Friday, March 13, 2009

Johnson Lands at Midwestern

Jerry Johnson will become vice president of academic development at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. He resigned as the president of Criswell College in Dallas last year because of disagreements with chancellor and First Baptist Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress along with the trustees.

Grassley Responds

Here is Senator Charles Grassley's reaction to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability giving its stamp of approval to Oral Roberts University and Joyce Meyer Ministries. Six Evangelical organizations including Meyer has come under congressional investigation.

Smith's Deny School Pushes Scientology

Will Smith and his wife opened a private school this year based on instructional methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. But Jada Pinkett Smith insists it’s not a Scientology school. Students are pushed to keep retaking tests until they score 100%.

The New Village Leadership Academy has 60 students and hopes to expand. She’s also been tapped to star in a new series on TNT called HawthoRNe. The couple have two children, ages eight and ten.

Battling Bus Ads

An atheists' group and a church are going head-to-head – on city buses in Madison, Wisconsin. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is spending more than $2000 signs that will go inside 50 buses. Pilgrims Covenant Church is buying space on the outside of nearly a dozen buses for about $5000.

The atheist signs urge riders to give up religion with quotes like this from Gone With the Wind which says, "As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion."

The church ad offer Psalm 14:1: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ORU & Joyce Meyer

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is giving its stamp of approval to Oral Roberts University and Joyce Meyer Ministries. The ministries received the accreditation after recently coming under fire for their financial practices.

Joyce Meyer Ministries is one of six Evangelical organizations under investigation by Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Democrats have supported the probe as well. Others under review included Without Walls International Church, Eddie Long Ministries, Kenneth Copeland Ministries and Creflo Dollar.

GOP Chair on Abortion Furor

Republican Chairman Michael Steele says he is pro-life and opposes abortion. Steele trying to quiet complaints about an article in GQ magazine that quoted him as saying abortion is "an individual choice." He explains the article quote as simply his way of explaining that his mom, who gave him up for adoption, had the option of getting an abortion or giving birth to him. Steele is a Roman Catholic who served as Maryland’s lieutenant governor.

They Said It.. Victoria Jackson

"My motivation is gone, because [Obama] will punish me if I'm successful. That's how you start communism, is just take -- Cuba! Obama wants to be Castro."

Former Saturday Night Live performer and outspoken Evangelical Victoria Jackson in an interview with Fox News

Jesus and the Chicken Business?

Fortune Magazine says prayer may be the poultry industry's secret ingredient.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Abortion Excommunication

The Catholic Church in Brazil is at odds with the country’s health professionals and many in the religious community. The church excommunicated a doctor who performed an abortion on a 9-year-old. The girl was pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. The abortion was performed during her 4th month of pregnancy. Archbishop Don Jose Cardoso Sobrinho also excommunicated the girl’s mother and the medical team involved in the procedure. What has many in the community upset is that the stepfather was not excommunicated.

Great sex: God's way

The Cullman City Hall in northern Alabama is getting complaints about signs along rural highways put by a local church. The message: Great sex: God's way. They were put up by Daystar Church pastor Jerry Lawson. The Church of God-affiliated congregation is going through a month-long series on the subject.

Local evangelist Roland Belew believes the campaign is inappropriate. The Atlanta Journal Constitution as saying, "Talking about sex ain't gonna get nobody to heaven."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Details on Pastor Shooting

Fred Winters tried to run from his attacker after they exchanged words, according to investigators. They say Terry Sedlacek shot Winters in the heart and he bled to death in front of his congregation at the First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois’. Sedlacek faces a first-degree murder charge. He’s in serious condition at a St. Louis hospital after suffering a self-inflicted stab wound to the throat. While investigators are getting a clearer picture of what happened, they still aren’t sure what motivated the shooting though a note on a calendar indicated he planned the attack. Sedlacek had enough ammunition to kill 30 people. Winters had two children and served as First Baptist’s pastor for more than 20 years.

Your Brain and Religion

Researchers say there’s special place in the brain for religion. Jordan Grafman of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says his team noted the blood flow of subjects while being questioned volunteers about their religious beliefs. Details are in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Survey: Fewer Christians

The number of Americans who don't believe in religion is rising.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Grieving Church Gives Thanks

Mark Jones of First Baptist Church in Maryville thanks well-wishers for their messages in the wake of a deadly shooting at the church.

Shooter Had Mental Problems

We’re finding out more about the man who police say shot and killed the pastor of an Illinois baptist church. Authorities haven't given his name but indicate he developed emotional problems after contracting Lyme disease. The man is in the hospital, recovering from injuries he received after shooting past Fred Winters at Maryville’s First Baptist Church.

Another Korn member becomes a Christian

A second member of the metal band Korn says he has become a Christian. Brian Head Welch left Korn in 2005 after becoming a Christian.

Now Bassist Reginald Arvizu (known as Fieldy) is set to release a book that chronicles his journey from drug addiction to Christ. In Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery and Korn, Arvizu says he stopped taking drugs when his father told him his dying wish was for his son to find God. He’s working on a new album with Korn and his own project called Stillwell.

Religion in America

Here’s the finding of a new survey of religion in America, set to be released today:

• The percentage. of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation.

• The number of Americans who say they have no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990 (from 8% to 15%)

• The only religious groups with more adherents than the unaffiliated are Catholics and Baptists.

• There are fewer Catholics in New England and fewer Baptists in the South

• The number of Baptists fell from 19% to about 16%.

• The number of Methodists is down to 5%. It was 8% in 1990.

• Muslims have doubled from 3% to 6%.

• The percentage of Catholics in the US is about the same as 1990 (now 25%)

Source: American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)

Missionary Plane Missing

An Alabama missionary pilot, his wife and five others including two sick children are feared dead after his plane went down in bad weather in Venezuela. Bob Norton’s father died in a similar plane crash nearly three decades ago while serving in Mexico. Venezuela’s Civil Aviation Institute stopped looking for the plane after 72 hours went by and no crash site was found in the dense jungle. Norton works with Gospel Ministries International and was on his way too have the plane inspected when he was asked to take two sick children to a medical center. More information

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Amazing Race: Episode 4

Tonight's CBS show Amazing Race took the teams to the cold of Siberia. One team is made up of Mel and his son Mike. Mel White is a one-time speechwriter for Pat Robertson and Billy Graham who has now turned to gay-rights activism. He’s teamed with his son, Mike White who wrote the screen play for the films School of Rock and Nacho Libre.

The White's started episode four in first place. During this show, teams had to stack large woodpiles or construct shutters for windows. The father/son duo kept their usual happy-go-lucky way despite having problems with their woodpile and accidentally knock it down. They decide to switch to the windows. But after making them, they can't find the house that needs them.

In the next leg of the race, one team member must ride a bobsled down the hill in less than 4 minutes while keeping track of certain letters along the way. The letters are then used to unscramble the name of a famous Russian playwright.

Despite their problems, Mel and Mike end up finishing in sixth place and avoid elimination.

Church Shooting News Conference

The Illinois State Police hold a press conference after a pastor is killed during a service at a Maryville, Illinois, church.

Pastor Killed During Service

The pastor of the First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois was gunned down in the pulpit during this morning's early service. When the attacker’s gunned jammed, two parishioners tackled him. Pastor Fred Winters did not survive the attack but the parishioners only suffered minor knife wounds. The unidentified gunman is in serious condition. The church is located just east of St. Louis. Here's video from KMOV-TV.

Anonymous Donation

Some left a check for $3,255 at Dallas' Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. According to the Dallas Morning News, a note signed by “Michael” said the gift was to atone for past crimes. The writer lists 14 crimes including stealing a car and shop lifting. No one at the church knows anybody by the name on the check. The pastor believes the donation may be in response to a 12-step program.