Happy Birthday to Me

No, that’s definitely not a recent picture. It was taken seven years ago in Uberlândia, Brazil at a birthday party in my honor. When I found this picture this past week it shocked me. Gees, I looked practically starved! Part of it was my age (26) and another was certainly my active lifestyle (I never owned a car in Brazil). I’m sure I ate enough.

Looking at the picture I’ve thought about what I would tell myself at that age, if I had the chance. What warnings would I give or advice would I provide? Truth be told, though some of what I would have to say would be taken to heart, most of what I could teach myself at that age, knowing what I know now, would never sink in without experience.

Today is my birthday. If I see another seven years, what will I learn? What will I wish I could have told myself right now?

Okay, you suffered through having to see an old photo of me, so here are a couple of pictures of my kids in costume this year.

She’s going “punk” this year.

He’s a fireman. The other options were policeman or pirate.

Sorry they are grainy. They were taken on my BlackBerry because our digital camera disappeared months ago without a trace.

It’s Halloween Again

It’s Halloween again. Even without the Halloween costumes and party items out in the stores (right after the school supplies were taken out back in early September!) I knew Halloween was coming. My blog metrics were showing a spike in visits from people who had searched for some variation of the term “why halloween is bad.” What they are finding is my post from last year’s Halloween synchroblog: “What’s So Bad About Halloween.” So far as I can tell, my position hasn’t changed from what I wrote in that post.

Of course, I do have objections to occult practices. Followers of Christ should be true to their Redeemer and avoid seances, mediums, channeling, Ouija boards an anything else that constitutes an attempt to communicate with the dead.

“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:10-11 NIV).

The instructions above, given to ancient Israel, can reasonably be applied to Christians in the era of the New Covenant. Clearly, God doesn’t want His people engaging in divination, sorcery or necromancy. Fair enough. But, what about researchers of the paranormal who attempt to use scientific methods?

Ghost Hunters is a fun show to watch on the SciFi Channel from time to time, and though I respect the technology they try to use to track down paranormal activity and identify or disprove it, one night of scampering around a dark building doesn’t prove anything. It makes for entertaining programming, if you are into that sort of thing, but isn’t quite what other researchers of the paranormal attempt to do.

Frankly, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe there are many forces at work about which the Scriptures speak that most folks don’t recognize.

What do you think? Whether you believe in “ghosts” or not, if you are a Christian do you believe people are wrong, based on Scripture, to attempt to use scientific methods to contact the dead?

BlackBerry Bold Available in U.S. On Election Day

The BlackBerry Bold is set to be available in the United States through AT&T on November 4th. It seems a little odd to me that they are launching it on U.S. election day, considering how little press it will get with all eyes on the vote count for the White House. In any event, the device will reportedly cost $299 under a two year contract, or $599 without a contract. According to Unwired View the Bold is already available at BestBuy for a whopping $659.99 with no contract.

Frankly, whether $299 or $659.99, the device is overpriced for the regular market. With the iPhone, Instinct, G1 and other advanced smartphone devices available for under $200 with a contract, I don’t see much demand coming for the Bold from the ordinary consumers. According to AT&T’s own internal information, though, the real intended users of this device are “business professionals and power users.” So, Joe the Plumber needs not apply.

See Also:
AT&T Pays iPhone Bill, Preparing to Go Bold (this blog)
AT&T BlackBerry Bold Internal Launch Documents (BlackBerry News)
BlackBerry Bold costs $169 to be produced, Best Buy sells it for $660 (Unwired View)
BlackBerry Interactive Demo/Manual (blackberry.com)

The Persecution and Escape of Iran’s Baha’is

Yesterday I wrote about the Jews in Iran. As hard as it is to imagine them there, around 20,000 call Iran home. That number was once much higher, perhaps around 80,000 or more. Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran life became far more difficult for Jews in that country, but nowhere near as complicated as it is for people of the Bahá’í faith. This religion was born in 19th century Persia as a split from the dominant Islam of that time and place. It eventually established itself as a faith affirming all religions but also distinct from all others (that paradox of inclusive exlucivity found some religions). To Muslim eyes, however, it is a heretical sect of the Islamic faith.

To Islam, Jews and Christians are “People of the Book” and in theory are to be treated with some level of respect. These folks can convert to Islam, but no Muslim is allowed to convert to any other religion. Great departures from the core of Islamic faith, as found in Bahá’í, is unacceptable. Thus, Jews in Iran may have a hard time, but there is no protection for followers of the Bahá’í faith since they are viewed as heretics from Islam.

There is a steady trickle of Jews leaving Iran, but with the Baha’is it is more of a flood. Turkey is a common destination for many of them, but I can’t see how they would be free until safely in the West.

See Also:
Iran’s Baha’is Leave Persecution Behind On Train To Istanbul
(external to this blog)

Quem Sou Eu

Meu nome é Adam Gonnerman, e sou evangelista da Igreja de Cristo. Passei quase três anos no Brasil, onde dei aula de inglês e trabalhei com uma igreja em Uberlândia. Agora moro com a minha família em Nova Jersey, nos EUA. Minha esposa e filhos são brasileiros, e sonhamos em voltar para o Brasil para continuar a obra. Desculpe qualquer erro de portugûes aqui, pois esse não é o meu primeiro idioma. Você também pode encontrar comigo no Orkut!

Jews in Iran

This might surprise you, but there are roughly 20,000 Jews living in Iran. That’s right, there are Jews living under a regime that refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and that is founded upon upon a strict interpretation of Shia Islam.

A pretty good video explaining the situation of Jews in Iran is available here, hosted by YouTube.

Click here for a podcast interview by The Jewish Journal with Iranian Jewish activist Frank Nikbakht. He explains why so many Jews remain in Iran and describes the challenges they face.

See Also:
IRAN: Life of Jews Living in Iran
(Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture)
Wikipedia article on Persian Jews