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Interfaith events (NOT Christian! )
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:58 am    Post subject: Interfaith events (NOT Christian! )  Reply with quote

Interfaith Sunrise Prayer Service for World Peace

Various religious leaders prayed for world peace as the sun was rising behind hills at Red Rock Consecrated Sanctuary in Reno (Nevada, USA) on September 12 morning.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed recited hymns from ancient Hindu scriptures Rig-Veda, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita at this peace service, urging the almighty to “lead us from darkness to light”, suggesting attendees to “act selflessly” and stressing “unity and concord”.

Other religious leaders who participated in this Interfaith Sunrise Prayer Service for World Peace included: Gene Savoy Junior, Head Bishop of International Community of Christ; William Bartlett, Buddhist priest; Roya Galata, Baha’i elder; Sean Savoy, Chancellor of the Jamilian University of the Ordained; Yuki Matsushita, Bishop of Church of the Second Advent in Japan; etc.

Rajan Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, says that all religions should work together for a just and peaceful world. Dialogue would bring us mutual enrichment, he adds.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Walesa wants new secular 'Ten Commandments'

Polish Nobel peace laureate Lech Walesa on Monday called for a new "secular Ten Commandments" to underpin universal values, addressing a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Warsaw.

"We need to agree on common values for all religions as soon as possible, a kind of secular Ten Commandments on which we will build the world of tomorrow," he said in an opening speech kicking off the three-day summit.

Walesa won the Nobel 30 years ago for leading Poland's Solidarity trade union, which negotiated a peaceful end to communism in Poland in 1989.

Besides universal values, the international community needs to focus on the economy of tomorrow, he said.

"That's definitely neither communism nor capitalism as we have it today," said the former shipyard electrician, who became Poland's first post-war democratic president.

The Dalai Lama, Iranian human rights advocate and 2003 Nobel winner Shirin Ebadi and Ireland's 1976 laureate Betty Williams are taking part in the summit. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who launched the summits in 2000, said he could not attend.

Hollywood star Sharon Stone is to receive the gathering's Peace Summit Award for her anti-AIDS campaigning.

The first eight summits were held in Rome. Since 2008, they have taken place in Berlin, Paris, Hiroshima and Chicago.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That already exists.
Satan's 10 commandments - in stone
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Hope of False Unity
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

‘Mother Earth’: UN Draft Global Warming Treaty Promotes Gaia Worship

The United Nations draft global warming treaty calls for countries to protect “the integrity of ecosystems and of Mother Earth” while cutting carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

The draft U.N. treaty also emphasizes “promoting, protecting and respecting all human rights, the right to development, the right to health, and the rights of indigenous peoples, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable climate situations … as well as promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

All “while taking into account the needs of local communities, intergenerational equity concerns, and the integrity of ecosystems and of Mother Earth, when taking action to address climate change,” according to the treaty.

U.N. delegates are in Paris trying to hash out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol — the last legally-binding climate agreement that failed to stem the rise in global CO2 emissions. Delegates are hoping Paris will yield a legally-binding agreement, but it’s not clear if developing nations will agree to cut emissions.

Environmentalists and scientists have increasingly turned to religion to gain support for regulations aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Activists hope support for a treaty from prominent religious figures, like Pope Francis, will add moral weight to their call to fight global warming.

But would Pope Francis support protecting “Mother Earth”? — a phrase explicitly referring to Greek pagan mythology in which Earth was personified as the mother of all things. The phrase also harkens to the Gaia hypothesis, which essentially postulates that all living things are interconnected with Earth’s biosphere and other climatic systems.

Anglican and some Islamic religious leaders have also called for countries to fight global warming. A group of influential Islamic leaders called for a jihad against global warming earlier this year, and Church of England officials have been pushing for more people of faith to take global warming seriously.

One Texas Tech University climatologist has been quoting the Bible to convince evangelical Christians to be concerned about global warming. Katharine Hayhoe even tailors her presentations to cater to Christian beliefs, including showing temperature graphs only going back 6,000 years — she’s trying to cater to creationists.

“How loving is it to ignore when developed countries do things that actively harm developing nations?” Hayhoe told a group of Christians. “When people who have resources do things that harm people who do not, right here in our country?”

“That’s why our Christian values are integral to how we treat this issue,” Hayhoe said. “Far from holding us back, or making us doubt, or saying there’s nothing we can do, our values demand we be on the forefront of this issue. That’s what we as Christians are called to do.”

Pope Francis supported a climate treaty in his encyclical “Laudato Si,” and has praised President Barack Obama’s domestic agenda to limit CO2 emissions.

“It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation,” Francis said on his U.S. visit in September. “When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment in history.”

Francis’ June encyclical does refer to Earth as our “mother”, including taking quotes from Saint Francis of Assisi, but he clearly does so to highlight the importance of God’s creation and the alleged interconnectedness of all things.

“Everything is related,” Francis wrote, “and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/12/07...motes-gaia-worship/#ixzz3tmMX4sLZ
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Twisted Evil    Gaia  =  Satan    Twisted Evil

God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator Who is forever praised. Amen.
Romans 1
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read this in the front page of my newspaper today...

These real life Jedis worship with the Force, and it's probably not what you think

A long, long time ago (well, three years) in a galaxy far, far away (well, New Zealand), Brenna Cavell was scanning the Internet.

She came across a belief system that seemed familiar, but she hadn't heard of it before: Jediism. Out of curiosity, she signed up with the Beaumont-based Temple of the Jedi Order, a community of thousands of Jedis who believe in the Force as the most powerful entity in the universe.
"It was kind of like coming home," Cavell said. "It was more of discovering the beliefs I had."

Brenna and Clint West of Arlington, practice Jediism, a religion that practices living through the Force. They are pictured here at their home on Dec. 16.

Brenna and Clint West of Arlington, practice Jediism, a religion that practices living through the Force. They are pictured here at their home on Dec. 16.

Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News
Three years earlier on the other side of the planet, Clint West, of Arlington, was looking up schematics for the Millennium Falcon when he found the temple. He liked the ideas about the Force as a way to interpret universal truths, but went back and forth on joining at first.

Today, he's a Jedi Knight and a member of the council in the temple.
The two met online soon after she joined. They hit it off immediately and started chatting regularly. He's retired military. She's a life coach. He flew to New Zealand to visit. She flew to North Texas to stay.

Six months ago, they were married in a Frisco chapel.

"It was a real connection based on shared values," Brenna Cavell, now Brenna West, said. "It was honestly kind of strange."

Yes, there are Jedis in Texas. Yes, they are for real. And no, they can't lift X-Wing fighters out of a swamp.

Their ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.

John Henry Phelan is the 55-year old Jedi in Beaumont who founded the Temple of the Jedi Order 10 years ago this month. He was raised Catholic, but was always asking questions about the faith in Sunday school. Then, when he was 17, he saw Star Wars.

"I felt like I'd been to an uplifting church service," Phelan said.
Decades later, he found a community of Jedis online and decided that following in the very real steps of fictitious on-screen Jedi was right for him.

His temple recently received 501(c)(3) status, making it the first Jedi organization in the world to be government-recognized, Phelan said, but estimating how many Jedis are out there is difficult. Just like there are Christians who only show up to church on Christmas and Easter, some Jedis only participate occasionally.

The U.S. Census Bureau has not tracked religious affiliation since 1957, but a 2011 census in the UK claimed that 176,632 people identified as Jedi. (That number was down from 330,000 in 2001.)

Phelan said the faith is a mix of religious doctrines, something that could resemble a hodge-podge of Zen Taoist Universalism.

"There is extreme misunderstanding about what being a real Jedi is," Phelan said. "I can almost guarantee you it's not what you think it is."
But first, a quick primer on the Force.

"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together."

— Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Force can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but Phelan said the idea is that is an energy that goes beyond a deity. It's similar to one's internal sense of wrong and right.

"It could be the force of good people united for a good cause," Phelan said. "I think it's that and more."

If that sounds nebulous and hard to describe, that's OK. Jedis believe the Force is incomprehensible in its entirety.

"Whether you believe in God or Allah or whatever, the Force is how you may interpret it," Clint West said. "That is a unique and personal relationship between you and what you believe in."

Consider a cloud, Phelan said. You can see what it is, but have you ever seen two identical clouds? They're ever-moving, ever-changing and constantly adapting. The Force is the same way.

Phelan said the Force is "beyond theism and beyond atheism." It is understood by Jedis as "underlying, fundamental nature of the universe," according to the temple's doctrine.

"You can call it whatever you want. You can call it the Force, you can call it God, you can call it the Tao," Brenna West said. "It's all the same thing."
So then what is Jediism?

Phelan's Temple of the Jedi Order has a lengthy doctrine on its website. It boils down the faith to three tenets: focus, knowledge and wisdom. Jedis do not worship George Lucas or the Star Wars films or any other imagined deity. (And don't come near here with that midi-chlorian malarkey.)

Instead, the faith is more spiritual.

On the site's forum, Jedis discuss theology, meditation, philosophy and other religious topics. Weekly sermons are posted for members to read. Live chats happen all the time where Jedis around the world can digitally connect about their faith.

"We have wonderful debates," Clint West said. "Everything from gun control to what syrup is best for pancakes."

Brenna West said she uses apps like Skype, Google Hangout and WhatsApp daily to connect with Jedis around the country. They don't wear robes to work every day — although many have them in the closet at home — but use the Jedi Code as a guide in their daily lives.

There is no Emotion, there is Peace.
There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge.
There is no Passion, there is Serenity.
There is no Chaos, there is Harmony.
There is no Death, there is the Force.

After joining the forums on the Temple of the Jedi Order website, Clint West said, wannabe-Jedis must wait seven days before submitting an application for membership. There is then a time-consuming program the young Jedis must complete. That program is reviewed by the council and all Jedi Knights before the applicant becomes an initiate. Jedis may then, if they wish, become an apprentice to a training master and apply for the status of Jedi Knight.

"It's an ongoing, every day journey," Clint West said. "We try to live our lives in that way. Be true to yourself and the community. It boils down to
'Be a good person.'"

Yes, there's also a dark side, but not in the evil, kill-all-Jedi kind of way.
Phelan said there are also Sith out there, a few of whom participate in the forums on the Temple of the Jedi Order.

But they're not the Force-choking, Darth-naming baddies of the Star Wars movies.

In real life, the difference between a Jedi and a Sith is a little more subtle.
Imagine you're on an airplane, and the pilot hits some turbulence, causing the oxygen masks to deploy. Are you the kind of person that fixes your mask first? Or do you take a risk to help those around you before taking care of your mask?

A Sith is more focused on the inner struggle of the Force. They want to protect themselves and their families before looking to others. The Jedi, on the other hand, are more focused on outward charity and generosity, Phelan said.

"The difference is extraordinarily subtle. A good Sith can make the best Jedi," Phelan said.

Isn't this just based off a fictional movie? How can you take it seriously?
Brenna West said she's nervous about The Force Awakens, but not because it will change her faith. She's a fan of the films, like many Jedis, but the fictional movies don't have much impact on the non-fictional spirituality of Jediism.

"They do not have a trademark on real Jedi," Phelan said. "We're not fictional Jedi. I'm a real Jedi."

Like Phelan, Brenna West was raised Catholic and said she appreciates that the focus of Jediism isn't tied to a mythological narrative. Instead, a Jedi's relationship with the Force is one that transcends the scriptural stories of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other major religions.

"It doesn't focus on the mythology," Brenna West said. "There's one river and many wells."

Jediism is only inspired by the Star Wars movies, Phelan said. The films are like parables. They're legends, nothing more.

"The rabbit didn't really talk to the turtle as far as I know, but it teaches a lesson," Phelan said. "We have really dedicated members who have maybe seen a film. We have very, very active members that don't particularly care for Star Wars."
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


The Religious Right Is Right to Be Scared: Christianity Is Dying in America

Why try to understand complicated things like demographics for the decline of your faith when you can blame gays and liberals for waging a “war on religion?”

Among the Christian Right, and most Republican presidential candidates, it’s now an article of faith that the United States is persecuting Christians and Christian-owned businesses—that religion itself is under attack.

“We have seen a war on faith,” Ted Cruz has said to pick one example. “His policies and this administration’s animosity to religious liberty and, in fact, antagonism to Christians, has been one of the most troubling aspects of the Obama administration,” he said.

Why has this bizarre myth that Christianity is under assault in the most religious developed country on Earth been so successful? Because, in a way, it’s true. American Christianity is in decline—not because of a “war on faith” but because of a host of demographic and social trends. The gays and liberals are just scapegoats.

The idea that Christians are being persecuted resonates with millennia-old self-conceptions of Christian martyrdom. Even when the church controlled half the wealth in Europe, it styled itself as the flock of the poor and the marginalized. Whether true or not as a matter of fact, it is absolutely true as a matter of myth. Christ himself was persecuted and even crucified, after all. So it’s natural that Christianity losing ground in America would be seen by many Christians as the result of persecution.

According to a Pew Research Report released earlier this year, the percentage of the U.S. population that identifies as Christian has dropped from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014. Evangelical, Catholic, and mainline Protestant affiliations have all declined.

Meanwhile, 30 percent of Americans ages 18-29 list “none” as their religious affiliation (the figure for all ages is about 23 percent). Nearly 40 percent of Americans who have married since 2010 report that they are in “religiously mixed” marriages, which means that many individuals who profess Christianity are in families where not everyone does.

These changes are taking place for a constellation of reasons: greater secular education (college degrees), multiculturalism, shifting social mores, the secular space of consumer capitalism and celebrity culture, the sexual revolution (including feminism and LGBT equality), legal and constitutional changes (like the banning of prayer in public school, and the finding of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage), the breakdown of the nuclear family, the decline of certain forms of family and group identification, and the association of religion in general with nonsensical and outdated dogmas. The Pew report noted Americans are also changing religions more than in the past, and when they do so, they are more likely to move away from Christianity than toward it.

So while changes in public morals regarding women and LGBT people (and how the law treats them) are part of the overall shift, they are only one part of an immensely complicated set of factors—and I’m quite sure I’ve left out some of the most important ones. Probably the never-ending stream of sex scandals, from the Catholic clergy to the Duggar mess, haven’t helped either.

But no one likes a “constellation of reasons” to explain why the world they grew up in, and the values they cherish, seem to be slipping away. Enter the scapegoat: the war on religion, and the persecution of Christianity.

It’s much easier to explain changes by referring to a single, malevolent cause than by having to understand a dozen complex demographic trends. Plus, if Christianity is declining because it’s being attacked, then that decline could be reversed if the attack were successfully repelled. Unlike what is actually happening—a slow, seemingly irrevocable decline in American Christianity—the right’s argument that “religious liberty” is under assault mixes truth and fantasy to provide a simpler, and more palatable, explanation for believers.

Take, as an example, Christmas. The weird idea that there is a “War on Christmas” orchestrated by liberal elites—Starbucks cups in hand—is, on its face, ridiculous, even if it is widely held on the right. Shop clerks saying “Happy Holidays” aren’t causing the de-Christianization of Christmas—they’re effects of it. Roughly half of Americans celebrate Christmas as a cultural, not a religious, holiday: Santa Claus and Christmas trees, not baby Jesus in a manger. So that’s what businesses celebrate. It’s capitalism, not conspiracy.

Unfortunately, even if the war on religion is fictive, the “defense” against it is very real and very harmful. This year alone, 17 states introduced legislation to protect “religious freedom” by exempting not just churches and religious organizations (including bogus ones set up to evade the law) from civil rights laws, domestic violence laws, even the Hippocratic Oath, but also but private individuals and for-profit businesses. Already, we’ve seen pediatricians turn children away because their parents are gay, and wife-abusers argue that it’s their religious duty to beat their spouses, and most notoriously that multimillion-dollar corporations like Hobby Lobby can have religious beliefs that permit them to refuse to provide health insurance to their employees on that basis.

We shouldn’t think of Kim Davis and her ilk as motivated by hate. Actually, they are motivated by fear.
Meanwhile, the “war on religion” narrative appears to be gaining ground. According to data from the Public Religion Research Institute, 61 percent of white evangelicals believe that religious liberty is being threatened today. (Only 37 percent of non-white Christians believe this, suggesting that what’s really happening is an erosion of white Christian hegemony; the “browning of America” goes hand in hand with the de-Christianizing of America.) They believe they have lost the culture war, and even that LGBT people should now pity them.

In other words, “religious liberty” is not merely a tactic: it is a sincerely held belief among the religious right, which, not coincidentally, feeds into the belief that we are living in the End Times—something an astonishing 77 percent of American evangelicals believe.

We shouldn’t think of Kim Davis and her ilk as motivated by hate. Actually, they are motivated by fear, which is based in reality but expressed in fantasy. Christianity is, in a sense, losing the war—but the fighters on the other side aren’t gay activists or ACLU liberals but faceless social forces of secularization, urbanization, and diversification.

There’s not really a villain pulling the strings of social change, but like the God concept itself, mythic thinking creates a personification of evil who is fighting the war on religious liberty, the war on Christmas, the war on Christianity. These malevolent evildoers are like a contemporary Satan: a fictive embodiment of all of the chaotic, complex forces that threaten the stability of religious order.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rowlett churches are stronger together after tornadoes

ROWLETT — Brian Hiatt jumped in his Ford pickup. The storm was roiling toward his church, toward his friends.

The pastor, his wife and their 20-year-old son raced from their Mesquite home. That night, they found Cornerstone Assembly of God intact.

But nearby on Schrade Road, the twister showed no mercy. It left neighbors amid rubble and in the dark.

Cornerstone had generators. Hiatt grabbed a string of white Christmas lights and slung them under the awning of the front building.

“I plugged them in so we could at least give a beacon of light to let people know we were here,” he said.

Only a father and son sought refuge in the church gym. But in the days that followed, Cornerstone and other Rowlett sanctuaries transformed into busy relief centers. All week, volunteers delivered meals to tornado victims and dispensed tubs filled with groceries and cleaning supplies. First responders came, too, looking for a place to rest.

As they filled immediate physical needs, churches also worked on giving people spiritual direction. The rash of tornadoes Dec. 26 killed 11 people in Dallas and Collin counties and left many homeless. What to make of this tragedy?

On Sunday, eight days after the storm, Pastor Alonzo Johnson slashed the air with his hands as he preached.

“Always look for the good in a bad situation,” he shouted.

The roof of his sanctuary — Faith Missionary Family Church on Garner Road — was covered in blue tarp, so Hiatt invited Johnson’s congregation to Cornerstone.

Many faithful in Rowlett have found comfort in knowing no one was killed in this city of 58,000, where the tornado destroyed nearly 150 homes. They talk about the overwhelming number of donations, the stronger bonds with neighbors, the opportunities to reorder priorities.

Yet often in the days after the storm, people at the churches offered solace quietly, with a cup of coffee or a long embrace.

The tornado knocked the steeple off Faith Missionary. But in the dark, Johnson didn’t realize the winds had also torn the roof and pushed in the back wall.

Even after taking stock of the damage, Johnson believes God saved his church.

“You might shake it, God might let you hit it, but you can’t knock it down,” he said with a laugh.

To the north, First Christian Church Rowlett narrowly missed the beating near Miller Road. Leaders soon opened the church to first responders and others who needed coffee or a restroom.

As the storm’s destruction became clear in daylight, worshippers hauled in donations to churches across the city. Within two days, volunteers began preparing barbecue meals at First Christian Church and taking them to the neighborhoods.

At First Rowlett United Methodist Church, some people gasped when they heard the names of members who had lost their homes the previous night.

Next door, at First Baptist Church Rowlett, the pastor recruited helpers. He hadn’t finished talking when Kay Nicholson raised her hand.

A group from Richardson dropped off 241 plastic tubs and $5,000 in gift cards at First Baptist. Nicholson oversaw the delivery after the pastor appointed her relief effort coordinator. She shuffled back and forth, deploying helpers, filling out spreadsheets and talking to tornado victims seeking aid.

One of the people that Nicholson sent to the church’s fellowship hall was Ioana Grigorescu, a soft-spoken 68-year-old from Romania. The tornado shredded homes on her Rowlett street like cardboard.

Volunteer Carol Smith pushed a utility cart as she gently guided Grigorescu through the church’s makeshift grocery store. Grigorescu took the aloe vera soap that promised to be soft on her hands and picked a deodorant for her husband. Smith loaded a magenta tub with tea, oatmeal, ramen noodle bowls and crackers.

“Anything else you can think of?” Smith asked.

Grigorescu, who looked on the verge of tears, gave her a weak smile.

“It’s too much,” she said.

“It’s not too much,” Smith told her. Then she pulled Grigorescu into a hug.

Several churches turned their spaces into pantries and closets.

Members of First Christian Church piled jeans, shirts and baby onesies on rows of upholstered chairs in the sanctuary. Folded blankets sat next to poinsettias.

At First United Methodist, the family room was so full of tables with donations that volunteers sometimes bumped their carts into them.

On Friday, Arthur Bailey crouched down to fish a pack of three toothbrushes out of a box. While Bailey and his wife weren’t looking, volunteer Cheryl Goczoll stuffed a paper sack with bath towels.

Bailey picked up a tub of toothpaste. Goczoll grabbed three and tossed them in his container.

“Not a word out of you,” she warned Bailey politely, staving off his objections.

Bailey, who has a 13-year-old daughter, said it was hard to ask for help. The tornado ripped his home and damaged his three cars. His insurance policy doesn’t reimburse car rentals because he never thought he’d need one.

The family is living out of a hotel room in Rockwall. Bailey, a retired schoolteacher, said he can bear it because of his faith.

“I think I’m a strong person, too,” he said. “Maybe it’s better it’s me than somebody else who is weaker than me.”

More than 300 people streamed into First Baptist on Sunday after a hectic week. The sanctuary rang with applause for the volunteers.

Two church members were baptized during the service. Both came to the pastor after the tornadoes.

Churchgoers danced and sang from the pews at Cornerstone. Hiatt and Johnson stood next to each other — one in jeans, the other in a pinstripe suit — and lifted their hands in praise. Johnson received a $1,000 check from his hosts to help restore Faith Missionary.

He thanked God for the rain.

“Entire churches are going out there sharing and caring,” he said from the pulpit. “Why did it have to take a storm?”

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