Saturday, May 16, 2009

Murder Case Link to TV Ministry

An Illinois man has resigned from his position with Joyce Meyer Ministries after his wife and children were found strangled in their home. The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Christopher Coleman had been meeting with a woman from Largo, Florida described as his girlfriend while on trips for the ministry. The ministry says after an internal inquiry showed Coleman violated ministry policy during his employment. No arrests have been made in the case so far.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Mascot

Eastern Nazarene College has dropped its Crusader mascot. The Quincy, Massachusetts school will now call their sports teams the Lions. The mascot was unveiled at an ice cream social this week. Sponsored by the Church of the Nazarene, the school is traditionally interdenominational and has no formal religious requirements for students.

Sunday Best

Y'Anna Crawley took the top prize in BET's American Idol-like gospel music competition, Sunday Best. The Maryland native won a recording contract and a 2009 Lincoln MKS. Crawley performed The Promise on the season finale which will be her first single on her debut project.

Shift in Abortion Views

Most Americans are now calling themselves "pro-life". It’s the first time that's happened since the Gallup organization began asking the question 14 years ago. A new survey by the organization finds 51% say they are pro-life and 42% say they are pro-choice. Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey indicates a major shift from a year ago when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life.

23% say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances
22% say it should be legal under any circumstances

The percentage of Republicans who identify themselves as pro-life increased by 10 points over the past year, from 60% to 70% while there has been essentially no change in the views of Democrats and those who lean Democratic. More information.

Yoido Church

Five of the world’s ten biggest megachurches are in South Korea including David Cho’s Yoido Full Gospel Church. It has 830,000 members. That means one out of every 20 people in Seoul is a member. Yoido was founded in 1956 in a battered tent that Cho bought from the Marine Corps for only $50. The church has an emphasis on woman being involved in ministry. There are now more than 62,000 female deacons - more than twice the number of men who hold that position. For years, Cho’s right-hand woman was his mother-in-law. Jashil Choi is known as “Hallelujah Mama”.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pastor Tasered

A Phoenix pastor was tasered by police during a traffic stop - and now the video is on Youtube. The confrontation took place in April during a routine Border Patrol traffic stop at a checkpoint near Yuma about 50 miles north of the Mexican border. Steve Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church had his camera going when officers ordered him out of his vehicle. A canine signaled there was cause for a search but Anderson refused to get out. After busting his window, officers tasered him. Here's his video explaining what happened from his persepctive.

Here's a report from KPHO-TV on the incident.

Faith Healing Trial

The trial is underway for a woman accused of praying over her dying daughter rather than taking her to the doctor. A Wisconsin jury will decide whether Leilani Neumann should have had her daughter’s diabetes diagnosed. Neumann says her family believes the Bible for her daughter’s healing. Her husband also faces charges and his trial will start later this summer. Neumann’s lawyer has asked that Texas faith healer Thurman Scrivner be allowed to testify that faith healing is a legitimate way to cure illness.

Woman Returns Money

Lynita Regis returned more than a quarter of a million dollars that wound up in her bank account by mistake. The single mom in Washington is behind in her rent and says she was tempted but told reporters she's a "child of God and gotta do the right thing." The money belongs to King County where she once worked at the jail. Regis had been given access to the adult detention center account.

'Jesus in Jeans'

A sculpture called 'Jesus in jeans' has been unveiled at a UK church. At a cost of more than $50,000, the bronze artwork is on display at Our Lady Immaculate and St Philip Neri Catholic church in Uckfield near the Strait of Dover (located between England and France).Funding for the Marcus Cornish piece came from a member of the congregation who passed away last year. In a few days, the statue will be placed on top of the church’s bell tower, some 100-feet in the air.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Burger King Incident

A Wisconsin pastor will serve a year of probation after a Burger King confrontation two years ago. David Fogderud was also handed 100 hours of community service. Police arrested the pastor of The Overflowing Cup Total Life Center in Beloit, Wisconsin after teenage boys complained he harassed them. Fogderud said he only tried to witness to them and tell them about a Christian rock concert at the church. He was convicted of obstructing an officer. After he left the scene, officers stopped his car and say he was uncooperative. But Fogderud said they used excessive force on him.

Judge Rules in Prayer Suit

Employees of a Florida school district must stop promoting their religious beliefs at school events. That’s the ruling of a federal judge against the Santa Rosa County School District. The ACLU sued the district last year. The judge’s order requires school officials to only use a religious venue for events when a secular venue is not available, to have no part in religious events including baccalaureate services, have no part in prayer at events or promote their religious views to students.

Anger Over New Megachurch Pastor

More than 1000 people at a Chicago church have signed a petition questioning the appointment of a new pastor. Carlton Pearson was tapped to lead Christ Universal Temple’s 6000 member congregation despite his teaching that everyone will go to heaven. Christ Universal is known for its focus on positive thinking and meditation.

To Tuck or Not to Tuck

A mother has won her fight to allow her daughter to leave her shirt hanging out at school. The principal and district administrators in Irving, Texas ordered Dyker Neyland's 7-year-old to tuck the shirt inside her pants but Neyland says that's not appropriate because her daughter's behind shows. Neyland says she is being persecuted for being a Christian. The Irving school board agreed with her and overturned the principal's decision.

IRS Clears Group

The IRS has ruled a Texas group didn’t violate the law with a series of closed-door pastor conferences. The Texas Restoration Project encouraged church congregations to vote their values did not endorse specific candidates. The organization had the backing of governor Rick Perry before his reelection in 2006. The Texas Freedom Network had filed a complaint.

Church Sex Trial

KING-TV in Seattle reports on a church sex abuse trial.

Gay Porn Suspension

A Christian college student suspended for appearing in gay porn videos says he’ll finish his degree at another school. John Gechter attended Grove City College in western Pennsylvania until administrators discovered his activity when an e-mail with images of him spread across campus. The Presbyterian college offered him the opportunity to reapply for admission in a year if he stopped his acting career. But Gechter plans to move to New York where he will be headlining a play. Grove City has agreed to allow him to transfer a few courses he’ll need to graduate with a degree from the school. Gechter says students threw fruit at him in the cafeteria and sent him hate mail. The molecular biology senior earned in around $10,000 each weekend from the more than a dozen films in which he appeared.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Christians in the Holy Land

Marketing the Church

An advertising Age article on the marketing of the church.

Methodist Campaign

Here's a video of a new advertising campaign from the United Methodist Church called Rethink Church. The $20 million dollar campaign just started this past week and is aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds. There's a Facebook page, t-shirts and other items all pointing back to an web site called 10 Thousand Doors.

Miss Cali Keeps Title

Carrie Prejean will keep her Miss California title. She stirred controversy a couple of weeks ago with her answer to a question about gay marriage at the Miss USA pageant. She was first runner-up. But her comments against same-sex marriage lead the Miss California organization consider appointing a possible replacement for her. Despite more racy photos of her showing up on the internet, Donald Trump, who owns the pageant, told reporters this morning Prejean will keep her title. She said some of the photos were not supposed to be published and some were photo shopped.

Prejean told James Dobson on his daily Focus on the Family program the issue is a spiritual battle:
"I just knew at that moment that God was just telling me "Carrie, how bad do you want this? Are you willing to compromise your beliefs for a one year crown of Miss USA.. And (after speaking against gay marriage) I knew there was no way I was going to win Miss USA. No way.. I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me in asking me this question."

Monday, May 11, 2009

One Year Ago.. Davey Creator Dies

The 90-year-old creator of the Davey and Goliath children’s TV show died one year ago this day in Dallas. Dick Sutcliffe came up with the Lutheran program featuring a boy and his talking dog as claymation figures using stop-action animation. It was popular in the 60’s and 70’s but fell off the public's radar until 2003 when it made a comeback. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America which owes the rights to the figures reluctantly agreed to let them star in a commercial for Mountain Dew. The star was the subject of a one-hour documentary called Oh Davey!... History of the Davey and Goliath Television Series.