CHURCHES EMBRACE MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING
Christian Newswire, 3/8/12: Churches Embrace Mental Health Training [Excerpts]—A growing number of churches in the U.S. are turning to an innovative training program to equip their congregations with the skills to recognize mental illness and respond to mental health emergencies. “Mental Health First Aid” helps people assess a mental health crisis, select interventions and provide initial help.
“The faith community has always felt a calling to help people, but has not always had the tools to assist people struggling with conditions like depression,” says Mike Johnson, an instructor and special projects director at Union Gospel Mission in Seattle.
Marti Vogt [says] Mental Health First Aid gives compassionate people the practical skills to complement their spiritual gifts. “Many times people of faith respond to someone with mental illness by saying ‘I’m praying about it,’ but now they can do something about it,” says Vogt....“I compare it to seeing a child get hit by a car. You pray, but you also call 911.”
Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based program [our emphasis] which uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis, select interventions and provide initial help. The training also addresses the risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and substance use disorders.
[TBC: Despite claims of an “evidence-based program,” on the contrary: “The fundamental problem is that ...we still fathom embarrassingly little about the biology of the major mental illnesses. And even the burgeoning understanding of genetic and metabolic risk factors has not translated into clinically useful tests or cures. Modern technology has not produced a single blood test or brain scan that can be routinely used to diagnose depression, bipolar disease, schizophrenia or other common mental illnesses” (American Scientist, Vol. 90. p. 569). Even more important, it is one more method of man that further denies the sufficiency of Scripture.]
NETANYAHU'S GIFT OF SCRIPTURE TO OBAMA
The Christian Post, 3/8/12: Netanyahu Uses Gift of Scripture to Warn Obama of Grave Israeli Danger [Excerpts]—In a pointed message to President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Obama a copy of the book of Esther, which recounts how Esther heroically prevented the massacre of Jews.
“The prime minister of Israel is many things, but subtle is not one of them,” columnist Jeffrey Goldberg wrote Wednesday for Bloomberg. “The message of Purim is: When the Jews see a murderous conspiracy forming against them, they will act to disrupt the plot. A further refinement of the message is: When the Jews see a plot forming against them in Persia, they will act to disrupt the plot, even if Barack Obama wishes that they would wait for permission.”
Jews will be celebrating Purim on Wednesday and Thursday [March 7-8] to remember Esther’s deeds. Esther, a Jew, was selected to be the Queen of Persia, but kept her religion secret. In her position, she wittingly prevented a plot to kill all the Jews in Persia.
Goldberg called Purim “the apotheosis of the ‘They Tried to Kill Us, They Failed, Let’s Eat’ category of Jewish holidays.”
Netanyahu and Obama [met] to discuss what to do about Iran’s possible development of a nuclear weapon that could be used to attack Israel. Netanyahu is apparently struggling with whether Israel should preemptively attack Iran to take out its nuclear facilities, or trust that the United States will attack Iran if diplomacy and economic sanctions fail to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
Obama has said that Israel is a sovereign nation and has a right to make its own decisions in these matters, but he also said that, while a military strike is not off the table, there is no imminent threat from Iran and diplomacy and economic sanctions should be given more time to work.
LOCAL PARISHES WELCOME PASSION RELICS
Christian Newswire, 3/7/12: Local Parishes Welcome Passion Relics [Excerpts]—An extraordinary exhibition of holy relics [was] held in the Catholic churches in Mesquite and Logandale, Nevada, from March 16 through March 18. The Relics included a portion of the Crown of thorns, a piece of the table where the Last Supper was held, and a relic from the Cross of Christ.
Friday, March 16, the relics [were] at La Virgen de Guadalupe church in Mesquite beginning at 3:00 pm with Stations of the Cross, Mass, and Veneration.
The relics serve as reminders that the death of Jesus brings the hope of eternal life. There is no relic of the body of Christ because a core belief of the Christian faith is the Resurrection.
“The veneration of relics is a means by which the spiritual part of us can be nourished,” says Father Robert Pulhman, pastor of La Virgen de Guadalupe and St. John the Evangelist parishes. “Modern society offers so many ways to feed our temporal bodies and satisfy the many desires which pass so quickly. Quiet contemplation of relics reminds us that there is a spirit in each of us that longs for our heavenly home. Our spiritual nature, though often silenced by the cacophony of modern life, will find a silent reminder of eternity in the presence of the Relics of the Passion.”
[TBC: The veneration of relics is an important part of Catholic tradition; however the practice is nowhere to be found in Scripture. Furthermore, Calvin commented sarcastically that there were enough wood relics allegedly from the Cross of Christ to build a ship.]
CAMPING ADMITS SIN--NO MORE PREDICTIONS
The Christian Post, 3/6/12: Harold Camping Admits Sin, Announces End to Doomsday Predictions [Excerpts]—“We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours!” a statement on Family Radio’s website reads. “We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.”
Camping, 90, has made predictions about Judgment Day, Christ’s return and the end of the world for the past few decades—with the May 21, 2011, forecast receiving the most media attention. Each time the date passed, he did not admit to mistaking the timing but instead reasoned that the events happened “spiritually” rather than physically.
But once Oct. 21, 2011—the day Camping said the world would be destroyed physically—came and went, the Christian broadcaster began to reevaluate his views about being able to calculate and know the exact date of the apocalypse.
“Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken,” Camping and Family Radio staff stated in their March letter. “[We] now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man’ (Matthew:24:36 & Mark:13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. They went further to say that their “bold” insistence that the Bible guaranteed Christ’s return on May 21 was both “incorrect” and “sinful.”
[TBC: Camping’s “oops” does little to compensate those who were economically and spiritually devastated by his false teaching.]