TBC NewsWatch | thebereancall.org

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HOME BIBLE STUDY?

OneNewsNow, 11/29/2011: Home Bible Studiers in the ClearA legal analyst says it was "wise" for a California city to drop a citation filed against a couple for hosting a home Bible study.

The city of San Juan Capistrano dismissed its citation against a local couple who held a growing Bible study in their home. Because of complaints from the neighbors, the city initially fined Chuck and Stephanie Fromm $300 for holding the session. Officials had also noted that the couple needed a conditional use permit to hold the gatherings, and they threatened to fine the Fromms $500 per meeting if they continued. So, the pair filed a lawsuit against San Juan Capistrano following an appeal to the city, which was rejected.

Ken Klukowski, fellow and senior legal analyst with The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), believes the city ultimately made the right decision.

"The city was wise to rescind that citation because otherwise it would have gone to court, and the city would have been beaten badly in court," he suggests. The Associated Press reports that the city is currently reviewing how its land-use codes apply to churches, but Klukowski tells OneNewsNow the latest move sets an example for future incidents. "I think it is certainly a political precedent on behalf of the public officials leading the city, that they understand that pursuing families for having a Bible study in their own home is not very wise policy," the attorney concludes.

[TBC: Chuck Fromm is the publisher and editor of Worship Leader Magazine and a chief advocate of Robert Webber and the Emerging Church movement. See TBC's "Ancient-Future Heresies" 02/2008.]

MUSLIMS DENOUNCE YASMIN CHURCH

Jakarta [Indonesia] Globe, 11/28/2011: Hundreds Turn Out for Bogor Rally to Denounce Besieged Yasmin ChurchHundreds of hard-line Muslims rallied outside the Bogor City Hall on Sunday to decry the "arrogance" of a beleaguered church in the city that remains shuttered by authorities despite a Supreme Court order to open it.

The protesters, from HizbutTahrir Indonesia and the Indonesian Muslim Communication Forum (Forkami), said they wanted to show that all Muslims were united in opposition to the presence of the GKI Yasmin Church in the city.

"We're here to refute the arrogance of the church, which continues to insist on setting up in the Taman Yasmin [housing complex]," said Achmad Imam, the Forkami head in Bogor.

The Bogor administration issued a building permit for the church in 2006, but it revoked it two years later, alleging the church had falsified the signatures required to obtain it.

The Supreme Court ruled in December 2010 that the closure was unlawful and ordered its reopening, but the city administration continues to ignore the ruling. Mayor Diani Budiarto has used several excuses to keep the church closed, most recently saying there should not be a Christian church on a street with an Islamic name. Church members have been forced to hold services on the sidewalk.

Imam said the mayor had the full support of the local Muslim community in facing down the "lies and tricks of the church members and their supporters, who are trying to pit Muslims against one another through this issue."

At the sealed-off church, meanwhile, the congregation was prevented from holding services for another week when a group of motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers blocked off the sidewalk. The ojek drivers claimed that because the Yasmin congregation had been praying on the sidewalk, they were left with nowhere to park and were thus losing business.

ARK OPPORTUNIST?

Randall Price, the senior archaeologist for the Ark Search LLC Expedition team recently released this statement to the press: "You may have heard or been part of promoting a recent story about a discovery of Noah's Ark made in a press conference or on a website by Mr. Daniel McGivern. The claim was made erroneously about our team's site with old data that does not give an accurate account of the evidence.

"Our team leader, Dr. Richard (Dick) Bright, did not authorize the release of information or condone in any way this press conference or website. Mr. McGivern is NOT a part of the Ark Search LLC team that has been conducting expeditions and research on Mt.Ararat since 2009. Mr. McGivern used partial data from a one day (2010) GPR scan of one part of an anomaly to draw his conclusion. Our team is demanding the website be closed down and for the removal of all data online. Dr. Bright's official statement is as follows: 'I want that website pulled, and if that doesn't happen, the pictures--all of them--must be removed. His announcement was based on information that is not entirely accurate, and the conference was not authorized by Ark Search LLC. He is not a member of the team.'"

DIGITAL NARCOTICS MAY BE THE FUTURE OF DRUGS

Wired UK, 11/29/2011: Digital Narcotics May Be the Future of DrugsTechnologists will become the next drug dealers, administering narcotics through brain stimulation, according to Rohit Talwar, the founder of Fast Future Research, speaking at Intelligence Squared's If conference.

Talwar was charged by the government to investigate the drugs landscape over the next 20 years, exploring scenarios going beyond the traditional model of gangs producing and shipping drugs around the world.

He described how the world of genomic sequencing and services such as 23 and Me open up possibilities for tailoring drugs to the individual, delivering effects based on your physiology--which could apply just as effectively to narcotics as it could medicines....When combined with transcranial magnetic stimulation--which has been used to inhibit brain functions such as the ability to speak or remember--it opens up the possibility of electronically delivering targeted highs.

He said: "You could also visualize the experience and then tailor the effect to what you want. This nano-bio-info-cogno convergence gets us into some very interesting spheres." One scenario he imagines would make use of biological proteins manufactured with information-processing technology to deliver effects that could be triggered by electromagnetic stimulation. He imagined that they could be used in a club environment where the DJ would release nanoparticles that the audience could ingest. These could then be used to trigger the desired state at a particular point during his or her set using an electrical stimulus (from a headset) into the crowd's brains.

"The more we can understand the brain, the more we can deliver positive effects such as improved memory function. Do you want to get high? Mellow? Actually I want to live my life in my head as half-human half-cat," he joked.

This sort of situation would mean that regulation of these "drugs" would move from trying to stop people from producing them to quality control. This sort of future could eliminate the cartels that control the drugs trade at the moment, because pharmaceutical companies might be able to corner the market and guarantee the quality of the experiences.

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