Thursday, January 10, 2013

Salon ministry saving sex slaves

India (MNN) ― A contact working with Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) is using a beauty salon to reach out to women and girls in a red-light district in India.
She is currently working to find housing for six girls from the red-light district between the ages of 6 and 12.
So far, she keeps coming up against road blocks because of the girls’ ages and lack of proper documents.
According to a 1998 report, children make up more than 40% of those trafficked into sex slavery in India.


The Cleric Behind 'Les Mis'

Author Victor Hugo was anticlerical, yet his tale's hero is set on course by a Catholic bishop.

Fans of "Les Misérables" on film or stage may be surprised to know that not everyone in France was of good cheer when Victor Hugo published the book in 1862. The anticlerical set was especially offended by the pivotal role of the Bishop of Digne, who helped determine the course of the novel by resuscitating the soul of Jean Valjean.
As Hugo worked on the novel, his son Charles, then in his 20s, objected to the reverential treatment of the bishop. He argued to his father that the portrayal gave undeserved respect to a corrupt clergy, bestowing credibility on a Roman Catholic Church opposed to the democratic ideals that he and his father held. Charles instead proposed that the catalyst for Jean Valjean's transformation be a lawyer or doctor or anyone else from a secular profession.
The pushback didn't work. Not only did Hugo hold his ground, but he amplified the importance of Charles-François Bienvenue Myriel, affectionately known in the novel as Monseigneur Bienvenue (Bishop Welcome). The book's first hundred pages or so are a detailed chronicle of Myriel's exemplary life, showing that his intervention on behalf of Jean Valjean was part of a long track record and not a singular aberration. Apparently Hugo recognized no contradiction between his anticlericalism and the possibility—or certainty—that grace could be mediated by a just priest who was transparent to the divine and never betrayed the human.


City lets church minister to homeless

A northern California church, Mercy Way Rescue, has found itself victorious in a fight with the city in Placerville over a conditional use permit it needed to minister to the city’s homeless.
Just a month ago, the Placerville Planning Commission denied Mercy Way Rescue the permit, putting the church at risk of being shut down immediately, even though the planning department’s staff report had recommended the permit be issued.

Is Christianity in America Really Going Extinct? Gallup Editor’s Claims May Shock You

Gallup’s editor-in-chief Frank Newport has been attracting widespread attention over the past few months surrounding his intriguing assessment of the state of faith in America — and his predictions that a religiously-fruitful time may be ahead.
Part of the intrigue surrounding Newport’s research comes from his assertion that religion in the U.S. is actually much healthier than many critics allege. In an interview with TheBlaze, he spoke about Gallup’s intensive research, as presented in his new book, “God Is Alive and Well.”
Considering the rise of the “nones” — a group of religiously-unaffiliated Americans, when asked if religion in America is dying, Newport had an intriguing answer. He argues that faith in the U.S., rather than sputtering out, is actually evolving.
“Faith and religion is very much alive and well — a key point is, it’s changing,” the researcher told TheBlaze. “The way people manifest their religiosity has changed over time. That’s not unusual.”
Rather than seeing religion as on the cusp of disappearing, Newport — based on Gallup’s research into matters of faith and religion — argues that many Americans are transitioning into an “unbranded religion.” This essentially means that, increasingly, individuals classify themselves as unaligned with a denomination, yet they are still very much Christian (the majority faith culture here in the U.S.).
Even though, numerically speaking, the proportion of “nones” has grown, the researcher claims that much of the hoopla over the increase may be misplaced. The numbers of unaffiliated may, in fact, be growing as a result of a change in reporting styles.

Research Shows World Population on the Decline

The world’s seemingly relentless march toward overpopulation achieved a notable milestone in 2012: Somewhere on the planet, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the 7 billionth living person came into existence.
Lucky No. 7,000,000,000 probably celebrated his or her birthday sometime in March and added to a population that’s already stressing the planet’s limited supplies of food, energy, and clean water. Should this trend continue, as the Los Angeles Times noted in a five-part series marking the occasion, by midcentury, “living conditions are likely to be bleak for much of humanity.”
A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.