Thinking Out Loud

March 5, 2016

Weekend Link List

The Bible and Rockets to the MoonSee our essay of the week re. this book!

Welcome. #26 in a continuing series.

God has filed for divorce from the Republican Party. Click image for story.

God has filed for divorce from the Republican Party. Click image for story.

December 17, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Alien Mormons

The two Mormon missionaries in artist Brook Robertson’s piece “Zion / Rocky Mountain Alliance” look determined. The figures are both wearing crisp white shirts and ties, resolutely staring forward as their vehicle heads towards it destination. Such a statue normally wouldn’t be out of place in Salt Lake City — the worldwide headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Except for the fact that the vessel is a spaceship. And one of the missionaries has the bright blue skin of a sharply-dressed alien. CLICK the image to read the full story at Huffington Post.

 

Time to catch up what’s been happening in Linkland. First, the Friday PARSE column from last week:

  • Not Home for the Holidays – A woman in ministry writes her mom, “You didn’t sign up for this strange and wonderful life your daughter has chosen. You have not made any vows to the church. We young clergy women know that it isn’t always fair how our pastoral vocations impact our loved ones, from missing holidays with our extended families to spending too many evenings away from our kids to seldom being able to go away for the weekend with our spouses… Broadway stars have to work Friday and Saturday nights, tax preparers have to work long hours in March and April, pyrotechnicians have to work on Independence Day, and pastors have to work on Christmas and Easter.”
  • Churches Losing Career Women – We frequently encounter articles about the church losing the male demographic, or losing youth, but this one offers an entirely fresh perspective. Why are working women disconnecting? The article is a mix of stats, theory and practical concerns. “‘The existing programs for women don’t align with my work schedule or my needs.’ – We often hear professional women in the church say they would rather go to the men’s 6:30 a.m. group events because of scheduling and content, but can you imagine if they went strolling into one? …[T]he women’s events are scheduled during the workday or at other times that a busy working woman who is putting in 40+ hours at work plus running a home plus often mothering children and getting them to school, arts and athletics, etc. just can’t make it.” This makes a good discussion starter for church leaders.
  • Twenty for 2015  – Tony Morgan’s ideas and opinions do you make you think: “#6 Once a church gets beyond a few hundred people, it’s really dysfunctional for boards and committees to be involved in day-to-day decision-making around purchases, facility maintenance and staffing issues… #9 Every church should be actively planning to add a service, add a campus or plant a church…  #12 Shared leadership doesn’t work. When all the leaders are equal, no one is leading…#18 Every church should do a marriage series, a money series and a series on life purpose every year…” In total, twenty, some of which he admits are politically incorrect.
  • The Recognition and Function of Spiritual Gifts – A look at common misconceptions and questions raised by the topic of unique, individual talents: “A few believers have not fully appreciated, or embraced, their gifts because they were ones that did not appear to require some mysterious spin to its explanation. So they did not think very highly of those as spiritual gifts. So then, we tend to see how a vibrant biblical teacher could have a spiritual gift but not a skilled church administrator… So, what happens when we are outside of the walls of the church? … One who is blessed with wise counsel or sympathy does not automatically become unsympathetic or full of foolish advice when they are, say, with a colleague at workplace instead of at church.”  Responding to a variety of questions people will ask.
  • Crossing Theological Categories – Samuel James has been blogging on the Evangelical channel of Patheos for just a few days past one year. He’s been flooded with readers on a recent piece on Rob Bell, who he notes is a product of the Emergent movement but now espouses a teaching that is perhaps more in line with Pentecostalism, “which, of course, ends up making sense, since that’s exactly the kind of preaching that Oprah Winfrey seems partial to.” He observes, “Bell has now become the very thing he once decried;” and suggests something important regarding the people of Mars Hill Grand Rapids, Bell’s former church, “I feel a measure of sadness for those people; they have to feel a bit betrayed right now.” With all the attention given this, don’t miss James’ analysis in defending Dr. Russell Moore.
  • When the Translators Finish, Everyone Gets a Book, Right? – Growing up in a missions saturated church, I always thought that a printed Bible was the end product of every translation project. But orality, not literacy, is the norm in nearly half of the world. The problem is that traditionally, tech solutions involved moving parts that rusted quickly in many parts of the world, and batteries which wore out. Today, the face of Bible distribution involves unsung organizations such as Galcom and Megavoice using microchip content and solar powered devices to relay Bible content in dialects most of us have never heard of.  This video isn’t new, but gives the backstory.
  • Should Religious Scholars Be Tackling Climate Change? – Last week the New York Times reported that the American Academy of Religion (AAR) would be taking a sabbatical from its annual meeting every seventh year in the interest of saving the planet. One writer disagrees with this emphasis: “The real problem is that [AAR President] Zoloth has been drawn in by the challenge of her scientist colleagues at Northwestern, who apparently asked what the study of religion was doing about climate change… Must every discipline have some significant contribution to make to every social problem we face? Maybe, as an academic discipline we ought to show a little more humility. As much as we find it irresistible to pontificate, maybe there are times when a particular academic discipline needs to get out of the way and let those better placed get on with the work.”
  • Not Everyone Shares The Spirit of the Season – “As the spirit of generosity increases in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so do break-ins and thefts. Churches are not immune from the threat. In fact they may be easy targets during the holidays… ‘The major problem with a lot of churches is not that they do not recognize the need for security,’ [security expert Jerry] Turpen said. ‘They either procrastinate or they develop the attitude of ‘this won’t happen at our church.’ Churches must decide if it’s worth the risk not to take the threat seriously.'”
  • Bonus Link: Although the original story is two years old, making the rounds again is the marginal notes — complaints is a better word — that monks wrote in the margins of manuscripts they were copying.

Next, we have what’s appearing on PARSE today:

  • Having Church with Buffalo Wings – First it was movie theaters, now it’s restaurant chains. “When Riverchase United Methodist Church announced they would hold church services in a local Buffalo Wild Wings, they probably hoped to make a splash in the city of Hoover. I doubt they knew the move would inspire a top ten list on David Letterman…Christians need to abandon the idea of holy buildings and holy sites. Our church buildings are not the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament temple. Jesus is… We meet with God not in a physical building, but through Jesus who gave his life for us.”  A concise look at a breaking story.
  • Your Church’s Story, and the Surrounding Community Story – “From mega churches to house churches to traditional churches to community churches, the diversity in expression for the people of God in cities is vast. Yet amidst all the diversity, there is one commonality among North American urban churches: they all exist within a changing religious culture. Whether a church chooses to adapt, engage, withdraw or reject such change, they can’t deny that the church’s role in culture is in fact changing.” A short look at two churches in Vancouver, Canada that find the larger community around them undergoing dramatic shifts.
  • Redeeming ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ – Evangelicals generally disdain the popular carol for having no basis in scripture, however: “Worshipers of Jesus (like the magi) compel their neighbors (like the drummer boy) to consider Jesus — to come and see him, as it were. And when the neighbors do, if they would believe, a moment happens when they realize their bankruptcy is exposed. They see Jesus and comprehend his glory, and then they look at themselves: But I am broken. I am empty and poor. I’ve got nothing to bring this King that even comes close to representing the honor that is due him.” This Desiring God commentary helps us see the carol in a new light.  Which brings us to…
  • Why So Many Seasonal Songs are Written by Jewish Musicians – “In their music and lyrics, Jews captured Christmas not only as a wonderful, wintry time for family gatherings, but also as an American holiday. What they drew on, said Rabbi Kenneth Kanter, an expert on Jews and popular culture at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, was their background as the children of European-born Jews, or as immigrants themselves, in the case of Russian-born Berlin and others.” Why not Hanukkah songs? “Although celebrating the birth of Christ was not something these Jewish songwriters would want to do, they could feel comfortable composing more secular Christmas singles.”
  • Christianity without Christmas – “Some ‘conservative Quakers,’ said Chris Pifer, a spokesman for the Friends General Conference, one of several national Quaker groups, refuse to observe Christmas at all, under the “every day is a holy day” rubric. But not all of the nation’s 33,000 Quakers share that stance…Perhaps the most conspicuous of Christmas-shunners are Jehovah’s Witnesses, millennialists whose ranks include 1.9 million members in the United States. Although the group initially observed Dec. 25 as a holiday, church spokesman J.R. Brown said from the church’s Brooklyn, New York, headquarters, further study by one official in 1928 led them to drop the observance.” All this and more from a Mormon news website.
  • Why Teenagers aren’t Sharing their Faith – “[W]e have an almost irrepressible appetite for doing outreach events instead of mobilizing our teenagers to be the outreach event… Of course, outreach events are fine and good and needed from time to time. But if they are replacing, rather than enhancing, our teenagers’ personal evangelism efforts then they are limiting our true outreach effectiveness.” Seven points in total, but all of these could apply just as easily to adults. Which leads us to…
  • Christ Centered Youth Ministry – This article could also apply to Children’s ministry or various adult departments of your church. So imagine you’re a youth pastor, only a few weeks on the job, when a parent corners you in the office with this: “As a father, I take the role of instilling Christ into the lives of my children very seriously. Because of that responsibility I want to make sure that my kids are involved in a youth program that is Jesus-focused. So tell me, why I should trust you and the program you run?”
  • Slain in the Spirit – When I first saw this video I was sure it was faked. Think of Benny Hinn throwing his suit jacket at people, only ramped up exponentially. The pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, has his own page on Wikipedia which states that he is, “a Nigerian minister who is the founding president of Believers’ LoveWorld Incorporated also known as “Christ Embassy”, a Bible-based Christian ministry headquartered in Lagos… Pastor Chris’ ministry has expanded rapidly beyond coasts of Nigeria and South Africa, and he now holds large meetings in the United states and has Healing school sessions in Canada, and United Kingdom.” The one-minute video is entitled, “Watch as Pastor Uses Invisible Power to Knock Down Church Members.” (Hopefully, this isn’t the only Christianity people in that country see.)

During the week, I save links just for this part of the list. So don’t think of these as the cutting room floor from the PARSE links…

Christmas Mass at Saturday Night Live

If church is just an annual thing for you or your family, you might relate to this SNL skit. Click to watch at Relevant.

 

 

 

 

June 11, 2014

Wednesday Link List

calvinistsafety

With lots of people doing summer things this week, I thought we’d tinker with the format while nobody’s looking. ANYTHING YOU CLICK will take you to PARSE, the blog of Leadership Journal, the Link List’s owner.  But first, we take you to Monday’s edition of the comic Pearls Before Swine (click image to link).

Pearls Before Swine June 9th 2014

I usually bury the video links near the bottom, but this week uncovered two clips I wanted to give more prominence.

Church leadership stuff:

Essay(s)-of-the-Week:

The wider religious world:

Worth reading:

Be afraid; be very afraid:

So how do you like your links? Categorized or free-range? Leave a comment!

 

Happy Hour Church

June 24, 2013

Now You Can Do Something More Than Just Kill Someone

Filed under: current events — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:39 am

Drew Marshall‘s guest on Saturday was Kevin Eckstrom, Editor-in-Chief of Religion News Service and for a brief moment as they discussed this story, I thought perhaps it was Drew’s April 1st show or something. But if you click that link, there are actual pictures of the product in question: Bullets that do more than just wounding or killing, they determine the victim’s eternal destiny.

SPOKANE, Wash. (RNS) Still angry about the idea of an Islamic cultural center opening near Ground Zero, a group of Idaho gun enthusiasts decided to fight back with a new line of pork-laced bullets.

South Fork Industries, based in Dalton Gardens, Idaho, claims its ammunition, called Jihawg Ammo, is a “defensive deterrent to those who violently act in the name of Islam.”

The bullets are coated in pork-infused paint, which the company states makes the ammo “haram,” or unclean, and therefore will keep a Muslim who’s shot with one of the bullets from entering paradise.

“With Jihawg Ammo, you don’t just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack. If it ever becomes necessary to defend yourself and those around you our ammo works on two levels,” the company said in a press release earlier this month.

We didn’t see that one coming. Neither did the Geneva Convention. A bullet that does more than kill. Well, maybe. The RNS story goes on:

However, Shannon Dunn, assistant professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University, said South Fork’s concept is based on an inaccurate understanding of the Quran.

“There is no penalty for coming into contact with pork given by the Quran,” she said, pointing to verses that prohibit the consumption of pork and carrion that are reminiscent of Jewish dietary laws outlined in Leviticus…

Read the whole story, with a 3-minute video at Religion News Service.

September 9, 2012

USAToday Scales Back Religion Coverage

At a time when other media outlets are stepping up coverage of religion-based or religion-influenced stories, USAToday, which led the way in this area for several years, is scaling back. Cathy Lynn Grossman reports at the soon-to-be-discontinued blog, Faith and Reason*:

After four years of spirited conversation… Faith & Reason and its accompanying reader-led Faith & Reason Forum are shutting down.

USA TODAY is celebrating 30 years with a massive redesign of all publishing platforms…

…Several digital subject-area pages, including the online religion page, will vanish as stories are mainstreamed into News. If you read on a smartphone or tablet, you won’t notice any change. But if you read religion coverage at USATODAY.com on your laptop, these stories will be running in News, Nation and Politics, just as they already do in print…

But then this note:

…so many posted at the Faith & Reason Forum it became the most successful forum at USATODAY.com by a mile.

So why end it now?

I have been meaning however, to note here at some point how much the general media pages devoted to religion have been dominated by coverage of Roman Catholic people and events. Perhaps others have noted that as well, and it’s led to this decision. And the CNN Belief blog is often dominated by commentary instead of news, and one particular writer especially. There’s a place where I would have preferred to see the winds of change blow.

Faith and Reason at USAToday was very much appreciated.  Cathy, I tried to leave a comment only to find it had become a Facebook-members-only forum — perhaps that was not such a good idea — and since I’m not sure if you got it, here it is:  I’ve truly appreciated your insights and your perspective, and you’ve alerted me to many news stories I would have missed.  I’ll look forward to seeing your byline in other sections of USAToday.

*obviously this link may not last long

April 6, 2011

Wednesday Link List

I want to do something different this week and begin with a link to a page that contains about a dozen other links.  Last week seven influential pastors gathered together to discuss “the elephant in the room” — several of them actually — at the appropriately titled Elephant Room Conference. Trevin Wax does a subject-by-subject set of links to two other bloggers, Canada’s Chris Vacher and Arizona’s Jake Johnson.  It’s not full transcripts, just what you’d expect to post yourself if you were listening with two ears and typing with two fingers (or thumbs).

The Elephant Room subjects and speakers were:

  • Session 1: Preaching to Build the Attendance vs. Preaching to Build the Attendees
    – Matt Chandler & Steven Furtick
  • Session 2: Culture in the Church vs. Church in the Culture
    – Mark Driscoll & Perry Noble
  • Session 3: Compassion Amplifies the Gospel vs. Compassion Distorts the Gospel
    – Greg Laurie & David Platt
  • Session 4: Unity: Can’t We All Get Along? vs. Discernment: My Way or the Highway
    – Steven Furtick & James MacDonald
  • Session 5: Multi-Site: Personality Cult vs. God’s Greater Glory
    – Perry Noble & Matt Chandler
  • Session 6: Money?
    David Platt & James MacDonald
  • Session 7: Love the Gospel vs. Share the Gospel
    – Greg Laurie & Mark Driscoll

…I know, I know; now you’re curious.  There are a lot of interesting quotations from this one-day conference, which originated at one of the Harvest Bible Chapel locations and was simulcast to 15 U.S. and one Canadian location.  So here again is the magic link.  Also, Zach posted a video clip from the conference yesterday.

And now here’s the rest of this week’s blog connectivity:

  • Yesterday marks one year since the passing of Internet Monk founder Michael Spencer.  His wife Denise shares Michael’s approach to adventure.
  • Tony Campolo suggests to Huffington’s readers that there’s other dynamics at play in the saga that might be called, “The Rise and Fall of the Crystal Cathedral;” dynamics owing to the changing ethnic demographics of Garden Grove, California.
  • Here’s a special link to the first chapter of former Planned Parenthood employee Abby Johnson’s book Unplannedfile opens as .pdf .
  • If your first name is Tim and your second name begins with Ch—, chances are you have a new book about pornography.  First it was Tim Challies, and now Tim Chester.
  • Summer is coming!  If you want to get dirty on the streets of Philadelphia with Shane Claiborne’s Simple Way community, here’s how you connect to attend events.
  • Donald Miller buys a copy of Love Wins online and offers a straight-forward and concise review.
  • For all you worship leaders out there:  Here’s how to tell if you’re a classical music nerd.
  • This one’s from 2007, but our YouTube link this week asks the musical question, “What if Worship was Like an NBA Game?
  • From the blog, Small Steps to Glory, here’s a look at a modern day Goliath (well the height part anyway) which gives some perspective to the “David And” story.
  • At Arthur Sido’s blog this week, I discovered this trailer for an upcoming documentary on the education system, Indoctrination.
  • For all you techies out there, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to broadcast your church services on the internet.
  • 130 Churches in Calgary, Alberta, Canada are coming together to raise $1.5M to reduce the mortgage on a transitional housing facility established in 2009.
  • Proverbs 3 promises us, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid;when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” So then what about those of us who simply don’t get a good night’s sleep.  Ryan rumbles through a topic that I totally identify with.
  • If you find the links I run to religion stories at CNN and USAToday a little too American for you and you’d like to explore stories from the broader world of spiritual interest, here’s the link to the religion page of Reuters News Service.
  • send your own link suggestions by 8:00 PM EST on Monday.
  • Today’s picture:  Songwriter Mandy Thompson cures writer’s block by going analog:

  • I’ve always had a huge interest in the spiritual themes that turn up in the comic pages of the daily newspaper.  Comic writers can say things in ways others cannot.  I’ve used Dennis the Menace — now drawn by Marcus Hamilton — here a few times, with the result that one of the panels now hangs in my office.  Here’s another kids-eye-view of God as only Dennis can see it:

December 29, 2010

Wednesday Link List

A shorter group this time…

  • The big news that finally reached our corner of the world this week is Canada’s most popular Christian male vocalist, Steve Bell,  has recorded a new album with the title song, Kindness, written by Brian McLaren.   Yes, that Brian McLaren.   Details at Christian Week.
  • But in a slightly different musical genre, Steve has company on the link list, as the song Avalanche by Manafest (aka Toronto’s Chris Greenwood) is getting lots of airplay.    Start your investigation of Manafest at this MySpace page.   Or watch the video from Tooth ‘N Nail Records.
  • While most of the attention is focused on New York City, there are residents in Murfreesboro, Tennessee who don’t want a mosque in their backyard, either; and it’s taxpayers who are footing the bill for the legal batter, as reported at USA Today.
  • It’s unfortunate when you have to frame a definition in opposition to other circulating ideas, but Dan Phillips suggests the entry for Mary in a Bible dictionary might read, “The mother of Jesus. A pivotal yet minor figure in the New Testament, mentioned by name in only four books.”
  • Regent College professor, Pentecostal scholar, and author of How To Read the Bible for All It’s Worth Gordon Fee has a 30-minute video YouTube clip on how the book came to be as well as some of its major themes.
  • It must have a slow year for Christian news stories, because Christianity Today’s top ten stories of 2010 seems to missing anything of urgency.   And eight of its ten stories are U.S.-centric.
  • Always provocative — to some — Christian music artist Derek Webb is back in the online pages of Huffington Post.
  • Christianity 201 devotes two consecutive days to the writings of Rick James, author of A Million Ways to Die (David C. Cook)
  • We always end the link list with a cartoon and many of these have come from Baptist Press cartoonists such as Joe McKeever below.   Sadly, it looks like this is the last one, as the cheerful people at BP are attempting to invoke copyright that will permit e-blasts but not blogs.   Too bad; I thought when God gives gifts they’re for sharing.  Oh well.  We’re slowly running out of cartoons we can actually run, although I’m not sure what legal action they would take against a Canadian.    But never underestimate Baptists.   (Or cats.)  This one was quite funny, and it seems a good one to end 2010 with. To Joe, Doug, Dennis, Dennis, Frank and David:  We’ll miss you!


December 7, 2010

The Schuller Family: For Greater Contrast, Skip a Generation

See info below re. these pictures

This blog has already been both a news source and sounding board for the continuing drama at the Crystal Cathedral that I am in two minds about this particular blog post.

However, Nicole Santacruz at the L.A. Times has written such a definitive article — even after it seems so much has already been written — that I cannot help but link to it here, and also respond to it.

The article begins not with the juxtaposition of Robert H. and Robert A., but skips a generation and looks at the contrast — and perhaps a few similarities — between Cathedral Founder Robert H. and grandson Bobby, who pastors The Gathering, just a few miles down the road.

The third-generation Schuller hopes to do what the landmark — and now bankrupt — Crystal Cathedral has apparently failed to: evolve with the times.

Bobby’s church, The Gathering, takes a low-key approach to worship. Sunday’s services aren’t in an opulent church. Young band members open the service, and it’s intimate — people don paper name tags and shake hands. All of these elements represent a “post-boomer” style of worship popular with 20- to 40-year-old Christians, said Richard Flory, a sociologist of religion at USC.

But the article goes beyond mere color commentary; here’s a take on the big glass church in Garden Grove:

“They are totally outdated,” Flory said. “They are so committed to a plot of land and a building, and they’ve got a problem.”

And this look at the annual “Glory of Christmas” pageant:

The Christmas production would begin to signify a culture of extravagance within the church: More than a dozen angels in white chiffon flew overhead, professional singers replaced volunteers, and live camels and donkeys took the stage.   (Emphasis added.)

And this interesting sidebar, a revelation about a production few of us had heard of:

[I]n 2005, Carol Schuller Milner, the third Schuller daughter, produced a multimillion-dollar pageant called “Creation,” which was poorly attended and never staged again.

Robert A.’s daughter provides some good insight:

“When you have a dynamic where faith, fame and family are all involved, it becomes difficult to prioritize faith,” she said. “Instead it becomes part of this mixture of family dynamics and fame dynamics.”

And the article also raises another issue, one being dealt with by multiplied numbers of churches:

“I think it’s true that any congregation has to figure out how its style of ministry affects more than one generation.” said Wes Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary for the Reformed Church in America, the denomination to which the Crystal Cathedral belongs. “You see evidence of that in Bobby’s service.”

Bobby, who’s now 29, gets the last word:

Bobby Schuller is an innovator like his grandfather, but the way he delivers his message of Christianity is drastically different. The stereotypical church, he said, is about a perfect building filled with perfect people, music and a perfect preacher.

“In other words, it’s not like life,” he said…

…Volunteers set up for the service each Sunday and take down the chairs and tables that afternoon. When the work is done, they all go out for pizza. More than 90% of church funds go toward social justice issues such as homelessness and domestic violence.

“Our goal is to make big Christians, not big churches,” he said.

There’s more to the L.A. Times article.   I’ve excerpted a few sections here only because many of you don’t take the time to click the link, but hoping you will, here is the story link again.

Recent coverage here of the Crystal Cathedral saga:

…and also…

  • Wednesday Link List from a few days ago, with the link to a very recent, unscheduled TV interview Robert A. did with 100 Huntley St.

About the photos:   I decided we needed a different kind of photo of the big glass temple, and in searching for an arial photo, came across this one from Google Earth that had been posted at the site Sacred Destinations, and decided to take a chance on the copyrighted photo as well.  (If it’s not there, I lost that battle!)   I got to visit the original Garden Grove Community Church in 1979, and then my wife and I did the larger facility in 1989.  There are additional photos and story at that website.

May 31, 2010

CNN Increases Focus on Faith-Based Stories

I’ve really appreciated the Religion page at USAToday, not to mention The Christian Post and Christianity Today Online.   These sources have  provided me with access to stories that I felt were both (a) significant and newsworthy; and (b) under-reported in the Christian blogosphere.

But CNN has really taken the reporting of religious stories to the next level with their Belief Blog.    While some older stories have been backdated into the blog, you’ll find the official welcome on May 19th, where after considering several recent general-interest stories, the editors continue:

…Faith isn’t incidental to these stories; it’s the driving force behind them. Covering those faith angles is this blog’s mission. CNN’s Belief Blog will focus on the places where faith bumps up against the rest of the news and the rest of the world, from breaking news to entertainment, from business to politics, and from foreign affairs to sports.

We’ll also shine a light on religion as most people experience it in daily life. In a shrinking world, knowing what it’s like to undergo an adult baptism or to pray to Mecca five times a day is essential to understanding the world’s most powerful leaders – and, perhaps, the person in the next cubicle.

And as the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated grow, we’ll cover the rising voices of atheists, those who call themselves “spiritual but not religious” and others who are religiously conflicted or confused. Covering the faithful necessitates covering their critics and rivals.

To do the job, the CNN Belief Blog has enlisted CNN’s international newsgathering team, with correspondents, producers, and writers all contributing. We’ll also be posting the opinions of guest bloggers and will feature regular posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero, an expert at revealing the hidden faith angles that explain so much about American life and world geopolitics.

You can read the full introduction here;  or better yet, visit the May 24th post containing a three-minuite video tour of the new site.   You’ll find the expected bias toward U.S. stories, but also a fairly wide worldview, presented in a clear, clean and straightforward manner.  (Many CNN-staffers attend Evangelical churches; as Atlanta is one of the most “churched” cities in the world.)

If you are a blogger who wants to stay current to breaking news, or are simply a reader who enjoys uncovering the spiritual significance behind some of the headlines, you will want to bookmark CNN Belief and check it daily.

On this blog, I’ll do the same, and I expect at least one CNN story to turn up in the Wednesday Link Lists here weekly.

May 17, 2010

Religious News All About Sex and Gender

What makes a religious news story these days?   According to a quick look at the religion page of USAToday on Sunday, it’s all about GLBT issues and sex scandals.   Four out of the five “top news” items fall into that category, as do four of the remaining ten stories, and the featured story about the rally at the Vatican to support the Pope’s handling of the abuse scandal.

You can check the page for yourself anytime, here. Hopefully, in the days to come, you’ll find a “good news” story or something about doctrine or theology.   Right now, editorially, it’s becoming increasingly about a single issue.  In the meantime, please note that Christ followers have many more concerns and activities taking place than what you’re seeing reported.

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