Archive | April, 2013


14 Apr

We invite you to participate in a day of prayer for children in the 4/14 Window on Global 4/14 Day, April 14, 2013.

Gen Y, Social Media, & How We’re Making A Difference

12 Apr

Gen Y Girl

I’m sitting in class and I feel really bad for my professor. No one’s paying attention to him.

I look around and everyone’s either got a phone in their hand or a laptop open. And I promise you, no one’s taking notes.

Statuses are being updated, pictures are being posted, and I’m sure that at least five people are on Twitter.

Okay, fine. Maybe we should be paying a little more attention.

I hear it all the time, when I talk about Gen Y, that we’re addicted to social media.

Gen Y… addicted to social media…can’t put their phones down.

How awful.

But is it really?

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m addicted to social media. I know that one of these days I’m going to leave my phone on my bed and I’m going to head into work and that day is going to be terrible…

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The Cost of ‘Perverted’ Preaching

10 Apr

342921-121226-india-rape-protestTHE DEATH OF a college student who had been gang-raped in Delhi provoked outrage and anger. More than 2 million Indian students joined a movement to protest the rising violence against women in India. According to official data, reported cases of rape have more than doubled in the past 20 years, and women are the victims of a high proportion of other violent crimes.

But there’s another side to this story. “Almost as shocking as the Delhi gang rape has been the range of voices that have sounded after it,” wrote Sagarika Ghose, a TV journalist and commentator. “Patriarchy is chillingly omnipresent.” Rather than blaming those who attack women, leaders in some Indian villages blame Westernization, liberal consumerism, growing individualism, or even the women themselves—because they wear “skimpy clothes,” talk on mobile phones, and work outside the home, according to South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper.

For 19-year-old Kanika Sharma, these leaders miss the point. “It is all about the mentality of the boys,” Sharma told the Mail & Guardian. “They think because they are men, they can do anything. But girls should get equal rights and opportunities.”

Sharma speaks while standing under a sign that says: Being a woman should not make you feel vulnerable. But sadly, throughout the world women do feel vulnerable.

Before I traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—described as the “rape capital” of the world—I studied reports on rape as a weapon of war. In the DRC rebel soldiers have brutally raped thousands of women. They know that if they rape enough women and girls, they can destroy the social fabric of an entire community.

But in the DRC I discovered something worse than rape as a weapon of war. I discovered an underlying culture of rape in which violating women sexually has become normalized, accepted. In this extremely patriarchal society, boys are taught that being a man means dominating women. Rapists are congratulated on being “man enough” to “take a woman.”

Congolese surgeon Monique Kapamba Yangoy explained that the DRC has laws prohibiting men from having sex with girls under 18, but they’re not enforced. It is not uncommon for girls as young as fifth grade to ensure “success” in school by having sex with their teachers. University students who demand that their professors wear condoms when they have sex with them tend to get lower grades than girls who don’t demand condoms. Women are often asked to have sex with potential employers before they can get a job.

Perhaps the deepest problem, suggests Dr. Yangoy, is that women in such cultures are conditioned to believe they truly are of little value. So they lose the will to fight back, to stand up for themselves, to expect just and loving treatment.

In the DRC, as in many countries, churches have often reinforced this perspective by preaching a perverted message of female submission. Women are to submit, period. No one mentions that men are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church—even to the point of giving his life for his beloved. No one mentions the concept of mutual submission.congo_rape_01

But in the DRC that is beginning to change. One reason I work with World Relief Congo is that it actively works toward the slow but sustainable transformation of cultural attitudes toward gender and sex. I sat with Congolese church leaders as Dr. Yangoy challenged them as a woman, a doctor, and a Christian to use their positions of power to protect and empower women and girls.

Recently, at a gathering of women leaders from around the world, I joined women from many faiths in denouncing the actions of those who wrongly use our sacred texts and belief systems to degrade women. Together we agreed to give our voices, our money, and our time to the people, organizations, and cultural movements that honor rather than degrade women. Please join me—for the sake of every woman in India, in the DRC, and in your community and mine.

Lynne Hybels


From the Theology Conference: Rev. David Gitari, “In the World but not of the World”

8 Apr

For Christ and His Kingdom

gitari pic

Wheaton’s 22nd annual theology conference is in full swing here, and last night we heard from the retired Anglican Archbishop of Kenya, Rev. David Gitari, whose talk was entitled “John 17: In the World but not of the World.” Rev. Gitari shared some of his own journey, from a conservative pietistic tradition which did not support any form of political involvement on the church’s part, to his growing conviction that the church’s message was relevant to all areas of life. The church can choose various ways to relate to government: 1) identifying with and supporting the state, 2) withdrawing from any political involvement, 3) engaging in a critical, constructive dialogue with the state on the basis of the Gospel, or 4) resisting the state’s power. The first two options are dangerous, and the third and fourth are options which are more active responses on the church’s part.

Gitari shared…

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A Message To All Christians

6 Apr

Fans or followers? Do we represent him? Should we condemn others?


Jesus is …

5 Apr

Jesus is ...

Desmond Tutu wins Templeton prize for advancing ‘spiritual progress’

4 Apr

Image“Desmond Tutu, a clarion voice from the pulpit during South Africans’ struggle against racial apartheid, has won the £1.1m Templeton prize for advancing the “spiritual liberation” of people around the world.

The John Templeton Foundation describes the 40-year-old prize as the world’s biggest annual monetary award for individuals. Tutu, who adds it to honours including the Nobel peace prize, said he was “totally bowled over”.

The former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town helped keep the struggle alive during the dark years when Nelson Mandela and other activists were jailed or exiled. He went on to chair the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Ever outspoken, he has admitted sometimes feeling angry with God and two years ago wrote a book with the provocative title God is Not a Christian.

The Templeton Foundation, based in Pennsylvania in the US, praised Tutu for “his exceptional contributions to exemplifying a new and larger, living model of the benefits of religion and spiritual progress”.

John Templeton Jr, president and chairman of the foundation, said: “The judges noted that archbishop Tutu’s steadfastness to core Christian principles such as love and forgiveness has broken chains of hurt, pain and all-too-common instincts for revenge, and instead, has advanced the spiritual liberation of people around the world.

“As a leading moral voice for love, peace and justice, Desmond Tutu, in extending hands of a common brotherhood, is one of the world’s most revered religious leaders … during the 1970s and 1980s, he helped to focus global attention on the apartheid policies of South Africa, a dehumanising process of subverting God’s equal love for all.”

Tutu, 81, insisted that the honour was not his alone. He responded: “I want to say a very big thank you but I would also like to acknowledge the fact that, you know, when you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd it’s usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others, and therefore if you will let me, I want to acknowledge all the wonderful people who accepted me as their leader at home and so to accept this prize, as it were, in a representative capacity.”

The Templeton prize was conceived by the American-born British stock investor Sir John Templeton, who felt that the Nobels recognised the contribution of science to humanity but failed to honour religion. The first winner was Mother Teresa in 1973.

Last year it went to the Dalai Lama, who immediately donated his winnings to charity. The Tibetan spiritual leader was invited to Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations in 2011 but denied a visa by the South African government, prompting fierce condemnation from the archbishop emeritus.

Neither is as controversial as the 2011 winner, Britain’s astronomer royal, Lord Rees, who was criticised by fellow scientists who argued that the Templeton Foundation’s main objective was to spread religion. Rees, an atheist, insisted that “big questions”, including those posed by cosmology, “are central to the Templeton Foundation’s agenda”.

Tutu, who retired from public life in 2010 but remains publicly outspoken, not least in criticising the governing African National Congress, will receive the prize at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall on 21 May. A celebration will also be held in Cape Town on 11 April at St George’s Cathedral, which became known as “the people’s cathedral” when he served there as archbishop from 1986 to 1996.

The Templeton Foundation states: “The monetary value of the prize is set always to exceed the Nobel prizes to underscore Templeton’s belief that benefits from discoveries that illuminate spiritual questions can be quantifiably more vast than those from other worthy human endeavours.””


Studying in Brussels

2 Apr in Brussels
“Europe and the world are good to Brussels, and to you. Brussels really is the capital of the world. It is the place where North and South, East and West meet. it is the city where 134 Ianguages are spoken and at least as many different cuisines can be tasted – not to mention more than 2000 different beers you can find here!

You’d be surprised how easy it is for a student to live in Brussels. Even though the two main languages are Dutch and French, most Brusseleirs speak English well, and some of them even speak a little Italian, German or Dansk.  You’ll have no trouble fitting in here: everyone in Brussels is from somewhere else – Brussels means freedom, diversity and an open, international city.

Brussels is not only the capital of Europe – you know that – it is also the crossroads of Europe: with the Thalys, you’re in Paris in 52 minutes and in Amsterdam in 1h52, and with the Eurostar you’re in London in a little over two hours. That’s less than it takes you to do your laundry! And for the true globetrotters amongst you: we have two airports, lots of cheap flights and 250 destinations.

You probably won’t need all of that when you study in Brussels. There’s just too much you’ll want to do, see, eat, drink in the city. You’ll want to chill in the sun in the Dudenpark, you’ll want to combine an expo with a concert, a lunch and a visit to bookshop of Bozar. You’ll want to go the free parties (every day) at Bonnefooi after having the best fries in the world at place Jourdan. You’ll want to ride your bike down the Boulevard du Botanique towards the sunset. You’ll want to…

You’ll want to work jump at all the fantastic internship (and job!) opportunities Brussels offers international students at NATO, at the EU or at one of the many mutinational headquarters in the city.

You’ll want to find your way around the city. Just drop by our office, we have all the info you need (and so do the student counselors at your university).

Accomodation in Brussels
But most of all: you’ll want to live in a nice, cosy, affordable, clean room with lots of other students who are here to study and discover the city, just like you. We have the perfect all-in-one solution for all these desires: the Van Orley International Student House. A beautiful beaux-arts building, with modern, practical rooms for short stay solutions.

You’ll meet other students from all around the world, you’ll be able to study in peace when you want to and chill when you need to. Click here if you want to read more about staying at Van Orley.
If you want to stay for a whole year, check out our room database of Br(ik-approved landlords here for all good accommodation options in the city. And how come we’re so sure we only provide quality rooms? Because we know every landlord with a room on the website in person. So you can be sure it’s a safe and certain stay if you rent with them or us.

Let yourself get addicted to Europe. Come to Brussels and find an open and welcoming metropolis where a tight and friendly community of Erasmus and other exchange students receives you with open arms to live, study and discover the city together.

You will come for school, but you will stay for the quality of life.”



In the end, it is between you and God!!!

1 Apr

In the end, it is between you and God!!!