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2000px-PyeongChang_2018_Winter_Olympics.svgThe Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have been captivating audiences across the world. This week has been filled with incredible wins, crazy upsets and stories of inspiration. Here are some of the top moments from the second week of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

USA’s Overtime Hockey Win

The U.S. women’s hockey team owns Olympic gold for the first time in 20 years, after breaking Canada’s remarkable streak of success. The only previous U.S. win had come in the tournament’s first year, in 1998. Regulation time had ended with a 2-2 tie, and when a 20-minute overtime didn’t produce a sudden-death goal, a penalty shootout also ended in a 2-2 tie. That sent it to a sudden-death shootout to decide who would wear gold.

Mikaela Shiffrin Brings Home the Silver

For her second medal of the Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin took home the silver in a downhill skiing event. She beat out Lindsey Vonn, who is considered one of the best skiers in the U.S. Vonn struggled during her run, as she missed a gate midway down the course and did not finish her race. More than likely, that was Vonn’s last time ever competing in the Olympics.

USA Places Ninth in Women’s Figure Skating

According to The Associated Press, the U.S. women’s figure skating team finished off it’s worst showing in the modern-era Olympics. Overall results have been disastrous for the team, and USA Today said it was the worst performance by U.S. women ever in the short program, which began in 1976. The U.S. men did not fare much better in their individual event, failing to bring home a medal.

Upset in Men’s Curling

The U.S. men’s curling team took home the gold medal after an upset against Canada in a semifinal match. Canada was the defending three time back to back Olympic gold medalists and reigning world champions. Led by John Shuster, the Americans will be making their first appearance in the gold medal game early on Saturday.

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The anger between the sexes has continued to grow as the #MeToo movement sweeps through pop culture, sports, business and the media worlds. A high rate of famous actors and politicians have been accused of misconduct over the last few months, bringing the conversation into the spotlight.

Women who support the #MeToo movement say they are becoming empowered by coming out with their stories or sexual harassment, and pressure and intimidation by men. Men, however, are saying many of these stories are exaggerated or not true at all, and run the risk of casting the entire male population as predators. Some believe the solution begins by eliminating the lines between the sexes, and say that the idea of dividing humanity into male and female is outdated.

However Dona Lee Howell, author of a new book called “The Handmaidens Conspiracy,” says we would not be in this crisis between the genders if the church had taken seriously the teaching of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. These teachings were truly radical at the time in terms of the role of women in society. Howell says she has found answers in the Bible to these pressing questions.

Howell sees the way modern feminist movement is completely different from the Biblical empowerment of women. She says the idea of feminism today requires women to put men beneath them and spread the word that men are less-than. This cancels out the idea of true equality, and veers off from what scripture truly states.

Howell spoke in an interview about the #MeToo movement and how we could use the Bible to understand it. Universally, Howell states that women have come a long way in terms of political and social freedom in the secular world, but acknowledges that women still face hierarchical oppression behind the pulpit of the church. While many women can now feel empowered to stand up and preach, they are still given quiet a fight. Howell continued to say “I personally preach one sermon and have to be confronted by two or three men in social media who claim I am going against God.”

“Very few consider how many women Paul openly and unabashedly identified as leaders of the early church. And oftentimes those women who decide to preach despite the opposition are labeled a Jezebel.”

Howell says the concept of female empowerment starts all the way at the beginning, in the book of Genesis where Adam and Eve were created equally. Then, Eve sinned first, Adam also knowingly sinned, but ever since then, patriarchal traditions have taught us that women are easily deceived and therefore don’t belong in leadership. This idea prevalled throughout years of Jewish culture, so that by the time Christ came into the world the traditions and teachings of God were already skewed. The belief that women were less-than continued to thrive despite never being Biblical to begin with.

“Paul did write in first Corinthians that women should remain silent, and he wrote in first Timothy that women are not to teach or usurp the authority of a man, but he also wrote that women are not allowed to attend church with their hair in braids [1 Timothy 2:9]. Everyone in today’s Church says, ‘Well, Paul wasn’t talking about a braid, he was talking about humility,” which is true, but they will not allow proper context to be considered in the other two trouble verses in the same way they do for the verse regarding braids. And why not? Because we still see ‘tradition’ overpowering proper scriptural interpretation methods.”

Paul wasn’t the only one in the Bible that spoke on women. Jesus had some pretty clear points as well.

“As far as how Christ viewed women preachers, teachers, and ministers, I think the evidence is clear when He turned that woman at the well in Samaria into a preacher and then stayed in her city for several days watching her minister. That wasn’t an accident. He could have ran around after her, reminding her that she should leave the preaching and teaching to the men, but He simply observed her at work and then endorsed the revival she led by interacting with her responders…Jesus stood for equality for women, and He also respected the gender roles assigned at creation.”

You can read the full interview with Howell on SkyWatch Editor.

2015_Grand_Prix_of_Figure_Skating_Final_Alexa_Scimeca_Chris_Knierim_IMG_8490In Pyeonchang, figure skaters Chris and Alexa Kneirim glided across the ice in what a television commentator called a “miracle performance.” Two years previously, Chris Kneirim had to hold his wife steady because his wife, Alexa, was unable to stand without assistance. Alexa suffered from a rare, life-threatening gastrointestinal condition in 2016. Alexa spent much of the night before her wedding vomiting. During the worst of her condition, she would spend 10 to 12 hours every few days vomiting. In addition, she suffered from debilitating pain and struggled to eat, drink or sleep.  Her weight fell to just over 80 pounds and she lost control of all her muscles and body mechanics. It took the Kneirims 10 doctors and countless emergency room visits to finally get a correct diagnosis for Alexa. Once the disease had a name, Alexa faced down the operating room. She had two surgeries in August 2016 and a third in November 2016.

Given Alexa’s condition, no one expected the pair to return to the ice. Instead, Alexa began training again just three months after her final surgery. Part of what gave her the strength to put her skates back on was her faith. “When my body was at my weakest,” she said. “My faith was at its strongest.”

Alexa made her way back to her old performing strength. Two years after her diagnosis, the Kneirims went to Pyeonchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics where they helped Team USA take home the bronze medal. Given their past, the bronze is deeply important to the skating pair. “This competition’s very meaningful for us,” Alexa said. “We’ve kind of been lacking the joy and lightheartedness of life for about two years now, from all the struggles we’ve been through, so being here together, Chris and I are kind of enjoying it.” As for their skate itself, the bronze would normally be a bit of a letdown for the only U.S. pair to ever break the 200 point barrier. Given the circumstances, however, both Kneirims are thrilled to simply be competing. “Today wasn’t a brilliant skate by any means, but we’re just so happy to be here,” Alexa said. “We’ve already won by being able to stop on the ice.”

Both Kneirims agreed that their faith helped them deal with Alexa’s health struggles and get back to the sport they love. “[My faith is] the reason I was able to get back on the ice,” Alexa said. “I stopped worrying and stopped trying to control life, because I couldn’t. In the moment, you know, I was so sick and didn’t really know where things were going to go for me, whether it was skating or life in general. So I finally just threw my hands up and said like, ‘You lead the way,’ and it’s my testimony and I stay true to it.”

Alexa also sees the Olympics as an opportunity to “glorify God.” “Even here at the Games, it’s no longer about me,” she said. “I have fans out there who know that I am a true believer in the Lord and I’m trying my best to shine His light and let people know that it’s okay to promote Him and do things for Him, because in the Christian life that’s kind of what we’re supposed to.”

The Pyeonchang Olympics will continue through the end of the week with the closing ceremonies taking place on Sunday.

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The hit-movie “All Saints” has lifted the hearts of Christians everywhere, reminding us that God has the power to do so much.

“All Saints” follows the true story of the salesman turned pastor Michael Spulock (played by John Corbett) whose first assignment is to close down a small church. The church had dwindling membership and an astronomical mortgage it could no longer pay. The land is set to become a big-box store.

However Spulock allows the church to welcome in refugees from Southeast Asia, and takes on a new mission. Nelson Lee plays Ye Win, an ethnically Karen man from Burma, a refugee from brutal civil war, who has just arrived with a group of families in the United States. Lacking support and resources, he turns up at All Saints’ church. When the needy Karen land on his doorstep, Michael decides that he speaks to a higher power than money — and that God has instructed him to plant a farm on the church land to feed the Karen people and pay the mortgage. Along with the Burma refugees, the pastor works to plant seeds to help save the tiny church.

The film focuses on community and how God helped bring a group of people together. The actors and producers of the film talked about the true story behind “All Saints” and the great things it led to. The film was shot on location at the real All Saints’ Church in Smyrna, Tenn., and many members of the church play themselves on-screen.

You can now buy “All Saints” on Blue-ray and DVD. Watch the official trailer below.