World-Renowned Christian Advocate Ravi Zacharias Dies

World-renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, 74, passed away at his home in Atlanta on May 19 from a rare form of cancer in his spine.

Zacharias announced earlier this year that he was suffering from severe pain in his spine and would undergo surgery. A malignant tumor of the sacrum called sarcoma was discovered in March.

He battled the disease with the help of top doctors, but his daughter announced less than two weeks ago that no further medical treatments were available.

The apologist was born Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias in Chennai, India in 1946. He became a Christian at the age of 17 while recovering in a Delphi hospital after attempting to take his own life.

It was after this incident that Zacharias began to grasp the true meaning of life.

In a previous interview with CBN News he explained, “I was on a bed of suicide in Delhi, searching for meaning, searching for the answers to life’s basic questions. They boil down to this – origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. How did I come into being? What brings life meaning? How do I know right from wrong? Where am I headed after I die

 

R.I.P. CHUCK TAYLOR

On the fifth of May, we lost Chuck Taylor, one of the most famous defensive firearms instructors of our generation, to cancer.

I first met Chuck in the 1970s, when he was head of training at Jeff Cooper’s famous facility, Gunsite. Chuck was still competing then, skillful enough to earn a slot on the US National Team of IPSC, the International Practical Shooting Confederation. He leaves behind a large body of written articles – for some time, he was editor of SWAT magazine – and several books that can be found on Amazon, including the fourth edition of Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery.

Chuck was a decorated Vietnam combat vet with the scars from enemy bullets on his body. A highly accomplished shooter, he was one of the few men I’ve seen perform the supposedly impossible “one second reload” of a .45 pistol. I knew him as a patient coach and excellent diagnostician. I can tell you from one personal experience back in the ‘70s that he was also a good man to have on your side when serious danger reared its head.

Taylor retired last year, and had all too short a time to enjoy that. His ashes will be scattered in a National Forest where he spent a lot of time hunting.

I know people who credit their survival to what they learned from Chuck. We have lost an important source of knowledge.

RIP.

Our Dress Rehearsal for a Police State

All my life, I have dismissed paranoids on the right (“America is headed to communism”) and the left (“It can happen here” — referring to fascism). It’s not that I’ve ever believed liberty was guaranteed. Being familiar with history and a pessimist regarding the human condition, I never believed that.

But the ease with which police state tactics have been employed and the equal ease with which most Americans have accepted them have been breathtaking.

People will argue that a temporary police state has been justified because of the allegedly unique threat to life posed by the new coronavirus. I do not believe the data will bear that out. Regardless, let us at least agree that we are closer to a police state than ever in American history.

“Police state” does not mean totalitarian state. America is not a totalitarian state; we still have many freedoms. In a totalitarian state, this article could not be legally published, and if it were illegally published, I would be imprisoned and/or executed. But we are presently living with all four of the key hallmarks of a police state:

No. 1: Draconian laws depriving citizens of elementary civil rights.

The federal, state, county and city governments are now restricting almost every freedom except those of travel and speech. Americans have been banned from going to work (and thereby earning a living), meeting in groups (both indoors and outdoors), meeting in their cars in church parking lots to pray and entering state-owned properties such as beaches and parks — among many other prohibitions.

No. 2: A mass media supportive of the state’s messaging and deprivation of rights.

The New York Times, CNN and every other mainstream mass medium — except Fox News, The Wall Street Journal (editorial and opinion pages only) and talk radio — have served the cause of state control over individual Americans’ lives just as Pravda served the Soviet government. In fact, there is almost no more dissent in The New York Times than there was in Pravda. And the Big Tech platforms are removing posts about the virus and potential treatments they deem “misinformation.”

No. 3: Use of police.

Police departments throughout America have agreed to enforce these laws and edicts with what can only be described as frightening alacrity. After hearing me describe police giving summonses to, or even arresting, people for playing baseball with their children on a beach, jogging alone without a mask, or worshipping on Easter while sitting isolated in their cars in a church parking lot, a police officer called my show. He explained that the police have no choice. They must respond to every dispatch they receive.

“And why are they dispatched to a person jogging on a beach or sitting alone in a park?” I asked.

Because the department was informed about these lawbreakers.

“And who told the police about these lawbreakers?” I asked.

His answer brings us to the fourth characteristic of a police state:

No. 4: Snitches.

How do the police dispatchers learn of lawbreakers such as families playing softball in a public park, lone joggers without face masks, etc.? From their fellow citizens snitching on them. The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, set up a “snitch line,” whereby New Yorkers were told to send authorities photos of fellow New Yorkers violating any of the quarantine laws. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti similarly encouraged snitching, unabashedly using the term.

It is said that about 1 in every 100 East German citizens were informers for the Stasi, the East German secret police, as superbly portrayed in the film “The Lives of Others.” It would be interesting, and, I think, important, to know what percentage of New Yorkers informed on their fellow citizens. Now, again, you may think such a comparison is not morally valid, that de Blasio’s call to New Yorkers to serve a Stasi-like role was morally justified given the coronavirus pandemic. But you cannot deny it is Stasi-like or that, other than identifying spies during World War II, this is unprecedented in American history at anywhere near this level.

This past Friday night, I gathered with six others for a Shabbat dinner with friends in Santa Monica, California. On my Friday radio show, I announced I would be doing that, and if I was arrested, it would be worth it. In my most pessimistic dreams, I never imagined that in America, having dinner at a friend’s house would be an act of civil disobedience, perhaps even a criminal act. But that is precisely what happens in a police state.

The reason I believe this is a dress rehearsal is that too many Americans appear untroubled by it; the dominant force in America, the left, supports it, and one of the two major political parties has been taken over by the left. Democrats and their supporters have, in effect, announced they will use state power to enforce any law they can to combat the even greater “existential” crisis of global warming.

On the CNN website this weekend, in one of the most frightening and fanatical articles in an era of fanaticism, Bill Weir, CNN chief climate correspondent, wrote an open letter to his newborn son. In it, he wrote of his idealized future for America: “completely new forms of power, food, construction, transportation, economics and politics.”

You cannot get there without a police state.

If you love liberty, you must see that it is jeopardized more than at any time since America’s founding. And that means, among other things, that at this time, a vote for any Democrat is a vote to end liberty.

And Goldfinger was just on last night.


James Bond actress Honor Blackman dies aged 94

In a statement, her family said she died peacefully of natural causes at home in Lewes, East Sussex.

Blackman was also known for playing Cathy Gale in the 1960s TV series The Avengers opposite Patrick Macnee.

The pair had a novelty hit with 1964’s Kinky Boots, which reached the Top 10 in 1990.

Her other roles included Hera in Jason and the Argonauts and Laura West in 1990s TV series The Upper Hand.

Honor Blackman

 

The statement issued by Blackman’s family said: “As well as being a much adored mother and grandmother, Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent.

“With an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic, she achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment.

“With absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavours she contributed to some of the great films and theatre productions of our times.

“We ask you to respect the privacy of our family at this difficult time.”

Comedian and Bond fan David Walliams said Blackman would “live forever” as Pussy Galore.

Director Edgar Wright, meanwhile, remembered her as the “ultimate Bond girl and original Avenger”.

KENNY ROGERS PASSES AWAY

March 21, 2020 – The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81.  Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.
In a career that spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world. Chart-topping hits like “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands In The Stream,” “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me,” and “Through the Years” are just a handful of Kenny Rogers’ songs that have inspired generations of artists and fans alike. Rogers, with twenty-four number-one hits, was a Country Music Hall of Fame member, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015 and has been voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People.
The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.  They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.
###
For Kenny Rogers:
Keith Hagan
SKH Music
khagan@skhmusic.com
917-886-8961
www.skhmusic.com

Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden passes

Former astronaut Alfred M. Worden, command module pilot on the Apollo 15 lunar landing, passed away March 18, 2020, in Texas.

“I’m deeply saddened to hear that Apollo astronaut Al Worden has passed away,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted about Worden. “Al was an American hero whose achievements in space and on Earth will never be forgotten. My prayers are with his family and friends.”

As command module pilot, Worden stayed in orbit while commander David Scott and lunar module pilot James B. Irwin explored the Moon’s Hadley Rille and Appennine Mountains. Apollo 15’s command module, dubbed Endeavour, was the first to have its own module of scientific instruments. During the flight back from the Moon, Worden made three spacewalks to retrieve film from cameras in the module. Altogether, Worden logged more than 295 hours in space.

“The thing that was most interesting to me was taking photographs of very faint objects with a special camera that I had on board,” Worden told Smithsonian Magazine in 2011. “These objects reflect sunlight, but it’s very, very weak and you can’t see it from [Earth]. There are several places between the Earth and the moon that are stable equilibrium points. And if that’s the case, there has to be a dust cloud there. I got pictures of that.”

Like other command module pilots, Worden stayed as busy as his colleagues on the surface. But he also took some time to enjoy the view.

“Every time I came around the moon I went to a window and watched the Earth rise and that was pretty unique.”

After retirement from active duty in 1975, Worden became President of Maris Worden Aerospace, Inc., and was Vice-President of BF Goodrich Aerospace Brecksville, Ohio, in addition to other positions within the aerospace and aviation industries. Worden wrote several books: a collection of poetry, “Hello Earth: Greetings from Endeavour” in 1974; a children’s book, “I Want to Know About a Flight to the Moon”, also in 1974; and a memoir, “Falling to Earth,” in 2011. His interest in educating children about space led to an appearance on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”.

Worden was born Feb. 7, 1932, in Jackson, Michigan, on February 7, 1932. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1955. He earned master of science degrees in astronautical/aeronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan in 1963. In 1971, the University of Michigan awarded him an honorary doctorate of science in astronautical engineering.

Before becoming an astronaut, Worden was an instructor at the Aerospace Research Pilots School. He had also served as a pilot and armament officer from March 1957 to May 1961 with the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.

Worden was one of 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 9 and as backup command module pilot for Apollo 12.

After leaving the astronaut corps, Worden moved to NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. He was the Senior Aerospace Scientist there from 1972-73, and then chief of the Systems Study Division until 1975.

 

Pentagon identifies US soldier, airman killed in Iraq rocket attack

On Friday morning, the Department of Defense identified the two U.S. service members killed in a Wednesday rocket attack against Camp Taji, Iraq.

U.S. Army Spc. Juan Miguel Mendez Covarrubias, 27, of Hanford, Calif. was killed in the rocket attack, as was Oklahoma Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts, 28, of Owasso, Okla., the Pentagon confirmed in a press release.

Mendez Covarrubias was a member of the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division based out of Fort Hood, Texas. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Specialist.

Roberts was a member of the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

The deadly rocket attack also resulted in the death of a British service member stationed at the base. The British service member was identified as LCpl Brodie Gillon, 26, of the U.K.’s Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry reserve unit. She reportedly volunteered to join the Irish Guards Battle Group when it deployed to Iraq for 2020.

“The coalition honors the service and sacrifice of U.S. Army Specialist Juan Miguel Mendez Covarrubias, U.K. Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon, and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts; they will not be forgotten,” Lt. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a press statement.

“The international military coalition is capable and credible because of warriors like Juan, Brodie, and Marshal,” White’s comments continued. “They volunteered to serve the United States and United Kingdom to improve their lives and help keep the world free from ISIS terrorism. Our fallen comrades have a legacy that will never be forgotten.”

 

Max von Sydow, The Exorcist, Seventh Seal, and Game of Thrones star, dies at 90

Actor Max von Sydow has died at the age of 90.

His agent told the Associated Press Monday that von Sydow, who was born in Sweden but became a French citizen in 2002, died on Sunday.

The actor’s remarkably long career stretched back to the late ’40s and featured appearances in a number of classic films including Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film The Seventh Seal, the same director’s Oscar-winning 1960 movie The Virgin Spring, William Friedkin’s infamous 1973 shocker The Exorcist, and 1986’s Woody Allen-directed Hannah and Her Sisters. He was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in 1989’s Pelle the Conqueror and secured a Best Supporting Actor nomination for 2012’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

Born Carol Adolf von Sydow in Lund, Sweden, the actor studied at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, during which time he appeared in his debut film, the 1949 Swedish drama, Only a Mother. But Sydow made his name with his performance as a 14th-century knight who challenges Death to a game of chess in The Seventh Seal. Widely regarded as one of the great works of cinema, the image of von Sydow’s knight facing off against Bengt Ekerot’s Grim Reaper would become an iconic image, famous enough to be parodied decades later in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

Not long after The Touch, von Sydow was cast in The Exorcist, an adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s horror novel, and one of the most successful films of all-time. Brilliantly directed by Friedkin, the movie also benefitted from chillingly straight-faced performances by its cast of Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, and von Sydow, who was utterly believable as the aged Father Merrin, despite still being in his mid- ‘40s when the film was made. “When I got the offer, I didn’t know anything about it,” von Sydow told the Los Angeles Times in 2013. “Somebody gave me the book to read and said, ‘They want you to play a priest.’ I read the book, and I thought, of course, it was for the young priest. So I said, ‘That’s a good part.’ And they said, ‘No, no no. They want you for the exorcist!’ I still don’t really know why.”

While his unforgettable appearance in The Exorcist effectively curtailed the chances of von Sydow becoming a Hollywood leading man it helped open other doors. Throughout his career, the actor continued to appear in serious-minded dramatic fare, including Pelle the Conqueror and Julian Schnabel’s 2007 film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. But his otherworldly looks, deep, distinctively-accented voice, and acting reputation resulted in him being recruited to help lend an air of class to an array of big budget sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies. These included 1980’s Flash Gordon, 1982’s Conan the Barbarian, 1993’s Needful Things, 2002’s Steven Spielberg-directed Minority Report, and Martin Scorsese’s 2010 terror tale Shutter Island.

More recently, Sydow was cast as Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and as Three-Eyed Raven on HBO’s Game of Thrones. His performance in the latter would proved memorable for both viewers and his fellow cast members alike. “There are certain lines that you think are almost fillers, lines you don’t think are imperative to any kind of storytelling, like, ‘He’s over there,’” von Sydow’s Game of Thrones costar Isaac Hempstead-Wright told EW in 2016. “But when Max von Sydow says it, it sounds like it’s the most important news you’ve ever heard.”

Joy in the Wilderness

Of course, we know what transpired 4 years ago.

Twyla;
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescat in pace.
Amen.

In 2010 Jim and Twyla Taylor sold their small farm in Missouri, resigned the pastorate of the church where they had been for twenty years, sold most of their possessions, said goodbye to their family and friends, and moved halfway around the world to the nation of Mozambique, Africa.

There, in one of the poorer nations of the world, they began a new life.What would cause someone to leave everything they are familiar with and move from a comfortable life to the challenges of living in the Developing World?

As you follow their journey you will get a glimpse into the experience of making such a decision. You will also see what it is like to build a life in the Third World. And you will share in some of the many adventures they had. From visiting villages that white people had never visited to traveling bush trails and meeting some of the most beautiful people in the world, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at missionary life as it is lived day to day.

It is Jim’s prayer that some of you who have been feeling the urge to “go” will see that stepping out and actually doing it can be the adventure of a lifetime!

Kirk Douglas, renowned actor and father of Michael Douglas, passes away at 103

LOS ANGELES — Kirk Douglas, renowned actor and father of Michael Douglas, with a decorated career spanning more than six decades, died Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 103, TMZ reported.

Kirk Douglas’ health had been in decline. In 1996, he suffered a stroke, but recovered most of his faculties.

TMZ reported Wednesday the last time he was seen enjoying life was in April 2019 when he was “camping” in his grandson’s backyard.