Monthly Archives: August 2009

Below is an e-mail I received through the ONE campaign from Richard Cizik.

Dear ONE Member,

I’m a ONE member, an evangelical minister, and a strong believer in protecting this world and all its inhabitants. In 2007 and 2008, I had the honor of working with Rabbi David Saperstein and a bipartisan group of senators to make sure the first ever comprehensive climate change legislation included provisions to help the world´s poorest people overcome the terrible suffering threatened by a changing global climate.

The legislation we helped with did not become law, but what we fought for is back in the spotlight again as a new climate bill works its way through Congress. Unfortunately, the House version, which passed earlier this summer, falls far short of meeting the needs of those most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change. That’s why I’m taking action and adding my name to ONE’s petition calling on our senators to correct this injustice.

Click the link below to add your name to ONE’s petition:

http://www.one.org/r?r=211&id=1136-3310651-I2bxl.x&t=2

Petition text:

Please ask your leadership to make sure this year’s Senate climate change legislation meets the standard set by last year’s bipartisan Lieberman-Warner climate bill, and allocates 5% of any revenue to begin helping the world’s poorest people overcome the threats posed by climate change.

I grew up on a farm in the Pacific Northwest, and as the old saying goes, you can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy. I’ve often joked about how I learned the hard way that climate can seriously impact a farm family’s income—on more than one occasion rainstorms destroyed our cherry crops. But for countless small-scale farmers in the developing world, more and more intense storms, increased droughts and floods, and the expansion of deserts are no laughing matter. These climate-driven changes threaten livelihoods and lives, and demand a response from us and our leaders.

We can convince our senators to commit 5% of any potential revenue from their climate change legislation as an important first step towards investing in the infrastructure and development needs—the dams, sea walls and upgraded agricultural practices—that will allow the world’s poorest people to not only weather this very literal climate storm, but even continue to make progress against poverty and disease.

Please take action and join me in making sure our senators hear from us right now, while they’re writing this climate change bill:

http://www.one.org/r?r=211&id=1136-3310651-I2bxl.x&t=3

Climate change is a phenomenon of biblical proportions, and its first victims will be those who can least afford to face more suffering. A challenge this big will take all of us: students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, moms, dads, activists, and yes, even evangelical ministers, working together as ONE. That is the strength of our movement, the ability to come together as people of all different faiths, ideologies, and from all walks of life to compel our senators to take action and make sure the world’s poor have the resources they need to meet this climate challenge.

I hope you’ll join us and send a message to your senators that their climate bill must include 5% for the world’s most vulnerable people:

http://www.one.org/r?r=211&id=1136-3310651-I2bxl.x&t=4

Thank you,

Rev. Richard Cizik
ONE member and President of The New Evangelicals

Two Iranian believers on trial for their faith


MARYAM AND MARZIEH: “We will not deny our faith”

Below is an e-mail I received from Reza Safa

In a dramatic session before the revolutionary court today in Tehran, Maryam Rustampoor (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh (30) were told to recant their faith in Christ. Though great pressure was put on them, both women declared that they would not deny their faith. Maryam and Marzieh were originally arrested on March 5, 2009 and have suffered greatly while in prison, suffering ill health, solitary confinement and interrogations for many hours while blindfolded.

On Saturday August 8, Maryam and Marzieh were summoned to appear in court on Sunday August 9 in order to hear a verdict on their case. The chief interrogator had recommended a verdict of ‘apostasy.’ However, when they arrived, no verdict was actually given. Instead, the court session focussed on the deputy prosecutor, Mr Haddad, questioning Maryam and Marzieh about their faith and telling them that they had to recant in both verbal and written form. This made it clear that in the eyes of the court, Maryam and Marzieh’s only crime is that they have converted to Christianity.

Mr. Haddad, asked the two women if they were Christians. “We love Jesus,” they replied. He repeated his question and they said, “Yes, we are Christians.”

Mr. Haddad then said, “You were Muslims and now you have become Christians.”

“We were born in Muslim families, but we were not Muslims,” was their reply.

Mr. Haddad’s questioning continued and he asked them if they regretted becoming Christians, to which they replied, “We have no regrets.”

Then he stated emphatically, “You should renounce your faith verbally and in written form.” They stood firm and replied, “We will not deny our faith.”

During one tense moment in the questioning, Maryam and Marzieh made reference to their belief that God had convicted them through the Holy Spirit. Mr. Haddad told them, “It is impossible for God to speak with humans.”

Marzieh asked him in return, “Are you questioning whether God is Almighty?”

Mr. Haddad then replied, “You are not worthy for God to speak to you.”

Marzieh said, “It is God, and not you, who determines if I am worthy.”

Mr. Haddad told the women to return to prison and think about the options they were given and come back to him when they are ready (to comply). Maryam and Marzieh said, “We have already done our thinking.”

At the end of the session, Mr. Haddad told them that a judge will give them his verdict, though it is not clear who will be the judge in their case now. He also allowed Maryam and Marzieh to have a lawyer represent them in the case for the first time since their arrest.

Both women are back in Evin prison tonight. During their five-month ordeal, both have been unwell and have lost much weight. Marzieh is in pain due to an on-going problem with her spine, as well as an infected tooth and intense headaches.She desperately needs medical attention. Two months ago the prison officials told her the prison had proper medical equipment and that they will attend to her, but so far no proper treatment has been given.

Despite the concentrated effort of officials to pressure them into recanting their faith, Maryam and Marzieh love Jesus and they are determined to stand firm to the very end no matter whatever happens. They have demonstrated their love for Jesus and would offer their lives for Him if they were called to do so. After today’s court session they said, “If we come out of prison we want to do so with honor.”

Maryam and Marzieh’s case is a clear and harsh violation of human rights and religious liberty by Iran’s authorities. They deserve the support of all those who respect human rights and to be released without charges so they can pursue a life of freedom.

Verse of the day. Ecclesiastes 7:14

In the day of prosperity, be joyful;
But in the day of adversity, consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as well
as the other; So that man can find out
nothing that will come after him.

Letter to Ambassador Anne W. Patterson

I just sent out an e-mail update asking people to write to the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. Below is a sample letter. Be sure to write “attn: Ambassador Patterson” as the subject.

The e-mail address for the U.S. embassy in Pakistan is acs_islamabad@state.gov

Dear Ambassador Patterson,

It has been brought to my attention by several of my Christian friends in Pakistan that Pakistani Muslims have been attacking Christian villages and burning down their homes and churches, all because of trumped up charges due to the “blasphemy law.” I am particularly appalled by what took place in the town of Gojra last week, where over 50 homes were burned down and 9 people were killed. My Pakistani Christian friends have told me that this is the third incident in Punjab this year. They also tell me that the rioting of the radicals is still going on and that the Pakistani police and military is not doing enough to protect them.

I believe it is the job of governments to protect their citizens, not to turn a blind eye to such gross human rights abuses. I am writing to ask you to apply the full use of your diplomatic resources to pressure the Pakistani government to repeal the blasphemy law, arrest the rioters and bring them to justice, and to provide immediate humanitarian relief and protection to the Christian minority in Punjab.

Thank you for giving your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Aaron

Christian homes burned by Muslims in Gojra Pakistan

Growing up in a large family (Guest contributor Dave Taylor)

There has been a lot of talk of late about the women who after having 6 children found herself pregnant and giving birth to octuplets. That’s 8 more children. I am not here to debate or to judge the woman for her decision to have a total of 14 children. Whether or not she or her fertility doctor is to blame is of no consequence to me. Her reasons and/or intentions that she decided to have these children are hers and hers alone. After all the hoopla and attention that is being showered upon her either wanted or unwanted is over, she and whomever she can find to help her will have a large family to rear. The larger issue to me is how the public seems to perceive larger families.

It is rare today that you find more than two maybe three children in most families. I don’t know the exact statistics so maybe I am just full of beans. This is an issue close to my heart because I come from a large family. There are twelve of us and I am number 5 – the first born son after 4 girls. The mix was uneven at 9 girls and 3 boys. Growing up in a family so large definitely had its challenges. Mom didn’t work outside the home for obvious reasons. Dad wasn’t around for a lot of my childhood because he was a Navy man and was overseas a lot when I was young. We always felt safe and secure. We would have been considered poor by anyone’s standards even mine. I don’t recall ever going to bed hungry but there were some creative meals that came out of the kitchen. Mom had more ways to cook beans and rice that anyone I have ever met. We used to buy rice and beans in 25# sacks at the commissary.

Hand me down clothes were just a fact of life. We wore jeans to school many times with holes in them. It’s hard to imagine something like that being fashionable today. I would have been so cool. School lunches were always a surprise. If it could be put between two slices of bread Mom would make a sandwich out of it. Ever hear of a spaghetti sandwich? Neither did my friends. The first day of school was nothing like kids of today where Mom and maybe Dad walks you to the bus stop and waits with you and takes your picture when you get on the bus. My mom would stand at the door with a child on each hip and wait for a group of kids that looked about my age to come walking down the street. When they got close enough Mom would would kiss me goodbye and tell me to follow them to the bus stop.

We had a good life. We moved around a lot because Dad would get transferred. We would go to church on Sunday and take up a whole pew. We got some funny looks. I don’t remember ever going out with the entire family to eat. It was just too much trouble to keep us all in line. We did al lot of things together that didn’t cost much. Dad would dig a big hole out in the backyard and build a fire in it and we would roast hotdogs at night. We caught fireflies in the summer and played tag and hide and go seek until it was time to come in. Although there were a lot of things we didn’t have there were more things that we did have. We had each other. The house was always full of life and we found creative ways to keep ourselves amused. Today our family is still very close. None of us are or ever have been in jail for any reason and we are all productive and contributing what we can to make this world a better place. Thanks for letting me reminisce.

I am sure that Mom was looked down upon quite a bit for her decision to have such a large family. Mom called us her “Happy dozen”. I think though that maybe she knew what she was doing all along and now her kids are reaping the benefits. I know I am. By the way I count myself among the number of parents scared to death to have more than a few children. We have three. The thought of having anymore gives me a pit in my stomach and makes me lightheaded. We like most of you thought it best to have fewer and give them more. I still wonder what life would have been like with my own Happy dozen or maybe Happy half-dozen. I guess I will never know but I am sure not going to stare or judge anyone that has. I might even be a little envious.

Interview with Rodney Winters, author of "Go into the House"

I met Rodney Winters at the Book Expo of America Convention. We share the same publisher Foghorn Publisher. Rodney’s book is about a failed marriage, more specifically, his failed marriage. Most authors like to paint themselves in the most positive light possible, which is why I find what Rodney is doing with his book fascinating. I think it takes a lot of courage to do what Rodney is doing. I also believe his book will help a lot of people. Below is my Q&A with Rodney Winters.

Question: It seems that most authors and speakers write books that paint
themselves in a positive light. You, however, wrote a book about a failed marriage in which you put much of the blame on yourself. What gave you the courage to speak so openly about your failures?

Answer: I am actually a private person, and it was difficult being so transparent, but I feel it is worth it. I have a burden for marriages and hurting people. I’ve found that men, in particular, don’t generally talk about these kinds of struggles, and there are not a lot of resources for discussion. I knew that I was not the only person dealing with these particular issues, and believed my story could help someone else. I believe God is using my pain and failures to bring healing to others.

Question: What is the single greatest lesson you learned about your failed
marriage that you would like to share with the world?

Answer: I would have to say it is that our failures can be used to make us better. Failure is not the end, but the beginning of something else. There is hope and healing for anyone who has failed.

Question: What is your advice for men and women suffering from divorces
initiated by the other spouse?

Answer: Certainly, pray for that other person. God is still able to bring about restoration. If remarriage has occurred, still treat that person with respect and cordiality, especially if there are children involved. Offer forgiveness and accept responsibility for your part in the failure of the marriage. No divorce is totally one-sided.

Question: How did you find the strength to move on with life after your divorce?

Answer: I have to give credit to the Lord for providing the strength. It was a difficult process. God also used other people to encourage me. I was able to see, as I state in my book, that “there is life after the failure”. My belief that God has an assignment for me to complete, and some better things for me to receive, was motivation. My children have also been a great source of inspiration for me.

Question: Tell me about your publishing experience and how you are promoting
your book.

Answer: I was blessed to have my book published by the first and only publisher I approached with my manuscript. They were very impressed with my story and agreed that there is no other book like it in the marketplace. The process has been a good learning experience.

I am heavily promoting my book via the internet. I use my website, emails and Facebook. As a minister, I have also been able to promote it as I preach and speak in various venues. I have targeted divorce recovery ministries and churches with marriage/couples ministries. I also want to reach people before they get to the point of divorce. Go Into The House has mass appeal because anyone who has experienced any sort of disappointment can relate to its message. The feedback I’ve received to date has been tremendous.

For more info on Rodney and his new book, go to www.rodneywinters.com

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