Online Dating After 50: Where to Go on Your First Date.

    Coffee Shop First Dates.


    Why Coffee Shops Are Your Best Bet.

     We know what you’re thinking: “I like this person, but they might be a serial killer! I like this person, but what if they don’t look like their profile picture? I like this person, but why are they online dating in the first place?!”

     Well, our dear readers, let us help you at least choose the right place to meet in person for the first time. As our subtitle suggests, we are indeed coffee shop fans. We are strong believers that most (if not all) first dates should be at coffee shops, especially if you’re looking for love after 50. If you’re not already a first date coffee shop devotee, let us try to convince you:

     (We also hope that our reasons why will pacify or even erase a lot of your first date concerns. He or she is probably not an axe murderer with a clown fetish.)


    1. Coffee shops don’t come with a fixed timeline.

     Unlike restaurants or going to the movies, a coffee shop first date can end at any time. Both parties can equally decide the length of the date based on how they ‘feel’ about each other. In plain(er) words, you can cut the date short if you don’t like them. Just make sure to be polite and REALISTIC when you do it, i.e. family emergencies don’t happen that frequently.


    2. You can actually talk without almost any distractions at coffee shops.

     The main point of a first date is to get to know each other and a coffee shop setting is beyond apropos. Every other first date location is too noisy, crowded, bad service and/or not neutral enough. A first date location more than anything needs to be a conversation starter–literally!


    3. Bars equal sex and casual dating.

     If you’re looking for a serious relationship, try to avoid bars on your first date. Bars directly and indirectly ooze sexual tension. They have it everywhere: dimly lit, music in the background, sweaty furniture, games with balls and sticks, hot bartenders and…oh yeah, alcohol! We are not saying bars have never produced a serious relationship, but why drown yourself in so many slippery distractions? Again, first dates are about getting to know each other.


    4. Who doesn’t like coffee?!

     Calm down, tea lovers. We are joking. Our last point is a sober one: Coffee shop first dates are safe. Online dating–in general–is safe. However, like anything in life, proper precautions help. That’s why selecting a public, familiar place in the daytime is your best bet.

     You’ll be surprised how fruitful your first dates will become when your easygoing chaperones are your favorite neighborhood coffee shops.



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    Trump’s Tweets Reveal His Folly – and Ours.


    I still remember the time I angrily stood up for myself in a TV newsroom in Chicago. I was in my twenties at the time and working as a news-writer. And a reporter with a reputation for being incompetent had blamed me for an error in her report. I wasn’t responsible for the error; she was – and she knew it. But it was her modus operandi to blame others, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard her complaining about me to the news director.

     I had had enough. I walked across the newsroom and confronted her publicly. She angrily retorted and then so did I. After making my case, I returned to my seat, expecting to feel vindicated and relieved. Instead, I felt ashamed.

     Everyone in that newsroom knew I was a Christian. And given her bad reputation, everyone also knew to disregard anything this reporter said. I hadn’t put her in her place, I had simply stooped to her level and damaged my witness. I still remember the shocked look on several of my colleagues’ faces. Though they didn’t say anything, I knew I had just sunk a few degrees in their estimation.

     “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” — Proverbs 26:4

     Though that encounter occurred more than 25 years ago, it still makes me blush. Proverbs 26:4 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” I had failed to heed that advice, and as a result, had made a fool of myself.

     I couldn’t help but think of that experience when considering the Twitter war raging between members of the media and President Trump. As usual, the media are acting like fools – and as usual, Trump is responding in kind or worse, showing himself to be an equal or even greater fool.

     But what’s particularly disconcerting is the way even Christians are not only excusing, but cheering Trump’s reprehensible behavior. Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University and a Trump supporter, said Sunday during an interview on Fox: “It’s incredible to watch how (the Left) still haven’t gotten over how Donald Trump won and when he hits them back on Twitter, I actually appreciate that. We’re finally getting back to a bold leader who’s willing to speak his mind.”

     What’s particularly disconcerting is the way even Christians are not only excusing, but cheering Trump’s reprehensible behavior.

     Someone on my Facebook page even compared Trump to Jesus. “Jesus, while a great loving teacher, also ha[d] some pretty harsh thing[s] to say to people who were in rebellion to God’s authority,” she wrote. “He called them hypocrites, fools, blind people, blind guides, whitewashed tombs, lawless, of their father the devil and liars. Are Trump’s harsh words, the expressions of a strong masculine leader, any more harsh than the words of Jesus . . . ?”

     Another wrote, “It’s way way way way way past TIME that someone stand up to CNN. I support the president 100%. We NEED someone to stand up to MSM. . . . In fact I wish someone would barge in and turn over some tables!!!!”

     I understand why Trump supporters are angry. The amount of hatred spewed by members of the press and celebrities towards President Trump tops anything I have ever seen. I can’t fathom a Hollywood celebrity doing a photo shoot of a bloodied, severed head of any of Trump’s predecessors, yet Trump has been subjected to that, and a steady barrage of insults and offensive jokes ever since his inauguration. About a week ago, three CNN journalists actually resigned after admitting they violated protocol and rushed to publish a report damaging to the Trump administration on the shoddy basis of just one anonymous source.

     Trump has a right to be angry. He has a right to call out this miserable behavior on the part of his detractors and to implore them to stop. But insulting peoples’ intelligence or trying to humiliate them by highlighting that they’ve had plastic surgery is not “bold,” “masculine,” or Christ-like. It’s mean and childish. Yet that’s precisely the level to which Trump stooped, tweeting Thursday about MSNBC “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski:

     “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..”

     “…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

     Then, when confronted for his un-Presidential behavior, Trump tweeted:

     “My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”

     I have always believed, as many have famously quoted, “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” As Christians, I thought we understood that. Apparently not.

     During the presidential campaign, Pastor Robert Jeffress, a high-profile evangelical and Trump supporter, actually said he doesn’t want a president who “embodies the teaching of Jesus.” Instead, he said, “When I’m looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS, and exterminate ISIS, I don’t care about that candidate’s tone or vocabulary, I want the meanest, toughest, son of a you-know-what I can find—and I believe that’s biblical.”

     That’s stunning. In other words, Jeffress believes Jesus isn’t fit to be president! To be a good president, one has to be mean and cruel – a little less Jesus and a little more Vladimir Putin. That’s not biblical; it’s diabolical.

     As Christians, we believe Jesus will someday rule the world. He is the epitome of what a leader – political or otherwise – should look like. And we should call our leaders, especially ones who claim to be Christians, to conform to Jesus, not excuse them when they don’t.

     We should call our leaders, especially ones who claim to be Christians, to conform to Jesus, not excuse them when they don’t.

     Jesus taught that greatness is inextricably tied goodness. He said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Greatness is not won by brutish domination; it is won by laying one’s life down for the good of another. This doesn’t mean one has to be a doormat. But it means that good leaders sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. They don’t seek their own good — or lash out merely because someone insulted them; they seek the common good.

     Similarly, masculinity is not the cowardly, thin-skinned, male bravado embodied by Trump. It is the strong, yet principled defense of the weak and the vulnerable Jesus epitomized. Jesus expressed anger at the money changers because they were extorting money from God’s people. He overturned tables in the temple because evil men had turned His father’s house into “a den of thieves.” He didn’t demean human beings; He confronted their sin and called them to repentance.

     At the same time, Jesus ignored insults. When hanging on the cross, He was silent as passers-by hurled insults at Him. He ignored fools and refused to stoop to their level. He kept His eyes focused on the prize and tuned out distractions.

     That’s precisely what President Trump needs to do too. He needs to follow the example of Christ, and Christian leaders need to hold him accountable when he doesn’t. What Trump is doing is not making us greater; it is making us lesser. We aspire to be the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” but if we condone and imitate Trump’s behavior, we will quickly devolve into a nation of fools. (Posted in U.S. Politics by Julie Roys).



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    The Hidden Traps of Wicca.


     Before 16-year-old Rebecca lights candles on the small altar in her bedroom each night, she says her prayers: "Hail, fair Moon, ruler of the night, guard me and mine until the light. Hail fair Sun, ruler of the day, make the morn to light my way." On her altar are four porcelain chalices representing the elements — air, water, fire and earth. Each contains rose petals, semi-precious stones, melted candle wax and dried leaves. They rest on the corners of a five-pointed star. A frog symbolizing "spirit" and "life" sits on point five of the pentagram. Here, in front of her altar, Rebecca performs rituals and casts spells.

     Rebecca is one of the growing number of teenage girls who practice Wicca. For the past half-century, this religion has been growing by leaps and bounds in Europe and North America. Drive to the mall and you'll see cars with bumper stickers declaring, "The goddess is alive. Magic is afoot!" Flip on the tube or go to the movies and you'll find witches portrayed as young, powerful and glamorous. From "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to The Craft, something is definitely "afoot" in American culture.


    Wicca Goes Mainstream.

     For many reasons, including the positive attention they're getting in entertainment, paganism, goddess worship and witchcraft have a new crop of devoted followers. The book Teen Witch: Wicca for a New Generation has sold more copies for occult publisher Llewellyn than any other in its 95-year history. Also, the Christian-based Spiritual Counterfeits Project hotline in Berkeley, California, reports receiving more inquiries about Wicca in recent years than any other religion. The callers are nearly all teenage girls.

     It's hard to deny that Wicca and other similar practices are exploding in popularity. Possibly you've experimented with these religions yourself. Or maybe you have friends who call themselves Wiccans. Whatever the reason for your curiosity, this article will help you discover the truth about Wicca, what its followers believe, why it's so appealing and how it's at odds with God's Word.


    What Is Wicca?

     Wicca is a complex religion that is often associated with witchcraft, occultism and neo-paganism. The way these words overlap can get confusing, so let's dive into the dictionary.

     Wicca: From the Anglo-Saxon word wicce. It means to bend or shape nature to your service.

     Witchcraft: The practice of magic or sorcery by anyone outside the religious mainstream of a society. This term is used in different ways in different times and places.1

     Occultism: Belief in practices such as astrology, alchemy, divination and magic that are based on "hidden knowledge" about the universe and its mysterious forces. Occultists try to tap into this unseen knowledge to bring about whatever effects they desire.2

     Neo-Paganism: The recent revival of ancient polytheistic European and Middle-Eastern religions. Neo-paganism is a loosely defined system of worshiping nature and the gods of nature.

     These terms may seem as clear as mud. Since different people use them to mean different things, it can be hard to keep them straight. What's important to notice are the common themes of worshiping nature and using spiritual forces to get results. Most anyone who calls himself or herself a Wiccan, goddess worshiper or witch practices these things. Another important thing to remember is that Wicca is not the same as Satanism. In fact, most witches don't believe in Satan at all.

     In addition, Wiccans live by one central rule called The Rede, which says, "Harm no one, do what you will." In other words, witches are free to do whatever seems right to them as long as they avoid harming others. A closely related rule is the Threefold Law, which instructs that "anything you do will come back to you three times over."


    Other Wiccan Beliefs.


      • Wiccans worship "the mother goddess" and her companion "the horned god." They say both of these deities manifest themselves in nature. For instance, Rebecca's prayer acknowledged the sun as the female goddess and the moon as the god. You may also have heard the goddess referred to as Mother Nature. Wiccans believe that the goddess is in everything — in rocks and in trees, the earth and the sky.


      • Sometimes, the goddess is represented by specific female deities such as the ancient Greek goddesses Artemis (the goddess of the wilderness) or Gaia (the goddess of the Earth), who was celebrated in the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Some Wiccans even claim that the goddess is Mary, the mother of Jesus. The horned god is often represented by the lusty Greek god Pan or the Egyptian god of the dead, Osiris.


      • Most Wiccans celebrate eight holidays or "sabbats" centered on the solar cycles and "esbats" centered on the lunar cycles. These celebrations are supposedly times of heightened interaction between the natural and supernatural worlds.3


      • Magic and spell-casting are an integral part of Wicca. Wiccans say that spells are symbolic acts performed in an altered state of consciousness in order to cause a desired change. There are spells to overcome loneliness, to attract money, to bring inner power and to bind an enemy, among others. Witches acknowledge that spells can be used to do good or harm.


      • Wicca has no central book (like the Bible) that spells out its beliefs, so witches practice their religion in different ways. Some witches meet in groups called covens or circles, while others practice alone.4



    Bewitched Teens.

     We've already mentioned "Buffy" and The Craft, and then there are "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Charmed" and Practical Magic. Why are movies, television and magazines so obsessed with Wicca and witchcraft? And why are teens, especially girls, so enthusiastic about picking up the trend? Here are a few factors that might help explain this phenomenon:


      • Girl Power: According to its own myths, Wicca began more than 35,000 years ago within earth's very first civilization. In this culture, women ruled. Life was peaceful and prosperous, and people worshiped nature and the goddess. The serene existence was supposedly shattered when male warriors invaded the nurturing female-led communities.5 Wiccans say that throughout history, they have been fighting to overcome the oppression of a male-ruled society. Today, Wiccans claim there is a goddess revival. They say women are reclaiming their power after living under male domination for too long. They call for women to usher in a new era of peace by throwing off the "shackles" of "male-dominated monotheistic religions" such as Christianity and follow the goddess again in all her forms. It's easy to see why this myth has huge feminist appeal.


      • Just Plain Power: The thought of being able to control spiritual forces sounds pretty good to many teens who otherwise might feel powerless. Wiccans boast that their religion gives even young witches a great deal of control. Also, the secrecy of rituals may provide a sense of power.6


      • Saving the Earth: Teens who have grown up hearing news about the rapid destruction of the environment are likely to feel compelled to do something to help stop it. Wicca seems to provide an opportunity to treat nature with great care and reverence.


      • Having It My Way: Wicca has no set rules or absolute standards. Think back to The Rede, which tells followers to "do what you will." In Wicca, each individual gets to decide on his or her own rules. As one Wiccan high priestess notes, "Within the circle there are no absolutes — no rights and wrongs."7 Since most teens don't believe in truth or absolute moral standards, Wicca can appear to be the perfect mix 'n' match religion.


     Unfortunately, though these things may sound good, they're deceptions that lead followers down a path to destruction.


    In Over My Head: A Former Wiccan Tells Her Story.


    Kathy was raised in the church but rejected its teaching in her teens. She lived in Salem, Mass., a place with a history of witchcraft and many practicing Wiccans. "I was always kind of artsy, different and non-conformist," she says, "Wicca attracted my interest because it appealed to those facets of my personality. It was certainly non-conformist, and I liked the mystery surrounding it." So Kathy found a Wiccan high priestess who took her under her wing and taught her how to be a witch. "She told me it was all white magic, and that's all I was interested in."

     But after a few years, things turned sour. "The more I learned, the more things started to spiral downward, deeper and deeper into darkness and black magic. I became very good at what I was being taught. My teacher never acknowledged Satan but did say there was something called 'the abyss' that we should avoid."

     For Kathy, however, that proved to be difficult. "One hot summer night I was lying awake in my bedroom when all of a sudden the room became very cold. I started to shiver and broke out into a cold sweat, although it was the height of summer. A cold wind blew in through my windows, startling me. Now I was terrified. I hugged my knees to my chest and gasped as a legion of what can only be described as black demons encircled my head, all laughing at me. I started screaming out my Wiccan spells to rebuke them, hoping they would disappear. That only made things worse. The laughter escalated with each spell I tried.

     "Then all of a sudden I remembered my days in Sunday school as a child and the teachings of Jesus. I hadn't thought about that in a long time. In a loud voice I called upon Jesus Christ to rid the room of this dark presence. Instantly they were gone, and my bedroom was once again calm and warm. My life was never the same after that."

     The next day on the way to school Kathy told herself, You have some serious personal inventory to do. She walked into a church that afternoon and has never looked back. Kathy is a Christian now and warns women who think Wicca is harmless. "A lot of women think that by practicing Wicca, worshiping this so-called goddess, that they are celebrating their womanhood. I am here to tell them there is a lot more to it than that. Lots of them haven't had the experiences I have. But they can and will if they stick with it. It's like the warning on a pack of cigarettes: 'Wicca is dangerous and could be hazardous to your health.'"


    What Does God Think About Witchcraft?

     Since you're reading this article, you're probably curious about how Wicca measures up to the Bible. Can you be a Christian and dabble in Wicca? What does God have to say about magic and the supernatural world? Keep reading!


    The spiritual world is real, and so is Satan.

     One thing Wiccans have right is that there is a supernatural world that interacts constantly with the world we see, touch and smell. Unfortunately, they believe it's okay for humans to interact with spirits and spiritual forces any way we choose. To the contrary, the apostle Paul writes that the spiritual realm is potentially dangerous. Therefore, we need to treat it the way God tells us to and be prepared for spiritual battles of good versus evil.

     The Bible says:

     For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

     Many Wiccans say that Wicca is harmless and nature-loving — that it has nothing to do with evil, Satanism and dark forces. But that is exactly what Satan wants them to believe! Intent on deceit, "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light," says Paul. "It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness." Paul says that if they don't turn toward God and repent, "their end will be what their actions deserve" (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).


    We should worship God, not His creation.

     Wiccans are also right to care for and appreciate nature. But they go too far when they start worshiping it. Jesus tells His followers in the Gospel of Luke, "Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only" (Luke 4:8). Creation is merely a reflection of His glory and is not to be worshiped.

     The Bible says:

     For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.… They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:21-23, 25)


    Don't try to contact or control supernatural forces.

     Magic and spells depend on what Wiccans call a psychic link. Psychic development can involve training in divination — the attempt to obtain information about the past, present or future by occult means or one's own psychic abilities.8 The Bible is very clear that divination and any other form of supernatural contact (other than prayer, of course!) is forbidden, since it relies on a supernatural power apart from God. In other words, there is no such thing as "white magic."

     The Bible says:

     Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

     Do not practice divination or sorcery. (Leviticus 19:26)


    Jesus is the Source of real girl power.

     Many Wiccans are critical of the church's view of women. They claim that Christianity does not empower women, whereas Wicca does. While it's true that some Christians have distorted God's Word and not honored women, the Bible says that men and women are equally important in the eyes of God.

     The Bible says:

     So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

     Because God places a high value on women as bearers of His image, Christianity honors women in a way that's unique. That's why women were often with Jesus during His ministry. And in John 4 we see Jesus treating a Samaritan woman with utmost respect, even though men weren't supposed to talk to women, and Samaritans were considered outcasts in Jewish society.


    We don't need to make up our own rules.

     In Wicca, each follower is told to do as she wills. Their only standard is that no one should do harm. In other words, there is no absolute truth. But this presents several problems. First, how can one be sure that no harm is being done? Is there any way to know all the consequences of an action? No! And aren't personal feelings a wishy-washy method of determining right and wrong? After all, Alex Sanders, a well-known Wiccan who died in the 1980s, wrote, "A thing is good for me until I feel it is not right for me." Another witch named Stewart Farrar elaborated, "The witch's own conscience must be the final arbiter."9 What if a witch one day feels that incest or murder is the right thing to do? Is there anything to stop him? Even though most Wiccans would say that these things are wrong, they have no firm basis for saying so.

     Christianity, on the other hand, provides a powerful authority for denouncing racism, crime or any other moral wrong: God's holy character and His Word, the Bible.

     The Bible says:

     All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

     Wiccans do not believe in sin as Christians do. They see sin as an outdated, constraining concept. Therefore, they see no need for God. Wiccan high priestess Starhawk says, "We can now open new eyes and see there is nothing to be saved from, no struggle of life against the universe, no God outside the world, to be feared and obeyed."10 Through spiritual self-improvement, Wiccans hope to reach their equivalent of heaven, called the Summerland or the Land of Eternal Youth.

     On the other hand, the Bible tells us that no amount of good work can earn us eternal life. Through Christ alone we are saved.

     The Bible says:

     "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." ( Jesus in John 14:6)


    It's Your Choice

     God has made it clear that Wicca is dangerous and incompatible with Christianity. He made His creation for us to enjoy as a reflection of His character, but not to be worshiped instead of Him. Wicca may seem attractive, magical and different, but it does not give eternal life and a relationship with the God of the universe. If you choose Wicca, you cannot choose God as well, because He will not tolerate worship of anything but Himself. He is perfect and holy. Study God's Word and you will find that a life centered on the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us on the Cross is better than anything we could ever find here on earth. (By Catherine Sanders).



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