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Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
by Judge Greg Mathis

An interesting new study on the time spent with children in a single-parent household.
For the last 20 years or so we’ve been told -- by the media, policymakers and conservative groups alike -- that the increase in crime is a direct result of the growth in single parent households. Children do poorly in school and get into trouble, we’ve been led to believe, because their single mothers have to focus their energy on working and have little to no time left in their day to effectively parent.

We can now toss those theories out of the window. A new study shows that both married and single parents spend about the same amount of time with their children as parents did 40 years ago.

Knowing this, what, then, can be blamed for the increase in high school dropout and crime rates? It’s time to finally take a close look at public institutions -- schools, government agencies and the like -- that have failed our children and our communities. Without the conservative double-talk that seeks to draw our attention away from the real issues by shifting blame, perhaps this country can finally work to fix the broken organizations that serve our communities.
To read the rest of the article, click here
Category: History
Posted by: KrisRyan
Infant Baptism

THIRD CENTURY FATHERS

The church fathers of the second century give us some strong but largely indirect evidence for the apostolic origin of infant baptism. Clearer evidence is given to us, however, through the writings of the third century church fathers. They are in fact the first to give us explicit references to the practice of infant baptism within the church. Hippolytus, Origen, and Cyprian give us favorable evidential statements, while men like Tertullian who agree with the apostolic origin still seem to dislike the practice. Analyzing the thoughts of these early scholars does much to bolster the pro-paedo-baptist perspective.

Hippolytus
Hippolytus was presbyter and, eventually, rival bishop at Rome. He was a prominent theologian whose designation as a rival bishop came from his disagreement with two bishops, Zephyrinus and Callistus, after which he was ordained bishop of a schismatic community in Rome. His most important work was the Apostolic Tradition, an elaboration of church order and tradition in Rome written between 215 and 220. Despite the negative connotations sometimes associated with his break from the Catholic church, this work has been extremely important in understanding the life of the Early Church. The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity adds, “The recovery of Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition from the later church-order literature that incorporated it has given valuable information on ordination, ministries in the church, the catechumenate, baptism...and other church practices.”

The section on baptism gives important information on the early subjects of the sacrament. Hippolytus, in describing the order of baptism, writes, “First the little ones should be baptized. All who can speak for themselves should speak. For those however who cannot, their parents or another who belongs to their family should speak.” Even Kurt Aland admits that this evidence is unambiguous. Infants, in this particular situation, are baptized. If we are to trust Hippolytus’ account - while some scholars clearly do not - we must admit to the presence of infant baptism at least as early as the late 2nd century. Aland here would disagree, arguing that instead of looking at the current practices of the church and the past traditions of the apostles, Hippolytus is looking forward to the future of the church, perhaps intending to direct its course. However, the very title of the work suggests that Hippolytus is indeed writing about the practices of the earliest church fathers. Jeremias writes that Hippolytus’ intention was “expressly stated in the prologue, that to guard against heretical innovations he was codifying what has long been handed down.”

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Category: General
Posted by: RBAFounderX
CONVERSATIONS: Asian American Evangelical Theologies in Formation

I am pleased to see that some of our Asian brethren have a new book out on Asian American theologies entitled, "CONVERSATIONS: Asian American Evangelical Theologies in Formation." It "provides distinct theological reflections in an Asian American context with evangelical perspectives." And the L2 Foundation that published it "believes that an integrated and contextualized theology is foundational and critical for the health and future of the Asian American church." Sounds similar to what we've been saying (and doing) for Black folks and the Black Church over here at RBA. Nevertheless, it is indeed good to know that there are other ethnic groups out there in the evangelical sphere (yes, that's right, evangelical) who see the need to theologize in such a way that maximize and recognize their particular existence and tradition. I'm sure this will benefit everyone, especially as we seek to learn more about our Lord through our Asian brethren.

To find out more, click here
Posted on: 11/24/06:

Boondocks: BET

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Boondocks: BET

(Click the picture to enlarge)

Posted on: 11/22/06:

Latino Backlash Could Doom GOP

Category: Politics
Posted by: RBAFounderX
New America Media, Commentary by Roberto Lovato
NEW YORK--As I watched political history on my television and computer screens Tuesday night, I couldn't help but think about Lionel Sosa, the Latino who may have lost the most in this week's election. Sosa, a political consultant and director of Mexicans and Texans Thinking Together (MATT), a nonprofit in San Antonio, is largely credited with developing the strategies that colored almost 40 percent of the Latino electorate Republican red. I was curious about how it felt for someone who worked closely with Karl Rove, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan to watch his work turn Democrat blue. (Experts I interviewed and exit polls estimate that about 70 percent of Latinos voted Democratic last Tuesday, as compared to 53 percent in 2004). So, I called Sosa at the MATT office.

"I don't think everything I worked for is lost," Sosa said, "but Latinos did send a message to the Republican party: If we don't humanize the approach to immigration, it will cost us the Latino vote." His choice of the word "humanize" was telling, for Tuesday's election is but another reminder of the GOP's urgent need to move beyond appeals to the baser instincts of its still predominantly white base. Lionel's soft-spoken strategic advice must roar in the ears of his longtime friend Karl Rove, whose efforts to broaden the largely white Republican tent appear to have imploded.

Whether Republicans' enforcement-only approach to immigration -- the infamous wall and other punitive measures -- drives Latinos as deep into the anti-Republican camp as African-Americans (whose support for GOP is consistently in single digits) depends on whether we see the 187-ization of the nation.

I came to understand the long-term effects of anti-immigrant policies after fighting such policies in California. The most famous is Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative that called for the denial of health and education services to the children of undocumented immigrants. Prop. 187, which was eventually blocked in the courts, turned the Golden State into a template for the current immigration wars.
To read the rest of the article, click here
Category: Church
Posted by: RBAFounderMM
Street Prostitute

The statement, “She’s a Whore, but she’s my Mother", has historically been attributed to Cicero, Augustine and Dorothy Day. However, Augustine and Day give this statement particular religious connotation. Neuhaus writes in Freedom for Ministry, “The Bride of Christ mentioned in Revelation 21 will be something quite new to our eyes, but she will be no stranger, for we will recognize her as the whore of Christendom transformed. It is only by trusting that promise that we dare now to call the whore of Christendom the Bride of Christ.”

Foundational to such a critique are Isaiah’s words. Isaiah writes in 1:21, “How the faithful city [Jerusalem] has become a whore.” And then in verse 26, he concludes with Judah’s restoration after the spiritual transformation. “Then I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning; After that you will be called the city of righteousness, A faithful city.” Consequently, we should not be surprised to then see John detail in Revelation 21 the concluding spiritual transformation of the Church of Christ as the fulfillment of our Father’s true Israel: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband…the first things have passed away.” The Church, this one time whore, is to be presented as the perfect and holy bride of Christ. What wonderful promise and consolation we find in this consummation!

But we cannot only find rest in these texts. The texts, in there force, power and relevance, give us call and command. The texts give us a charge as much as they provide comfort. How can this transformational dynamic involving the Christian Church involve and be focused to influence Black folks? What are we able to deduce regarding the needed transformation of the Black Church and Community? The question framed in the nature of a charge and responsibility is this: Should we target and engage a struggling and misguided diverse institution such as the Black Church and Black Community by remaining amongst and ministering to it or should we abandon the Black Church and Community because she has been unfaithful to her Lord, Friend and Redeemer?

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Posted on: 11/17/06:

Can Barack Wake Up Wal-Mart?

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
If you are a fan of Barack Obama and an avid supporter of and/or shopper at Wal-Mart, then you are in for a rude awakening. Because if Wal-Mart is really "the death of America" (soon to be the world), can anybody, let alone Barack wake up Wal-Mart? They are already in China! Haven't you heard of The Great Wal-Mart of China?!?!

The Great Wal-Mart of China

Here's BusinessWeek take:
In a much-publicized and carefully executed event on Nov. 15, Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Senator John Edwards (D.-N.C.) lent their voices and their political clout to the effort to pressure Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), the world's largest retailer, to change its workplace practices. The two participated in evening conference calls with Wal-Mart workers, organized by the union-funded group WakeUpWalMart.com. The conference calls officially launched a six-week campaign titled "Hope for the Holidays," during which the watchdog group plans to push for changes at Wal-Mart.

Obama, a possible Democratic presidential candidate for 2008, was the first to weigh in, in a call that started at 7 p.m. EST. "Unlike the manufacturers who are under enormous competitive pressure from global low-cost producers, Wal-Mart is making enormous profits and yet it has chosen to go with low wages and diminished benefits," he said. "The battle to engage Wal-Mart and force them to examine their corporate values and policies is absolutely vital to America today."
To read the rest of the article, click here

Any comments or thoughts?
Category: History
Posted by: KrisRyan
Infant Baptism


INTRODUCTION

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...” These words of Jesus can be heard every Sunday at Christian places of worship throughout the world. The baptismal font or pool has seen countless millions come to profess their faith in the risen Christ. The sacrament of baptism has been a symbol of Christianity and its of faithful throughout the centuries. The Roman Catholic and Eastern (Orthodox) Churches have placed great emphasis on the baptism of infants for the forgiveness of original sin, while the Magisterial Churches of the Reformation deemphasized the efficacy of baptism for salvation, while maintaining the practice of infant baptism. The legacy of the Anabaptists has left its mark on much of modern evangelicalism, with its emphasis on believer only baptism and therefore its rejection of infant baptism. It is my intention to use the writings of the church fathers to analyze the historical data surrounding the debate over baptism and to see what these men understood, or believed, about the practice of infant baptism.

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Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
From The Washington Post
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells
The 2006 elections were for the technocrats and the operatives, pitting the Democratic tacticians against the Karl Rove machine. But the next election is already beginning to look quite different: 2008 may be one for the novelists.

Viewers of the election returns late on Tuesday, after all, got an early start on the iconography of the next presidential race. The cable networks' cameras cut between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, thanking her supporters for an overwhelming victory in the New York Senate race, her husband standing pointedly behind, and a smiling Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, giving cautious, professorial analysis to the television viewers. Nobody noted the significance, but it stared us all in the face: The two presumed leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are a woman and an African American.

Their candidacies -- coming after elections resulting in the presumed first female speaker of the House and the second black governor since Reconstruction -- suggest that the next elections may play in ways that are more cultural and symbolic than tactical and political. Are Americans ready to put a black man or a woman in charge of the country? And does the hefty symbolism that Obama and Clinton would bring help one of them more than the other -- in other words, is the country more racist or more sexist?
To read the rest of the article, click here

Is America too racist and sexist...? What do you think?
Posted on: 11/13/06:

Holy Hip Hop

Category: Culture
Posted by: navymigs
Cross Movement

I recently got reunited with an old friend of mine. We knew each other for years and grew up together in the streets of the Bronx. Before my conversion to Christ, this friend was the biggest influence on my life, even more so than my own parents. I can remember learning from him what kind of clothes to wear, what values to hold; even the language I spoke was heavily influenced by him. We soon became the best of friends because he understood me and was the voice for what life felt like growing up in New York City.

Shortly after my conversion to Christ, I began to see that this friend and I had less and less in common. The values we once shared now were in direct opposition to one another. Everything from his views on life, money, success and women made me disgusted to even be associated with him. We rarely spent any time together anymore. I realized his influence on my life was leading me down a path that I as a Christian could no longer tolerate and which eventually lead to our separation from each other. After losing this relationship, I felt relieved that I no longer was allowing myself to be influenced by his values and views. I was dedicated to being a follower of Christ, and if he wasn’t following Christ as well, than we no longer had anything in common with each other.

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Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Martin Luther King National Memorial model

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
WASHINGTON — On a hot August afternoon in 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to a mostly black audience from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

On Nov. 13, a half-mile from Lincoln's iconic statue, a diverse group of celebrities, corporate leaders and ordinary Americans will help turn the first shovels of dirt for a memorial honoring the civil rights leader who was slain 38 years ago. It will be the first monument to an African American on the National Mall.

"He's an American hero, and beyond that he's a hero for all sorts of people," said poet and novelist Maya Angelou, who is scheduled to join Oprah Winfrey and others who have been working for more than a decade to help build the monument.

Angelou, 80, said the groundbreaking is even more special because it comes almost a year after the death of King's widow. "She never was a person to say 'Why didn't it happen sooner?' That would not be Coretta Scott King," Angelou said of her friend, who died in January at 78.
To read the rest of the article, click here
Category: General
Posted by: sjlove1984


What joy there is to be in Christ! What hope, what strength, what power! To know and to live in the reality that though I drank iniquity like water Christ drank the whole cup of God’s wrath for me. To know that he whom I thought had no beauty that I should desire him has become all beauty to me to the point that I desire nothing but Him. Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ that I am His and He is mine forever! It is in this thought, it is in this contemplation that makes the words of Paul that much more startling: “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Never before have I quite understood the words of Paul until now. Before this passage simply spoke to me; now this passage speaks for me. What anguish I have in my soul for the sake of my brothers!

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Category: Church
Posted by: RBAFounderX
A portrait of Ted Haggard hanging in New Life Church

Today after talking to a Korean pastor-friend of mine about pastoring and the pastor’s life, it comes to no surprise that we immediately began briefly discussing Ted Haggard’s recent scandal. I wasn’t going to say anything about this because there is already so much press (here and here) concerning this tragic issue, but after our mutually encouraging conversation, I needed to say something.

The Rocky Mountain News entitles one of its many articles on Haggard, “Haggard leaves posts amid gay-sex scandal.” Since we all know the regular evangelical routine with these occurrences, I am more interested in what is not being discussed in this and similar instances.

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Category: Black
Posted by: RBAFounderMM
Black Students

Richard Neuhaus writes in Freedom for Ministry, “I count it among the great graces of my life that I was for a time, until his death on April 4, 1968, permitted to work with Martin Luther King, Jr. as a kind of liaison between himself and the peace movement. Among the truths that he so powerfully declared and embodied was this: “ ‘Whom you would change you must first love.’ That means we must see more in other people than they see in themselves if we are to help them in becoming what they are.”

King’s comment, “Whom you would change you must first love” is foundational to our understanding of Christ and Scripture. John 17:24: Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Matthew writes in 25:34, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Notice how the theme of love and affection precedes the actual pervasive change of the individual and how God’s love for the individual is a motivation for bringing about such change.

A senior pastor told me an interesting experience about ministry and love. He stated that he needed to ask an associate pastor on his staff to step down. After the service in which the associate pastor announced his resignation to the congregation, a member approached the senior pastor with tears in his eyes and said, “You teach us, but he loved us.”

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Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderMM
The Bible Experience

Zondervan has pulled off an interesting project. A cast of more than 200 stars including Blair Underwood (Jesus), Samuel L. Jackson (God), Angela Bassett (Esther), Denzel Washington (Solomon), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Judas), and many others, lent their talents to create The Bible Experience, a one-of-a-kind dramatized audio recording of the Bible, complete with an outstanding original musical underscore. Read more here.