When We Don’t Get A Happy Ending

Even when things don't go as we hoped, all hope is not lost.

People resonated with the story of how I closed my church plant a few years ago. Here is one final reflection about that difficult but formative time.

I doubt closing a church is easy in any situation. But the Riverside was not just any church. I had planted it myself, and its closure felt especially personal. The deepest experiences of my life were inextricably bound to that community, and so it was wrenching to see those ties severed. For two years, my life revolved around three themes: my family, my church, and my wife’s cancer. My family would survive my wife’s cancer, but sadly, my church would not. Perhaps this explains why the closure of my church affected me so profoundly and so negatively.

But I also think it has something to do with happy endings.

America loves happy endings where the good guy gets the girl and the bad guy his just deserts. Many a studio executive has discovered this when they are bold enough to produce a film with an ambivalent ending, one in which it is not manifestly clear that everyone is better off than when they began. Test audiences howl at the injustice of it all and demand their money back, even though they saw the movie for free. In fact, the endings of some famous films have been rewritten because of this fact.

But this goes far beyond our taste in movies. It is a reflection of American culture as a whole, specifically, the American dream. The American dream revolves around the belief that if a person works hard enough and generally treats others well, he will thrive in this country. And this is why we love happy endings. They are consistent with the American dream and serve to reinforce the rightness of that worldview. Without these conclusions, we experience uncomfortable ...

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Brittany Maynard Won’t Kill Herself November 1: “Doesn’t Seem Like the Right Time Now”

Brittany Maynard has officially decided to delay her decision to kill herself under Oregon’s assisted suicide law on November 1. She says it “doesn’t seem like the right time now” to end her life.

Although cancer patients and pro-life groups have tried to talk her out of the decision, it now appears Maynard may have either been used by assisted suicide advocates to promote their agenda or may have been a part of a plan working in concert with them to attempt to legalize assisted suicide in additional states.

The 29-year-old terminally ill patient made nationally-discussed plans to take the lethal pill on November 1st to end her own life. After suffering from severe headaches, Brittany Maynard found out she had stage II glioblastoma multiforme and had up to ten years to live. However, after she had surgery, doctors found out that she had the most deadly form of brain cancer, stage IV glioblastoma multiforme. The cancer usually kills its victims in a matter of months.

brittanymaynard7After her diagnosis, Brittany decided that she wanted to move from her California home to Oregon so that she could have access to the “death with dignity” prescription. She had plans to die in her home surrounded by her mother, stepfather, husband and best friend.

But, now, Maynard has released a video saying she has reconsidered her decision and released a new video confirming her change of heart.

“I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now,” Maynard says in the new video. “But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”

Maynard says in the video that she’s still waiting to see how her symptoms progress before deciding on a date to die.

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Maynard said she had two seizures a week ago and she recalled how she looked at her husband, but she couldn’t say his name and wound up going to the hospital after the second seizure.

“I think sometimes people look at me and they think. ‘Well you don’t look as sick as you say you are,’ which hurts to hear, because when I’m having a seizure and I can’t speak afterwards, I certainly feel as sick as I am,” she says in the video. “When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or, you know, whatever they’ve decided is best for me, it hurts because really, I risk it every day, every day that I wake up.”

Some assisted suicide proponents say Maynard’s case has been used by euthanasia activists to promote assisted suicide. Case in point: the new video was released by the pro-assisted suicide group Compassion & Choices, which has pushed to legalize assisted suicide in numerous states.

Maynard herself pushes assisted suicide in a statement accompanying the video:

“I want to thank you for your incredible support. The outpouring of kindness that I have received since my story went public has been astounding. You’ve helped put the death-with-dignity movement in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. All across the country, lawmakers have reached out saying that they want to introduce legislation to authorize aid in dying. That is real progress towards change,” a statement from Maynard reads on the YouTube video page.

The video also features Maynard’s mother, who looks the other way at her daughter’s decision to kill herself.

“It’s not my job to tell her how to live,” her mother, Debbie, says in the video. “And it’s not my job to tell her how to die.”

Oregon is one of five states, along with New Mexico, Montana, Washington , and Vermont, that allow assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act passed in 1997 and has resulted in 1,173 prescriptions, with 752 deaths resulting from access of the medication.

Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan to Run Again in Elections

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has confirmed he will run again in February's elections

ICC Note:

The current President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has confirmed that he will be running in the upcoming elections. After his election last term a wave of violent persecution of Christians broke out across the country resulting in the massacre of hundreds of Christians. The President is currently being criticized for the way his administration has been handling the abduction of 200 Chibok girls, a majority of whom are Christians, by Boko Haram.

10/30/2014 Nigeria (BBC)-Until now he had refused to confirm his candidacy for re-election as president.

The announcement comes as he faces mounting criticism over his handling of the Boko Haram insurgency and its abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls.

The militants are reported to have seized control of the north-eastern town of Mubi.

The government announced a ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram earlier this month that was supposed to lead to the release of the schoolgirls. Thousands of people have fled from the rebels' north-eastern stronghold throughout the course of the conflict.

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Being the incumbent from a well-financed party, President Jonathan is expected to be the main contender during next February's elections.

The BBC's Tomi Oladipo in Lagos says that the president is not only being accused of not doing enough to win the release of the girls - he is also blamed for failing to curb rampant corruption in government and state institutions.

In addition there have been several high-profile defections from the ruling party, including most recently the speaker of the House of Representatives.

The ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram is expected to boost Mr Jonathan's chances if it results in the release of the schoolgirls.

The opposition All Progressives Congress will not select its candidate until early December. The former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari is considered the favourite to lead the opposition challenge for the top job in Africa's largest economy.

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English Media Label Pro-Life Prayer Campaign “Too American” for Britain

When Robert Colquhoun first brought 40 Days for Life to his home country of England in 2010, he had no idea what God had in store for him. Robert actually moved to London to lead that first campaign … and has since seen 40 Days for Life spread throughout the UK.

He has debated the head of the largest abortion provider in England on national radio. He has also seen a huge response from national media including The Guardian, the BBC and The Daily Telegraph.

After dozens of peaceful campaigns, lives saved and an abortion facility closing in London, some of Robert’s critics in England still don’t know what to make of 40 Days for Life … so they resort to labeling it “too American” for Britain.

This is comical for Robert, who is very clear that he speaks the Queen’s English. Today we see how prayer can go anywhere. Robert’s efforts to spread 40 Days for Life across England — and beyond — show that we must rescue those being led to the slaughter … regardless of our nationality.

LONDON, ENGLAND

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This is the second 40 Days for Life vigil outside the BPAS abortion facility in London’s Twickenham area. Thus far, nine babies have been spared from abortion. Still … Justyna, the local leader, said they’re praying for other mothers and babies who remain at risk.

One couple arrived at BPAS, determined to have an abortion because of their financial situation, but “they didn’t want to believe that we offer help.”

Another young woman is feeling extreme pressure from her boyfriend, who’s insisting on abortion. A third woman is eight weeks pregnant, very confused and not sure what to do.

Finally, there was a woman who is pregnant with twins. “She couldn’t go through with it, but they rebooked her abortion appointment. She is an alcoholic and scared to death to have her babies, because social services will take them away.”

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In the midst of all of this, people have been arriving at BPAS for job interviews. “We spoke to few people who were going in,” Justyna said. “Please pray that God will give them better jobs.”

HALLAM, ENGLAND

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Robert met volunteers in Hallam and thanked them for joining thousands of people around the world praying and fasting for an end to abortion. He noted that this collective witness is very powerful.

Bernadette in Hallam said Bishop Ralph Heskett was scheduled to pray at the vigil, and she is pleased that he is supporting the campaign.

“We completed an outreach at Sheffield University Chaplaincy,” she added. “We shared testimonies with the students and told them about our campaign. Let’s pray that these young people will take their active place in the pro-life movement.”

LEEDS, ENGLAND

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The third 40 Days for Life campaign in Leeds is currently underway. In Leeds, Robert met with Chris, the local leader there, and other volunteers. The vigil in Leeds takes place in front of a Marie Stopes abortion facility. Marie Stopes and BPAS are the two leading abortion businesses in the UK.

RIGA, LATVIA

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Riga is the capital city of Latvia – a nation on the Baltic Sea that shares a border with Russia. Latvia is a country of 2 million … and there are 7,000 abortions there every year. The first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign in that nation is now taking place.

While in Riga, Robert met with Janis Lulle, the campaign leader there, along with the rest of his team. He also met Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics, who is an abortion survivor himself.

Prayer walks have been conducted around the hospital in Riga, and the campaign has received excellent media coverage.

LifeNews.com Note: Shawn Carney is the campaign director for the 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer campaign against abortion.

Israel closes Temple Mount after assassination attempt

(ISRAEL TODAY) Israel’s closure of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an assassination attempt on Wednesday, is tantamount to a “declaration of war,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday morning.

Abbas’s remarks came after an Arab suspect in the shooting of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist was killed in a gunfight with the police in the mixed Jewish-Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor.

Police closed the compound early Thursday out of fear of clashes in the wake of the shooting of Yehudah Glick, who campaigned for Jewish rights on the site, and as Israeli right-wing groups vowed to march on the site.

Apple CEO: ‘Being gay gift from God’

(BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK) Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.

At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

Giants ride Bumgarner’s arm to World Series title

If you enjoy old-fashioned, gut-it-out baseball, then Game 7 of the World Series was for you. The San Francisco Giants won their third World Series title in five years Wednesday night, defeating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 behind an incredible pitching performance by Madison Bumgarner. The tall left-hander came out of the bullpen to pitch five scoreless innings just three days after pitching a four-hit, complete-game shutout over the Royals in Game 5 Sunday. “What a warrior he is, and

United States Should Do More to Promote Religious Freedom Globally

ICC Note: Since the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, the United States has committed to fostering a world where people are free to choose to believe or not believe in whatever faith they wish. Despite this worthwhile goal, three quarters of the world's population live in nations where religious freedom is restricted at high or very high levels, leaving many, especially religious minorities, with little room to practice their faith. More can and should be done to promote this fundamental human right. 

10/29/2014 United States (Washington Times) - Even as the Obama administration calls on nations to secure religious freedoms globally, advocates say the effort would get a boost with more action and leadership from the United States itself.

“The United States has had an ‘official’ policy of promoting international religious freedom since the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998,” said Tom Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. “As the most powerful and the most influential country in the world, it should be leading the fight against religious persecution and for religious freedom.

Monday marked the 16th anniversary of the act — a valuable tool in promoting religious liberty only if the federal government uses it to its full potential, said Katrina Lantos Swett, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“We want to see people at the highest levels saying ‘we get it,’ religious freedom is not just a nice issue, it’s central to our foreign policy and national security policy,” Ms. Swett said. “We are not totally in the dark in the way our government actually works, but what you need is attention from those at the highest level that think this is important, this is a priority that is crucially in our national interest.”

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Houston Mayor Reverses Attempt to Subpoena Pastors Sermons

ICC Note: In a case that ignited controversy across the country, Houston's mayor has cancelled the cities attempt to subpoena sermons from area pastors on the topic of homosexuality and gay marriage. The sermons were demanded by the city after churches in Houston led a petition calling for the repeal of new anti-discrimination laws allowing, among other things, for people to use restrooms of the opposite sex based on their own gender identification. The subpoena has been widely viewed as an unconstitutional attempt by the cities mayor, Annise Parker, to silence Christians opposed to the legislation. 

10/29/2014 United States (Fox News) - Subpoenas issued to five Houston pastors demanding all sermons and correspondence dealing with homosexuality, gender identity and the city's Equal Rights ordinance have been withdrawn, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor announced at a Wednesday press conference.

"After much contemplation and discussion, I am directing the city legal department to withdraw the subpoenas issued to the five Houston pastors who delivered the petitions, the anti-HERO petitions, to the city of Houston and who indicated that they were responsible for the overall petition effort," said Mayor Annise Parker in remarks covered by television station KPRC.

My column on the issue sparked a bit of national outrage – well – a lot of national outrage. To be honest it was a full-scale hullabaloo. City Hall was deluged with telephone calls, letters, emails – along with hundreds of Bibles and sermons. More than 50,000 supporters signed a petition.

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