Sunday, January 24, 2016

The 3 - January 24, 2016

This week's edition of The 3, my week-in-review feature, highlights how churches are responding in a crisis - this time, the water contamination crisis in Michigan.  Also, Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini is back in the U.S.  And, the March for Life united pro-life people in the nation's capital this week.

3 - Religious groups respond to Michigan water crisis

A number of religious organizations, including Christian groups, have responded to the water crisis in the city of Flint, MI, where the water has been poisoned, according to a report on the Christian Headlines website.  The organizations are also focused on a goal of making sure the impoverished city, where President Obama last weekend declared a state of emergency over its poisoned water, is never so neglected again.

Bob Bruttell, chairman of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, said this past Tuesday, according to the website, “The most important role the church can have is to be the ethical watchdog for the welfare of the community." The report says that religious people — from black congregations within the majority African-American city to evangelicals hundreds of miles away — have responded with time, money and other donations to alleviate the water crisis threatening Flint, where officials had long declared its discolored water safe to drink.

The Detroit Free Press published an article about the ways that churches are getting involved. It quotes Pastor Eric Bogan of Harris Memorial Church in Flint, who quoted from the Bible to explain why his congregation is helping, from Matt 25:45: “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and did not help you? He will reply, whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.”

2 - Pastor Saeed returns to U.S.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor recently released from prison in Iran, is back on American soil, and, according to the Samaritan's Purse website, Franklin Graham, who has been advocating for the pastor's release and encouraging prayer for him and his family, welcomed Pastor Saeed back to America.   He returned to the States this past Thursday.

The website says that Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan's Purse, shared several photos of the pastor's reunion with his parents and sister on his Facebook page Thursday night.  A smile spread wide across Abedini’s face as he deplaned. On Facebook, Graham said, "Pastor Saeed Abedini is safely back and will be a guest at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina, as he reacclimates and spends time with his family."

Baptist Press reported that the recently-freed pastor has has been resting with his parents and sister since arriving there from Berlin, Germany.   Meanwhile, his wife, Naghmeh, changed earlier plans to fly with the children to meet her husband in Germany, where he was receiving medical treatment, after the couple determined he needed more time to heal psychologically.  She is quoted as saying, "When I spoke to him he didn't seem to be in a good state of mind, and so we just had to give it time before our family reunited, especially with the kids," adding, "I had a quick conversation with the German doctor and he said overall he was healthy, he was pretty healthy [physically]."

Naghmeh Abedini and their children Rebekkah and Jacob are scheduled to arrive in Asheville early Monday afternoon to spend at least a week with Saeed before returning as a family to their home in Boise, Idaho, she told Baptist Press. At the Cove, they will rest and receive counseling, she said.

1 - Despite freezing temperatures and blizzard threat, March for Life events go on

On the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, and the legalization of abortion in America, people have been gathering on the mall in Washington, DC to celebrate life, to decry the taking of unborn life in the womb, and the remember those who have lost their lives to abortion. began a report by saying:
Thanks to a massive snowstorm threatening to dump at least two feet of snow on the nation’s capital, the March for Life did not break any attendance records this year, but the tens of thousands of pro-life people who braved the cold and snow proudly stood for life.
The report says that "many sounded a hopeful theme for a pro-life future and think the decision will eventually be reversed."  It pointed out that, "As with other recent marches, the number of young adults and high school and college students impressed organizers and provided another reason to be optimistic."

This year, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Focus on the Family teamed up this year to sponsor an event called Evangelicals for Life, which began on the day before the March for Life and featured a variety of speakers.

WORLD reported on the March for Life, and quoted Russell Moore, president of the ERLC, who said that following the Roe decision, “Evangelicals were not ready for an abortion culture."

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, is quoted by WORLD as saying: “Defunding Planned Parenthood is at the center of the debate for the first time in 40 years,” adding, “Now our folks are on offense. … This is one of those causes that you cannot stop.”

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