Saturday, September 8, 2012

All Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - September 8, 2012

Dr. R. Albert Mohler - The Great American Worldview Test — The 2012 Election | Here's the conclusion.

We are not looking at minor matters of political difference. We are staring into the abyss of comprehensive moral conflict. Christian voters can escape neither the consequences of their vote, nor the fact that our most basic convictions will be revealed in the voting booth come November. Christians cannot face these questions without the knowledge that God is the Giver of life, who made every human life in his image. We cannot consider this election without the knowledge that our Creator has given us the covenant of marriage as the union of one man and one woman as the demonstration of his glory and the promise of human flourishing.

Americans will elect a president in November, but our vote will reveal far more than our political preference. The 2012 election is a worldview exercise of unprecedented contrasts — an unavoidable test of our most basic convictions. The electoral map will reveal more than an election winner. It will reveal who Americans really are and what we really believe.

BreakPoint (Eric Metaxas) - Selective Compassion | Metaxas hits it on the head in this one.

“Selective compassion” is a phrase coined by Fr. Anthony Kelly, a Redemptorist priest who teaches at Australia’s National Catholic University.  Writing for the Australian Broadcasting Company’s website, Fr. Kelly noted that “the recognition of endangered species calls forth prompt and effective protection.” A 30 percent causality rate among “Black Cockatoos or Great White Sharks” would be considered “unacceptable.”

At the same time, the fact that “up to a third of the next [human] generation is being terminated” in Australia “seems to have slipped under our guard.” The same society that experienced a “dramatic ethical development” when it comes to the death penalty, “violence, rape, racial prejudice and the corruption of children” is “tongue-tied” when it comes to abortion.

The values that Australians, and the rest of the West, cite when it comes to these areas are deemed to be immaterial, if not irrelevant, when it comes to the unborn.

And it isn’t only Australia. The United States also exercises selective compassion when it comes to the unborn. If anything, it’s significantly more selective: Whereas abortion is regulated in Australia and generally unavailable after 20 weeks, a federal court recently overturned a similar limitation in Arizona. . . . 

We have just witnessed a collective conniption over the possibility that eating the wrong brand of chicken sandwiches might be a kind of “homophobia” and, yet, even saying that abortion is the taking of human life is beyond-the-pale in many circles.

The Gospel Coalition - How Much Money Do Megachurch Pastors Make? |

The Takeaways: Some of the more interesting findings from the study include:
• Total cash compensation (including allowances for housing) for senior pastors ranged from $85,000 to more than $265,000, though the majority of the salaries cluster around the $100,000 to $140,000 range.
• The most influential factor in setting staff salaries is a church's size, measured by its budget and worship attendance.
• Senior pastor salaries in very large churches tend to rise with increased size of attendance.
• The highest paid geographic region was the South, followed by West, and Northeast. The lowest was Midwest.
• The highest salaries were for churches located in an older residential area in the city, followed closely by those in an older suburb around the city, followed by those in a downtown or central area of the city. The lowest were those churches located in a newer suburb around the city.
• For each additional 1,000 people in attendance, annual salary increases by roughly $8,000 on average for large church senior pastors.
• Founding pastors are paid $515 more per year than successor pastors, excluding outliers and controlling for church size and length of tenure.
• The second-highest-paid person in churches is most often generically described as the executive pastor. This #2 person typically receives 66% of the salary amount received by the senior pastor.
• Being a multisite church does not favorably increase salaries for the senior pastor.

Ligonier - Jesus and His Active Obedience |

Theological Matters - The Biblical Literacy of Teenage Believers |  Work in ministry for five minutes and it will become abundantly clear that this is a serious problem that is destroying the church.

Youth ministry researcher Chap Clark says, “I’m convinced that the single most important area where we’ve lost ground with kids is in our commitment and ability to ground them in God’s Word.”

As a result, Barry Shafer says, “The church today, including both the adult and teenage generations, is in an era of rampant biblical illiteracy.” Duffy Robbins takes this one step further when he says: “Our young people have become incapable of theological thinking because they don’t have any theology to think about. … And, as Paul warns us, this … leaves us as ‘infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching’ (Ephesians 4:14).”

At the conclusion of the National Study of Youth and Religion, lead researcher Christian Smith reported: “Even though most teens are very positive about religion and say it’s a good thing, the vast majority are incredibly inarticulate about religion. … It doesn’t seem to us that many teens are being very well-educated in their faith traditions.”

The Hill - Hill Poll: Voters say second term undeserved, country is worse off |  Not good numbers for an incumbent President.

A majority of voters believe the country is worse off today than it was four years ago and that President Obama does not deserve reelection, according to a new poll for The Hill.

Fifty-two percent of likely voters say the nation is in “worse condition” now than in September 2008, while 54 percent say Obama does not deserve reelection based solely on his job performance.

Only 31 percent of voters believe the nation is in “better condition,” while 15 percent say it is “about the same,” the poll found. Just 40 percent of voters said Obama deserves reelection.

The results highlight the depth of voter dissatisfaction confronting Obama as he makes his case for a second term at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C

The Daily - Countdown to Iowa | Even before this election is over, party heads are already starting to plan the next one. It will be difficult to see how anyone other than Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. I also can promise you that Vice President Joe Biden doesn't stand a chance in 2016.

Forget this year's presidential race. The 2016 Iowa caucuses already are under way.

With no Democratic standard-bearer waiting in the wings regardless of whether President Obama wins a second term, Iowa Democrats are once against basking in their first-in-the-nation status. A slew of potential presidential candidates are addressing Iowa delegates during events at the party's national convention here. And they'll surely be ready with the flattery.

"They've just gotta tell us how great we are," Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin joked when asked by The Daily what the would-be candidates should do this week.

The biggest attraction is Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who addresses delegates at a breakfast tomorrow morning. O'Malley is a top Obama campaign surrogate, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and already has emerged as one of the likely 2016 contenders — especially if neither Joe Biden nor Hillary Clinton makes one last run at the Oval Office. Harkin called O'Malley "a great progressive governor" and advised delegates to "keep your eye on him.

ESPN - Sam Durley Throws For 736 Yards | Every record is meant to be broken, but I would predict that it will be a long time before this one is. Apparently the running game wasn't working.

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