A 21-year-old man in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, allegedly planned to attack a Detroit-area megachurch in the name of ISIS. Federal authorities arrested the guy, Khalil Abu-Rayyan, back in the fall, not on terrorism charges, but on unlicensed gun and marijuana possession. According to Breitbart, the FBI has been investigating Abu-Rayyan since May of last year because of communication—phone and social media—expressing support of ISIS. The Detroit Free Press even reported that some of Abu-Rayyan’s posts include “videos of a Jordanian pilot burned alive, Christians being beheaded, and men being thrown from buildings in executions.” And in some online chats with undercover agents, he also relayed that he was planning to shoot up a 6,000-member church. He told the agent, “It’s easy and a lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus, it would make the news. Everyone would’ve heard.” Apparently, Abu-Rayyan’s plan was thrown off when his dad found the guns and ammo he was going to use. He told the undercover FBI agent, “Honestly, I regret not doing it,” Abu-Rayyan added. “If I can’t do jihad in the Middle East, I would do my jihad over here.” Discuss
Last night we got a new look at the upcoming Marvel action epic Captain America: Civil War, and even though it’s only 30 seconds, it gave fans some interesting glimpses at the plot. Along with underscoring the rivalry between Captain America and Iron Man, the teaser also gave us a look at how the individual Avengers are taking sides. Oh, the drama! The movie releases on May 6. Discuss
Kanye West recently called into “The Neighborhood” radio show to discuss his upcoming album (which is yet to be officially titled after being renamed three times), and had some interesting thoughts about its content. He told the hosts that the album represents a “God dream,” which he says he was taught in church is a “dream that can’t happen without God,” explaining, “I’m only doing 1 percent, 2 percent of the work, and God is doing the rest of the work.” He also mentioned several families who are deceased (his mother, his father-in-law) who he said have been helping him from heaven.
He also addressed some early statements in which he referred to the record as a "gospel" album. Describing his collaboration with Kirk Franklin, he said, "When I was sitting in the studio with Kirk, Kirk Franklin, and we're just going through it, I said, 'This is a gospel album, with a whole lot of cursing on it, but it's still a gospel album ... The gospel according to Ye.' It's not exactly what happened in the Bible, but it's this story of this idea of Mary Magdalene becoming Mary.” Huh. There’s been evidence that the new album would have spiritual themes. Along with possibly being titled So Help Me God, according to a track listing released on Twitter, the album contains a two-part song called “Father Stretch My Hands.” We’ll have all of our questions answered soon. The album comes out on Feb. 11. Discuss
Well, thanks to the Carolina Panthers’ loss last night, America’s third great awakening may just have to wait—at least according to Rick Joyner. Last week, the founder of MorningStar Ministries suggested in no uncertain terms that if the Carolina Panthers won the Super Bowl, the United States would experience “major moves of God” and “revival.” His reasoning is part of long story: Back in the late 1980s, he said, Bob Jones (as in, the founder of Bob Jones University) told Joyner that a group of black panthers (the animals) were inexplicably showing up around a downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, lumber yard. Then, in 1995, the city got an NFL franchise called the “Panthers”—with a stadium built on that same lumber yard. “So, we knew there was a prophetic destiny to this team,” Joyner explains in this clip. And, sure enough, Joyner says the ups and downs of the Carolina Panthers have often paralleled the ups and downs of the Church. Obviously, linking prophecy to professional sports isn’t exactly conventional in most church circles. But in this case, it seemed to line up: way back in the mid-'80s Bob Jones "foresaw" that the Kansas City Royals would win the World Series, apparently associating a Royals championship with spiritual blessing. It's no small fact to Joyner that Kansas City won the series again this last season. He said:
Well [the Royals winning the World Series] really got our attention. And we said, ‘OK now, if the Panthers win this year, we know. It’s all hands on deck.’ And we are going to see the outbreak of, I believe, the third great awakening in America.
The drawn-out rift between Wheaton College and its professor Larycia Hawkins appears to be ending. According to an email from the college’s president, Philip Ryken, to the campus, Hawkins has decided to leave the college. In portions of the email published by the Washington Post, Ryken writes, “The Administration and Dr. Hawkins have come to a place of resolution and reconciliation. With a mutual desire for God’s blessing, we have decided to part ways.”
Hawkins made news back in December when Wheaton put her on administrative leave after she stated that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. The school administration said they put Hawkins on leave in order to “explore significant questions regarding the theological implications of her recent public statements, including but not limited to those indicating the relationship of Christianity to Islam." Then, the college began making moves to terminate her employment (which is not a simple process for a tenured professor). Now, Hawkins and Wheaton seem to parting on better terms. Perhaps most notably, WashPo also cites a separate email from Wheaton provost Stan Jones, in which he explains that he is asking for Hawkins’ forgiveness: “I asked Dr. Hawkins for her forgiveness for the ways I contributed to the fracture of our relationship, and to the fracture of Dr. Hawkins’ relationship with the College,” he writes. In his email, Ryken also says the school’s board of trustees will “conduct a thorough review” of the whole situation. Discuss
If you've ever watched a major sports championship—like last night’s Super Bowl—than you’ve probably noticed that as soon as the game ends, the winning team is given commemorative shirts to wear during the trophy ceremony. Because it’d basically be impossible to print off dozens of T-shirts as soon as the clock hits zero (much less start selling them to fans), shirts are typically made for both teams ahead of time. But, just because the Panthers are not actually Super Bowl 50 champs, doesn’t mean all of those shirts proclaiming them to be will go to waste.
Several major sporting good retailers have partnered with the organization World Vision to distribute the brand new (yet, technically inaccurate) T-shirts to communities in need around the world. Just last month, a massive batch of shirts originally made for AFC Championship losers the New England Patriots were given to the organization to be distributed in impoverished areas. The NFL also works with the group Good360 to donate apparel intended to be sold to fans of the team that lost the big game. The Panthers may have lost the Super Bowl, but at least their championship shirts will live on. Discuss