Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ray Boltz: I'm Gay

Retired Christian singer Ray Boltz says he’s gay. Known for songs like Watch the Lamb, Thank You, and The Anchor Holds, the 55-year-old piled up awards and had a string of 12 number one singles on Christian radio, selling 4-million units before leaving the industry. Boltz has revealed his double-life to several gay issue publications. The singer says he tried to change and fought depression, even suicide. He took Prozac and other anti-depressants for years. Now living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Botlz retired from Contemporary Christian Music in 2004, was divorced the next year. He has four grown children. Ex-wife Carol Boltz is involved with the Christian gay advocacy group called Soulforce. Ray Boltz is scheduled to sing at the Metropolitan Community Church in Washington a week from tomorrow.

Church Members Giveaway $750k

A church near Abilene, Texas gave away nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in cash and goods at a recent service. The Kingdom Life Fellowship in Clyde asked those with pressing financial needs to come forward. The church then gave away $338,000 from a nest egg and the congregation added cars and other items until about $750,000 exchanged hands between the 300 or so members. They meet in a Junior High auditorium.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Megachurch Study

Megachurches are growing larger as they duplicate many of the functions of denominations. A study by Leadership Network and Hartford Seminary's Hartford Institute for Religion Research shows churches with weekly attendance of 2,000 or more are multiethnic and emphasize contemporary worship. Trends would include offering more services in multiple locations, a new emphasis on community service and the role of small groups. Here are some other findings:

▪ 78% of megachurches use contemporary worship
▪ The average megachurch income is 6.5 million dollars
▪ Half of the income goes toward salaries with the rest divided between buildings and missions along with programs
▪ Seven out of Ten have internship/residency programs to train potential staff and ministerial candidates

The full report can be found here.

Church Loses Property Dispute

An Oklahoma megachurch is losing its property. Kirk of the Hills congregation cut ties with Presbyterian Church, USA in 2006 and aligned with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The Tulsa church wanted to keep the property because it has been making payments on the property for decades. But the denomination filed a lawsuit because the church constitution says congregations of the PCUSA only held property for the denomination. Now, a judge has ruled in favor of the denomination. An appeal is planned.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin's First Interview

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin says she was thinking of Abraham Lincoln's words when she made a comment that the US was fighting a holy war. In an interview today with ABC's Charlie Gibson, her first since being tapped John McCain's running mate, she said, "I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words." Asked if her son who is headed to Iraq is on a mission from God, Palin said, "I don't know if the task is from God. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer."

Presidential Poll

John McCain now leads Barack Obama among white Evangelical voters 61% to 25% according to a new Fox News poll.

Rick Warren and Sarah Palin

Megachurch pastor Rick Warren got a call from Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Warren says she wanted some advice- along with Bible verses dealing with unjust criticism. Warren interviewed John McCain and Barack Obama at his Saddleback Church last month.

The Largest Bible Publisher

The biggest printer of Bibles in the world is not in the US. It’s in South America. The Bible Society of Brazil puts out more than 7-and-a-half million Bibles each year. But overseas sales have taken a down turn. The Society ships to more than 100 countries but the number has fallen in both of the last two years.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dem Compares Obama to Jesus

Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee compared Barack Obama to Jesus and Sarah Palin to Pontius Pilate on the floor of the House.

The Collider and God's Existence

Associated Press offers this explaination of the powerful particle collider going online today in Europe concerning whether it could prove the existence of God:

"The experiment will examine what happened shortly after the universe was created. It does not seek to confirm or deny the existence of any supernatural being."

Prayer against Crime

There's a movement in Jacksonville, Florida to come against violence and crime by getting the community to pray. WTEV-TV reports:

Biggest US Megachurches

Here's a list of the top five megachurches in terms of attendance along with the percentage change from the year before.

1. Lakewood Church Houston - Joel Osteen 43,500 -.7.4%
2. Second Baptist Church Houston - Ed Young Sr. 23,659 -2.6%
3. North Point Community Church Alpharetta, Ga. - Andy Stanley 22,557 +15.2%
4. Willow Creek Community Church South Barrington, Ill. - Bill Hybels 22,500 +8.7%
5. LifeChurch (13 locations in 6 states, online at -Craig Groeschel 20,823 +4.6%

Source: Lifeway Research

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Politics in the Pulpit

The Alliance Defense Fund wants pastors to talk politics from the pulpit on Sunday, September 28. Endorsing candidates would challenge IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt churches from engaging in partisan politics. The “Christian ACLU” considers it an act of civil disobedience in defend free speech. An IRS investigation of a church could be challenged in federal court.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Alaska Homosexuality Conference

Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out Conference will be held at Abbott Loop Community Church in Anchorage, Alaska this weekend. It’s also being promoted by Sarah Palin’s home church, Wasilla Bible Church. The group promises to teach attendees how to "respond to misinformation in our culture" and help them "overcome" homosexuality. Because of Palin's connection, the event may draw protesters.

Sarah's Story

Christian publisher Tyndale House is offering a biography of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down was first released this spring by regional publisher Epicenter Press. Now, Kaylene Johnson’s book will be given a wider audience through Tyndale. Johnson includes personal interviews with Palin, her family, and other highly placed sources.

Palin's Faith

Sarah Palin grew up attending an Assembly of God church. CNN files this report on her ties to the Pentecostal denomination.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Obama Tries to Clarify Abortion Comment

“What I intended to say is that as a Christian, I have a lot of humility about understanding. All I meant to communicate was that I don’t presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions.”

Barak Obama on ABC’s This Week explaining his answer to a question about abortion during Saddleback’s forum last month. Obama had said answering the question of when life begins was “above my pay grade.”

Biden on Abortion

"It's a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I'm prepared to accept the teachings of my church. I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society."

"Back in 'Summa Theologia' when Thomas Aquinas wrote "Summa Theologia," he said there was no--it didn't occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How am I going out and tell you, if you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view that is based on a matter of faith? And that's the reason I haven't. This is a matter between a person's God, however they believe in God, their doctor and themselves."

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Meet the Press

Palin's Church Talk & State Funds

Sarah Palin’s use of state funds to make an appearance at a church is coming under scrutiny. A newspaper in Alaska is reporting that she had the state pay for her plane ticket and meals when she traveled to her hometown to speak to students graduating from a program at Wasilla Assembly of God. A spokeswoman said the state paid for the trip because Palin was invited as the governor and not as a private citizen. And that elected officials often attend religious events as part of their official duties. Palin was baptized at Wasilla Assembly as a teenager and now attends other churches. Here's a video of her appearance that day.