Friday, February 11, 2011

Chuck Smith Stirs Controversy Over Abortion

Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, is being criticized by some anti-abortion activists for his advice to a pregnant women during his Pastor's Perspective call-in radio program. Doctors told her that she has conjoined twins who are not likely to survive. Smith advised her to consider an abortion. He told the listening audience: "I am totally opposed to abortion. I believe it is a great sin. I do believe that the 50-plus million children that have been aborted in the United State since the Roe verses Wade is one of the greatest sins of America, and I think that we're going to be judged for it. I do not believe in abortion as it is being practiced today. However, there can be extenuating circumstances.." Operation rescue immediately released a press release criticizing Smith. There is a link to the call here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Marking 400 Years

The King James Bible will be read in its entirety as part of the Shakespeare's Globe season to mark the translation's 400th anniversary. 20 actors will take part in the 8 day reading, schedule to start Palm Sunday and conclude Easter Monday.

Books Warning Labels Dropped

LifeWay Christian Stores intends to stop its warning labels for a handful books. The Southern Baptist–owned company has been criticized for its controversial Read with Discernment program.Among the titles making the list: William Young's The Shack and Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It lists popular books that "may have espoused thoughts, ideas, or concepts that could be considered inconsistent with historical evangelical theology."

Prayer Luncheon Goes Forward

A federal judge in Denver has stopped an effort to prevent a prayer luncheon from taking place today at the US Air Force Academy. The academy’s chaplain service, is sponsoring the event. The judge said the five professors who filed suit do not have legal standing to challenge the event and that their claim of possible reprisals against cadets who do not attend did not constitute an actual harm.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Minister Cleared of Charges

The highest court of the Presbyterian Church, USA has cleared a minister who married two lesbians. A lower court ruled that Jean Southard violated the denomination's constitution, but the newest ruling overturns that decision. The church constitution says, "marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man."

Justin Bieber's Faith

A new 3-D concert film/documentary about Justin Bieber (coming out Friday) will show the singer's beliefs, according to his manager. Scotter Braun say viewers will see how important his faith is to Bieber and that "As a Christian, he's someone to look up to." Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was previewed for faith leaders and spiritual discussion guides are being made available. The film shows Bieber praying before concerts. Braun denies the spiritual emphasis is just a marketing tool. Many fans first got to know Bieber from the Christian songs he sang on YouTube before he became famous. His mother, Pattie Mallette, openly shares her beliefs and Bible verses with some 300k Twitter followers. Her son told Billboard magazine, "I believe that Jesus died on a cross for my sins. "He's the reason that I'm here."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Megachurch CFO Out

The Crystal Cathedral's chief financial officer is retiring. Fred Southard's role in the church bankruptcy has brought attention to the fact the church gave him a $132,000 tax-exempt housing allowance. He's been the CFO for the Southern California megachurch for more than 30 years. Court documents show the bankruptcy officer says, "There is no justification whatsoever for a housing allowance of this amount. Mr. Southard has failed to explain why such a housing allowance is necessary or appropriate, given this Debtor is in Chapter 11 and suffering financial difficulties." The church gave some $2 million to two dozen insiders, mostly members of the Robert Schuller family in the year leading up to the bankruptcy.

A list of Religious Companies

CNN has named what the news network calls a list of religious companies. The list includes:

Chick-fil-A which recently kicked up a controversy by giving food to a group opposed to gay marriage, has a proud Christian identity.

Forever 21. The words John 3:16 appears at the bottom of its stores' shopping bags. A spokeswoman for the company told The New York Sun that the message is a "demonstration of the owners' faith."

Whole Foods. John Mackey, the organic food chain's co-founder and CEO, is a Buddhist who has worked to incorporate the eastern tradition's ideals into his company.

Tom’s of Maine. After launching the natural home products company in 1970 with his wife Kate, CEO Tom Chappell nearly left it to pursue full-time Christian ministry. While receiving a master's at Harvard Divinity School, however, a professor advised him to just treat his business as ministry.

Tyson Foods. The world's largest chicken company employs a team of chaplains who minister to employees at production facilities and corporate offices.

Hobby Lobby. The privately held chain of more than 450 arts and crafts stories isn't shy about its Christian orientation. "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles," reads the company's mission statement. "We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured."

ServiceMaster. It owns Terminix and American Home Shield. The company was founded in 1929 by Marion E. Wade, who "had a strong personal faith and a desire to honor God in all he did," according to ServiceMaster's website.

Herman Miller. The Michigan-based furniture manufacturer's founders were steeped in the Reformed Protestant tradition.

Interstate Batteries. The car battery giant has a "self-avowed religious identity and is very open in their God talk" in internal training and communication, Former company president Norm Miller moved to the role of chairman to allow more time to address Christian audiences. Miller talks to those "interested in how he found the truth of Christianity," the company's website says, "and how he learned to effectively apply biblical principles to create a more successful business."

In-N-Out Burger. Western U.S. burger chain In-N-Out has printed citations of Bible passages on cups, wrappers and other pieces of packaging since at least the late 1980s. For instance, "John 3:16" appears on the bottom of soft drink cups.

Walmart. Treat this one as an honorable mention. Lambert says the Walton family, which founded the company and still own a major stake in it, has used Christian servant leadership models in building the world's largest retailer. And the company's Arkansas roots helped sensitize it to the shopping habits of churchgoers.

Read more here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Christianity in Central America

The Economist takes a look at Evangelicals and Catholics in San Salvador here.