Culture wars in the App Store, part II

At first glance, the original rules written to govern the Apple App Store seem to be simple, logical and easy to enforce.After all, who wants one of the world's most powerful corporations to circulate digital forms of hate? Consider, for example, the guidelines governing "personal attacks" and "objectionable content."The former rejects, "Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way." This does not apply to … [Read more...]

Culture wars in the App Store (and what they mean)

In a career packed with sound bites, the late Steve Jobs offered one of his best when describing his vision for a family-friendly Apple App Store."We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone," he famously responded, in an email to a customer. "Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone."This stance was clear, but hard to apply in the flood of information and images on the World Wide Web. After all, many consumers are very easy to offend, when hot … [Read more...]

Baptists rethinking the use of catechisms (plural)?

This joke may be the most famous in all of Baptist humor.While crossing a high bridge, a traveler encounters a distressed man who is poised to jump. The first man asks the second if he is religious and a Christian. The suicidal man answers, "yes," to both. Catholic or Protestant? The jumper says, "Protestant." And, as it turns out, both men are Baptists."Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?" The second man, in a classic version of this joke found at the "Ship of … [Read more...]

Duck! Elderly patriarchs discussing doctrine!

This elderly patriarch's image is certainly striking, with his stern face and a gray beard that flows over his chest, contrasting with the colorful clothing typical of his flock and his unique line of work.Just before Christmas, he raised eyebrows with a blunt statement on one of today's most controversial issues.No, this wasn't the Duck Commander in Louisiana. This patriarch resides in the city his followers formally refer to as Constantinople-New Rome."The Lord appointed the … [Read more...]

What would Pope Francis pick as top 2013 news story?

Popes come and popes go, with a new pope elected every few years or decades.Thus, when viewed through the lens of history, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was a stunning event in the history of Roman Catholicism and, thus, all of Western Christianity. He was the first man to resign St. Peter's throne in 600 years. Surely this was the most important religion-news story of 2013?But when seen through the lens of the mainstream press, the bookish Benedict's exit was a mere ripple in the … [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...]

Eye to eye with Mother Teresa (farewell to Scripps Howard)

Mother Teresa was having a bad press conference.Journalists gathered for her 1989 Denver visit seemed determined to ask a litany of questions about her views on every imaginable issue in world affairs and American politics. The soft-spoken, yet often stern, nun seemed confused and kept stressing that her Missionary Sisters of Charity would always focus on the needs of the needy and the sick, including those suffering from AIDS.One television reporter even asked if the day's main event -- … [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...]


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