Clergy, temptation, sex abuse and the law

Surely one of our world's most endangered species -- right up there with the Mountain Gorilla or the Sumatran Tiger -- is the church "ministerius youthii."That was the conviction of the late Louis McBurney, a Mayo Clinic-trained psychiatrist who spent decades at his Colorado retreat center helping ministers crushed by the demands and temptations of their jobs. Youth ministers, for example, face stunning parental expectations, low pay, the loss of privacy and a nagging sense of … [Read more...]

Ann B. Davis was much, much more than ‘Alice’

Soon after its birth, the MTV network tried to branch out with "Remote Control," a hipper than hip game show.Contestants were quizzed on media trivia including a category called, "Alive or dead?" The goal was to guess the current status of pop-culture icons.One day in 1988 the name "Ann B. Davis" popped up on the screen. Hitting the buzzer, a contestant shouted, "Dead!"With a classic double take, Davis shouted, "I am not!" at the den television in the 26-room redstone house she … [Read more...]

The World Vision same-sex marriage wars of 2014

When church historians review the 2014 World Vision wars over gay marriage, they will ponder several puzzling statements by the man caught in the crossfire."We do know this is an emotional issue in the American church," said World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns, in the recent Christianity Today interview that revealed his organization's decision months earlier to employ Christians in same-sex marriages. "I'm hoping not to lose supporters over the change. We're hoping that they … [Read more...]

The death of an Orthodox visionary — in America

When major religious leaders die, it's traditional that public figures -- secular and sacred -- release letters expressing sorrow and sending their condolences to the spiritual sheep who have suddenly found themselves without a shepherd.This is precisely what Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis did, acting as chairman of the assembly of America's Eastern Orthodox bishops, after he heard about the death of Metropolitan Philip Saliba -- the leader of the Antiochian Orthodox … [Read more...]

Faith and the Millennials — it’s complicated

LOS ANGELES -- When pollster David Kinnaman went to college two decades ago, his Generation X life was surrounded by electronic screens and all the gadgets that connected to them.There were TV screens, movie screens and new computers, some of which even had speakers. There were VCRs, CD players, cassette recorders, video cameras and other cool devices. The hottest trend was "email" that allowed students to do something Baby Boomers could only dream about -- send private, instant messages to … [Read more...]

Telling the Nativity story, with help of two foster boys

Night after night, Jesse and Kelly Cone led their children through some of the most familiar verses in all of Christianity.The goal was to use the quiet pre-Christmas season of Advent -- or Nativity Lent in their Eastern Orthodox parish in Santa Maria, Calif. -- to help their young sons grasp the meaning of Feast of the Nativity, which begins Dec. 25th and continues for 12 days. This isn't easy in a culture in which the powers that be roll out the Christmas bandwagon with the Halloween … [Read more...]

The man from Buenos Aires vs. dead Catholic museums

BUENOS AIRES -- It's hard to wrestle with the crucial moral and cultural issues in modern Argentina without getting Catholic and Protestant leaders into the same room.During one tense gathering, some Catholic speakers kept referring to decades of rapid growth by "evangelical cults" in Latin America. The assumption seemed to be that evangelical Protestants were all the same, with no real differences between, for example, the freewheeling "prosperity Gospel" preachers and ordinary Protestant … [Read more...]

Guess the winner: Woodstock vs. religious liberty

Blame it on Woodstock.Cultural changes unleashed by the sexual revolution are affecting how millions of Americans understand religious liberty, according to University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, speaking at a recent Newseum symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It doesn't help that disputes about the free exercise of religion have increasingly turned into bitter partisan battles pitting Republicans against the majority of mainstream … [Read more...]


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