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Storm system heading toward Phoenix area could bring rain overnight

A storm system heading toward the Valley Sunday evening was expected to bring rain overnight, the National Weather Service said.




Pima County Sheriff's Department says missing Tucson man returned home

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department cancel Silver Alert for a missing man last seen in Tucson. He returned home on his own.




Like fishing for trout? Hatchery near Flagstaff is getting a $3.3 million face-lift

Sterling Springs Hatchery is getting overdue renovations by the end of June, but funds aren’t available for five others still in need of upgrades.




Teachers encouraged by early results of Arizona law requiring more recess

In April, Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB 1083 requiring schools provide two recess periods for kindergarten through third grade this school year.




How Cracking Wheat’s Genetic Code Reminds Us Who We Are

This grain’s genome echoes of the strength found in the diversity of God’s people.

Like many kids, I grew up picking wild grasses believing that they were wheat. I would pick one from the yard of my childhood home, believing the harvest I held in my hands could be transformed into food. As I grew up, I quickly learned that the “wheat” in my yard was far from a bountiful harvest and instead was actually weeds and wild grasses.

Yet, my childhood confusion about wheat is, in one sense, understandable. Wheat is a part of the grass family. In Matthew’s telling of the Parable of the Weeds, the “weeds” represent darnel, “a poisonous weed organically related to wheat, and difficulty to distinguish from wheat in the early stages of the growth,” writes New Testament scholar Craig Keener.

In the Bible, wheat is used as a metaphor for the people of God. The scientific study of wheat prompts reflection on how what distinguishes God’s people and how our vast diversity can strengthen us all.

Wheat’s genetic makeup has baffled scientists. But last summer, after 13 years of research, a team of international scientists cracked the wheat’s genome to reveal the baffling, beautiful genetic material that makes wheat, well, wheat.

Essentially, a genome contains all of the genetic knowledge needed to create and sustain an organism.

It would be easy to assume that the wheat genome would be more straightforward to sequence than the human genome. After all, human beings are the crowning achievement of God’s creative work while wheat is a mere plant. However, the wheat genome holds mysteries that offered significant challenges to research scientists who wanted to understand this plant at the most minute level.

The full sequence of the human genome was published in 2003, …

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Emerging Adults and the Church: Is There Really an Exodus?

Are emerging adults are leaving their faith behind? We are hosting a conference to explore this question.

It seems every few weeks a new article makes the rounds on social media heralding the collapse of religion in America. Often central to these pieces is an emphasis on the role of emerging adults, focusing either on their declining church attendance or their rejection of traditional beliefs or practices.

Emerging adulthood describes that phase of life between adolescence and full adulthood as marked by transitions like marriage and kids, settled careers, and owning a home. This life stage covers people ages 18-29 or so.

So what are we to make of the claim? Are emerging adults are leaving their faith behind?


And no.

And maybe.

Let me explain…

Let’s start with yes. There is ample evidence to suggest that many emerging adults are questioning the religious beliefs and practices of their Christian upbringing while still others are leaving church altogether.

According to the Pew Religious Landscape study published in 2015, younger emerging adults (18-24), identify as nones at a 36 percent rate compared to only 25 percent in 2007. Just last month, LifeWay Research reported that “two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.”

While many return, Kara Powell in Growing Young estimated the long-term loss at around 50 percent of those who initially left. Attempts to explain this exodus vary and often include descriptors of emerging adult spirituality like “Spiritual by not Religious” to characterize those who still value spirituality but have rejected religious organizations or doctrines as ways of pursuing their spiritual interests.

Turning to the …

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Photos: Fish hatcheries near Flagstaff

Take a look at Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Sterling Springs hatchery near Flagstaff.




Flooding damages Yavapai County homes, forces evacuations

Heavy rains brought flooding and damage to several Yavapai County communities on Thursday night, authorities said.




I Fled My Country, But Not My Marriage

Though extremists separated me from my husband years ago, I know who holds us together.

Two years ago this Valentine’s Day, I arrived in the United States after fleeing persecution in Pakistan. When I describe my journey, I often tell people it was like a journey from hell to heaven. I really do love it here.

But the holiday where Americans around me celebrate romantic love is bittersweet. Although I have been married to my husband for seven years, we have only been in the same country for one Valentine’s Day. He has not yet made his journey “from hell to heaven.”

Shortly after we married in Pakistan—a marriage arranged by my parents, who were thrilled that he was Christian, well educated, and taller than I am—my husband started a website to tell the stories of persecuted Pakistani Christians. Soon after the website launched, we were in danger.

We set out to flee, but my husband was captured by extremists. I continued with my plan to escape Pakistan, thinking my husband had been killed. I knelt in church every day praying for his safety, even though the evidence told me it was futile.

Only later, after I had left the country, did I learn that he had been tortured and left for dead. A passerby found him and saved his life, but the opportunity for him to come with me had passed, and he had to wait for another chance. By that time, my application for refuge in the US was already in process, and our separation was in the hands of systems larger than us. We never wanted to be apart, but now we had little choice.

Our marriage has crossed continents and oceans, and even though many people think I’m crazy for staying in it, I have never considered getting out. Distance doesn’t matter if the roots are strong. I can bear the pain and uncertainty of physical separation far better …

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Who’s Searching for ‘Love’ Online? Bible Readers

The fruit of the Spirit is No. 1 at Bible Gateway—in both English and Spanish queries.

Of the 920 million readers who visited the world’s top Bible website last year, most are literally searching for love more than anything else.

Only 3 of the other 9 fruits of the Spirit joined love among Bible Gateway’s top searches of 2018: peace (No. 2), faith (No. 3), and joy (No. 4). The pattern holds true in Spanish-language searches, though gozo (joy) ranks 12 slots lower [full lists below].

Love has been the most popular topic at Bible Gateway, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year by reaching more than 14 billion views, ever since the site’s inception in 1993. Such searches perennially spike on Valentine’s Day.

“This may be the time of year that we talk most loudly about love, but [our] usage statistics show us that we long to understand and experience love throughout the year,” stated Andy Rau, Bible Gateway’s then-senior manager for content, in a 2017 post.

In 2014, when the site first offered more detailed stats, CT reported how “the word never fell out of the top 10 searches, and was the top searched word more than 200 days of the year.”

In contrast, searches for lust only came close to love on one day: September 30, 2015.

Overall, searches for heart, pray, and spirit rose the most from 2016 to 2018. All rose in rank by double digits. (CT analyzed the top 2018 verses of Bible Gateway vs. YouVersion in December.)

Among CT’s coverage of Valentine’s Day, last year—on the first VaLENTine’s Day since WWII—CT noted how Twitter suggested chocolate and alcohol would be absent from many dates, while Tish Harrison Warren reflected on God’s message on “Ash Valentine’s Day.”

Bible Gateway’s top 25 topic searches …

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