A worker at the Church of Santa Maria, located in Cappella, Italy has reportedly found ancient bones which are believed to belong to the Apostle Peter.
Christian non-profit organizations have outdone FEMA and provided the vast majority of the relief aid to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Faith-based relief groups are responsible for providing nearly 80 percent of the aid delivered thus far to communities with homes devastated by the recent hurricanes, according to USA Today. An alliance of non-profit organizations called National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), 75 percent of which are faith based, has helped FEMA distribute relief assistance to communities hit by disasters and assisted families in navigating government aid programs to begin the process of rebuilding.
“About 80 percent of all recovery happens because of non-profits, and the majority of them are faith-based,” Greg Forrester, CEO of NVOAD, told USA Today.
A certain sermon I heard a little while ago has stuck with me.
It began with a reference to “Toy Story.” Yes, “Toy Story.” The cartoon with talking toys.
The Pixar film, as the pastor explained, contained many examples of friendship. Friendship is important, you see. It’s good to have friends. In case anyone thought friendship was bad, he was standing up to boldly declare otherwise. Remember that Randy Newman song called “You’ve Gotta Friend In Me” from the movie? He did. He quoted it at length. Then he handed out juice boxes and graham crackers and we had nap time on the alphabet rug.
I have no problem with a sermon that draws on art or literature outside of Scripture to illustrate a theme contained in it. But of all the poems, novels, songs, films, paintings, sculptures that may reveal some divine truth, he went with “Toy Story”? Oh, but “Toy Story” is relatable, you say. Really? Relatable to whom? Kindergartners? Well, are we in a Kindergarten class or a church? It certainly is hard to tell anymore. Just add a few boxes of crayons and a couple glue sticks and some of these churches would be indistinguishable.
A joint study from major Christian organisations has found while 57% of people in England call themselves Christians, two in five think Jesus wasn’t a real person.
Residents of New Bethlehem Pennsylvania are fully behind Redbank Valley High School’s Bible club. Before the new school year began, students and adults gathered outside the school to pray that the Bible club would make a big impact on students this year.
Students involved in the Bible club say that it’s a completely Constitutional way to live out your faith, according to CBN News.
“To start one, it’s easy because they can’t tell you ‘no’ in a public school. It’s completely constitutional,” said Peyton Kirkpatrick, Redbank Bible club’s student president. “The people who are afraid will say ‘no’ until you prove them the facts, and show them that it is constitutional. They can’t tell you ‘no’ as a public school student.”
“Any school is able to have Bible club,” added the Bible club’s vice president, Ethan Reichard. “And I think that it’s a good thing to be able to preach God’s Word to other students, because they may not have the ability to learn about God on their own.”
As congregations dwindle, a new religion is lighting up Denver, Colorado. Aaron Millar joins the ‘elevationists’ of the International Church of Cannabis who worship the weed.
It started, naturally, with a group of friends smoking a joint. Steve Berke, a graduate of Yale University, was temporarily living in an old church in Denver, Colorado. His estate agent parents had bought the 113-year-old building with the plan to turn it into flats. He and Lee Molloy, as well as a few friends, had just moved from Miami to capitalise on Colorado’s lucrative marijuana market. But then, in the words of Lee: “We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church?” So Steve convinced his parents and, nine months later, on 20 April 2016 – 4/20, as it’s known in the United States, the unofficial pothead’s holiday (because it’s 4.20pm somewhere, right?) – the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors with its own chapel, theology and video game arcade.
In April, the New York Times’s Ross Douthat wrote a column arguing — appropriately for a Sunday opinion piece — that liberals need to go to church. More specifically, he argued: “The wider experience of American politics suggests that as liberalism de-churches it struggles to find a nontransactional organizing principle, a persuasive language of the common good.”
For a theologically confessional Lutheran and politically conservative Republican like me, this is an interesting suggestion. How much of the cultural and political change we have observed in the past 20 years can be explained by the quiet death of the “mainlines”?
For readers not familiar with Christian denominational classifications, “mainline” is the term that students of American religious life use to refer to more theologically or politically liberal white-majority churches. Since Sunday morning remains America’s most segregated hour, experts separate “historically black Protestant” churches into their own group, and then divide the white churches into various segments.
Pro-life groups are free to advertise on Twitter — as long as they don’t talk about what abortion is, show pictures of ultrasounds or criticize Planned Parenthood.
Two years after the Supreme Court decision that required states to recognize same-sex marriages nationwide, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is at its highest point in over 20 years of Pew Research Center polling on the issue.
By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than say they are opposed.
Views on same-sex marriage have shifted dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2010, more Americans opposed (48%) than favored (42%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. In the past year alone, support has increased seven percentage points: In March 2016, 55% favored same-sex marriage, while 37% were opposed.
The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults finds striking increases in support for same-sex marriage among some demographic and partisan groups that, until recently, had broadly opposed it, including:
Baby Boomers. For the first time, a majority of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Currently, 56% of Boomers favor same-sex marriage, while 39% are opposed. Last year, opinion among Boomers was divided (46% favored/48% opposed).
African Americans. Blacks have long been less supportive of same-sex marriage when compared with whites, but the share of African Americans who favor same-sex marriage has risen 12 percentage points since 2015, from 39% to 51%.
Republicans. For the first time, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Today, 48% of Republicans and Republican leaners oppose same-sex marriage, while 47% favor this. As recently as 2013, Republicans opposed gay marriage by nearly two-to-one (61% to 33%).
Younger white evangelicals. Overall, white evangelical Protestants continue to stand out for their opposition to same-sex-marriage: 35% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, compared with a 59% majority who are opposed. But younger white evangelicals have grown more supportive: 47% of white evangelical Millennials and Gen Xers – age cohorts born after 1964 – favor same-sex marriage, up from 29% in March 2016. Views among older white evangelicals (Boomers and Silents) have shown virtually no change over the past year (26% now, 25% then).