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THE INTERVIEW: REV JOEL EDWARDS, CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR
The EXPOSED campaign - in which Micah Challenge is a partner - is about shining a light on corruption around the world which "robs the poorest of our world". How big is the problem?
"Huge - and it’s everywhere. Corruption is one of the major obstacles to overcoming extreme poverty. Every single day well over $3 billion goes missing from the global economy - stolen through bribes, money laundering, tax evasion and other illegal payments in business and government. Such vast amounts of money hidden away reduce the income that governments receive from taxes for vital services. And of course it’s hard to know the full extent of money going missing, because so much of it is secret!
"This is more than just a depressing statistic; it's devastating. Corruption kills. A recent report from Christian Aid estimates that if we addressed illegal corporate tax evasion we could save the lives of 230 children under the age of five every single day."
Recently in Australia for Micah Challenge's Voices for Justice gathering in Canberra, Rev Joel Edwards is the international director of Micah Challenge - a global Christian response to extreme poverty and a partner organisation in the EXPOSED campaign which aims to help the poor through ending corruption. Based in the UK, he spoke via email with DAVID ADAMS...| more... |
DID YOU KNOW? NEWS REPORTS...
30th July, 2014
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF "STATE-SANCTIONED CHILD ABUSE" OVER TREATMENT OF UNACCOMPANIED CHILD ASYLUM SEEKERS
The Federal Government has been accused of “state sanctioned child abuse” over its policies regarding unaccompanied child asylum seekers.
Rev Peter Catt, the chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce – made up of representatives of nine Christian denominations including the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic and Uniting churches – said in a statement that vulnerable children are being “locked away behind razor wire for the ‘crime’ of being born in countries in political and social turmoil”.
WORLDVIEW: DRAMATIC INCREASE IN NUMBER OF CHRISTIANS KILLED IN NIGERIA THIS YEAR, SAYS ADVOCACY GROUP
Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and others killed 1,631 Christians in Nigeria for their faith in the first six months of 2014 - a figure that is 91 per cent of the total Christians killed in the country in all of last year, according to advocacy group Jubilee Campaign.
Last year 1,783 Nigerian Christians were killed for their faith, according to Jubilee Campaign. The increase in Christian deaths so far this year accompanies an increase in the total number of people killed during the period, mainly by Boko Haram - 4,099, which is 975 more than the total deaths from attacks by religious extremists for all of last year, 3,124, according to Jubilee.
Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, has reportedly increased attacks with a large injection of funding from foreign terrorist groups.
Emmanuel Ogebe, manager of Jubilee Campaign’s Justice for Jos Project, told Morning Star News that he has noted a trend this year of Boko Haram targeting some Muslims primarily because they cooperate with the Nigerian military.
Morning Star News reports on the rising death toll among Christians in Nigeria...| more... |
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SLAVERY: THE SALVATION ARMY'S NEW CAMPAIGN TO RAISE AWARENESS OF SERVITUDE WITHIN AUSTRALIA AND ABROAD
Raise the issue of slavery in the contemporary Australian context and people will usually think of the sex industry or turn their eyes to sweat-shops overseas.
But the Salvation Army’s Jenny Stanger says it may surprise many people that such examples are only part of a very large and complex picture.
“We’ve got quite a big job to do raise people’s awareness that slavery happens in agriculture and construction and the natural resources industry and retail and restaurants and bakeries and nail salons – pretty much any industry where people are vulnerable, where it’s unregulated, where worker’s rights are not very strong,” she says.
To that end, the Salvation Army is today launching the Freedom Partnership initiative with the aim of mobilising Australians to get more active in the fight against slavery and slavery-like practices both at home and abroad.
Launched to mark the UN's inaugural World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, The Salvation Army's new Freedom Partnership is aimed at encouraging Australians to engage with the issue of slavery both in their own communities and overseas. DAVID ADAMS reports...| more... |
THE BIBLE: MORE THAN FOUR MILLION PEOPLE HAD ACCESS TO THE WORD IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2013, SAYS REPORT
Bibles were published in 18 new translations around the world last year, giving 15 million people access to the Word in their own language - more than four million for the first time.
The United Bible Societies' Global Scripture Access Report, released earlier this month, shows that of the 18 new translations, 10 were first-time translations. Of those 10, seven were complete translations of a full Bible, one was a New Testament and two other portions. The remaining eight translations completed in 2013 related to revisions of existing Bible translations or new translations in a language into which some Scripture has already been translated.
Other data from the United Bible Societies shows that there is now a complete Bible in 511 different languages. The New Testament has been published in almost 1,300 languages while some portion of Scripture has been translated into another 844 languages.
MERIAM IBRAHIM: ITALY WELCOMES CHRISTIAN WOMAN WHO FACED DEATH IN SUDAN BECAUSE OF HER FAITH
Updated 4.15pm, 25th July, 2014
A Sudanese mother who was spared a death sentence for refusing to renounce Christianity has been flown to Italy after more than a month in the US embassy in Khartoum, Italian officials confirmed yesterday.
Meriam Ibrahim, 27, and her family flew on an Italian government plane, accompanied by Italian minister Lapo Pistelli.
The mother-of-two, who is married with an American citizen, arrived in Rome amid mounting international pressure on Sudan to let her go.
Among her first meetings after landing in Italy was one with Pope Francis. A Vatican spokesman reportedly said the pope thanked her and her family for their "courageous demonstration of constancy of faith".
Her release was welcomed by human rights and persecuted church advocates around the world. Dr David Curry, president of Open Doors in the US, said news of her release was "an answer to many prayers worldwide".
NIGERIA: CHRISTIANS MOURN 150 KILLED BY MILITANTS, INCLUDING PASTOR
Christians in northeastern Nigeria are mourning an evangelical pastor and at least 150 other people killed by militants who want to establish an Islamic state.
The latest attacks began Monday, 14th July, when fighters of the Islamic group 'Boko Haram', or 'Western education is a sin', attacked Dille village in Borno state, killing Pastor Taiwo Dokun pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and some 44 other villagers, Christians said.
Witnesses said he was shot dead when he tried to escape. The whereabouts of the late pastor's wife and their three children remained unknown Sunday, 21st July.
“The family could have been abducted by the insurgents who took away many of the residents of the town. The pastor’s family members have not been found since the attack and have not called any one,” a church member told reporters, without revealing his name.
BosNewsLife - with PAUL JONGAS and STEFAN J BOS - reports on the deteriorating situation for Christians in northern Nigeria...| more... |
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SIGHT-SEEING: JOURNALISM AND THE CHRISTIAN CONTRIBUTION TO A RICHER, MORE GLOBAL VIEW OF PUBLIC JUSTICE, PART IV - THE CRAFT OF POLITICAL JOURNALISM (B)
5. Political journalism a public service in solidarity with public servants.
Yes, public servants are "our" public servants. In terms identified by the Apostle Paul they are indeed set in office by the Lord Himself for the common benefit (Romans 13:1-12). This is why op-ed pieces about justice must strive to do justice, to be just in the way political opinions are formed and to ascribe due respect to the persons referred to in one's political analysis. After all, and particularly if they are public servants, these same people whose decisions we have criticised may not have the opportunity to freely express their political opinions in op-ed columns or blogs. The liberty of the op-ed columnist also calls for the enactment of an ordinance of self-denial. What is written may be lawful but is it expedient?
Political service is hard work. In most circumstances it is somewhat more difficult and complex than sitting down and penning an op-ed piece of a few thousand words. Political journalism should promote a public sense of respect and solidarity, if not sympathy, for elected representatives, lawmakers, civil servants, the judiciary, legal profession, those charged with law enforcement and the military (as well as other journalists and public intellectuals).
In the final part of his four part essay, BRUCE C WEARNE continues his look at key aspects of political journalism when undertaken from a Christian perspective...|
OPEN BOOK SPECIAL - HUNCHES ABOUT JESUS: OK, SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
It says that after Jesus had the exchange with the teacher of the law no-one dared ask Him any (more) questions. I think it means that there were no more trick questions from the religious leaders. The people who came to His classes in the temple would still have asked Him questions, but Mark tells us the atmosphere changed: "the great throng heard Him gladly".
Now it was Jesus who asked them the questions. Here was a real beauty. It had them all scratching their heads. But they seemed to like being taught like this. It was an enjoyable time for those who gathered to join in Jesus' classes. Their delight increased as He took some popular songs they had been singing and asked them questions about them.
The mere fact that Mark can tell us that Jesus taught like this should encourage us to strain every muscle in our brains in order to put into words the questions we have about the Bible. It should remind us that we should sing praises to God with our minds. We are to love God with all our being. It is not a matter of pushing any "now let's get religious" replay button.
BRUCE C WEARNE looks at a passage in Mark 12 in which Jesus is asking the questions... |
LIFESTORY: "I AM NOT FORGOTTEN" - HOW UGANDAN RICHMOND WANDERA FOUND NEW HOPE
After hours of walking, Doreen came to an abrupt halt. “Richmond, stop,” she called after her older brother. Six years old, Doreen was all big eyes and skinny limbs. “I’m hungry.”
Richmond’s heart sank. Those two words had come to define their daily existence. All day they’d searched for food, checking the usual places. Nothing. Even the garbage heap hadn’t yielded leftover scraps. From the exhausted look on his sister’s face, Richmond knew she’d reached her limit.
“Wait here,” he told her. “I’m coming back.
He smiled at Doreen but as he walked away, his face fell. They’d already looked everywhere. Where would he find food? Rounding a corner, the eight-year-old struck the jackpot: a truck lumbered down the street, laden with bananas. Instinctively, Richmond ran after it. The truck slowed and Richmond grasped the tray. Jumping nimbly onto the back, he plucked off a few bananas. Clutching his bounty tightly to his chest, Richmond ran back to Doreen. Today, they would feast. Tomorrow they’d search all over again.
Since their father was murdered in a botched robbery at their home, everything had changed for the Wandera family.
ZOE NOAKES, of Compassion Australia, writes the story of how Ugandan Richmond Wandera - currently on a speaking tour of South Australia - found new hope in Christ through his encounter with the child sponsorship organisation...|
POSTCARDS: SYDNEY'S HILLSONG CONFERENCE ALL ABOUT THE 'CAUSE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH'
With Hillsong Conference Europe under way this week in London, a snapshot of the recent Sydney conference is in order.
The conference was held in early July at Australia's largest indoor arena, Allphones Arena in Sydney's Olympic Park.
Each year the conference coincides with the release of the new Hillsong worship album and the new songs were sung with fervour as some 20,000 people lifted their voices to God in worship.
After the worship came the speakers. Each speaker with a different message that lifted the name of Jesus.
And the overseas speakers this year included Steven Furtick of Elevation Church, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church, Louie Giglio of Passion City Church, Judah Smith and Robert Madu. Other speakers included the Hillsong team of Brian Houston and Carl Lentz.
ALAN TAYLOR reflects back on this year's Hillsong Conference in Sydney... |
LIFE'S TOUGH QUESTIONS: WHEN SHOULD A CHRISTIAN ENGAGE IN CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE?
Recently a group of Christian leaders - including a friend of mine - walked into the office of the Minister of Immigration, Scott Morrison, sat down and conducted a prayer vigil.
They stayed until they were arrested for trespass and taken to the police station. Later, the charges against them were dismissed. As Eternity reported at the time, the protesters saw themselves engaging in a “non-violent act of civil disobedience in the form of a prayer vigil.”
Their cause? To highlight the plight of the more than 1,000 children living in detention centres in Australia - or in centres controlled by Australia offshore.
It’s a good cause, and there has been sadly little attention given by either this government or the last to this terrible situation. The Australian populace seems to be saturated by apathy and self-interest. There’s a good deal of inertia surrounding these innocent children and the evil being committed against them. And we are responsible. They are, as the Bible would say, “the alien within our gates” who, by dint of their presence among us, are our kith and kin.
In an article first published in Eternity Newspaper, MICHAEL JENSEN wrestles with the issue of civil disobedience... |
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28th August, 2013 My son and I met someone on holidays who was in a wheelchair. He was paralysed on the left side of his body due to a virus that effected his brain.
He told us that he could have been healed if the doctors had diagnosed his condition within 72 hours but they were not able to. He had since been in a car accident where he was hit head-on by a drunk-driver, an accident which caused further permanent health issues.
Looking to encourage or inspire others or simply share how meeting God has changed your life? We're looking for your story - perhaps the inspiring story of how you came to know Jesus or an incident in your life in which you saw God's hand at work. MyStory - an addition to our existing LifeStory column - is a new regular feature where we'll publish your story for the benefit of others. Simply write your story in 200 words or less and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post it here under our MyStory banner. We're looking forward to hearing from you!
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SIFTED A "SOBERING WAKE-UP CALL" FOR CHURCH LEADERS
Every two years I book in for a full physical medical check-up, especially now as I get older. My need for a more regular spiritual and relationship check-up is just as important. Reading Sifted has been a welcome recent check-up.
Wayne Cordeiro is founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu and a network of 114-plus other church plants in Hawaii and abroad. He shares out of his experience of almost four decades of ministry and a strong commitment to developing emerging leaders. Writing with input from innovative pastors Francis Chan (author of Crazy Love) and Larry Osborne (author of Sticky Teams), the result is a highly practical and personal ministry resource. Sifted is part of the Exponential series, focused on resourcing the needs and diversity of church planters and leaders.
The book reads a bit like a microscope to examine three parts of a leader’s life, or a scalpel to cut back the garbage and get to the heart of three issues, with four chapters for each issue. It addresses the experience of leaders being sifted and growing stronger while they are being stretched. The theme of the book is the need for holistic leadership health and diligent personal care, without which ministry is likely not to be as fruitful or lasting as its potential.
DARREN CRONSHAW reads Wayne Cordeiro's Sifted... |
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Ten years have passed since we last saw Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) and his genetically enhanced fellow apes disappear into the woods near San Francisco in 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes and in that time man has managed to all but wipe himself off the face of the earth through disease and fighting. But a few survivors - led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) - remain in the Californian city and when they stumble across the colony of apes living among the trees, it doesn't bode well for either party. Mayhem predictably ensues, as both sides find themselves facing internal divisions as well the external threat of the 'other' and war between the two is painted as virtually inevitable.
DAVID ADAMS reviews Dawn of the Planet of the Apes... |
KEEPING UP WITH ALL THINGS MEDICAL, AND, AN EASY WAY TO ACCESS COURSES...
For those with careers in the medical area, keeping up with the latest medical news and opinions is paramount. Medscape MedPulse delivers news throughout the day in areas such as allergies, multispecialty, family medicine, cardiology, emergency medicine and a number of other areas. The app also features regular columns written by experts in their fields and the home screen is customisable so that topics of interest are quickly accessible.
Looking for some inspiration in helping others? Random Acts of Kindness - the official website of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation - aims to do just that under its motto of "inspiring people to practice kindness and pass it on to others". Among its features is a kindness ideas generator that allows you to sort ideas by category - environment, family and animals are just three - as well as cost or the amount of time required. The pithy entries cover everything from "Ask a stranger to sit with you for a meal" through to picking up some trash to beautify your environment or donating blood.
DAVID ADAMS finds a website that's all about inspiring more kindness in the world...|
THE TCM UPDATE: DISCOVERING AUTHENTIC WORSHIP...
Discovery Music, the praise and worship movement from Discovery Church in Melbourne, is set to release a new worship EP. Audience Of One (Live At The Stables) is a five track project recorded ‘direct to tape’ at The Stables - the old ‘horse stable turned studio’ by Jon Hume from Evermore.
Creative pastor Greg Attwells says the EP aims to capture the sound of worship at Discovery Church in Mt Evelyn.
“It’s the song of our psalmists and story tellers, and it’s our expression of God-centred and God-orientated music,” Attwells explains.
He says the church music team aims to present what he calls “authentic worship”. He suggests that this even impacts the sound.
CAM WANT with this week's edition of The TCM Update...|
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SIGHT HELPDESK: GOING SLOW? TWEAKING YOUR WI-FI MAY BE THE ANSWER
Slow and steady may win some races, but not when it comes to internet speed.
Or in some cases, lack of.
Most of us have been there. You click on a link to download a file and you can feel yourself aging while waiting for something to happen. This is often the case when using public wi-fi such as those found in cafes, libraries and shopping centres, due to the amount of people using it.
However, the wi-fi in your home shouldn't be this slow. With fewer devices using it, home wi-fi should be fast. Of course, other factors include the speed of the internet connection leading to your home. Speed can be affected by the distance your home is from the telephone exchange, your internet plan (pay more money and you get more speed) and the quality of cabling in the street.
Once the internet connection enters your home, it is distributed throughout with a router, via cabling or wi-fi. Cabling will give the fastest and most reliable connection but can be impractical and expensive. Wi-fi is an easier, cheaper and convenient way for the internet to be distributed.
ALAN TAYLOR looks at how you can improve your wi-fi speed...|
TRENDSPOTTER: LOCKING UP LOVE
The at times controversial concept has been around for at least a century but the past decade has seen a resurgence in "love locks" being placed in public spaces across the globe. An update on the idea of carving the name of yourself and your loved one into a tree truck, the concept of love locks involves people declaring their love for each other by inscribing their names or initials on a padlock and then attaching the padlock to a public fixture – like a bridge railing – before throwing away the key in a symbolic gesture of a love that will never be broken. Viewed variously as vandalism, littering, a blight on public amenity, sappy sentimentalism, a curiosity of city life or a celebration of free expression, love locks - the popularity of which some attribute, at least partly, to Italian writer Federico Moccia mentioning them in his 2006 novel Ho Voglia De Te (I Want You) - can now be found in numerous countries around the world including in Australia
DAVID ADAMS looks at the rise of "love locks"...|
KNOW IT ALL: THE FIFA WORLD CUP
With the FIFA World Cup under way in Brazil, Sight takes a stroll through some facts about the world game's great contest...
• The first World Cup was hosted in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo in July, 1930, to mark the country's centenary. In the first games France defeated Mexico 4-1 and the US defeated Belgium 3-0. The first World Cup goal was scored by Lucien Laurent of France.
• The current FIFA World Cup trophy was introduced in 1974. The former trophy was the Jules Rimet Cup which was named after FIFA's third President Jules Rimet and took its name in 1946. That cup was permanently awarded to Brazil after its third win in 1970 but was stolen in 1983 and has never been found. It was the second time it had been stolen - the first was in 1966 when it was stolen while on display in England but it was recovered then from a suburban garden by police who had the aid of a small dog called Pickles.
DAVID ADAMS has a look at the World Cup...|
Who’s welcome to go to church in Australia? Aussies? Are you an Aussie? You know, a real one... born here, with an Aussie accent, who understands the jokes, the slang, and drinks beer (of course).
“Aussie” can mean different things. It just means an “Australian” for people overseas. Harmless enough. But sometimes we Australians use the word to separate the real deal from the recent arrivals - to suggest ‘white’ instead of dark skin or someone with the status of Australian royalty. You know, a surfer or a fourth generation farmer rather than a factory worker with an accent. For some Australians it feels awkward and presumptuous calling themselves an, ‘Aussie’. Could I really dare to think of myself as an, ‘Aussie’? With my accent and dark skin and the small flat I live in above the shop brimming with noisy relatives and my menial job? Don’t Aussies have two kids and a backyard pool?
To see Outreach Media's July poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |
THE WEEKLY SNAPSHOT
22nd June, 2014
Balloons over Melbourne by DAVID ADAMS
In Sight's Weekly Snapshot, we'll endeavour to publish an image from somewhere around the globe every week. To see this image in a larger scale and for details of how you can submit images, follow the link...|
WORDPLAY: REVELATION 22
It's always interesting to look at something from another angle and the Bible, with its layers and depths of meaning, always has more to reveal. Here's a word cloud of Revelation, chapter 22 - the final chapter in the whole of the Bible. Let us know below what insights you find... | more... |
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THEY SAID IT
"Surely now, the parties must realise that it is time for them to act."
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at a press conference in Cairo on 25th July, 2014, in reference to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Israel which, as of 28th July, 2014, had claimed the lives of more than 1000 people.
For more of They Said It, follow the link... | more... |
THIS WEEK ON THE WEB
29th July, 2014
Writing for Fairfax Media, MICHAEL GREEN takes a look at the growing gap between rich and poor in Australia and what can be done about it. You can see his report - What happened to the fair go? - here...
Sight now has a Pinterest page where you can see some of our images. To see it, head here...
30th July, 2014
The 2002 Chinese movie Hero starring Jet Li is a visceral feast. Its story line sucks you in only to shock you at the end; for the message of the film is - is worth the sacrifice of the individual, the minority, for the sake of the community. To have a united China, all the individual tribes had to be consumed.
It’s a message that shocks our Western sensibilities. ‘Give up our individuality, our rights, for the common good? No way!’ It shows how far down the individuality road we’ve come. The rise of individuality is at the demise of community.
Musings is a regularly updated, column featuring short snippets reflecting on daily life from a Christian perspective...|
TOMBS OF JONAH AND DANIEL DESTROYED IN MOSUL, SAY REPORTS...
Following news last week that members of extremist group, the Islamic State, had destroyed the tombs of the Old Testament prophets Jonah and Daniel, both of which were located in Mosul in northern Iraq, we take a quick look at their history.
First, Jonah. There is tradition that the Prophet Jonah - known for being swallowed by a leviathan or great whale after refusing to obey God's commands to deliver a warning to the people of the Assyrian city of Ninevah, a message which he did eventually deliver - was eventually buried in the ancient city where Mosul now stands.
TOASTER SELFIES; A SPY BASE ON THE MOON; AND, TOURING LONDON'S LOOS...
Like to look at yourself as you eat? US-based company - the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation - has produced a Selfie Toaster that allows users to imprint a picture of themselves on their toast. Simply supply them with a picture of yourself their "toast engineers" will create a toaster than puts your imprint on each piece of bread you toast.
ADAMS writes about the odder side of life...|
AN END...AND A NEW BEGINNING...
What's on my mind?... Thanks for asking, Facebook.
Time to say goodbye to Just Been Thinking after many years, stops and starts. Thank you for your attention over the years, readers. Thank you for your endless commitment, encouragement and patience, David Adams- editor extraordinaire.
And now...I migrate back across to sightmagazine.com.au to begin a Coach Column, sharing insights in the area of human behaviour and life design.
The final instalment in ANN
WOJCZUK's blog about 'life, the universe and possibly everything'...|
THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM FOR FEAST OF TABER-NACLES... Despite the recent tensions in Syria, over 5,000 Christian pilgrims from nearly 100 nations will descend on Jerusalem for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's annual celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.
The festival began last Friday evening in Ein Gedi at the Oasis Hotel and continues to Jerusalem's International Convention Center for the remainder of the week of Sukkot. The weeklong celebration is expected to generate $US16 million in revenues, and is the largest annual tourist event to Israel.
Can you think of a time when someone has been brutally honest and vulnerable about themselves and it's taken you by surprise? For me it happened about 20 years ago at a church I had just started attending.
As I remember it, the person leading the service that day asked anyone to come forward who wanted to share what they thought God had been doing in their lives recently. One young guy got up - he was probably about my age at the time - and told about his relationship with his girlfriend and how he had recently gotten her pregnant, and how he had walked away from his faith. He then shared about the support he had received from the church community through his struggle.
NILS VON KALM'S blog on faith, life and how it all might fit together...|
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