Another Al Gore Failed Prediction

From wattupwiththat.com

Ten years ago, @AlGore predicted the North polar ice cap would be gone. Inconveniently, it’s still there

On December 14, 2008, former presidential candidate Al Gore predicted the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely ice free in five years. As reported on WUWT, Gore made the prediction to a German TV audience at the COP15 Climate Conference:

gore_2008_icefree-2013

Al warned them that “the entire North ‘polarized’ cap will disappear in 5 years.”

Watch the video:

Here’s the polar ice cap extent today:

As you can see from the graph above, Arctic sea ice came nowhere close to disappearing during the summer minimum, and has rebounded to be within 2 standard deviations in the last few weeks.

During the summer minimum, the North polar ice cap looked like this:

Arctic sea ice from September 18 – 24, 2018, image from MODIS

The sea ice extent today:

Why does anyone listen to Al Gore ?

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Today’s Sermon

The sermon for December 16th 2018 is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, which is based on John 3:16-22, I talk about “Give More.”

Click here to listen in your browser and here to download the mp3

Babylon Bee: Link Between Personal Holiness and Chair Stacking

It’s in the Babylon Bee so you know it has to be true!

Study Finds Strong Connection Between Holiness And Number Of Chairs You Stack After Church Service

U.S.—A new study performed by LifeWay Research revealed Wednesday that there is a “strong connection” between your personal holiness and the number of chairs you stack while tearing down a church service or other church function.

The report looked at thousands of churchgoers from all over the nation and found that all across the board, the more chairs you stack, the further along you are in your sanctification journey.

“People who stack lots of chairs were found to be very close to Jesus, while people who just stand around and talk were found to be basically pagans,” said a study intern. “There are lots of baby Christians out there, of course, who fall somewhere in between. Brand-new believers tend to mill about the meeting room and reluctantly grab a chair or two before slinking away and muttering something about having to go pick up their kids.”

The study also found that the number of chairs you can carry at one time is a significant indicator of how Christlike you are. “Men who pile up 7 or 8 chairs at once and effortlessly fling them atop a stack were much more likely to be committed disciples of Christ,” the report read. “If you’re only grabbing one or two at a time, it’s time for a heart check.”

 

The Point of No Return (Again and Again)

Have you noticed something missing this year? No? Each time just before these conferences happen the World Meteorological Organisation normally pronounces that the current year will be the hottest or second hottest on record, often weeks before the end of the year. Then when the figures are actually collated and published well after the climate scare conference, a quiet retraction is published that says “We didn’t quite lie, but it wasn’t exactly true.” Maybe it’s because nobody’s listening any more, except the ABC.

Tim Blair on the religion of “Point of No Return”

It’s that time of year again when we join with friends and family to celebrate the annual Point of No Return religious festival.

On Sunday morning hundreds of politicians, government officials and scientists will gather in the grandeur of the International Congress Centre in Katowice, Poland.

It will be a familiar experience for many. For 24 years the annual UN climate conference has served up a reliable diet of rhetoric, backroom talks and dramatic last-minute deals aimed at halting global warming.

But this year’s will be a grimmer affair – by far. As recent reports have made clear, the world may no longer be hovering at the edge of destruction but has probably staggered beyond a crucial point of no return.

Hooray! This fine tradition truly unites all people and cultures in a spirit of holy panic and demands for cash prizes. Let’s take a look at how the world marked the Point of No Return in years past:

2017:

We’re Now Even Closer to the Point of No Return

2016:

Climate change escalating so fast it is ‘beyond point of no return’

2015:

Climate Change Goes Past Point Of No Return

2014:

Passing the “Point of No Return” on Climate Change

2013:

The Fast-Approaching ‘Point of No Return’ for Climate Change

2012:

Warming nears point of no return, scientists say

2011:

When do we hit the point of no return for climate change?

 Embedded video

BBC News (World)

@BBCWorld

 “We’re facing a man-made disaster of global scale… time is running out” – Sir David Attenborough issues warning at UN Climate Conference #COP24 in Poland http://bbc.in/2Pd3yfP 

We are passing the point of no return on climate change

2009:

Climate Change: The Point of No Return

2008:

ARCTIC: POINT OF NO RETURN?

2007:

Beyond the Point of No Return: It’s too late to stop climate change – so what do we do now?

2006:

Environment in crisis: ‘We are past the point of no return’

2005:

Climate’s Point of No Return

2004:

Is Greenland Ice Sheet passing “Point of No Return”?

2003:

Beyond these temperature thresholds, evidence suggests a ‘point of no return’,

It’s quite mild here in Sydney today, by the way. How’s the end of the world going in your neighbourhood?

Read the full article here

Kyuboem Lee: Jesus and Leadership

Formation

The Dominant Approach to Leadership in the Church and Why Jesus Means to Upend It

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A couple of months ago, I was with my friend JR Woodward and the V3 Movement as they had their conference in Philly, and the theme was Reimagining Leadership. JR’s colleague, Dan White, Jr., opened the time by saying, “We’re thinking about leadership a lot these days,” to knowing, albeit weary, laughter.

Indeed. We just endured a midterm election. The Catholic Church is in a deep crisis over the abuse victims coming forward after spiritual leaders used their powers to engage in a decades-long cover up. As a result, the Catholic community has been getting rent asunder. Evangelicals (or at least the ones who tend to be older, white, rural to suburban) have come to be known in this country as the demographic that will most reliably side with the power that promises to look out for their interests—no matter how that leadership exercises its power, its personal moral conduct, or its policies towards orphans, widows, strangers. “We need a strong leader in times like this,” I hear many say. But was Jesus a “strong leader”?

Working on an initiative at my seminary for mentoring pastors in transition, I’ve been thinking a lot about pastors and what they’re facing today. Many are discouraged, isolated, and on the verge of dropping out. I have come to believe that so much of it has to do with the theology of leadership and power that we had passed down from Christendom. What I’m finding is even if we subscribe to the missional theology brand, we might not have been able to do away with Christendom habits that continue to live within our bodies and the Christendom structures that continue to shape our churches, denominations, and institutions.

Christendom is a hard habit to break.

A Different Way of Leading for a New Kingdom

There’s a reason many pastors feel used and abused—they’ve been living as cogs in the wheels of the Church Industrial Complex (as my friends JR and Dan White say in their book, Church as Movement).

What is the remedy?

It’s certainly not trying harder to keep the machine going. Jesus said there is a different kingdom—and a different way of governing, or leading. A different theology of power for a different kingdom. And out of it, a different way of structuring ourselves as society or organization or community. The greatest in this society will be the servant of all.

Henri Nouwen has a beautiful little book called In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, and Nouwen’s life itself is a lesson on that subject. He was a highly respected professor in an Ivy League school, but when he left all that prestige and entered into a community where he lived among people with disabilities and handicaps, he experienced intimacy with Christ.

In this book, Nouwen looked at Christian leadership through the temptations of Christ. He says we are tempted in the same way Jesus was:

  1. to be relevant (turn the stones to bread),
  2. to be spectacular (celebrity preachers who draw big crowds),
  3. to be powerful (control the outcome, bring about your desired end).

In the end, it’s all about power. And the way of power avoids the way of the cross. Nouwen says:

Power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love … It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.

This is the way of Christendom, but it’s not the kingdom. My Anabaptist friends are very helpful in pointing this out: Christendom has conflated the cross and the power of this world for a long time; Christendom is Babylon with a cross.

Christendom has conflated the cross and the power of this world for a long time; Christendom is Babylon with a cross.CLICK TO TWEET

The Church’s Thirst for “Strong Leaders”

In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, we meet Saruman. He is someone who, unlike Gandalf, went down that road of seeking power in the name of achieving good ends, like: build the church, feed the hungry, bring about a prosperous, peaceful, moral society. But along the way, power went from a means to an end, to the end itself, the ultimate good, and this happens oh so subtly. Although Saruman began as a wise man, his compromises with power ended up transforming him into a monster. A cautionary figure indeed.

We know that institutions and churches have become machines that crush underfoot the very people it was meant to bring the good news to when those in positions of power receive protection from the structures set in place by those systems in instances when abuse of power comes to light, and victims are instead silenced, shamed, blamed, and marginalized. Diane Langberg is a psychotherapist who has been dealing with systemic issues around power and abuse in churches. We need to give ear to prophetic voices like hers to help us grow in learning how to identify and fend off toxic power from infecting and disfiguring our leadership and institutions. Here’s a sample of how the machine works:

Diane Langberg, PhD@DianeLangberg
 
 

We are to have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness but rather expose them. It has often been my experience that when abuse in a marriage has been exposed the church speaks out in horror not against the abuse but rather against the exposure.

 

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A system produces exactly what it was designed to produce, and we need to own up to our systems that have protected abuses of power, perhaps even encouraged it with our desire for “strong leaders;” systems that produce Caesars rather than likenesses of the crucified messiah. Notice what I am saying here: the problem isn’t individual bad apples; the problem is systemic.

The Church must own that we have not only protected but encouraged abuse of power in our thirst for ‘strong leaders.’ We have produced more Caesars than likenesses of the crucified Messiah.CLICK TO TWEET

Not the Way of Caesar, but the Way of the Crucified Messiah

But we, as followers of Christ, are called to resist the temptation to be powerful and follow Christ in the way of the cross. When the disciples argued about who would sit at his right and left, Jesus said:

Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.

The mission of God would be much better served if the church were to find a new way than the old Christendom ways.

The theology of power that the church develops needs to better witness to the kingdom of God, not merely mimic Babylon.

We need leadership development systems that will encourage leadership fashioned in the image of Christ, not of Caesar.

Listen to what Dietrich Bonhoeffer says about our mission (HT to David Fitch for the quote) in his sermon on 2 Corinthians 12:9:

Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.

We are following Jesus into the world—not in triumph and success and power, but rather in weakness. We are witnesses of the crucified King.

Post-Christendom Theological Education

As a theological educator, I am haunted by these questions: Are we doing an adequate job in helping our students to leave Christendom and enter into the kingdom of God? Or have we been helping to feed the machine? Are we teaching them and modeling for them and equipping them with the skills to build the beloved community (which is built on confession and forgiveness, and not built on productivity and usefulness, as a machine is), the character of servant leadership (not a star or CEO), and the theology of kingdom power that is found in weakness?

Out of earshot of students, seminary administrators and professors wonder about the adequacy of the theological seminary, a product of Christendom, for the work of mission in a post-Christendom world. Do we need new wine-skins fit for the new wine of theological education and leadership development in the rapidly changing landscape? Are there ways that the old form can be retrofitted and modified to better serve the function it was created to serve? What are they?

So many questions to keep us seeking the Lord and depend on him. May the Lord give us grace and faith to sustain us.

 

From missioalliance.org

Babylon Bee: Carol Changes Cause Riots

Congregation Erupts Into Violent Protests As Worship Band Shamelessly Tampers With Yet Another Timeless Christmas Carol

PERRY, MA—Violence broke out at Everlasting Savior Community Church in Perry last Sunday after, in an audacious show of nerve, the worship band messed with another classic Christmas song. Congregants were whipped into a frenzy during “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” when a new bridge was added to the already satisfactory song. 

“Rejoice with tidal waves of grace, oh Savior of the broken, pouring over me everlasting in a rushing mighty wave of love…” the new lyrics began. It was at that point that a hymnal was lobbed into one of the speakers causing an explosion of sparks. The congregation rushed the stage and attacked the worship band, knocking over microphone stands, throwing drums, and lighting amplifiers on fire.

With the church ablaze, the angry mob took to the streets overturning cars and breaking windows. Local police arrived on the scene and were forced to use tear gas and pepper spray to control the protestors.

Earlier in the service, songs such as “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” had also been tampered with, creating a palpable frustration among the elder members of the church. By the third song, they had had enough.

A number of church members had locked themselves inside of the building and were holding hostage worship leader, 19-year-old Gavin Blaine, demanding that all Christmas songs from this point forward be played the normal way they have always been played. Officers at the scene held the worship band at gunpoint and instructed the musicians to comply with the sensible demands. “There’s no reason for this kind of brazen disregard for these beloved songs,” shouted the police chief at the worship leader. “Change the songs back or lethal force may be used.”

At press time, Blaine had refused to comply with the orders and was placed in police custody.

From The Babylon Bee