Why no updates?

 

Lance (Group Sects) writes…

I’m sure regulars on this site would have noticed the lack of story updates recently.

There are a number of reasons for this including…

  • I’ve lost interest in churches which operate in their own little world
  • Bringing about change in churches is futile as pastors and other church leaders are generally incompetent and amoral.
  • There are now many other websites covering the same subject material.
  • I no longer hold to the Evangelical position that the writings of the bible are ‘God-breathed’ and without error (particularly after studying the influence of Greek Pagan philosophy on Paul’s thinking)
  • I have been restricted in what I can say about churches on this site by a workplace social media policy which forbids criticism of any person or entity (which presumably means no criticism of Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden, ISIS etc.)
  • I have found it harder to process my thoughts and write long-form arguments since a gang bashing in 2012.

I had planned to continue with this site until the end of the Kong Hee/City Harvest Church fraud case saga, but there’s still no end in sight to that. Even Singapore can’t enforce the law on churches.

The complete halt in updates has mainly been caused by my recent workplace redundancy.

I now plan to take a break and work out the next step.

One of those steps may involve an online presence, but it’s unlikely to be this site.

I did 2 years of personal research on the formation of society’s attitudes on homosexuality through history, and now I get the chance to write a long-promised theological piece on it all. Frankly, some of it is world-first stuff, and it’s what excites me the most at the moment. I have it all in my head, but have struggled to get it into words which would make clear sense to others.

I’m very aware of the community that’s formed around this site. so I’m not planning to close the comments.

I may decide to resume story updates, but everything in my life right now is up in the air.

For now, I leave you with my favourite video from over the years of hosting this site.

 

ACL reconstruction

 

The Canberra Times reports…

“ACT police have confirmed the van that exploded outside the Australian Christian Lobby offices in Canberra on Wednesday night was detonated by the driver but have ruled out political motivation as a reason.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Deputy Chief Police Commander Mark Walters said the driver appeared to have ignited gas cylinders inside the vehicle about 9.30pm.

The resulting explosion damaged the vehicle and building.

“As a result of our conversations with this man, we’ve been able to establish that his actions were not politically, religiously or ideologically motivated,” Mr Walters said.

He said the driver, a 35-year-old man from the ACT, walked with serious burn injuries to Canberra Hospital, where he was briefly interviewed by police before treatment continued.

An ACT Health spokeswoman confirmed the man was in a “critical condition”.

He was not previously known to police.

The driver is understood to have parked the van outside the ACL’s headquarters in Deakin before causing the explosion.

Mr Walters said the investigation was ongoing but could not confirm the ACL had been the target. Police said they had spoken to the man’s family but didn’t provide details of the conversation.

Earlier on Thursday morning, Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton said the incident was an attempt at political intimidation.

“I think something of this nature, that appears to be so deliberate, is an attack against the sort of things that we’ve been saying in the public square,” Mr Shelton told ABC radio.

He also suggested that rhetoric from “extreme left” politicians who had portrayed the ACL as a hate group motivated “unhinged” people to act violently.

When asked to respond to the police statement, Mr Shelton told Fairfax Media that the explosion came against a backdrop of abuse and death threats levelled at the ACL.

“It’s all very sensitive, we don’t know the motives of the person last night; we hope it’s not related,” Mr Shelton said.

“Obviously I respect what the police have to say. I’m not sure how they can know for sure.”

Mr Walters reassured the community that there was no concern for public safety.

“Police are conducting a thorough investigation and there is no threat to public safety.

“We want the Canberra community to go about their business today reassured that ACT Policing is working to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident,” he said.

The investigation would include previous threats to the ACL.

Police urge anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Please quote reference 6049560. Information can be provided anonymously.”

From http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/not-politically-motivated-driver-critical-as-police-confirm-christian-lobby-car-bomb-attack-20161221-gtgb06.html

Nigeria church disaster

The New York Times reports…

“Funeral homes overflowed with bodies on Sunday, one day after a church collapsed in southern Nigeria, killing at least 160 people, according to a hospital official.

Hundreds of worshipers had been inside the Reigners Bible Church International in the city of Uyo on Saturday for the consecration of a church founder, Akan Weeks, as its bishop when the building’s metal girders fell and its corrugated iron roof caved in. The church was still under construction, and workers had been rushing to finish it when it collapsed, congregants said.

Screaming survivors streamed out amid cries from the injured inside.

“There were trapped bodies, parts of bodies, blood all over the place and people’s handbags and shoes scattered,” one witness, Ukeme Eyibio, said.

Mortuaries in Uyo were overwhelmed by the disaster, said Etete Peters, medical director of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, who put the number of dead at about 160. Officials said they feared that the death toll could rise.

Mr. Weeks and another congregant, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, were among the survivors.

The governor’s spokesman, Ekerete Udoh, said the state government would investigate to see whether any building standards were compromised.

Buildings collapse often in Nigeria because of endemic corruption, with contractors using substandard materials and bribing inspectors to ignore shoddy work or a lack of permits.

Mr. Eyibio had parked his car outside the complex to make a phone call when he heard a deafening crash and saw that the church had disappeared.

He and three others dragged 10 injured people from an overflow area for worshipers just outside the church. They did not enter the main structure because a construction worker warned that it was not safe.

While waiting for a crane to help lift debris off bodies, Mr. Eyibio, 27, a computer analyst, helped a man whose legs were trapped under a girder.

“I rushed to my car, got out the tire jack and used that to get the beam off his legs,” he said by telephone.

“We managed to get him out, but we saw others dying all around us,” he added. “I’m so traumatized I could not sleep last night for the horrors repeating themselves in my mind.”

Many of the dead were taken to private mortuaries scattered across the city, said a youth leader, Edikan Peters. Some people were taking the bodies of relatives to their homes because of the overcrowding.

Mr. Peters said he counted 90 bodies removed from the church before he was told to stop his tally Saturday night. Journalists also said church officials sought to prevent them from documenting the disaster, trying to seize cameras and forcing some to leave the area.

In 2014, more than 110 people died when a multistory guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city. Most victims were visiting South African followers of the mega-church’s influential founder, T. B. Joshua.

Two structural engineers, Mr. Joshua and church trustees were accused of criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter after a coroner found that the building had collapsed from structural failures caused by design and detailing errors. Efforts to bring them to court have been foiled by repeated legal challenges.”

From http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/11/world/africa/nigeria-church-collapse-uyo.html?_r=0

Christian schools and their silly rules

WA Today reports…

“A Perth mother is outraged her teenage son was told to leave school on Monday morning because his hair was “too short”.

Sandra told Radio 6PR she was forced to provide staff at Corpus Christi College in Bateman with a note from her Year 10 son’s barber to prove his hair cut was in line with the private school’s policy.

The boy was then allowed to return to school for the day, but was told he had to wear a hat and may not be allowed to attend his year’s end of year river cruise celebration on Monday night.

Sandra went to the school to query why he was being sent home after receiving a text from her son.

“We had a wedding on the weekend and he had his hair cut, so he’s got it cut short on the sides, and just a little bit long on the top,” she said.

“His hair’s not long, it’s not short, he hasn’t got a shaved head, he hasn’t got stripes or swirls cut on his head… it’s just a boy’s haircut.”

The school declined to comment to WAtoday but Sandra claimed a staff member told her her son’s hair was shorter than a ‘two’ on the sides, which was against school policy – but a barber’s note Sandra then went and arranged clarified his hair was cut to a ‘two’.

“I said [to the staff member], ‘You’ve got boys there with their hair looking like mop-heads and you allow them’, [the staff member said], ‘Oh no they’ve got their hair tied up’, I said, ‘No they don’t, I’ve been on canteen duty, I’ve seen them walk in and walk out they don’t have their hair tied up and you don’t send them home,” she said.

The school has since allowed the student to return to class to learn his exam results, but he has been told to wear a hat.

Today was his last day of school for 2016, with Sandra telling Radio 6PR he was excited to find out how he went in his exams.

“It’s not fair that he’s already missed one and a half period of school,” she said. 

She is yet to hear whether her son will be allowed to attend Monday’s river cruise.”

From http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/perth-mum-forced-to-show-barbers-note-after-son-kicked-out-of-school-20161205-gt48uy.html

Anointed cucumbers

 

Daily Post Nigeria reports…

“The founder of Prophetic Healing Deliverance Ministries in Zimbabwe, Prophet Walter Magaya, stirred up controversies on the social media on Sunday as pictures of him distributing and selling ‘anointed’ cucumbers during his church service went viral.

The report is causing a stir as cucumber has recently been “literally discovered to have many uses,” apart from being an edible fruit.

The pastor created room for criticisms as the report had it that his church members, especially the ladies, heavily patronized him.

While some called him fake for selling cucumbers in the house of God, others said “only him knows why he chose cucumber of all fruits” to distribute.”

From http://dailypost.ng/2016/11/27/ladies-excited-pastor-shares-anointed-cucumbers-service-photos/

Prophet of Doom

 

Eyewitness News reports…

“A pastor who has been photographed spraying his congregants with Doom has defended his methods, saying the use of the insect killer is harmless.

The pictures taken at the Mountzion General Assembly church in Limpopo show prophet Lethebo Rabalago spraying the insect killer over people he had promised to heal.

Rabalago claims that he is able to heal and deliver people using various substances at his disposal.

He says that his methods are faultless and only require faith to work.

“God can use anything, God can use the mud, God can use saliva, God can use even poisonous things to deliver people. If they see a man of God using that thing it’s a sign of attracting men, so this is a magnetic anointing we are ‘magneting’ men into Christ. They don’t believe it can happen but once we put that magnet there, they see it’s possible and then they come.”

There has been some confused and angry reaction to the pastor’s actions.”

From http://ewn.co.za/2016/11/21/pastor-claims-he-can-heal-people-with-doom

 

Steve Munsey wrongful death lawsuit

 

 

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports…

“The family of Domonique “Nikki” Smith announced Thursday morning they filed a lawsuit against Family Christian Center and its pastors, Steve and Melodye Munsey, in connection with their 18-year-old daughter’s death.

Smith’s mother, Vicki Walker, said in a news conference at the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point that she had unanswered questions about her daughter’s death May 29, 2015, in a pool at the Munsey residence.

She said she did not suspect foul play, but felt Melodye Munsey, who Walker said was at the residence at the time of Smith’s death, was negligent, and failed to show adequate care for her daughter’s safety.

Smith was found floating face down in a pool at the Munsey’s residence on Wilderness Drive in Schererville that afternoon. Walker said her daughter had been a lifeguard and was a strong swimmer.

Smith was at the residence to baby-sit the Munseys’ 6-year-old granddaughter, according to a news release.

“She should have been watching my child, while (Smith) watched their child,” Walker said.

Smith also raised questions about an alleged “15-minute gap” in surveillance footage obtained by police from the Munsey residence.

“I believe the tape was altered,” Smith said.

The Munsey family’s attorney, former Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez, said Thursday afternoon he had not received a copy of the civil complaint and could not comment on pending litigation.

The Family Christian Center, 340 W. 45th Ave. in Munster, has 15,000 weekly worshipers and a congregation of more than 30,000.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed Thursday morning in Lake County Civil Court.

Defendants include Family Christian World Inc., the Munseys, Indiana Land Trust Company and Domonique Smith’s father, Darryl Anthony Smith.

The family says in the lawsuit that Smith arrived at the Munseys’ residence at 10 a.m. to baby-sit their grandchild.

Melodye Munsey and a second woman were at the residence, the lawsuit states.

At 1 p.m., Smith was reportedly discovered unresponsive in the Munseys’ swimming pool, according to the lawsuit.

Paramedics were dispatched to the house some time thereafter, according to the lawsuit, and Smith was transported to Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital in Dyer (now called Franciscan Health Dyer), which was about a half-mile farther away from the residence than the closest hospital, Community Hospital in Munster.

The family says in the lawsuit Steve Munsey is affiliated with Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital.

Smith never regained consciousness and died June 1, according to the lawsuit. A toxicology screening indicated she had no drugs or alcohol in her system, and, despite drowning, water was not present in her lungs.

Lake County Chief Deputy Coroner Scott Sefton said Wednesday that Smith’s death was ruled an accidental drowning, but no autopsy was performed because Smith’s organs were donated.

Walker said she decided to pursue legal action after she viewed on July 13 the surveillance footage from the day of Smith’s death, which was obtained by the Schererville Police Department.

She said Melodye Munsey did not appear to act with urgency when she discovered Smith’s body in the water.

Walker said Melodye Munsey later told her she saw Smith’s “soul leave her body,” so there was no sense of emergency.

Walker further said the surveillance footage did not appear to show everything that happened, and contradicted some of the Munseys’ claims.

Walker is represented in the lawsuit by lead attorney Max Solomon and local counsel Trent A. McCain.

 

 

Pastor Steve Munsey