Sky Links, 3-10-18

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0
Each new day, make sure that justice is done, and rescue those who are being robbed. Or else my anger will flame up like a fire that never goes out.
-Jeremiah 21:12 (CEV)

Iran: Christians Held in Notorious Evin Prison ‘Will never be the same’
-World Watch Monitor

There was hope among Iranian Christians that the mass protests earlier this year could effect change for them, but they continue to be harassed and imprisoned on spurious charges.

An Iranian convert to Christianity, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, who recently lost his appeal against a 10-year sentence for “missionary activities”, was reportedly moved to the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran two weeks ago – the same prison where two other Christians, Majidreza Souzanchi Kushani and Fatimeh Mohammadi (both members of the self-styled “Church of Iran”), have also been held since their arrest on 17 November last year.

According to the advocacy group Middle East Concern, Kushani was charged with “disrupting national security” by being a member of an evangelical Christian group, for which he could receive a prison sentence of between two and ten years.

Glenn Beck Chokes Up Over His Recollection of When Billy Graham Defended Him

“I remember five years ago, your father asked me some very pointed questions,” Beck outlined at one point during the discussion. “And somebody in the room said, ‘Just a reminder, he’s Mormon.’ And your father turned to the individual and said, ‘I know.'”

“And he looked back at me and said—we were talking about a certain subject—and he said, ‘Tell me how you know that came from Christ,'” he recalled. “And I told him.”

“And he (Graham) looked back to the other individual and said, ‘He sure sounds Christian to me,'” Beck said.

Ruth Graham nodded her head and smiled.

Beck then fell silent as he became visibly moved in recounting the story.

Moments later, after gathering himself, he turned to Ruth and asked, “How do we get people to play nice with each other?”

“Oh, Glenn,” she replied, taking a deep breath. “I don’t know. We have such division. We have such rancor, not only in our political world, but in our Christian world, our religious world. And I know that breaks Jesus’ heart.”

Ruth said that she characterizes herself as being a person of inclusion.

“I just love people. I don’t want to draw lines. I want to include people,” she stated. “And if in that inclusion, I gather in some black sheep, well and good. But I’d rather err on the side of grace than I would on judgment. I just am not going to stand in judgment of other people.”

What a Glorious Day — My Friend Billy Graham’s Homegoing
-James Robison

I called Billy on one occasion and scolded him for cooperating with so many different Christian groups. He said something to me then that led to an amazing change in my life.

He said, “Do you know these Christians you are telling me to avoid?” I said, “No I don’t.” He said, “Well I do, and I have found them to be in love with Jesus.” And then the sentence that triggered what I believe was a miraculous and very important change. He said, “I suggest you spend time with those you’ve been taught to avoid.”


I did it. This Baptist evangelist began to spend time with Pentecostals and Charismatics, and even went to some of them and asked forgiveness for the unkind way I might have addressed some of the differences we seemed to have.

The miracle? Not only were those individuals I befriended impacted by the fact I came at Billy’s suggestion, but Iwas impacted. Iron began to sharpen iron. Essential friction took place with the powerful aid of Holy Spirit oil.

Today, I am watching major church leaders from various denominational groups come together in supernatural unity, praying for the great awakening we must witness.

Billy Graham was used of God to birth that in my heart.

-William Farrell, with John Gray

Dad deprivation is the main hole in the heart common to boys vulnerable to gangs and to boys targeted by sexual predators.  It was also common to boys recruited by Hitler for Hitler Youth.  And boys too alienated to be recruited by others may recruit themselves-- as, for example, lone school shooters...

...Boys with minimal or no father involvement more frequently suffer from an addiction to immediate gratification. For example, with minimal or no father involvement there is a much greater likelihood of video game addiction, more ADHD, worse grades in every subject, less empathy, less assertiveness (but more aggression), fewer social skills, more alienation and loneliness, more obesity, rudderlessness, anger, drugs, drinking, delinquency, disobedience, depression and suicide. (IFS interview I)

...Boys are even more vulnerable to broken families than girls. In addition to it usually being their role model who is disappearing, studies of children years after divorce report moms of divorce are five times as likely to bad-mouth the dads as vice versa. So a boy’s attachment to his role model often becomes precarious.

Making marriages better serves everyone. Many couples with children who are legally married are psychologically divorced. Divorces are due less to problems with money, sex or children, and more to each partner feeling that her or his perspectives on money, sex, or children are rarely heard. When our partner airs her or his perspective, we often take it as criticism, and the Achilles’ heel of human beings is our inability to handle personal criticism from a loved one without becoming defensive.

That is, we have a “love dilemma”: while “falling in love” is biologically natural, sustaining love is biologically unnatural. For our children to not fear marriage, then, they need to see that their parents have learned how to do what does not come naturally: sustain love.

This creates the greatest single opportunity for the most radical solution to the boy crisis: parental modeling of how to sustain love. (IFS interview, II)

William Farrell: The Boy Crisis

Helping Children Learn to Manage Emotions
-Tyler Jacobson

Model healthy emotional self-regulation.

Children are keen observers and they will emulate what you do. If you yell, they learn to yell. Speak respectfully and they’ll copy that. Your own behavior can go a long way towards negating or reinforcing whatever habits you’re trying to teach your kids. So instead of yelling or making intimidating remarks when angry or upset, model healthy behavior by taking time out to calm down and act rationally. Doing this in front of your child helps them learn emotional regulation and self-control.
Acknowledge and validate your child’s emotions.

Learn to acknowledge your child’s or teen’s feelings even if they make you uncomfortable or you think they are unreasonable. Be empathetic instead of judgmental and use statements that reflect their emotions back to them like “That must have made you angry” or “You seem sad”. This validates their feelings and makes them feel understood.

Acknowledging and validating your child’s feelings sends a message that their emotions are important. They learn that having emotions might be uncomfortable but not dangerous. Consequently, they start accepting and processing their emotions instead of bottling them up, eventually gaining better emotional awareness and control.

The World's Nicest McDonald's 

Dan Rockwell: Find Your Tennis Ball

Saudi Crown Prince Shocks Islamists With Bold Moves in Egypt
-Thomas Lifson

It is hard to overstate the significance of a hugely symbolic move by the reformist crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). American media mostly are clueless about religion and lack any understanding of the momentous changes underway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the full support of the Trump administration. The fact that MbS is reputed to be close to Jared Kushner seals the deal: the mainstream media have little interest in extolling the world-historical transition underway in the nation that is pre-eminent in Sunni Islam, the Guardian of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, and which has been the moneybags for radical jihadists for three generations.

Why Read Philemon? Ten Reasons
-Scot McKnight

...We may not have slavery as some cultures today but we’ve got status differentials not unlike slavery.

Racism, white nationalism, populism, elitism, marginalization, power differential, economic privilege, economic power, political power … I could go on but I leave you to fill in the blanks. Paul’s letter to Philemon addresses each of these and many more situations.

  1. Slavery has immediate connections to our world.
  2. Power is perennially a problem.
  3. Reconciliation is the message.
  4. Decision is the implication.
  5. The way of empire is not the way of Christ.
  6. The church is the location of kingdom realities taking form.
  7. Churches need to perform the letter.
  8. Persuasion can be gentle.
  9. An example of how to read a book in the Bible.
  10. A marginalized letter (appendix to Colossians) with a marginalized voice.

The Problem with Christian Music
-Josh Keefe

Benny Hinn Says He’s Guilty of Taking the Prosperity Gospel Outside of What the Bible Teaches

Yesterday, televangelist Benny Hinn recorded an extended Facebook Live video (the comments start around the 9:30 mark), discussing the legacy of Billy Graham, who died yesterday at the age of 99. And, along with talking about Graham’s influence on himself and his ministry, Hinn also got surprisingly candid about his philosophy on the so-called “prosperity gospel.”

Though he said, “We get attacked for preaching prosperity, well it’s in the Bible,” he continued, “But I think some have gone to the extreme with it sadly, and it’s not God’s word what is taught, and I think I’m as guilty as others. Sometimes you go a little farther than you really need to go and then God brings you back to normality and reality.”

Where Are The Movie Stars?
-Seth Godin

I'm sitting in a crowded lobby in Los Angeles, surrounded by 100 or so people. Not one of them looks like a movie star. No one has perfect hair, a perfect family, a perfect life.

I'm at a fancy conference in Boulder. There are a thousand CEOs and founders here. Not one is gliding through her day the way the folks on magazine covers are. Not one has a glitch-free project and the clear sailing that the articles imply.

And here, at the gym in Yonkers, I'm not seeing a single person who looks like he could be on the cover of Men's Health.

Role models are fine. But not when they get in the way of embracing our reality. The reality of not enough time, not enough information, not enough resources. The reality of imperfection and vulnerability.

There are no movie stars. Merely people who portray them now and then.