Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nice Guys Finish..

Nice guys finish first and punishers are the losers, according to a new Harvard study. Students playing the same game many times showed those who escalate conflict wind up hurting themselves. Researchers say the results indicated it’s in your own self-interest to be nice because the players who punished their opponents the least, or not at all, made the most money. This runs against Game Theory that says punishment makes two equals cooperate. Details of the new study are in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

Doves Fly Soon

The Dove Awards take place Wednesday in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry House. The show can be seen on Gospel Music Channel from 8–10pm, Eastern and XM radio on 32 The Message. Among those appearing during the awards ceremony are Rick Skaggs and Charlie Daniels.

A Survey of US Christian views on Jerusalem

Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel in any peace agreement with the Palestinians:
Yes - 50%
Unsure 33%
Favoring Division 17%

The percentage of US Christians who want Jerusalem to remain under Israeli control by denomination:
Protestants- 53%
Catholics - 44%
Evangelicals - 62%

Source: The Joshua Fund

Obama's Gifts to Charities

Among Barack Obama's charitable donations reported on his 2007 tax return was a $26,270 gift to Trinity United Church of Christ. The former pastor of the church has created problems for Obama because of his controversial sermons. The Obamas' largest charitable donation was $50,000 to the United Negro College Fund. They also gave $35,000 to CARE.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Barak Pastor To Texas

Barack Obama's former pastor plans to speak at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas on April 27th. Jeremiah Wright will help the congregation celebrate the 25th pastoral anniversary of pastor Frederick Haynes. Wright decided to skip plans to speak in the area last month after controversial remarks he made from the pulpit became known around the country.

Teacher Refuses to Remove Bible

A rally for an embattled science teacher brought out some 75 people to the town square of Mount, Vernon, Ohio today. John Freshwater was ordered to remove the Bible and a collage that included the Ten Commandments. He took the collage off the way but not the Bible from the desk. He’s taught at Mount Vernon Middle School near Columbus for more than two decades. School district officials haven’t decided what step to take next.

Benedict at the White House

Full text of Pope Benedict's White House Remarks

Actor Dumps Scientology

Acotr Jason Beghe has left the Church of Scientology. He took courses from the organization for 14 years and even appeared in promotional spots. But in a YouTube video he calls Scientology “destructive” and a “rip-off." Beghe played Demi Moore’s love interest in the movie G.I. Jane and has been featured in numerous TV dramas.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Seeing Gray

Pastor Adam Hamilton tells the story of a parishioner who wrote him a letter describing her teenage pregnancy, the pressure from her parents to have an abortion and her decision not to do so. That letter was from his mother. It’s one of the stories he tells in the book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White. But what will surprise many readers is that the Kansas evangelical megachurch pastor supports abortion rights – and wants Christians on both sides of the issue to join forces to reduce the number of them. He argues that ministers are responsible to try "to support people no matter what decision they make."

Pope Benedict’s Schedule

Today, 4 pm
Arrives at Andrews Air Force Base and is greeted by President and Mrs. Bush.

Wednesday, 10:30 am
Benedict visits the White House, only the second time that a pontiff has done so.

Wednesday, 5:30 pm
The pope meets with the 350 bishops of the US at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Thursday, 10 am
Mass at Nationals Park

Thursday, 5 pm
Benedict speaks to Catholic educators

Thursday, 6:30 pm
Benedict meets with representatives from other religions at Catholic University.

Friday, 10:45 am
The pope flies to New York and address the United Nations

Friday, 6 pm
Benedict visits a synagogue before attending an ecumenical prayer service.

Saturday, 9:15 am
Mass for religious orders at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.

Saturday, 4:30 pm
The pope meets young Catholics in Yonkers

Sunday, 9:30 am
The pope will visit Ground Zero

Sunday, 2:30 pm
Mass at Yankee Stadium

Sunday, 8 pm
The pope leaves for Rome

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sean Hannity "Stuck on Stupid"

Barack Obama's retired pastor returned to the pulpit yesterday. It was the first public appearance by Jeremiah Wright since the controversy began over his negative comments about the US. Wright preached about Jesus calming a storm and made no political remarks. The congregation at Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church in Norfolk, Virginia gave Wright standing ovations before and after his sermon.

But Wright took a swipe at Fox News when he spoke in Chicago at the funeral of a judge on Saturday at Trinity United Church of Christ. Although reporters were banned from the church, the Chicago Sun-Times got one inside who recorded Wright saying the judge "befriended "Jews, Muslims, rabbis, imams, fathers in the Catholic church and (Louis) Farrakhan in the Islamic faith. He got a standing ovation for the remark. Fox News can't understand that. O'Reilly will never get that. Sean Hannity's stupid fantasy will keep him forever stuck on stupid when it comes to comprehending how you can love a brother who does not believe what you believe."

Christian Themed Movies

(gross in millions)
1 - The Passion of the Christ (2004) - $264

2 - Prince of Egypt - $101
3 - Ben-Hur (1959)- $74
4 - The Ten Commandments (1956) - $65
5 - Chariots of Fire (1981) - $58
6 - The Robe (1953) - $36
7 - The Bible (1966) - $34
8 - Dogma (1999) - $30
9 - Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie (2002) - $25
10 - Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) - $13
11 - The Omega Code (1999) - $12
12 - The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) - $12
13 - The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) - $8
14 - The Omega Code 2 (2001) - $6
15 - The Jesus Film* (1979) - $4
16 - The Gospel of John (2003) - $3
17 - Jesus of Montreal (1989) - $1.6
18 - (Frank Peretti's) Hangman's Curse (2003) - $1.5
19 - Godspell (1973) - .1
20 - Life of Brian (1979) - .1
*shown to millions of people at no charge by Campus Crusade

Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation
1 - The Ten Commandments - $541
2 - Ben-Hur - $442
3 - The Robe - $394
4 - The Passion of the Christ - $ 264
5 - Chariots of Fire - $105
5 - Prince of Egypt - $101
6 - The Greatest Story Ever Told - $70
7 - Jesus Christ Superstar - $54
8 - The Last Temptation of Christ - $11

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Compassion Forum

Quotes from tonight’s The Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Hillary Clinton
"I don't pretend to even believe that I know the answers to a lot of these questions. I don't."

Does life begin at conception?

Barak Obama
"This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? What I know is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates."

Hillary Clinton
"I believe the potential for life begins at conception. For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved. I have concluded.. that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision.”

Obama was asked about his controversial pastor:
"Pastors are imperfect. Certainly, the membership is imperfect. I, as somebody who is sitting in the pews as a sinner, is imperfect," he said. "And, you know, that doesn't detract from, I think, what the church is supposed to be about, which is to worship God and proclaim the good news."

Obama was asked about his recent comment about “bitter” Pennsylvanians clinging to religion:
"Scripture talks about clinging to what's good. And so it's very important. My words may have been clumsy, which happens surprisingly often on a presidential campaign.. religion is a bulwark, a foundation when other things aren't going well. That's true in my own life, through trials and tribulations. And so what I was referring to was in no way demeaning a faith that I, myself, embrace. What I was saying is that when economic hardship hits in these communities, what people have is they've got family, they've got their faith, they've got the traditions that have been passed onto them from generation to generation. Those aren't bad things. That's what they have left."

Clinton was asked if she thought God thought she should be president:
"I could be glib and say we will find out. I don’t presume anything about God, I believe Abraham Lincoln was right that in admonishing us not to act as though we knew God was on our side. In fact, our mission should be on God's side. And I have tried to take my beliefs my faith and put it to work my entire life and it has been gratifying to view the little I’ve done to try and help other people, which is really what motivates me."

The JoBros

The Jonas Brothers hail from Wyckoff, New Jersey where their father (Kevin Jonas) pastors the Wyckoff Assembly of God. The group is made up of three brothers: Joseph, Nicholas, and Kevin Jonas. Nick started performing on Broadway at the age of seven. He signed with a major label at the age of 12 as a Christian pop artist. The brothers wear purity rings to affirm their belief in no sex before marriage and have no questionable lyrics in their songs. With Disney backing them, the brothers' self-titled album has gone platinum. Their Disney Channel movie Camp Rock will premiere this summer and show called J.O.N.A.S where they will play secret agents whose cover is a teen band.

When Presidents Meet Popes

The Pope’s Washington visit on Wednesday morning to see President Bush will be just the second time the leader of Roman Catholics has been to the White House. President Bush will pick him up at the airport - the first time Bush has done that for any foreign leader. On top of that, Wednesday will be the pontiff's 81st birthday. This will be the 25th meeting between a pope and a sitting president. The first came 1919 between Woodrow Wilson and Pope Benedict XV at the Vatican. In 1984, President Reagan stirred controversy by establishing formal US diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Four years ago, George W. Bush presented Pope John Paul with the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. The next year, Bush became the first sitting US president to attend a papal funeral.

Catholics and the Sacraments

A new survey called Sacraments Today: Belief and Practice Among U.S. Catholics found less than a third of adult Catholics (31%) attend mass on any given week. Here are some of the other findings.

67% doubt there is a hell
59% have a statue of picture of Mary on display in their home
52% say they pray the rosary
32% say they wear or carry a crucifix or cross
29% say they wear or carry a religious medal or in of a saint or angle
23% say they carry roaries

Can you be in good standing with the church without going to weekly Mass? Yes - 68%

I attend Mass at least once a month:
64% - older Catholics
36% - younger Catholics

I go to confession less than once a year - 30%
I never go to confession - 45%

Sacraments are essential to my faith. Yes – 62%

I am somewhat or very satisfied with the bishops' leadership.
2008 - 72%
2004 - 58%

Source: The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.