GLEANINGS August 27, 2016:
- GEELONG, Victoria – Great new book on love, marriage, divorce and remarriage
- AUSTRALIA – Clear and present danger
- AMMAN, JORDAN – Soaring levels of poverty, hunger and trauma
Fresh biblical insights on a most important relationship
Jim McClure, B.A, M.T.S, Ph.D, opens his new book, Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, with an intriguing quote by Martin Luther: ‘Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.’
Dr Jim is a highly respected theologian with wide experience in researching scripture and explaining the depths of the meaning of Hebrew and Greek words. His Teaching articles such as this month’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/08/06/words-of-life-august-6-2016/ bring revelation and understanding to those desiring deeper knowledge on aspects of God’s word. Christians concerned by certain current church trends gain peace by his insights into what the Bible really says, not what some so-called ‘Bible teachers and prophets’ claim.
Marriage today is so under attack and trivialised that Christians will do well to read this vital new book. This is not another simplified ‘How to Have a Happy Married Life – All You Need is Love’ romantic, Hollywood style novel….it brings fresh thinking to the special relationship between a man and a woman God intended marriage to be when his principles are taken seriously, not society’s.
It also brings new light on a subject that has been a touchy one in some church circles for decades – divorce and remarriage. Dr Jim has commented: ‘I found the last two chapters particularly challenging as my study of the scriptures (especially when examining afresh the original languages) opened many new perspectives in my thinking.’
Of the book overall, the author writes, ‘It was never intended to be some kind of mystical composition extolling the virtues of love in some abstract way, but it was written for a very practical, down-to-earth purpose, and addressed issues that were related to the everyday life of the people who would read it.’
Set in only four chapters, it brings a solid biblical explanation of God’s viewpoint and direction on love, attitudes, marriage potential and purpose, practical realities, divorce, life-long loneliness and remarriage. Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage is a highly recommended eye-opener. It covers much more than husband/wife relationships – its biblical principles concern all human relationships. As such it is both timely and pertinent.
Sadly some Christians who have been divorced and sought a new meaningful marriage have been carelessly criticised by the church. This timely book throws new light on this – to some – ‘touchy subject.’
Soon be available in an electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks (as is Dr Jim’s well-researched Grace Revisited) and offered free. Link for pre-booked orders: email@example.com. See also https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/08/23/marriages-are-made-in-heaven-august-23-2016/
The ‘Clear and Present Danger to Christianity’ from Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) researcher, Alan Metcalfe, told that he believes that the most ‘alarming clear and present danger to Christianity’ is the development of ‘Chatbots’ – robots that educate people.
Metcalfe says that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other AI developers, are ‘aggressively moving into the business of building AI-powered Chatbots that will provide our children, and our children’s children with the knowledge that they need about everything, even God.’
A nail in the coffin of Christianity
The Australian AI expert says that Chatbots will soon ‘flood’ the Internet. ‘The days of the world being influenced by the Bible are numbered,’ warned Metcalfe who is President/CEO, Safe Worlds TV (http://safeworlds.tv/mobile/index.html). ‘Throughout all of recorded history to date, the Bible and its associated writings have been the cornerstone source of human knowledge. But very soon, this will no longer be the case.’
He added, ‘In the years ahead, what people know about God and everything else will be taught to them by robots called Chatbots that will not get their knowledge from the Bible. Many can be expected to be programmed by people who do not believe in the Bible or Christianity; and, in fact, are steadfastly opposed to it.’
Alan Metcalfe says that this event is shaping as the biggest setback for Christianity since the US court’s judgment against teaching Divine Creation in US schools.
‘It is another nail in the coffin of God, Jesus Christ, and Christianity,’ he says. ‘As a result of the US Court’s decision against Divine Creation, few people, even in the church today, now believe that the almighty intelligence that we call God, created us and all that is in this world. Most now believe in Charles Darwin’s still unproven theory of creation. It is hard to find anyone who truly believes in Divine Creation – the media opposition has been so great and unrelenting.’
Illustration of the Artificial Intelligence Puzzle
Metcalfe says that in the wake of Darwin’s Theory’s failure to explain human intelligence, there has been a raging debate in science about the source of morals and ethics, but sadly, Christianity has been absent from this argument.
Lack of knowledge of the Holy Spirit in the church!
‘Sadly, today, understanding of the Holy Spirit of God who makes us who we are, is a forgotten interest that is seen to have absolutely no relevance in science,’ he went on to say. ‘Churches all over the world sing songs to the Holy Spirit and worship him with great affection, but I am not sure that many are really conscious of who he is.
‘I am not sure that many in the world today associate the indomitable human spirit that enables us to do all that we are able to do, with the Holy Spirit of God; and this is a great shame that severely limits human understanding.
“This is why modern science has come to a dead end with its search for the Law of Everything. This is why they have given up talking about Big Bang theory, because they cannot explain the Singularity that exists at the beginning of time.’
Systematically erasing Christianity
Alan Metcalfe says that he is ‘conscious that some people do realise that there is a war against Christianity.’ He adds that he is not sure however that Christians realise the extent or seriousness of this war.
‘Most people,’ he continued, ‘are aware that Christmas is systematically being erased from the public record. Most people know that Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is persistently targeting Christians and killing and butchering them wherever they can, all over the world. Few people however are conscious of the silent, creeping war that is now well in train, worldwide, that is aimed at erasing everything to do with Christianity from the public record.’
Alan Metcalfe concluded by saying, ‘The way things are going, I can see a time when very, very few people will have any memory of God or Jesus Christ, and this will be a very sad day for the world.’
References: http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/27/11801108/ray-kurzweil-building-chatbot-for-google / https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/03/skype-new-chatbots-available/ / Further information, Alan Metcalfe: firstname.lastname@example.org .
‘We Have No Voice,’ say Christians in Jordan two years after fleeing Northern Iraq
Jeremy Reynalds, ASSIST Senior Correspondent ( email@example.com ), reports…
Bahija, 65, a housekeeper, says she cries every day and suffers from headaches – two years after Islamic State (IS) fighters raided her home in Tel Kayf (outside Mosul) in front of her, while her elderly father lay in bed upstairs.
According to a story by Abigail Frymann Rouch and published by World Watch Monitor, Kurdish security forces stationed near their house, by whom the family had expected to be protected, were absent when the jihadists arrived.
Bahar (left), 81, with her daughters, Samira and Bahija. IS beat Bahija and ransacked their home in Tel Kayf, outside Mosul. Bahar’s family shares a one-bedroomed house in Amman with another family of three, who sleep in the living room. (World Watch Monitor)
Threatened with death
Two years ago, IS invaded Qaraqosh, a town on the Nineveh plains, which with Mosul, formed the biggest community of Christians in northern Iraq.
When it seized control, IS spray-painted the homes of non-Sunnis with the Arabic letter N’ for ‘nasrani’, a derogatory term for ‘Christian,’ ‘M’ for members of the military or police, and ‘R’ for ‘rafithi,’ a derogatory term for Shia Muslims, threatening them all with death if they did not convert or leave.
Church leaders estimated that between 100,000 and 160,000 Christians fled Mosul and its surrounding villages for Kurdistan in the summer of 2014. Many remain in camps there, while others have travelled to Jordan or Lebanon to join pre-existing Christian communities.
‘Only God is left’
Bahija, her sister and their parents first fled to Kurdistan, where a month later, her father died. World Watch Monitor said the women lived for seven months in a room in a church, and spent 11 months at the Ashti camp in Erbil. When hygiene levels in the camp deteriorated, they moved to Amman, Jordan, where they share a sparsely furnished two-roomed house with three other relatives.
Bahija said their 81-year-old mother, Bahar, cries at night, has become very fearful and developed high blood pressure since the ordeal. Bahija’s sister, Samira, lost her teacher’s pension as soon as they left Iraq because she worked for 23 years of the 35 years required to qualify. She said: ‘I wouldn’t go back to Iraq if they paid me billions. No one is left for us, only God.’
Levels of poverty, hunger and trauma are soaring among the thousands of Iraqi refugees, who have sought refuge in Amman and are receiving little or no aid. Some women have turned to prostitution to make ends meet and some households are missing meals.
A 2015 census recorded 130,000 Iraqis in Jordan, among whom Christians appear to be disproportionately represented. In 2007, 12 percent of Iraqi migrants in Jordan were estimated to be Christian, compared to an estimate of 1.6 percent of Christians in the population in Iraq itself (Operation World, 2010).
At this memorial service, young people performed their own poetry, made music and danced in front of a cross, around which are the names, in Arabic, of the villages still under IS control. (Open Doors International)r
Waves of Iraqis have been arriving in Jordan in the wake of the US-led invasion of 2003. However, World Watch Monitor said, Jordan is also sheltering 1.3 million Syrians, who have fled the horrors of their country’s four-year civil war.
Vulnerable children – resources stretched to the limit
The big institutions and NGOs, such as Save the Children, Oxfam and the World Food Program, are focusing their aid on Syrians. UNICEF’s educational programs focus on Syrians, although a spokesman said that some of their facilities are open to all vulnerable children. Three years ago a spokesman for UNHCR said Iraqis registered with UNHCR were ‘extremely impoverished’ because any savings they had arrived with had run out.
According to World Watch Monitor a spokesman for the charity CARE, told IRIN news: ‘As the Syrian crisis grew bigger, the Iraqi case has become invisible.’ Since then, the number of Iraqi refugees and the scale of their needs has become more acute.
Many are living in basic private accommodation, paid for by local philanthropists or churches, whose resources are being stretched to the limit.
A few local clergy are distributing food parcels, furniture, fans and cash-grants to families. They also help with medical care and are supported by a small number of Christian charities, aided by local Muslim individuals and organisations.
Christians not being cared for
Some refugees have serious physical injuries from attacks by militias and require ongoing medical treatment. Safwan Hikmat, who owned a shop in Mosul before he fled, has had eight operations on his leg since militias beat him with their guns and ran him over in 2011. He was left unable to walk for two years. He said he was targeted in an attempted ‘ID killing,’ which singled out non-Sunnis.
There are considerable mental-health needs among the refugees. Justin Hett, a psychotherapist trainer at the Center for Victims of Torture in Amman, which has seen a huge rise in the need for its services in the last ten years, said issues included post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and relationship tensions.
Father Emmanuel al-Bana, a Syriac Orthodox priest in Amman – who oversees an informal aid network for hundreds of the 3,000 Iraqi refugee families he says fled to Jordan – said Iraqi Christians’ applications for asylum in the West were often rejected. This can add to their anxiety, if they are insistent on doing that. ‘They are taking care of Syrians and Muslims, but not Iraqi Christians,’ he said, ‘We have no voice.’
Lord Alton, the respected British Christian campaigner who has lobbied the British government to describe IS’s actions against Christians and Yazidis as ‘genocide,’ said: ‘Everyone is suffering in this situation (in Iraq), but not everyone is the victim of genocide.”
World Watch Monitor said he added, ‘Rather than getting into a sensitive debate about accelerating one group because of their faith or denomination … we should simply give priority to those who are subject to genocide.’ However, Father al-Bana said some opposition to resettling Christians came from his church’s bishops, who fear the Christian presence dwindling to nothing in the Middle East.
For more information, please visit www.worldwatchmonitor.org.
Dr Jeremy Reynalds, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a freelance writer and the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a PhD in intercultural education. One of his newest books is From Destitute to Ph.D and his latest book is Two Hearts One Vision. Links: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.joyjunction.org / www.twoheartsonevisionthebook.com / www.myhomelessjourney.com.
Disclaimer: Articles, as well as the sources linked to, do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding, ASSIST (www.assistnews.net) and other news sources for timely gleanings