Saturday, June 14, 2008

Your Name is What?

A judge has given Steve Kreuscher his wish. The Chicagoland man has legally changed his name to In God We Trust. His first name is now In God and his last name was changed to We Trust. When he first made the request, the school bus driver told local media that he was concerned about God being pushed out of public life. He’s also an amateur artist who’ll start signing his new name to pieces he creates.

The Jesus Christ Show

Neil Saavedra is host of a radio show in Las Vegas called The Jesus Christ Show. It airs on KXNT radio Sunday mornings from 7 to 9 am. Saavedra answers callers questions as if he is Jesus – referring to himself as “your holy host”. He says his goal is to offer Christians support, encouragement and pastoral advice.

Atheist Billboard

This message is plastered on a large billboard along interstate 95 in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. It’s the work of a group of local atheists and directs drivers to a site called PhillyCoR. At a cost more than $22,000, it stays up through August.

Donor Alert

A Christian Donor watchdog group is warning readers about the American Bible Society. Paul Irwin was recently fired as the Society’s CEO after a New York Times article revealed Irwins ties to Internet pornography and gambling. But Ministry Watch says it’s concerns about the charity go deeper and includes:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hagee Apologizes for Jewish Comments

John Hagee is apologizing for comments he made nearly 10 years ago about the Holocaust. Hagee said that God allowed it to bring about a Jewish return to Israel so that Biblical prophecy would be fulfilled. The megachurch pastor has written the head of the Anti-Defamation League explaining his views. Hagee writes: “I regret if my Jewish friends felt any pain as a result. I have always believed that the Holocaust was a tragedy unique in its evil and horror.” In a response, Abraham Foxman says, “We welcome Pastor Hagee’s letter clarifying his views on Jews, the Holocaust and Israel. We appreciate his regret over the pain his statements may have caused to any in the Jewish community.” Senator John McCain repudiated Hagee’s endorsement last month after this sermon came to light. Hagee had already apologized for comments about the Catholic church.

Deaf Seminary

The City Council of Castle Hills, Texas has given the ok for a group of deaf priests to operate a seminary in the town. The vote in the San Antonio suburb was four to one. Tom Coughlin plans to train men who want to become priests in a 8100 square foot home. He was ordained as a first deaf priest in North America in 1977 and calls his group the Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How Believers Use Christian Media

78% listen to Christian music
64% watch Christian television
64% listen to Christian radio
55% watch Christian movies

Pastors and Ministers
94% listen to Christian music
92% read Christian nonfiction books
84% listen to Christian radio

Source: Ellison Research

Professing TV Stars

· Mr. T
The A-Team star is featured in a new reality show on TV Land this fall called I Pity the Fool. He helps people change their lives by applying his moral "rules for fools".

Once a part of Charles in Charge, his Christian TV show Bibleman is now out on DVD.

The Facts of Life shopaholic Blair is now writing books on Christian parenting. Her latest is Taking Care of the Me in Mommy.

Diff'rent Strokes' "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" is traveling the country speaking about his faith and recovery from drug addiction.

Growing Pains Mike Seaver has starred in the Left Behind films and leads a ministry to teach evangelism techniques called Way of the Master.

Apollo Auction

A auction in Dallas last year of space memorabilia included a handwritten card containing a Bible verse used during a lunar an Apollo 11 communion service. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin read John 15:5 during the 1969 mission while using a small amount of wine and a wafer from his Presbyterian church. He had wanted to broadcast the Bible verse back to Earth, but NASA to impose radio silence during the religious observance after Madalyn Murray O'Hair filed a lawsuit. The card also has a verse on it from Psalms that Aldrin quoted during a TV broadcast before the astronauts splashed down. The card sold for nearly $180,000.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Religion Related Movies and TV

A survey of Americans on whether they have seen:
Touched by an Angel 56.9%
The Passion of the Christ 44.3%
7th Heaven 40.3%
Joan of Arcadia 30%
Veggie Tales 24.5%
This is Your Day by Benny Hinn 6.7%
Source: Baylor University

The Uncensored Bible

The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book is on stores shelves this week. It’s written by two professors at Rhodes College in Memphis - Steven McKenzie and John Kaltner along with Joel Kilpatrick. He runs a Christian satire site called Lark News. The Uncensored Bible takes a look at nearly two dozen stories in Scripture and some of the odd and perhaps embarrassing interpretations of them.

Catholic New Media

The Catholic Church will hold it’s first-ever New Media conference June 22 in Atlanta. Bloggers and podcasters from around the country are expected to attend and share the latest technologies. It coinsides the Eucharistic Congress, an annual event sponsored by the Archdiocese of Atlanta which attracts more than 20,000 Catholics from the region. Both events are free.

Colorado Springs Tourism

  • Compassion International - 2,500 visitors
  • International Bible Society – doesn’t keep stats
  • Focus on the Family - nearly 200,000 visitors annually

Stuart Hamblen's Widow

A memorial service is scheduled today in Los Angeles for the widow of Stuart Hamblen. She died of heart failure at her home in Santa Clarita at the age of 101. Suzy Hamblen helped the songwriter with many of his tunes and sang during some of the crusades of their friend, Billy Graham. Hamblen wrote songs like It is no Secret and This Ole House. Suzy Hamblen was a singer and performer in her own right. She made appearances on the Bill Gaither Homecoming Gospel Albums. The Hamblen’s were married in 1933 and remained together until Stuart’s death in 1989.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Baptists Reject Sex Database

The Southern Baptist Convention has rejected calls for it to identify sex offenders within its ranks. Instead of creating a database, messengers meeting in Indianapolis are leaving it up to local churches to take action against offenders. That means a Souther Baptist pastor convicted of a sex crime could simply move to another area of the country and the new congregation would have no idea of the man's past.

Baptists Elect New Leader

Southern Baptists have a new leader. Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention elected Georgia pastor Johnny Hunt as their president. Hunt serves as senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Woodstock. He led six candidates with 53%. Frank Cox, pastor of the Atlanta-area North Metro First Baptist Church, took 22% of the vote. Out-going president Frank Page says Hunt is part of the old regime he tried to get the Convention to move away from.

Former Regent Dean Arrested

He once served as dean for Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Now, he’s behind bars. Stephen McPherson turned himself in to police in Chesapeake, Virginia. He faces 13 sexual assault charges regarding a child. McPherson resigned from his Regent post last year.

Baptist Numbers Down

Baptisms at Southern Baptist churches fell last year for the third time in a row to 345,941. That's the lowest number of baptisms recorded by the denomination in more than a decade. On top of that, membership is down to just under 16.3 million. That’s a quarter of a percent drop from the year before.

Willow Creek Meeting Gay Group

Leaders at Willow Creek Community Church have agreed to meet with members of the gay-rights advocacy group Soulforce this Sunday. Soulforce has been touring the country asking to meeting with pastors at large Evangelical churches. Most have turned them away. Willow Creek, a Chicagoland megachurch, has a ministry called A Safe Place. It is designed for people who are “struggling with same sex attraction”. Another church program called Someone I Love supports families who are dealing with a gay relative.

Bush Addresses Baptists

President Bush got a polite reception this morning from messengers attending the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis. In the past, his speeches to the Convention have been live. But this year’s address was pre-taped. He praised the group for defending “the sanctity of life". Last year, Baptists gave Bush numerous standing ovations.

Drive-in Church

New Hope Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia is offering a drive-in service. Pastor Norman Markle leads the service while the congregation remains in their cars. A low-powered AM transmitter allows worshipers to hear the preaching over the radio. People in about a dozen cars came to the first service.

Hollywood's "Most Powerful Christians"

1 - Mel Gibson
2 - Denzel Washington
3 – Patricia Heaton
4 - Tyler Perry
5 - Ralph Winter
6 - Angela Bassett
7 - Martin Sheen
8 - Martha Williamson
9 - Kristen Chenoweth
10 - Philip Anschutz
11 - Howard Kazanjian
12 - Scott Derrickson

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bible Handout Stopped

The Kern High School District has told students to stop handing out Bibles at Stockdale High School in Bakersfield, California. They raised more than $1600 to buy Bibles for students as they prepare to pick up their diplomas.

Obama Lawsuit Threatened

The head of the Home School Legal Defense Association says it will sue Barack Obama’s campaign if it goes ahead with a program called the Joshua Generation Project. It is designed to get evangelicals and Catholic youth to vote for Obama. But Michael Farris lead an effort during President Bush’s re-election effort four years ago called Generation Joshua. He also wrote a book by that title. The Obama program is due to be rolled out in the next couple of weeks. Before then, Farris says he's send a cease and desist order to the democratic presidential campaign.

Charity Leader Dropped

The president of the American Bible Society is out of a job. The organization’s trustees decided not to renew the contract of Paul Irwin. He had been in the post for three years. A New York Times article last month revealed Irwin paid a hefty $5 million to a consultant with a criminal record and ties to pornographers and gambling businesses.

The Aquarian Gospel

A movie due out next year speculates about what happened in Jesus’ life between the ages of 13 and 30. The Aquarian Gospel will show him wandering mystic inspired by eastern religions who travels across India, living in Buddhist monasteries. The role of Jesus will be played by several actors and some parts will be created by computer animated actors like 300.

Baptist Abusers

Christa Brown is trying to get the Southern Baptist Convention to deal with the victims of sexual abuse within the church – including her. The Austin lawyer says a youth minister abused her four decades ago. She’s created a Web site to help other victims called Stop Baptist Predators. She wants church leaders to identify abusers within their ranks so they cannot continue to take advantage of others. The Southern Baptist Convention meets this week in Indianapolis. The last time they got together, leaders agreed to consider creating a database of credibly accused, admitted and convicted sexual abusers.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Billy Graham's Library

The Billy Graham Library has had more than 165,000 visitors since opening one year ago. That’s less than the number predicted by his son, Franklin Graham but not bad considering there has been no advertising. The $27 million Charlotte museum is free.