Category Archives: Uncategorized

Freedom!

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10; it is this verse that is inscribed on the Liberty Bell).

I love the movie Braveheart.  When it was first released in 1995, my wife and I went to see it in the theater.  Afterwards, people asked me what I thought.  My standard reply was, “Well, except for the nudity, profanity, and gory violence—it was a great movie.”  And it is.  I do wince still at some scenes.  There are some parts of the movie that I wish were not there.  But all in all, I do love that film.  One reason is that it is about William Wallace, a Scottish national hero.  Being of Scottish descent I love all things Scottish.  (My maternal grandmother was a Crawford; on my father’s side there are Baileys and Fraziers—all transplants from the sod of Alba.)  But there is another reason.  The film portrays a man who was committed to seeing his own people live in freedom, completely delivered from tyranny and oppression.  The movie ends (spoiler alert) with Wallace being drawn and quartered for his war with the English.  As he dies, he cries out one resounding word—“FREEDOM!”  This is a powerful climax to a moving film.

Freedom.  The very word can evoke powerful emotions in anyone’s breast.  There is an innate longing deep within us that yearns to be free.  We abhor the very images of bondage, despotism and slavery.  Chains and shackles are the symbols of cruelty and subjugation.  We hunger for the opposite, for freedom.  We value it so highly that we think it is of greater worth than life itself.  We honor the noble women and men who have given their lives to possess freedom, and to purchase and maintain it for all of us.  Freedom is worth dying for.  It is worth fighting for.  It is worth living for. Continue reading

Eastern Lightning

Names:   The Church of Almighty God, Eastern Lightning (EL), Lightning from the East,    Church of the True God, Church of the Everlasting Fountain, Real God, The Congregation, Seven Spirits Sect, New Power Lord’s Church, True Light Sect, or True Way Sect

Founders: Yang Xiangbin, Zhao Weishan

Date of Founding:  1991

Country of Origin:  China

Scripture or Authoritative SourceThe Word in the Flesh, teachings of Yang Xiangbin

Influences:  Christianity, Christian Dispensationalism

Membership:  Estimates vary from 100,000 to over 1 million Continue reading

Cults and Modern Technology

In the 1920’s and 30’s the cutting edge of technology was wireless telegraphy, better known today as radio.  Herbert W. Armstrong, an Adventist evangelist, saw the potential of this medium and used it to his advantage.  He began broadcasting his unique views of the Bible in 1933.  His abilities as a speaker won the minds and hearts of thousands of listeners.  Thus was born the Radio Church of God, a religious organization that initially consisted almost completely of a radio audience.  Eventually Armstrong’s following grew to become the Worldwide Church of God.[i]

The progression from a small radio broadcast to an on-air “church” to an organized religious body demonstrates the power of electronic media to effectively propagate a message and develop a committed group of adherents.   Thus, Armstrongism serves as a prime example of how cults can, and often do, effectively use technology and media to spread their own versions of the gospel. Continue reading

The Most Real – Revisited

(This article was originally posted back in April of 2013.  But I think there is truth here that deserves to be revisited.  I hope you find this inspiring and helpful in your spiritual walk.  – Victor)

I remember a number of years ago when we were still living in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania. Sue (my wife) had an appointment down in Uniontown, at the bottom of the mountain. I drove her to town, dropped her off and then went for a drive. After running a couple of errands, I thought I would find somewhere to relax and spend some time in much needed prayer and meditation. Having decided this, I drove onto the grounds of a monastery and retreat center that is located in town.

Before this, I had never explored those grounds. They are truly beautiful. This land had once been the estate of one of the local coal barons who prospered in the area decades ago. There is a stately, almost majestic quality to the landscape. Ancient trees overhang neatly trimmed lawns and dot the ridges of rolling hillocks. Scattered among these lovely old trees are a number of shrines and statues of various saints. There are also park benches placed at various spots, inviting you to stop and meditate. I took advantage of one such spot. Continue reading