Pjohanna's Blog

{February 19, 2009}   Suicide committed in Mega-Church

usa-la-crystal-cathedral-exterior-by-darrell-godliman76 year old church volunteer was explaining the church’s suicide hotline with six people, including a tourist group from Canada. “We were talking actually about the suicide prevention hotline that we have here at our church and telling them it’s open 24 hours, seven days a week, and then just then, I heard this pop”.

Meanwhile, an 84 year old church volunteer welcomes this man that hands her a note and his driver’s license. The note stated his pick-up was in the parking lot. He walked up to a gold cross and knelt as if to pray and shot himself. What did the pastor have to say?

“He did not give any sign that he was going to do that. He just came, like any other tourist, to pray,” said pastor Juan Carlos Ortiz. “I think God will have mercy on him, because he must have been very desperate to do what he did.” 

The Orange County coroner’s office identified the man as Steve Smick, 48.  

“I think God will have mercy on him”? Seriously? To make a statement like that for his family to read is just callous, but what else do you expect from some “Christians”. I just can’t help but wonder, going to the house of God, wouldn’t something happen from God Himself to let others know that His house was going to be used for that?

The Crystal Cathedral had been a witness to another tragedy:


Are these the sign of the times?

steve-wuThe pastor of Willow Creek Chicago — the city campus of the evangelical mega-church Willow Creek Community Church — has resigned and admitted to “sexual impurity,” a church spokesman said. The pastor, Rev. Steve Wu, could not be reached, and the church would not specify what took place just a statement Tuesday by church officials admitting to “sexual impurity”

Wu, 43, began pastoring Willow Chicago in 2006. It was the fifth campus of Willow Creek Community Church – the fourth largest mega-church in the country with 22,500 attendees, according to Outreach magazine’s 2008 list. The mega-church, founded by the Rev Bill Hybels, currently has six locations throughout Illinois.

The church also stated that he may go through a “restoration process”. I wonder if this will be like the one Ted Haggard went through, which we all know, has made him realize that his sexuality is a “complicated” one. 

I wrote about this before, there is nothing good about a church that is said to be a “mega-church”. What those types of church come down to is BUSINESS and MONEY. In due time, the true colors come out and they fall hard.

{February 17, 2009}   An “honor killing” in the U.S.A

How ironic. The wife was decapitated, allegedly by her estranged husband, in the offices of the television network the couple founded with the hope of countering Muslim stereotypes. This type of “honor killing” is native in their land of Pakistan. What animals.

He did the honerable thing and turned himself in.

How disgusting.

{February 12, 2009}   Another MegaChurch News

td_jakes_potters_house1From AP:


DALLAS – The stepson of megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes has been arrested on an indecent exposure charge.

Dallas police say Jermaine Jakesjakes is accused of exposing himself to two undercover vice detectives last month. He turned himself in Thursday and was released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.

His lawyer, Faith Johnson, didn’t return a call to the AP on Thursday. She told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT: “We are aware of potential allegations involving Jermaine Jakes and are undertaking our own investigation of these allegations at this time.”

According to an arrest affidavit, the younger Jakes allegedly walked up to an undercover detective in a park and began masturbating while maintaining eye contact with the detective.

Jakes’ stepfather is a Dallas megachurch pastor who gave a sermon at the prayer service for Barack Obama on the morning he was sworn in as president.


Update: Pastor T.D. Jakes told his congregation Sunday that he would provide “help, support and restorative grace” to his stepson, who was accused of exposing himself to two undercover detectives last month. Hopefully this one is more successful than the one that Ted Haggard went through. We all know that after his restorative therapy his sexuallity is still “complicated”.

The pastor read a statement to his congregation, saying parents of children who don’t live up to ideals do not “diminish our love for them as recompense for our disapproval.”

This guy is 29 years old, obviously is living in the ‘Down Low’, because of his step dad. Let the brother live, and maybe he wouldn’t have to be going to the park and getting BUSTED!

From Politico:  

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee warned supporters Tuesday that the $828 billion stimulus package is “anti-religious.” 

In an e-mail that was also posted on his blog ahead of the Senate’s passage, Huckabee wrote: “The dust is settling on the ‘bipartisan’ stimulus bill and one thing is clear: It is anti-religious.” 

Ok, let’s talk about the past 8 years that were VERY religious:

1. Unlimited government spending for war. (killing people, very Christ like)

2. Unlimited tax breaks for the rich.

3. Deregulation: turning the financial system into a Ponzi scheme.

Our national debt doubled and now we are living, not in a recession, but a depression.  

Why is it that every time a Christian Right Winger feels that their religious views are being infringed upon, in what is called “separation of church & state” they go calling someone “anti-religious” or liberal? It isn’t about religion, get that through your thick head.

Our Bill of Rights was established to keep Congress from establishing a religion, basically we have freedom from religion. Heck, isn’t that the reason that the Pilgrims left Europe in the first place? Look at the taliban and their religious fist, is that what the Christian Right Wingers want for our Nation?

Rumor has it that Huckabee wants to run in 2012. I hope that people have sense enough to realize that a religious person has no place in the White House, look at the past 8 years. There is no balance with a religious zealot. 

Freedom means everyone has a right to make a choice of what they believe in. Without this choice, without this freedom, then it goes against our forefathers ideals.

Obviously, Huckabee hasn’t been following President Obama closely. President Obama is making every effort in being inclusive towards everyone, in regards to religion. 

How about trying to stop making this Nation a Theocratic one?

{February 9, 2009}   ‘Miracle’ on the Hudson

When asked (6.00) by Katie if he prayed, his response, “I’m sure someone else was”. I don’t know what his beliefs are, but I found this response very interesting. 

His expertise and the way that he was calm and was rationalizing the whole situation saved 155 lives. He is humble and I seriously do think, a Hero.

Johanna Sigurdardottir, has been named as Iceland’s prime minister, and is the first openly lesbian head of government in Europe, if not the world – at least in modern times. The BBC is reporting that her sexuality is not important in Iceland as it is around the world. 

What is really historic about this new cabinet, says Skuli Helgeson, the general secretary of Ms Sigurardottir’s Social Democratic Alliance, is not the fact that its leader is a lesbian, but that for the first time in Icelandic history it boasts an equal number of men and women.”I don’t think her sexual orientation matters. Our voters are pretty liberal, they don’t care about any of that.” 

Her appointment is as an interim leader, until elections in May. Their previous cabinet had to resign due to Iceland’s financial system collapse in October under the weight of debt, leading to a currency crisis, rising unemployment and daily protests.

I just can’t help but imagine how the religious right would react to something like that here in the U.S.A. 

I am also wondering, why hasn’t Iceland blown up in a combustion of hell fire?

{February 1, 2009}   What was this woman thinking?


The grandmother of the octuplets born in Southern California says her daughter conceived all 14 of her children in vitro, is not married and has been obsessed with having children since she was a teenager. Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she is taking care of her daughter’s first six children, ages 2 through 7, while her 33-year-old daughter recovers from giving birth on Monday in nearby Bellflower.

8+6=14, 14! Can you imagine the expense this is? The economy is down the tubes and this woman has 8 children that are under a month old and then 6 children from 2 years through 7. Now, think about it, the dad is saying she wanted 1 more and her current “baby” was about a year old, does anyone else agree with me that something is wrong with this woman? At what point do the parents put the SMACK down?

The worst part is that as tax payers here in California, we are the ones footing with her expense. She won’t have to work and the state will have to “help” her.

Listening to that Dr. I didn’t realize how easy it is to get pregnant now-a-days without a male. I wonder why organizations like Focus on the Family aren’t crying about this mess?


nadya-suleman-mother-of-the-octupletsThe mother who gave birth to octuplets last week has finally gone public. Nadya Suleman, 33, of Whittier appeared on NBC’s TODAY for an exclusive interview revealing a lot more about her:

Ann Curry: “How did an only child end up with 14 children?”

Suleman: “That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family, and I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that I really lacked, I believe, growing up,” she replied.

Curry: “Describe what you felt you lacked within,”

Suleman “Feeling of self and identity. I didn’t feel as though, when I was a child, I had much control of my environment. I felt powerless. And that gave me a sense of predictability. Reflecting back on my childhood, I know it wasn’t functional. It was pretty dysfunctional, and whose isn’t?”

Suleman admitted that she had depression and suicidal thoughts when starting a family, but also feels the public has been unfair to her.


{January 31, 2009}   Seeking God for Financial Help

It is really turning ugly. The latest news in California from Arnie is that we may not even see our tax refund. We are also going to have higher sales tax, rumor is that it is going to be 10% in Los Angeles. Layoffs are happening by the minute, even Starbucks had its turn. Retail stores are closing and employers are making their employees lose a day of work, unpaid to cope. While people are losing money, the mortgage is getting higher.

Just this past week, a family of seven died in a murder-suicide, due to finances.

The Los Angeles Times has an article about how the churches are getting filled with parishioners. They are seeking help. They are asking for money, literally, to pay the rent: 

But although prayer soothes the soul, it doesn’t pay the mortgage

In desperate times when there is no one to turn to people turn to God. This time, it isn’t strength or answers that they are seeking it is help. The article went on to mention that the priests or pastors are used to helping in a time of crisis, when it is death and divorce, but they are not prepared for what is currently happening. They are not prepared to deal with the economy and the financial struggles that is hitting families hard.

As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but remember the $36 million dollars spent to defeat same-sex marriage here in California. The majority of the people that donated, the high ranking donors, did it for religious reasons. Where are they?

Is it too much to ask for a grassroots movement to help these people now, especially those that are of the same faith, have the same beliefs?

It is amazing how much was spent on defeating an issue that involved two consenting adults, all because of people seeing it as what they do in their bedroom and families are getting thrown out of their homes with children. What a shame.


The Darwins’ marriage of science and religion

In their 43-year marriage, Charles and Emma Darwin used respect, understanding and acceptance to bridge the gulf between his reason and her steadfast faith.
By Deborah Heiligman 
January 29, 2009
On Jan. 29, 1839, in the little chapel in the English village of Maer, a religious, 30-year-old woman named Emma Wedgwood put on a green silk dress and got married. She believed firmly in a heaven and a hell. And she believed you had to accept God to go to heaven. She married Charles Darwin.
As we head into a new era for a country that has struggled for too long with the marriage of science and religion, we should take a look at the marriage of Charles and Emma Darwin.
When Charles came home in 1836 from his five-year voyage around the world, which included the visit to the Galapagos Islands, he was already seeing life and creation in a new way. And as he courted Emma, he also was secretly scribbling notes about a new idea, his theory of evolution, in leather-bound notebooks marked “private.”    

He knew that his view of creation would rock the faith of Emma and almost everyone in England, and as he prepared to propose to her, he agonized. Charles’ father advised him to keep his mouth shut. “Conceal your doubts,” he warned. 

But Charles couldn’t do that. He was too honest. He told Emma of his doubts about the veracity of the Bible and of his growing skepticism about religion.    

Emma said she would marry him anyway. She prized his candor, and she knew he was a good and moral man. But in a letter she sent him soon after their engagement, she told him that she was sad that “our opinions on the most important subject should differ widely.” 

This was the first of several letters about religion that Emma wrote to Charles during their lives. She urged him not to close the door on faith. And she shared her fears that they would be separated for eternity. Charles always listened to what she had to say, and they talked about the problem. He kept each letter close. He wrote on one of them, “When I am dead, know that many times, I have kissed and cryed over this. C.D.” On another he wrote, simply, “God bless you.”

Charles and Emma had 10 children together. Three of the children died; the death of their beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie, broke their hearts. That loss could have driven them apart forever. It strengthened Emma’s faith and all but closed the door on God for Charles. But they fought for their marriage. The day after Annie died, Emma wrote to Charles, “You must remember that you are my prime treasure (and always have been).” 

Darwin worked for decades on his theory. He tried to make his argument as strong and solid as possible, and he also aimed not to offend. He showed Emma drafts, and he worked harder on a passage when she wrote in the margin, “a great assumption.” In 1859, as he finally readied “The Origin of Species” for publication, he gave the manuscript to Emma. She was always his best and most trusted editor. As she read the argument that essentially took God out of creation, she did not ask Charles to soften it at all. In fact, she helped him strengthen his book by making the language clearer. (She also cleaned up his spelling and punctuation.) 

Through the years, the two continued to talk and listen to each other about this “most important subject,” as Emma called it. She encouraged him not to approach religion in the same way he approached science. What leads to faith, she said, is “feeling, not reasoning.” 

After he became famous, people often wrote to the sage of Down House and asked him what he believed about God. Usually Darwin demurred. And he echoed Emma. He said his views were of “no consequence to anyone except myself” and that the question of religion was for theologians, not for scientists. Still, he often pointed to his friend, the American botanist Asa Gray, who was both an evolutionist and a theist. 

Charles and Emma were married for 43 years. In his last years, Charles renewed a fascination with worms and wrote “The Formation of Vegetable Mold through the Action of Worms with Observations on Their Habits,” a bestseller in its day. Emma, never much interested in science, found herself joining him in his obsession. They spent hours together watching the worms in the garden of Down House, side by side. 

Although they never were able to see eye-to-eye on the question of religion and God, they were able to reach their hands across the gulf. In the end, each of them accepted and, it seems, truly understood what the other believed. 

If it is a sign of intelligence to be able to hold two opposite thoughts or opinions in your head, then it is a mark of a successful marriage to be able to truly see the other person’s point of view. This is also the mark of a successful society. 

There is an apocryphal story that Darwin accepted God on his deathbed. The true story is this: When he suffered his last and fatal heart attack, Charles told Emma that he was “not the least afraid of death.” And as he slipped away, he told her, “Remember what a good wife you have been to me.” Emma held Charles in her arms as he died. 

Deborah Heiligman is the author, most recently, of “Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith.”

et cetera