Just another voice on the Metro

WASHINGTON -- The elderly black woman began preaching moments after the train left the Capitol South subway station."Praise the Lord. It's a good day," she said, starting a 20-minute sermon as her rush-hour congregation rolled toward the Maryland suburbs.Her voice was calm, strong and serious. She was carrying a cane and, I wouldn't dare make this up this detail, a fragrant box of spicy fried chicken. I didn't take precise notes, but what follows is real close to what she said. My father was a … [Read more...]

Intolerant Christians in the public square

As they lurched through a blinding snowstorm over Tokyo, the Rev. Billy Graham watched as the nervous pilot focused single-mindedly on his cockpit instruments.When it came time to land that plane, the pilot and the air-traffic controllers followed a dogmatic set of rules. They were intolerant of errors, and Graham was thankful for that."I did not want these men to be broad-minded," he said, in a sermon that is currently circulating on the Internet. "I knew that our lives depended on it."There … [Read more...]

A rose for 1999

Moments before the fateful lunch break, a Columbine High School classmate saw Rachel Joy Scott drawing in one of her spiral-bound journals.It was a pencil sketch of a rose, which her family believes was meant to symbolize youth. The poet, dancer, musician and missionary also drew two eyes - weeping 13 tears onto the rose. Police found the journal in her bloody, bullet-pierced backpack.Why 13 tears? Then, Scott's journal ended with this prayer: "Am I the only one who sees? Am I the only one who … [Read more...]

A Christmas mystery — 12 days worth

Three decades ago, Father Harold Stockert's passion for history sent him digging through stacks of correspondence between French Jesuits and their embattled brethren across the English Channel.It wasn't easy being a Roman Catholic in Elizabethan England. It was, in fact, illegal and often downright dangerous. This Jesuit correspondence was particularly intense after the 1611 publication of the King James Version, when Catholics in England needed the help of the French in publishing a Catholic … [Read more...]

The century — death by ‘quasi-religion’

The images are unforgettable, from the faces of the victims to the face of the tyrant who ordered them dead, from the shocking death camps to the spectacular rites of hate that made them possible.The journalists who cover religion in the secular press have selected the Holocaust as the 20th century's most important religion event.While the Holocaust stands alone atop the poll, members of the Religion Newswriters Association of America chose as the third-ranked event another example of what … [Read more...]

Y2K Top 10 — Luther meets the printing press

The question is impossible to answer, but that hasn't kept those who study religion and mass media from asking it: Would the Protestant Reformation have happened without the invention of moveable type?While stopping short of directly linking Martin Luther and Johannes Gutenberg, members of the Religion Newswriters Association of America have selected the Protestant Reformation and the invention of the printing press as the top events in a poll to determine the top 10 religion stories of the … [Read more...]

Yes, there is a St. Nicholas

Father Constantine White was ready when his young son asked the big December question: "Is Santa Claus real?"Instead of answering "yes" or "no," the Orthodox priest responded with another question: "Well, what is the name of our church?"That would be St. Nicholas Cathedral, named after the 4th Century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. Nicholas has for centuries been one of Eastern Orthodoxy's most beloved saints, the patron of orphans, merchants, sailors and all those in distress. His feast day is … [Read more...]

Should a Christian do a nude scene?

One by one, the summer flicks have faded from theater screens, entering the brief purgatory that precedes rebirth on video and cable television.Most are forgotten sooner rather than later."The Thomas Crown Affair" was one typical piece of Hollywood eye candy, focusing on a filthy-rich hunk who commits crimes as a hobby and the femme fatale that stalks him. This was not the kind of movie that normally inspires discussions in a seminary or in churches.Then again, this steamy thriller featured a … [Read more...]