Food troubles are here to stay

Another dimension of Israel. It’s hard to grasp the extent to which oil is a part of our lives until the reality starts to hit us in the face and pocketbooks. And even then, some of us still don’t grasp it, or don’t care because they’re fine now.

Christians, let’s use our greatest resource – the church – to start addressing some of the problems people – whether the average American, or those in Haiti or Indonesia or Israel – are running into and try our best to raise awareness and develop plans of action, because they’re going to get worse.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/980076.html

The government sends calming signals and says no dramatic shortages are expected. The Economist says do nothing, market forces will sort it all out. But as the global food-price crisis hit Israel this week, something told us we are not being told the whole story.

Around the world food prices are soaring. Since January 2006, the price of rice has risen by 217 percent. Wheat, corn and soybean prices have more than doubled, and in several countries, milk and meat prices have also doubled.

Food prices and falling wages have sparked riots in more than 30 countries from Bangladesh to Egypt to Haiti – where the prices of rice, beans, fruit and condensed milk have gone up 50 percent over a few months, while the price of fuel has tripled.

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Happy 2008 everybody!

The decade of our doom draws closer (half kidding. And the alliteration was just by happenstance).

In the meantime, I’ve been reading a book called “The Fourth Turning” by Strauss and Howe describing the cyclical pattern of history, roughly divided into 4 “quarters”: High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis. They say with conviction that the US is approaching a Crisis in the next four years, and characterize US Turnings as roughly 70 years long. Great news, eh?

I’ll be praying for both me and all of you out there. May God be glorified through our lives in these tough times.

Financial News: Crisis soars as fraud and scandal collapse

The level of crisis in the securities and investment banking industry is at its highest since records began, according to the Financial News annual Crisis Index.

The unique Financial News family of indices measures references to collapse, crisis, fraud and scandal in articles in Financial News and on Financial News Online each year. To create each index, the frequency of mentions is rebased to 100 starting in 1998 to reflect the three-and-a-half fold increase in the number of articles published by Financial News in the past decade.

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Energy Crunch Threatens South American Nations

By now the talk about global warming on this site amounts to beating a dead horse, as the granting of the Nobel prize to Al Gore should demonstrate. Clearly, because we fail to take necessary action now as well as in the immediate (as in, the next 3-5 years) future, we are headed towards some catastrophic changes in the way the ecosphere functions to support our main life support systems. There are irreversible changes occurring all around the planet due to the chain of events started by industrialization, the least of which are the opening up of the Northwest passage, the melting of the Siberian permafrost (releasing massive amounts of methane, a far more potent source of pollution than carbon dioxide), rapid melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, and increases in chaotic weather (and I’m putting it mildly – like the recent 40 degree drop in temperature from 90 to 50 in the past few days here in Chicago), to name a few.

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Important distinctions between Y2K and Peak Oil

This post is actually a repost (without permission) of a thread I was reading on the Peak Oil discussion group, ROE2 (Running on Empty 2). Just another example of the great minds that are gathering to do something (hopefully) to have a positive impact for the future (of which I was again reminded by the weather abruptly turning cold here, and freezing as the result of trying to stay warm with only a small space heater and some winter clothes). Re: Y2K,was Re: Alternate Energies Posted by: “J libby” jlibby331

Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:35 pm (PST)

Y2K would never have been a civilization ending disaster. I suppose worse case scenario, it migh have caused a major recession, but we would have recovered qucikly. As mentioned here some time ago, I worked on banking software in the late 80s and we were making changes to software than. At that time, many programs couldn’t handle 30 year loans because of the 2 digit dates. But it certainly didn’t bring the mortgage loan business to a halt. Things that didn’t get fixed quick enough caused billing problems, but it all got worked out without causing major problems. The same would have been true of Y2K, if things weren’t fixed quick enough, there would be problems. But much effort and money were put into the problem by government and business to fix the problems. But they were known problems and people knew how to fix them. The media is what created the hype on Y2K. You don’t see that on PO. Continue reading

“Wondrous Miracles” Grow Pastor’s Church

This article was posted back on 7/25 on the GFA website, but I was reminded of it when I read the last article they sent me.

And it made me think back to a class the adult group in church was having on euthanasia in bioethics. The “lecturer” proceeded to inform us about the Terri Schiavo case insomething like this:

Life is precious. [Therefore, we should seek to preserve all life.]

Seemed pretty secular to me. Firstly, no one is going to argue that life isn’t precious. Even the Extremist Muslims in the Middle East feel that life is precious. Unfortunately, they just have a different view of what that means for them on earth. To segue, secondly, Jesus’ idea of life was entirely different than the one secular humanism believes in.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matt 10:39

In any case, because this particular man was a doctor, I’m sure he thought (as I learned, through a heated discussion) that his experience in the field would thereby lend credibility to his case. But here were my questions: what about the will of God and the power of God?

Wouldn’t God have allowed Terri Schiavo to live if he so chose? Wouldn’t prayer and a sincere heart for God have worked a miracle? I doubt he would’ve answered yes.

Moreover, it is indicative of an increasing self-reliance vs. reliance on God.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Matt 7:24-25

Miracles are in no short supply! They just don’t tend to happen where people have little to no faith.

http://www.gfa.org/gfa/latestnewsarticle?wid=DnfnePbS0lVrA3ABz0HrmA

Pastor Darpan’s church is thriving.

“God is using Pastor Darpan vigorously and doing wondrous miracles as he ministers and prays for the sick and needy who approach him,” writes a GFA correspondent.

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Tsunami rebuilding is largely a failure

This post will be serving as a complement to a future post I’ll be doing on the failure of foreign aid. That’s right. So if you think your almsgiving has been helping people, think again. It might just have been funnelled to a terrorist agency, who knows.

The point is, don’t give blindly. Look at the financial breakdown of agencies you’re prospectively giving to in order to avoid scams (see Steve Irwin scam). Also, especially for churches – if your church is planning on building a multimillion-dollar new structure to incorporate new bells and whistles, while the main complex has proven to be relatively structurally sound, don’t go building it. If you really want to renew your city and impact the world, start a homeless sponsorship program or support a native missionary!

(BTW for you non-Christian readers, I’m going to argue a thesis that sponsorship of native-missionaries is becoming more effective as a medium for positive social change than traditional means).

The purchasing power of the US dollar in undeveloped countries could mean the difference between your sponsorship of Bill Missionary on a 6-week term from the US vs. support of Rajasekhar, Khagendra, Shen, and 16 others like them full-time and year-round, willing to risk all for Jesus.

Which is the better “investment”?

http://tinyurl.com/hd75d

Associated Press

Originally published September 24, 2006

The tsunami of 2004 triggered the biggest humanitarian response in history, feeding the hungry, heading off epidemics and engendering the hope that out of a calamity that took 216,000 lives, a better Indian Ocean rim would emerge.

But 18 months later recriminations are rife, with aid agencies standing accused of planning poorly, raising unrealistic expectations and simply being incompetent.

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video: Fox News with Bill Clinton (Chris Wallace Interview)

US Conservatives really need to be educated on spin. It’s too bad for liberals, too, that lack of representation in the Senate and House has led to such sycophancy.

In any case, let’s hope the video stays for awhile before Fox takes it down:

Part I:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-649761639290777197&q=clinton+fox

Part II:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6620818158935418334&q=clinton+fox

[update: Google took it down. Probably due to Fox hounds (pun intended). Download the torrent here.]

Also at Crooks and Liars. Firefox users, I suggest DownloadHelper to rip the video.

Comments (on Part II) by the timestamp of this post included:

I love the smell of Fox napalmed in the morning.
posted 10 hours ago by Hillaryious

Clinton whipped Chris Wallace’s a**ssss!!!! Yeee haw!
posted 10 hours ago by Billdiggity

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