Saturday, February 20, 2010

College Hits 50k Students

Jerry Falwell's Liberty University has reached its enrollment goal of 50,000 students. But only a small portion are actually on campus. Enrollment is 57,371 at the Lynchburg, Virginia school this semester but 45,000 of those students are learning online.

Ministry Accused of Inflating Aid

CBS News is accusing Feed the Children of making false claims about its work in Haiti. On its web site, the charity says donations funded medical relief at a large camp for 12,000 people in the Caribbean nation. But a network investigation found the camp was set up by local monks and nuns. CBS also says doctors did not treat as many patients as the ministry claims and the UN denies Feed the Children's claim that it was chosen to hand out food to the entire camp. The network says the organization was not feeding anyone at the location. Feed the Children responds to the report, "We will certainly look into the difference of opinion as to exactly how much help we're providing and exactly who is involved with it." There is more from the organization here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

City Hall Sign

The Costa Mesa City Counsel has put up a sign in the Council Chamber at City Hall City Hall that says In God We Trust. The sign is right beneath the city’s seal. Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece proposed the installation and was able to pass the resolution despite opponents claim that it blurs the separation of church and state.

Elton John: Jesus was Gay

In Parade magazine interview, singer Elton John said that Jesus was "a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems."On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don't know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East -- you're as good as dead." In response, the president of the Catholic League said, "To call Jesus a homosexual is to label Him a sexual deviant." A Church of England spokesman told the BBC, "Sir Elton's reflection that Jesus calls us all to love and forgive is one shared by all Christians. But insights into aspects of the historic person of Jesus are perhaps best left to the academics."

Missionaries Return

CNN reports on the Baptist missionaries returning from Haiti.

Benny Hinn's Divorce

Benny Hinn's wife has filed for divorce. Suzanne Hinn married the prosperity gospel TV preacher 30 years ago. She filed papers in Orange County, California, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple separated in January. Hinn is one of the six televangelists under investigation by Senator Charles Grassley.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

American Idol

American Idol has announced its Top 24 semifinalists. Several of the contestants have church connections.
  • 24-year-old Lacey Brown from Amarillo, Texas began singing when she was 12 years old at churches. She now teaches classes at her parents' church.
  • 22-year-old Michelle Delamor from Miami began singing at age 5 in church. Delamor now leads conducting a children's choir.
  • 24-year-old Paige Miles from Naples, now lives in Houston. She started singing in church when she was 5 years old.
  • 27-year-old Jermaine Sellers is from Joliet, Illinois and currently sings in his church.

Ed Young Under Fire

A Texas megachurch is hosting its annual C3 conference. Ed Young is pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine. He has come under fire recently for in news reports for his private jet, 10,000-square foot home and a $1 million yearly salary. Young says the church does not own an airplane although the church does utilize a leased aircraft. Young also says his annual salary is not a million dollars but admits that he is "well paid."

Southern Baptists Called Racists

A North Carolin county commissioner says people pushing for the right to pray before public meetings are racists. Forsyth County Commissioner Walter Marshall in Winston-Salem says he was talking about Southern Baptists and their push for prayer before meetings comes from their bullying and racism. Marshall, who is black, said during a radio show, "The southern fundamentalist, evangelical Baptist during slavery used the Bible to justify slavery, and they used the same Bible to justify segregation during the civil rights movement. In my case the same folks who are pushing for the right to pray are the ones who were opposed to desegregation. I'm talking about the Christian Right, the Christian Right were the same folks who opposed, in the name of Jesus, segregating the public schools. They were opposed to district elections, they supported a submissive role for women and for blacks in government." If you would like to let Marshall know your opinions, his contact information is here.

Missionaries Return

Pastor reacts to return of American missionaries From Haiti. Eight of 10 have been released. The last two are facing more questioning about their attempt to take children out of the country.

Joyce Meyer May Be Dropped from Suit

The family who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a former security guard at Joyce Meyer Ministries now wants the ministry dropped from its lawsuit. Christopher Coleman is accused of killing his family. They were found strangled in their beds at home in Columbia, Illinois last year. A judge ruled last week that the family's lawyers waited too long to get testimony from Meyer's workers about Coleman. Police investigators speculate that he wanted to remarry without having to divorce and hurt his ob status because Meyer doesn't employ divorced people. However, that is not in the employee handbook and Meyer herself is divorced.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Billboard Vandelized

Someone has vandalized a Sacramento billboard promoting atheism. It read, "Are you good without God? Millions are." But someone added with spray paint "also lost?" The billboard is owned by Clear Channel which is replacing the sign for free.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

College Fires 50

Oral Robert University is letting 50 people go. The downsizing covers a variety of areas but no faculty positions will be affected. The employees losing their jobs will be given 60 days to find other work. The school fired 124 people back in October and 53 in January of last year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baylor's New Prez

A dean with Church of Christ roots has been tapped to become the new president of the world’s largest Baptist university. Best known for his role in the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton administration, Kenneth Starr will take over at Baylor University in Waco, Texas in June. He's served as dean at the Church of Christ-associated Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California since 2004.

Church Growth from 2009 to 2010

Gaining Members
Jehovah's Witnesses 2% (1 million)
Church of God, Cleveland, TN 1.76% (1 million)
Catholics 1.49% (68 million members)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1.71% (5.8 million)
Assemblies of God 1.27% ( 2.8 million)

Losing Members
Presbyterian Church USA -3.28% (2.9 million)
Episcopal Church, -2.81% (2 million)
American Baptists -2% (1.3 million)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -1.92% (4.7 million)
Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod -1.92% (2.3 million)

United Methodist Church -.98% (7.8 million)
Southern Baptists -.24% (16.2 million)

Source: Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches

Catholic Match

The Denver Post profiles a Web site with the largest online dating pool of single adult Catholics here.

Nashville Spinoff

The Axis Church hasn't found a permanent home since it opened in Nashville last year, however, it has found controversy. The congregation is a spin-off of the group Acts 29 - created by megachurch leader Mark Driscoll who pastors Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The Southern Baptist Convention, based in Nashville, has taken a public stance against Driscoll and his ministry. Axis has met at a gym and bar among other spots since last summer but the leadership believes its close to settling a single meeting place.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Brain's Spritual Center?

Italian researchers say they’ve found a part of the brain that has an influence on a person's level of spirituality. After patients with damaged parietal regions (located in the top rear region of the brain) had brain tissue from the area removed experienced changes in their attitudes toward spiritual things. Experts say the results are interesting but caution against reading too much into the findings since it was only one study. The findings appear in the newest issue of the journal Neuron.