Baptists in an age without safe labels

Journalists have been known to jump to premature conclusions if a denomination has the word "Southern" in its name.Consider this paragraph in an MSNBC.com report about efforts by Southern Baptist researchers to shed light on the pros and cons of changing the name of America's largest non-Catholic flock. Southern Baptist Convention leaders have been discussing this prickly issue off and on for a generation.This new LifeWay Research survey was conducted, noted MSNBC, after SBC leaders created … [Read more...]

Evangelicals learn to (heart) New York

Pastors have their own brand of insider humor, just like doctors, lawyers, accountants and other skilled professionals.The same is true for the missionaries, researchers and pastors who plant churches. Thus, Ed Stetzer once heard a veteran missions professor tell the following bittersweet joke at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.It went like this: How do you start a new Southern Baptist church in a big city up north? That's easy. You go into local grocery stores … [Read more...]

From Texas Baptist to Orthodox saint?

Wherever bishops travel, churches plan lavish banquets and other solemn tributes to honor their hierarchs.Visitations by Archbishop Dmitri Royster of the Orthodox Church in America were different, since the faithful in the 14-state Diocese of the South knew that one memorable event would take care of itself. All they had to do was take their leader to a children's Sunday school class and let him answer questions.During a 1999 visit to Knoxville, Tenn., the lanky Texan folded down onto a … [Read more...]

Churches late to Facebook party?

A mere three years ago, Diana Davis published a hands-on book for church leaders entitled "Fresh Ideas For Women's Ministry."When flipping through its pages, she said, one of the first things she notices is a missing word -- Facebook. She needs to rewrite the whole book to cover this reality gap."That obvious, isn't it? It's so obvious that we ought to be using Facebook to tell more women about our Bible studies and prayer groups and retreats and things like that," said Davis, who has been … [Read more...]

An Orthodox question for 2010

The first Orthodox missionaries to reach Alaska traveled with the early Russian explorers and, in 1794, a party of monks established the Orthodox Christian Mission to America.When Orthodox believers venerate icons of the "Saints of North America," many of the images are of missionaries. One is St. Herman of Alaska, a pioneer monk, and another is St. Innocent, an early missionary bishop. Then there is St. Tikhon of Moscow, who envisioned one united Orthodox body in America, a church without … [Read more...]

Why God loves New Orleans

Wherever they go, preachers are asked to stand up and pray.The Rev. Joe McKeever is the missions director for a Southern Baptist regional association, which is rather like being bishop of a flock that doesn't believe in bishops. This means that he gets asked to pray even more than the next guy with a Bible.McKeever says yes -- on one condition. Before the prayer, he insists on delivering a mini-sermon he calls, "What New Orleans and Heaven Have In Common." McKeever, you see, leads the Baptist … [Read more...]

No need for Orthodox pickles

Week after week, Eastern Orthodox hierarchs guide their flocks through the incense-shrouded rites that define their ancient faith.Bishops also become experts at another intricate ritual -- banquets.So Metropolitan Philip, the Antiochian Orthodox archbishop of North America, was not surprised when he was asked to make a few remarks at the final banquet of the 2004 Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Church in New York City. He was surprised when Greek Archbishop Demetrios indicated that … [Read more...]


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