Warnings to believers in a consumer culture

Since the goal was to explore the cultural ties that bind, Father John Kavanaugh asked the young Catholics in a St. Louis classroom a basic civics question: How many national and world leaders could they name?The Jesuit didn’t allow the seventh graders to include celebrities and entertainers, which meant that actor Tom Cruise didn’t make the list. In the end, they ended up with 12 names."You started off with the pope and the president, of course. Then things got harder after that," said the S … [Read more...]

Billy Graham & Co. push the values voters

The television talking heads all agreed that the election was over, which ignited celebrations among the staff and supporters of winner Richard Nixon -- including the world's most famous evangelist."We did it," proclaimed the Rev. Billy Graham, according to iconoclastic journalist Joe McGinniss in "The Selling of the President 1968." Graham, he added, went "directly into Nixon's room, without explaining whether 'we' meant Billy Graham and Richard Nixon or Billy Graham and God or perhaps all … [Read more...]

Faith in that Barack Obama brand

Here's good news for President Barack Obama: The slice of Americans who believe he is a Muslim is down to 11 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll.That number was up to 18 percent two years ago, in a Pew Research Center survey, after hitting 11 percent in 2009.This time around, 52 percent of Democrats knew the president is a Protestant Christian, as opposed to 24 percent of Republicans. Only 3 percent of Democrats said Obama is a Muslim, while 18 percent of Republicans thought so. The … [Read more...]

Whatever happened to Advent?

The Rev. Timothy Paul Jones kept hearing one thing when -- four weeks before Christmas -- he brought a wreath and some purple and pink candles into his Southern Baptist church near Tulsa, Okla.And all the people said: "Advent? Don't Catholics do that?"This prickly response wasn't all that unusual, in light of the history of Christmas in America, said Jones, who now teaches leadership and church ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky."In the dominant American, … [Read more...]

Church signs along the road

Donald Seitz had suffered through a long day during a bad week at his office on Nashville's famous Music Row.On his way home from a business call, he drove past the Greater Pleasant View Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn. As usual, the no-tech sign out front offered a folksy thought for the week. This one caught his eye."He who kneels before God can stand before anyone," it said, in black, movable letters inserted by hand into slots on a plain white background.Seitz pulled over and got out of … [Read more...]

That Salvation Army brand

'Tis the season for Salvation Army bells, which means that Major George Hood's telephone has started ringing and it isn't going to stop until Christmas.People want to know how many dollars are coming in and where they are going and why. Hood is the man with the numbers, since he is the Salvation Army's community relations officer. In the past year, about 3.5 million Army volunteers and about 70,000 employees have helped more than 34 million needy people."If you look at those numbers, we're in … [Read more...]

Free Bibles, free speech

As a rule, newspaper readers do not protest when the Sunday edition includes free soap, toothpaste, shampoo, detergent, AOL software or a razor.Then again, these products do not include pronouncements on sin, sex, money, marriage, heaven, hell and a host of spiritual issues -- including the belief that salvation comes through faith in a messiah named Jesus.So International Bible Society leaders were not surprised that some people were upset by their decision to distribute 91,000 New Testaments … [Read more...]


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