A “Crusade” That Defies the Stereotype


The Little Friar who Brought a Great Peace Francis of Assisi's bold action in the context of religious warOnly one time during the period of global religious conflict known (now) as the Crusades did Christian forces conquer Jerusalem. That occurred during the first Crusade in 1099. The only other time Christendom laid claim to the Holy City only was in 1229, when the Muslims under the leadership of Malik al-Kamil freely remitted it to them. That year, al-Kamil negotiated a ten-year peace … [Read more...]

What Jud Wanted to Say: My Tribute to Jud Carlberg

Jud Carlberg

By Wendy Murray Over these many months, since last April, I have been working closely with the administration at Gordon College to complete a book in celebration of their 125th Anniversary. The book, titled Leading the Way, highlights the legacy of Gordon College's eight presidents. It had been my idea to showcase the scholarship and vision of these leaders, scholars, and theologians in the context of the American religious landscape of their time.This assignment offered me the … [Read more...]

Who Is the *Real* Francis of Assisi? A New Book Hasn’t Found Him

Jon's Sweeney's new book on Saint Francis

A Review of When Francis Saved the Church, by Jon Sweeney(This review is part of the Patheos Book Club.)  by Wendy MurrayWhen I was living in Assisi, Italy to work on my book about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi -- titled A Mended and a Broken Heart -- a friar and scholar with whom I regularly consulted exhorted me with a statement I have never forgotten: He said, “Francis is an ocean--don’t say we caught him.”In this way I am always curious to read new … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis on Suffering, Let’s Do Lunch ~ a New Book

Alister McGrath

Alistair McGrath's new book If I Had Lunch with C.S.Lewis is a short volume with a lively tea-and-biscuit feel that explores Lewis's ideas on subjects related to the struggle and beauty of faith.The book's casual presentation could be helpful to some, but I stumbled over it.  The issues addressed in Lewis's arsenal of thought are not tea-and-biscuit fare. When Lewis himself broached such matters-- heaven, education or suffering, it typically involved book-length discussions and years of … [Read more...]

What’s In a Name? Pope Francis Explains

One year ago an Argentinian named Jorge Mario Bergoglio assumed the name of Francis -- or, in Italian, Francesco. For Italians, the name needs no explanation. For Americans, not so much. In the video below the Pope gives voice to his thoughts about why he took the name of Italy's most beloved saint.Post by Catholic News Service.Purchase Wendy Murray's book on Francis of Assisi -----------> See also: The Year of the Pope in Pictures … [Read more...]

Clergy Abuse Overwhelmed a Pope: It Ought to Be Exposed

The legacy of the church in the life of one man: is this what trust looks like?

By Wendy MurrayI recently watched a Frontline documentary titled "Secrets of the Vatican" highlighting the daunting challenges facing Pope Francis. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, resigned from the office a year ago today (Feb. 28, 2013) under a cloud of corruption and the stench of unresolved rampant sex-abuse cases. The documentary highlights the challenge Pope Francis faces in the unspoken mandate to clean up the Church, most notably the shameful sordid legacy of covering up of … [Read more...]

Remembering Mister Rogers and the Light He Left

Mister Rogers

By Wendy MurrayFred "Mister" Rogers died on this day 11 years ago. I interviewed Fred "Mister" Rogers in October 1999 for a cover story in Christianity Today (March 2000).  The assignment proved a highlight in my career. And, as time would have it, it was the last major feature article written about Fred Rogers before he died in February 2003, 10 years ago last month. It was also the only feature article to peek into the spiritual side of the Neighborhood, to explore the belief system of … [Read more...]