“Odds and Ends” are letters covering some important topics that do not necessarily require a whole article.
‘God Revealed to Me…’: Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp’s Stunning Vision God Gave Him 3 Years Ago
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp capped off a successful, record-breaking season with a Super Bowl win and the distinct honor of being named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Kupp said Sunday night after his team beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 that he believes God revealed a vision to him in 2019 after the Rams lost to the Patriots. The vision showed him his team would make it to a future Super Bowl and that he would be designated the MVP. “I don’t know what it was, there was just this vision that God revealed to me that we were going to come back, we were going to be a part of a Super Bowl, we were going to win it,” he said. “And somehow — somehow I was going to walk off the field as the MVP of the game.” Kupp, an outspoken Christian, said he shared the vision with his wife and no one else. He also added that he played each game this season with that belief in the back of his mind. “It was written already and I just got to play free knowing that I got to play from victory, not for victory,” he said. “I got to play in a place where I was validated not from anything that happened on the field but because of my worth in God, in my Father” (1.cbn.com).
Micro-preemie born 11.5 ounces celebrates 1st birthday after 127-day stay in NICU
A micro-preemie is celebrating his first birthday after a four-and-a-half-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and surpassing doctors’ expectations. Doctors said baby Jari Lopez had a 30% survival rate after concerns of fetal growth restriction combined with mom Amber Higgins’ preeclampsia diagnosis… Higgins told Fox News Digital it was at her 20-week ultrasound when she learned Jari had been measuring small. She was then admitted to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she was monitored daily.
Jari was born 24 weeks gestational on Feb. 22, 2021, weighing 11.5 ounces, about the weight of a loaf of bread. “They told us that there was a chance he would not make it,” Higgins said (foxnews.com).
Across US, Churches Struggle to Rebuild Attendance
When Westminster United Methodist Church in Houston resumed in-person services late last year, after a seven-month halt due to COVID-19, there were Sundays when only three worshippers showed up, according to the pastor, Meredith Mills. Since then, attendance has inched back up, but it’s still only about half the pre-pandemic turnout of 160 or 170, Mills estimates.
“It’s frustrating,” she said. “People just seem to want to leave home less these days.”
Some churches are faring better than Mills’ church, some worse. Polls by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows how dramatically church attendance fell during the worst of the pandemic last year, even as many say they are now returning to regular service attendance (ministrywatch.com).
Intentionally Empty Churches?
Many churches have shut their doors in the face of Covid, but one large church in Denver hasn’t just shut their doors; they’ve sold them. According to Christianity Today, “The Potter’s House Denver will sell its property in Arapahoe County and continue to worship exclusively online.”
We often hear that because the Church isn’t a building, it doesn’t matter whether it meets in one. But trading in-person worship for an online experience misses what the Church actually is. It isn’t just a place for individual contemplation on “spiritual things.” That’s not the Christianity of the Bible but the pietism of Gnosticism. Embodied worship is an essential part of a Christian worldview (breakpoint.org).
50 Largest Relief and Development Organizations
Christians have long been on the front lines of relief and development efforts. So it’s no surprise that among the largest relief and development agencies in the country are Christian ministries. Two of them, World Vision and Compassion International, top $1 billion in revenue. (ministrywatch.com)
The three ministries at the top of the list:
World Vision with total revenue of $1,233,320,000
Compassion International with total revenue of $1,001,200,000
Samaritain’s Purse with total revenue of $898,666,165
Federal Appeals Court Rules Fuller Seminary Has Right to Enforce Sexual Standards
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with Fuller Theological Seminary in a two-year battle over the school’s sexual standards policy, which states that “sexual union must be reserved for marriage … the covenant union between one man and one woman.”
In 2019, Joanna Maxon and Nathan Brittsan—who were both graduate students at Fuller—were dismissed from the Pasadena, California, seminary after it was revealed the two were in same-sex marriages.
All Fuller students are required to sign the school’s sexual standards policy upon enrollment and are expected to “to abstain from what [the seminary] holds to be unbiblical sexual practices,” including premarital, extramarital and homosexual sexual conduct.
Nevertheless, Maxon and Brittsan sued Fuller, claiming that the school violates Title IX rules… The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California agreed [with Fuller], ruling in favor of Fuller in October 2020… But Maxon and Brittsan appealed. The Dec. 13 decision by the 9th Circuit upheld the district court’s judgment, making it clear that “Fuller’s actions fell squarely within Title IX’s religious exemption” (decisionmagazine.com).
How Politicians Spin the Facts
Politicians from both sides of the aisle are constantly spinning facts. Let me give you one recent example involving Biden’s misleading spin about oil production under his presidency versus Trump’s.
President Biden and White House officials are engaging in a rhetorical sleight-of-hand to defend the administration’s record on domestic oil production. The Biden administration has repeatedly touted the fact that oil production in Biden’s first year in office was higher than in Trump’s first year in office.
But the White House’s framing omits a key fact: while domestic oil production in 2021 was higher than it was in 2017, it was lower than it was in 2018, 2019 and 2020, federal statistics show. The White House spin comes amid increasing Democratic anxiety about the political impacts of record-setting gas prices ahead of the midterm elections (foxnews.com).
Campus Thought Police
It is difficult to describe how far our college and university campuses have lurched to the left in recent decades. Suffice it to say that, “According to a recent  study on faculty party affiliation by the National Association of Scholars, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans at Williams College is 132:1; at Swarthmore it is 120;1; and at Bryn Mawr it is 72;0. At many of America’s best research universities, the ratios are only moderately better.” 1 For good reason, the 2018 article citing this study was titled, “The Disappearing Conservative Professor.” How did this happen right in front of our eyes?
In 2020, a report that focused on Harvard University found the same situation prevailing on the iconic campus: “A recent survey by the Harvard Crimson found that conservatives make up just over 1% of the school’s faculty.” 2 Chew on that one for a moment. The implications are massive (Brown, M. L., 2022, pg. 18).
Brown, M. L. (2022). The Silencing of the Lambs: The Ominous Rise of Cancel Culture and How We Can Overcome It. (n.p.): Charisma Media.