diets.

In recent years, environmentalists and animal rights activists have called for Christians to commit to veganism during Lent. But while the practice may be growing as a lifestyle choice, fasting from animal products is an ancient Lenten tradition far predating current interest in veganism. As Christians around the world begin the observation of Lent, contemporary thinkers consider how the practice of fasting squares with current science on the impact of cutting meat and dairy from our diets, calling believers to think of the practice not only as a deeply personal part of their spirituality but also as something with social and ethical implications.

Though vegans are a tiny minority worldwide, a 2018 study reported that two out of three Americans had reduced their meat consumption in recent years, citing expense and health concerns as primary reasons for doing so (though environmental impact was also a frequent concern).

Yet thousands of years before veganism became popular, the Bible and Christian tradition included fasting as a way of maintaining healthy attitudes toward food and stewarding the earth responsibly. Dave Bookless, an expert in biodiversity conservation who serves as the director of theology for A Rocha International, pointed out in an interview that fasting from meat and dairy at certain times of the year has long been a Christian tradition. “Lent is traditionally a time of abstinence,” said Bookless, a part-time vicar of a multicultural congregation in London. “In quite a lot of Christian cultures, if you look back through Christian history, people were vegetarian during Lent. That was quite a common thing in many parts of the world. And it’s still a common thing in some Christian traditions.” ...

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[Cfamily]Black Theology Sings of Freedom
« Reply #1571 on: February 28, 2020, 12:00:09 AM »
Black Theology Sings of Freedom

To be black and to be Christian is to remember the brutality of our experience and the brilliance of our resistance.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night just to touch him, to lay my hand on him and whisper a little prayer. I am reminded of all the families who prayed over children who never returned again. You just never know.

Prayer can seem like all we can do for young people that look like my son. Imani Perry, in her letter to her sons entitled Breathe, lamented, “There are fingers itching to have a reason to cage or even slaughter you. My God, what hate for beauty this world breeds.”

I know the feeling. Just last summer, during a run, an older white man started taking pictures of me and telling me that I “didn’t belong here.” On the walk home, I stopped, bowed my head, and cried. These were not tears of weakness. I cried because I felt what many of those who looked like me have felt: the tragedy of blackness in an unloving world. My tears were my song, with a “fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still.”

When I arrived home, I told myself: You are black. You are known. You are loved. You must survive. I understand the caged bird a little better now. In its weakness, he opens up his throat still. The caged bird must sing.


Here, then, is the dilemma, and it is a puzzling one, I admit. No Negro who has given earnest thought to the situation of his people in America has failed, at some time in life, to find himself at these crossroads; has ...

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Learning About Other Faiths Doesn’t Lead Evangelical Students to Lose Theirs

Compared to other colleges, students at evangelical institutions end up gaining the most knowledge of world religions.

One of the negative stereotypes of evangelical colleges is that they keep students in a religious “bubble.” But new survey data shows that these schools are particularly effective at teaching students about other faiths, and that this exposure to outside traditions is actually correlated with a deeper commitment to their own beliefs.

The Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS)—a panel study that surveys the same students before, during, and at the end of their college career—measures basic knowledge about world religions.

The sample included over 1,300 students from 15 evangelical universities, the majority of which were members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Compared to students who planned to attend Catholic or private secular universities, evangelical students had a lower baseline level of knowledge. The average student attending an evangelical university could answer just 4.9 questions correctly. However, this score was higher than those attending public universities (4.8) and those who attended Protestant schools not classified as evangelical (4.6 questions correct).

All institutions of higher education impart some knowledge of world religions, but there are clear differences between the types of schools. For instance, the average student attending a Catholic college answered 0.64 more questions correctly after four years at college, which is close to the average for the entire sample (0.67).

Those attending evangelical schools—many of which require some sort of religious formation classes in their curricula—saw a larger improvement, answering 0.83 more questions correctly on average by the end of their college career. That gain ...

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[Cfamily]Five Family-Friendly Resources for Lent
« Reply #1573 on: March 01, 2020, 12:00:08 AM »
Five Family-Friendly Resources for Lent

What does it mean to teach our children about lament, fasting, and mortality? These books, apps, and flashcards can help.

It’s one thing to observe Lent solo. It’s another thing to try to practice Lent with a family, especially if your family includes fussy babies, grumpy middle schoolers, or fantastically busy teenagers. For some parents, every day feels like Lent. You’re often laying down your life or giving up things that you love. When Ash Wednesday comes around, what can you give up when you already feel utterly spent?

My wife and I have felt all these things in some fashion with our two children and have been deeply grateful to discover resources that others have created in order to practically help families who wish to follow Jesus on this 40-day pilgrimage. The following five resources, which include books, downloadable apps, and creative devotionals, will offer families a starting point to practice Lent together.

Lenten Survival Guide for Kids: I’m Supposed to Do What?! by Peter Celano (Paraclete Press, 2014).

Written for elementary and middle school-aged children, this playful guide aims to help kids understand why they should care about a terribly big word that adults frequently take awfully seriously: Lent. Without talking down to them, Celano, an editor at Paraclete Press, offers children a chance to learn about such things as “What Lent Is,” “What Lent Definitely Is Not,” “40 Days of Survival Tactics,” and “A Few Prayers and Practices—Only for Kids.”

As Celano explains in this book, Lent is not about “giving up” silly things or about making sad faces to show how difficult life has suddenly become. It’s about learning to love God and to know who Jesus is and what it means to follow him—even as a kid! With Scriptures to memorize and ...

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[Cfamily]Pro-Life Democrats Remind Candidates They Exist
« Reply #1574 on: March 02, 2020, 12:00:10 AM »
Pro-Life Democrats Remind Candidates They Exist

Ahead of the South Carolina primary, religious voters’ push for a “diversity of opinions” on abortion gets little reception from presidential hopefuls.

Though South Carolina’s Democrats are more religious and more pro-life than voters in other early primary states, presidential candidates are sticking to the increasingly strident pro-choice positions held by their party.

Democrats for Life of America used the campaign push in the South as a chance to call on candidates to consider the place of pro-life voters in their coalition. The South Carolina Legislature has voted forward a “heartbeat bill,” one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country, and its Republican Senator Lindsey Graham sponsored the 20-week abortion ban voted on in the US Senate this week.

Evangelical Protestants and black Protestants make up half the population in South Carolina (compared to 30 percent of the overall US population). As Democrats engage in unprecedented levels of outreach to religious voters, many candidates make their way through black churches in the Southern state as they rally support. Kristen Day, executive director of the pro-life Democrats group, spoke at a press conference before Tuesday’s debate, reminding the presidential hopefuls from her party that many of the African American voters they are courting are less supportive of abortion than white Democrats or the party overall.

Exit polls from the 2016 primary show 61 percent of Democratic voters in South Carolina were African American, and Christian faith plays a key role among black voters, Day said.

Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, Harriet Bradley, an African American minister and state chapter coordinator for Democrats for Life of America, quoted Proverbs 6:16–17, naming “hands that shed innocent blood” among the “things the Lord hates.” She described her ...

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« Reply #1575 on: March 03, 2020, 12:00:11 AM »

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[ Read in English | Traditional Chinese ]

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