Here’s a headline that stunned me earlier this month: Vermont Considers Legalizing Teen “Sexting.” No, that’s not a typo. Just as “texting”—sending a text message between cell phones—has become a vital part of communication, the practice known as “sexting” is a growing trend among young people. In short, sexting is an exchange of photos, usually sexually explicit, between cell phone users. Sexting sometimes involves sending a pornographic video to the recepient. Upwards of 20% of teens admit sexting.
It was supposed to be a routine checkup for an ear infection of their first child. But last month, when Joel and Jess McClenahan took their precious 11-month-old baby girl, Cora Paige, to the pediatrician, they discovered Cora had stage-four cancer. Two weeks after the diagnosis, Cora died, leaving the McClenahan’s with a mind-numbing grief and a host of unanswered questions.
And yet, Joel and Jess clung to their faith in Jesus to sustain them. On their blog, which they created the day Cora was born for the benefit of friends and family, Jess wrote: “Joel and I can’t make it through this on our own, but we know we can with the Lord walking with us each step of the way, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,’ Psalm 46:1.”
When they began to blog about Cora’s diagnosis and treatment, Cora’s story went “viral” on the web and, almost overnight, the events surrounding little Cora’s life and death was followed by concerned visitors from around the world.
You operate a family-owned photography business which, among other services, creatively captures weddings on film. Further, imagine that you’re a Christian photographer and due to your religious convictions, decide to turn down certain photo shoots including “commitment ceremonies” for same-sex couples. Now, imagine your shock when a judge orders you to pay $6,637.94 to settle a lawsuit brought by an individual who complained about this alleged act of “discrimination.”
That’s what happened last year to Jon and Elaine Huguenin, owners of Elaine Photography LLC when Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.
In the event you haven’t been following the story of the fires devouring thousands of acres in Australia, I’d like to share with you an email we received from Cate, an eye-witness whose family lost everything–their home, their family’s farm and, tragically, their provider: Dad. I share her story because the need for prayer for our friends in the southern state of Victoria, Australia is indeed great.
In short, the deadly firestorm consumed more than 1,800 homes and claimed the lives of at least 209 people thus far.
Much has been said about Nadya Suleman, the unmarried California mother-of-six who, at age 33, through a process known as In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), gave birth to octuplets. Now, with fourteen children and no visible means of support, some have compared her predicament to the popular nursery poem, “There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe.”
According to the rhyme, “She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. She gave them some broth, without any bread, she whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.” These critics say Nadya, being a single parent, has been irresponsible, unwise, selfish to expand her already large family, and condemn her as being just another of those “unfit welfare recipients” who take advantage of the system–although Nadya denies ever receiving welfare benefits.
Meet Lia. She’s twelve. She lives in Toronto. And her powerful video, has become a YouTube sensation in just two weeks. More than 330,000 viewers have watched this seventh-grader make the case for life in a speech that almost didn’t happen. As her mother Kimberly explains, “Several teachers discouraged her from picking the topic of abortion; she was told it was ‘too big,’ ‘too mature’ and ‘too controversial.’”
That’s not all Lia was told. Her mother adds, “She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition.” But faced with taking on such a Goliath-sized issue, and in spite of the warnings from her teachers that she might be disqualified from the contest, Lia’s pro-life convictions prevailed.
On November 4, 2008, voters in California passed Proposition 8 which amended their state constitution as follows: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” While Prop 8 ended the attempt to redefine marriage in the Golden State, the backlash by those who support so-called same-sex marriage has been, at times, ugly. Case in point. Jonathan Lopez, a Christian student at Los Angeles City College, found himself publicly ridiculed by his college professor who called Lopez a “fascist b–tard” in front of the other students.
Last Monday night, an unidentified businessman allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, and then led police on a low-speed chase through several Southern California highways. Hours later, sitting behind the wheel of his $100,000 luxury Bentley sedan, the armed driver shot himself to death. According to published reports, the man was distraught over losing his business.
We’re not told why his business collapsed. Whether tough economic times, inadequate capitalization, or poor management skills were at fault, he had failed and that failure sparked a depression which drove him over the edge.
I arrived over the weekend in Sydney, Australia for a series of meetings. Moments after landing, I learned about a tragic, mind-numbing event during rush hour in Melbourne yesterday. According to eye-witnesses, Arthur Phillip Freeman, 35, was driving his vehicle over the West Gate Bridge when he stopped in the middle of traffic, carried his four-year-old daughter, Darcey, in his arms and then dropped this defenseless child 190 feet into the river water below.
Freeman’s actions took place in plain view of a host of stunned motorists who jammed emergency hotlines with frantic calls for help.
Next Sunday is Super Bowl XLIII, the most watched football event of the year. And I’m bummed. I’ll be in Australia on business. Due to the time zone differences, I’ll probably miss the Pittsburgh Steelers going head-to-head with the Arizona Cardinals for the NFL World Championship. For a number of reasons I think it’ll be quite the game. Clearly the underdog, Arizona is hungry for the win–this isthe first time the Cardinals have made it to the big game.