Time for Everything

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Posted 4/22/14 at 4:11 PM | Barry Bowen

Libertarian Party: Government is America's Biggest Polluter

Photo: Library of Congress - Public Domain
In 1946 the United States tested a nuclear weapon at the Bikini Atoll.

It is appropriate to take a look at America's biggest source of pollution on Earth Day.

On the Libertarian Party website Dr. Mary Ruwart writes:

Who's the greatest polluter of all? The oil companies? The chemical companies? The nuclear power plants? If you guessed "none of the above," you'd be correct. Our government, at the federal, state, and local levels, is the single greatest polluter in the land.

How can Ruwart and the Libertarians make such a claim?

  • The federal government is America's single biggest landowner. The Bureau of Land Management website reports, "It administers more public land – over 245 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency in the United States. Most of this land is located in the 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also manages 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation."
  • Federal, state and local governments have constructed thousands of miles of road. In fact there are 380,000 miles of roads in the National Forest Road System. (Source: USDA)
  • Government agencies often refuse to clean up their messes. Ruwart attributes this abuse to "sovereign immunity." Wikipedia defines sovereign immunity as "a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution."

Posted 4/18/14 at 12:04 PM | Barry Bowen |

1 comment

The Garden Tomb: Where Jesus May Have Been Buried

The Garden Tomb is a popular tourist spot for Christians visiting Jerusalem. Some people believe this is where Jesus was buried after his crucifixion.

According to the Garden Tomb website, this location "is conveniently located near the Old City, just outside the Damascus Gate, and is easily accessible both by foot and by public transit from many parts of the city."

The Bible doesn't say much about the location of where Jesus was buried. John 19:41 says, "At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid."

This is what the outside of the Garden Tomb looks like.

Photo: Flickr/James Emery - Creative Commons

Archaeologists have searched this area for more clues to its unique past. The Garden Tomb website reports, "In 1924 a wine press believed to come from the era of the late Second Temple Period was discovered as well leading to a belief that this site, in Jesus' day, was indeed some rich man's vineyard." FULL POST

Posted 4/14/14 at 4:18 PM | Barry Bowen

Two Months After Death, I still Think of Dad Daily

My dad

February 13th, the day before Valentine's Day, my dad died at 79 years of age.

Saturday I visited Mom and told her, "Every day I think of Dad." She responded, "I miss him too." She expressed those words with love, not sadness.

In the novel A Walk to Remember, author Nicholas Sparks writes, "There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well."

Easter is less than a week away and it shows how God overcame death. The Bible also promises that God will resurrect his people in the future. What an amazing event to look forward to.

"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body." - 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 FULL POST

Posted 4/11/14 at 3:34 PM | Barry Bowen

Churches With More Than 100,000 Facebook Likes

Facebook like symbol
Photo: Flickr/SEO - Creative Commons

Out of curiosity I looked for churches that have more than 100,000 likes on Facebook. The pastor of each of these churches is an author. Most of them promote the prosperity gospel. Bethel Church is the most controversial. Its ministry team visits graves to receive an anointing. (Source: YouTube)

Posted 4/6/14 at 9:08 PM | Barry Bowen |


Church Scandals: An Opportunity to Defend Holiness and Show Grace

Photo by Jemimus / Creative Commons

Growing up as a minister's kid, I sometimes saw the dirty side of church politics. Divisions would take place in the congregation as people took sides. On a couple of occasions a minister was fired. Youth ministers lacking experience were more likely to upset parents and they were the ones most likely to be fired.

The church politics, destructive as it was, did not compare to the sex scandal that rocked the little country church I briefly attended in Oklahoma. A youth minister molested a boy, charges were filed and he was convicted. The youth group attendance plunged and the church lost some credibility in the community.

The Bible offers advice for churches caught in scandal:

  • We should repent of our own sin before confronting someone else in sin. (Matthew 7:3)
  • Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
  • Show mercy because God will judge us the way we judge others. (Matthew 7:2)
  • Restore the sinner gently. (Galations 6:1)
  • Sometimes the sin is so destructive that the sinner must be removed from the church. (1 Corinthians 5:13)

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale is the latest church to experience such a scandal and it is interesting to watch how the church is handling the crisis. Bob Coy, pastor of the 20,000 member megachurch, resigned and admitted to committing sin that disqualified him from church leadership. FULL POST

Posted 4/3/14 at 3:33 PM | Barry Bowen |

1 comment

When Churches Become Nightclubs

Photo: Flickr/Tama Leaver - Creative Commons
This church in New Zealand was turned into The Vatican nightclub.

Numerous churches have been turned into bars. The French wire service AFP recently reported on this trend:

"At one church, the only thing being worshipped is beer ... Thanks to a steady decline in religion and the high costs of maintaining these historic buildings, a rising number of churches are being given new lives that may have horrified their founders."

In the 1980s Christian new wave musician Steve Taylor satirically sang about such a church. Taylor's song "This Disco (Used To Be A Cute Cathedral)" featured biting lyrics that described a church that had the wrong priorities and died: "Got no need for altar calls. Sold the altar for the mirror balls." FULL POST

Posted 4/1/14 at 11:13 PM | Barry Bowen |


NPR Investigates Televangelists; Underestimates Finances of Networks

National Public Radio's news program All Things Considered is investigating televangelists for using their church status to avoid public disclosure of assets and other financial information.

Unlike regular non-profit organizations in the United States, churches are exempt from filing the Form 990 for financial disclosure with the IRS. Unless a church's articles of incorporation or bylaws require public disclosure of finances, the church leadership can keep this information a secret. This means donors often lack access to information about how their donations are spent.

Reporter John Burnett with the assistance of televangelist watchdog Trinity Foundation obtained financial documents for Daystar Television, the television ministry of Marcus and Joni Lamb's "church" Word of God Fellowship. These financial reports were from a 2011 lawsuit involving Daystar. FULL POST

Posted 3/31/14 at 10:26 PM | Barry Bowen

Cracker Barrel Partners With Michael W. Smith

Photo: Flickr/ruthdaniel3444 - Creative Commons
Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith perform.

The first album I ever bought was Michael W. Smith Project and it was purchased in a department store. That was more than 30 years ago. Now audio cassettes are rarely used and Smith's latest album Hymns is only available on CD or digital download from the Cracker Barrel restaurant/gift store chain.

This is a unique partnership of a secular corporation promoting a Christian worship album. While many Christian ministries rely on donations to fund their work, the option of sponsorship or partnership with businesses is often ignored.

Another example of business and Christian ministry partnering is National Donut Day. Last year Entenmann's the bakery company donated money to the Salvation Army based on people liking its Facebook page. FULL POST

Posted 3/12/14 at 6:16 PM | Barry Bowen

Was the Robbery of Joel Osteen's Church an Inside Job?

Photo: Wikipedia/Hequals2henry - Creative Commons

$600,000 in donations were stolen recently from the safe at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. The Houston Chronicle and Fox 26 report the theft included $200,000 in cash along with check and credit card donations given during the Saturday and Sunday services.

Details are scarce as the police conduct an investigation.

Commissary, the Christian songwriter, tweeted, "Can't tell you how many times I saw people poke fun at Joel Osteen's theft situation today on social media." He also asked the question, "When is theft ever funny?" FULL POST

Posted 3/8/14 at 6:41 PM | Barry Bowen

Time Change: Redeem the Time

Photo: Memecrunch/Barry Bowen/Chovee - Creative Commons

The next time change is Sunday, March 9th so don't forget to set your clocks.

People often view the spring time change as the loss of an hour. With that in mind, let's consider the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, "Lost time is never found again."

The Bible reminds us to make the most of the time we have today.

Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV says, "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

 The New Living Translation says, "So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days."

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