Saturday, April 18, 2009

Susan Boyle

When Susan Boyle hit the stage at Britain's Got Talent, audience members rolled their eyes. But the skepticism melted when the 47-year-old began to sing. Father Basil Clark, dean of the district that covers her village in Scotland, told Catholic News Service Boyle has a learning disability that has left her unemployed. But she’s a churchgoing Catholic who’s life revolves around her family and her parish. Clark says she is a "very gentle and very caring" woman of “great faith” and "When I watched the judges' faces it reminded me of what I was like when I first saw Susan singing -- absolutely blown away by the quality of the singing and by that fantastic voice.. I think it's great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult. Here's the video of her appearance on the show.

Athletes & Evangelists Cross Paths

ESPN offers this article and video on the role of televangelists in professional.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Twittering Away Your Morality

USC researchers say Twitter and other fast-moving social networking windows block out our morality. We simply don’t have enough time to process the information and see what rules apply, they claim. The lead author of the study says, in contrast to the rapid-fire digital environment, “We need to allow for adequate time and reflection.” Children are particularly vulnerable because their brains are still developing.

The scientists asked about a dozen study participants to tell stories. Their brains were the scanned as they tried to recall the stories and attached emotions. Details will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

ORU Gets One Million

The Armand Hammer Foundation is giving Oral Roberts University a $1 million gift. The grandson of the late industrialist, Michael Hammer, is behind the effort. He's on the school's board of trustees. Officials say the funds will drop the University’s debt to about $2.5 million. Not long ago it was more than $50 million.

Alamo Sues State

Tony Alamo is suing the state of Arkansas as he waits trial on charges that he took young girls across state lines for sex. Arkansas authorities have already taken 36 children from the cult leader’s compound and Alamo wants to stop child services from taking any more or forcing parents to leave the church in order to regain custody of their children.

Beatle Visit to India

Ringo Starr told reporters at a news conference in New York that he didn’t care for India when the Beatles made their famous visit to the country in 1968. At the time, the band had become followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. At a press conference to promote a benefit concert for teaching meditation to children, Starr said, "There were lepers without fingers and noses” and he left after 10 days because "the food was too spicy".

Osteen on Labels

"There was a time where I thought I don't want to be known as "an evangelical" because at the time that meant you were a Republican that was against everything. I think that's changed. That was a few years back. I don't want people to look at me as their minister and say he's a Republican and he's against this, that and the other because my church is made of up of all different types of people. In some ways I would agree with that. That's again probably back to a belief my dad had that he didn't get political because he didn't want to divide the audience. I feel that same way. I don't want to be categorized. Our message is about spreading Christ's love to everybody. If you look at somebody and say he's against that or that or he's on that side, to me people start turning you off because of that."

Megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen in an interview with BeliefNet

Born Agains

A survey of self-described Christians and those who say they are Born Again.

Born agains are twice as likely to strongly agree that:
the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches;
that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith;
that a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces such as demons
to hold an unfavorable opinion of Wicca.

Born agains are twice as likely to strongly disagree that:
Satan is just a symbol of evil
that Jesus sinned while He lived on earth.

Born agains are three times as likely to strongly disagree that:
that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol of God’s power or presence;2
that Mormons are Christians; and that the Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon teach the same truths.

Born agains are one-third more likely to strongly disagree that: have a definition of God as the omniscient, omnipotent creator and ruler of the world

Source: The Barna Group

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MercyMe Makes Splash

MercyMe’s new album hit 18 on Billboards Top 200 Chart in its first week of release. The release is called “10” and sold nearly 30,000 units. It includes a new recording of their hit I Can Only Imagine which features the London Session Orchestra. The group has sold out shows across the country including venues seating up to 18,000. The tour has been broadcast on MercyMeTV.

Obama's Income

President Barack Obama and the first lady made $2.7 million last year. They gave $1400 to five churches. Less than one-percent of their income. And none of it went to the Trinity United Church of Christ. In 2007, the Obama’s gave $26,270 to the church. But this past year he separated from pastor Jeremiah Wright. In all, Obama donated $172,050 to charities, including $25,000 to CARE and the United Negro College Fund.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill earned $269,256 last year and gave just $1,885 to charity. That’s also less than one-percent of their income.

A Survey of Unchurched Americans

I am "spiritual" because I want to know more about "God or a higher supreme being":
20- to 29-year olds – Yes 73%
30 years old and older – Yes 62%

I would listen to what someone believes about Christianity:
20- to 29-year olds – Yes 89%
30 years old and older – Yes 75%

"I would be willing to study the Bible if a friend asked me to.”:
20- to 29-year olds – Yes 61%
30 years old and older – Yes 41%

I would attend church if it presented truth to them in an understandable way "that relates to my life now.":
20- to 29-year olds – Yes 63%
30 years old and older – Yes 47%

I would be more likely to attend if people at the church "cared for me as a person.":
20- to 29-year olds – Yes 58%

I would be willing to attend a small group:20- to 29-year olds – Yes 46%
30 years old and older – Yes 27%

Source: LifeWay Research

New Moody President

The Moody Bible Institute has picked its next president. Paul Nyquist will take over the reigns of the school founded in 1886 by evangelist D.L. Moody. Nyquist currently works with Avant Ministries, an international mission that develops churches around the world. He has also pastored churches in the mid-west. Besides the college, other ministries outreaches include Moody Publishers and Moody Radio.

Is the Bible Accurate?

A survey of self-described Christians. Do you believe Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches?

Strongly Agree – 55%
Agreeing Somewhat -18%
Disagreed Somewhat - 13%
Strongly Disagree – 9%

Source: The Barna Group

Warren Skips Interview

This past Sunday, Rick Warren was supposed to appear on the ABC show hosted George Stephanopoulos "This Week". But the megachurch pastor decided not to go on the show to clarify his controversial remarks surrounding California’s proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman.. His church said Warren was exhausted. Warren delivered his Easter sermon at his church in Southern California but was sick Saturday when the ABC interview was due to be taped. Fox News told viewers that Saddleback Church had put varnish on the pulpit right before the services and the fumes got to him. Some bloggers are suggesting that Warren is ducking the marriage controversy. The issue started when he told CNN's Larry King that he did not campaign for passage of the measure. He said, "I am not an anti-gay- or anti-gay-marriage activist. Never have been, never will be.”

Are Mormons Christians?

A survey of self-described Christians. Do you believe Mormons are Christians?

Strongly Agree – 18%
Agreeing Somewhat -21%
Disagreed Somewhat - 12%
Strongly Disagree – 17%

Source: The Barna Group

Ambassador to the Vatican

The Vatican isn’t happy with Barack Obama’s choices to serve as its US ambassador. The Holy See has apparently already turned down three candidates because of their support for abortion rights. One of them is Caroline Kennedy. The Vatican is also upset about Obama’s decision to lift a previous ban on embryonic stem cell research. The president travels to Italy in July and will meet with Pope Benedict XVI.

Most Important Purpose

A survey of self-described Christians. Would you agree that the most important purpose in your life is to “love God with all their heart, mind, strength and soul”?

Strongly Agree – 74%
Agreeing Somewhat -15%
Disagreed Somewhat - 7%
Strongly Disagree – 4%

Source: The Barna Group

Faith's Impact

A survey of self-described Christians. Are you contend that your religious faith has significantly impacted their life.

My faith had “greatly transformed” my life – 59%
My faith “has been helpful but has not greatly transformed” my life – 29%
My religious faith “has not made much of a difference” in who I am and how I live – 9%

Source: The Barna Group

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Evil Spirits

A survey of self-described Christians. Do you a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces, such as demons or evil spirits?

Strongly Agree – 39%
Agreeing Somewhat -25%
Disagreed Somewhat - 10%
Strongly Disagree – 18%

Source: The Barna Group

Stolen Equipment Returned

WOAI-TV in San Antonio explains how a church got its stolen equipement back.

The Holy Spirit

A survey of self-described Christians. Do you believe the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity”?

Strongly Agree – 38%
Agreeing Somewhat -20%
Disagreed Somewhat - 9%
Strongly Disagree – 25%

Source: The Barna Group

No Gay Housing

Gay students will not get campus housing at Texas Christian University as originally planned. A new living learning area called the DiversCity Q community was supposed to open this fall. Eight students had signed up. TCU is associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Did Jesus Sin

A survey of self-described Christians. Do you believe Jesus sinned when He lived on earth?

Strongly Agree – 22%
Agreeing Somewhat -17%
Disagreed Somewhat - 9%
Strongly Disagree – 46%

Source: The Barna Group

The Bible vs Other Holy Books

A survey of self-described Christians. How does the Bible compares to other holy books? When faced with the statement that “the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths”.

Strongly Agree – 19%
Agreeing Somewhat -22%
Disagreed Somewhat - 12%
Strongly Disagree – 28%

Source: The Barna Group

Belief About Satan

A survey of self-described Christians. Would you agree with the statement that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil" ?

Strongly Agree – 40%
Agree Somewhat - 19%
Disagree Strongly – 26%
Disagree Somewhat – 9%

Source: The Barna Group