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...]

Praying for better journalism at The New York Times

NEW YORK -- It was a perfectly ordinary invitation to gather for Christian fellowship, the kind of message believers often circulate among colleagues that they know share their faith.In this case, Michael Luo invited a circle of fellow journalists in the New York Times newsroom to breakfast, including one former pastor of an evangelical church.Yes, this tiny Times flock plans to gather again. No, the veteran reporter was not willing to name any names."The Times is like a lot of other … [Read more...]

Time for another rant about Lent

With Ash Wednesday behind them, online friends of Hollywood screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi braced themselves for what has become a Lenten tradition -- fasting-day manifestos from the witty former nun."It's a Friday of Lent dear Catholic brethren. And you know what that means," she wrote on Facebook. "Corporate Sacrifice Power Activate! No meat. No braised oxtail. No venison medallions. No veal short ribs. No rabbit sausage. NO MEAT. No Muscovy Duck. No Turkey jerky. No Kangaroo Loin Fillets. … [Read more...]

The evolving state of Mormon heaven

It takes lots of praying, preaching and singing to mourn a president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a man called Prophet, Seer and Revelator by his global flock.That was certainly true at President Spencer W. Kimball's funeral in 1985. So when one of the church's most powerful women rose to speak, the leader of its vast Relief Society projects, she simply shared a cherished private memory that pointed far beyond the grave.While visiting Colorado, recalled the late … [Read more...]

The pope and the Pentecostal smartphone

The image projected onto the giant screen above the recent Kenneth Copeland Ministries conference was not your typical clever smartphone video.Still, the crowd of Pentecostal Protestants was mesmerized because the shepherd vested in white who addressed them -- in Italian, with subtitles -- was one of the last men on earth they would have expected to warmly bestow his blessing on them.Pope Francis stressed that they "must encounter one another as brothers. We must cry together. ... These … [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...]

President Obama defends religious freedom — overseas

From the moment he rose to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast, it was clear President Barack Obama intended to respond to critics who accuse him of being weak in his defense of religious freedom."As Americans, we affirm the freedoms endowed by our Creator, among them freedom of religion," noted Obama, early in the recent address. "Yes, this freedom safeguards religion, allowing us to flourish as one of the most religious countries on Earth, but it works the other way, too -- because … [Read more...]

Dark (porn) secrets in modern sanctuaries

At some point before 35-year-old Jesse Ryan Loskarn hanged himself in his parents' home outside Baltimore, he wrote a painful letter soaked in shame and self-loathing in which he attempted to explain the unexplainable.The former chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) had lived a secret life, hiding memories of child abuse and his addiction to child pornography. Even as U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents used a battering ram to enter his house, it appeared that he was trying to … [Read more...]


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