A Reckless Pursuit

According to a recent report, the reckless pursuit of money can be hazardous to your health. Richard Ryan and Timothy Kasser have spent six years conducting several studies of more than 1,000 adults and college students. They found that people with extrinsic goals are more prone to behavioral problems and physical ailments. People pursuing money scored far lower on measures of vitality and self-actualization. They were also more likely to abuse drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. The report suggests that those driven by money have difficulties maintaining relationships as well.

Forbes, April 5, 1999



Normalizing Sin

An episode of The Puzzle Place, a children's program on PBS, presented typical family settings of parents reading to a little girl and sharing a meal. The parents, however, were lesbians – depicted as a viable family to the show's young viewing audience. Focus on the Family gender expert Mike Haley said, "I think the scariest thing for us is when sin is normalized in the minds of children."

The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, January 8, 1999



The Venom of Man's Inhumanity

"Not even during the Second World War did I witness a scene of human anguish comparable to what I saw Monday at Blace on the Kosovo-Macedonian border.

"I looked towards the hills that surround this awful scene," writes W. F. Deedes, "and there were all the signs of spring. Just above this squalor, the hillside was bursting out in new green and some of the trees were wearing white for Eastertide.

"Then I looked down again at an old woman stumbling past me, crying and in the last stages of exhaustion. I thought: what have we got to flatter ourselves about at this new millennium? Man's inhumanity to man has lost none of its venom."

London Telegraph reporter W. F. Deedes, reflecting on the conditions surrounding the Kosovoan refugees.

Electronic Telegraph, April 6, 1999



Anti-Christian Eruptions

Satan Worshippers Burning Churches

The arsonist responsible for burning as many as fifty churches across the Midwest and South between 1994 and 1998 appears to have been motivated by his ties to Satan worship. Jay Scott Ballinger, 36, was arrested in February after admitting he started the fires. The Indiana man was known to have recruited teenagers to his cult, and when police searched his home, in addition to a gasoline container, they found satanic books and writings. They confiscated from his home about fifty contracts signed in blood by teenagers who agreed to give their souls to the devil and do "all types of evil" in exchange for wealth, power, and sex. Ballinger and two accomplices admitted to painting an upside-down cross on the steps of an Indiana church they torched in an apparent satanic ritual.

The Tennessean, February 25, 1999; CultureFacts, March 4, 1999; Associated Press, April 21, 1999


Evicted for Discussing Faith

A woman from the Seattle, Wash. area was evicted from a public transit bus for talking about Jesus Christ. Twenty-five-year-old Michelle Shocks said the incident occurred April 2 while on her way home from work. She said she struck up a conversation with another passenger after he boarded the same bus with her and said, "Praise the Lord," apparently out of happiness about getting in out of the rain.

Shocks said the two started chatting about the Lord, and within a few minutes, the female bus driver called her to the front. She reported the driver warned her to change the topic of conversation or be evicted. Shocks said she then went to sit by the man and continued their conversation more quietly. A few minutes later, the driver called her forward again and stated she and the male passenger were being put off the bus at the next stop.

Shocks, who was five months pregnant at the time, was forced to walk a mile in the rain during busy rush hour traffic.

AFR News, April 9, 1999


Election Loss Because of Faith

In Cambridge, Mass. Chris King, an evangelical Christian, ran for president of the Harvard University Undergraduate Council. He ran his campaign on the usual campus politics of "community-building," " shared vision," and "values-driven leadership." King says that while he is a Christian, his campaign staff is made up of people of every race, faith, and even people of no faith. However, Megan White, a member of the student government election commission, wrote an e-mail to fellow members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian fellowship. In the e-mail she requested prayer for King and his running mate. When the e-mail got out, the campus newspaper, Harvard Crimson, chose not to endorse King's ticket because King's "… ties to religious groups have raised concerns among students." King narrowly lost the election, admitting that the Crimson story probably cost him the race.

Baptist Standard, March 10, 1999


Lose the Crutch!

"How about getting your nose out of the Bible. … Try thinking for yourself and stop using an archaic book of stories as a crutch for your existence."

The response of an ABC online webmaster to an email message complaining of the increase of homosexual characters in network programming. The employee has since been fired.

The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, April 30, 1999


Modern Day Martyrs

"I am not going to justify my faith to them, and I am not going to hide the light that God has put into me. … If I have to sacrifice everything, I will. I will take it. If my friends have to become my enemies for me to be with my best friend Jesus, then that's fine with me."

– From the journal of Rachel Scott, written exactly one year before she was slain for confessing her faith at Columbine High School, April 20, 1999.

"Yes, I believe in God."

– The last words of Cassie Bernall, slain for confessing her faith at Columbine High School, April 20, 1999.



Wake Up, Hollywood

Films rated G are much more profitable than R-rated movies, according to a ten-year study released in January by the Dove Foundation. A study of 2,353 widely released films, revealed that Hollywood produced 17.4 times more R-rated than G-rated movies between 1988 and 1997. A total of 1,304 movies were rated R while only seventy-five were rated G. Yet the average G-film produced 8.35 times more profits per film than the average R-rated movie. R-rated movies averaged $11 million in profits per film compared to $94 million in profits for the average G-rated film.

Human Events, March 19, 1999

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