Two web series focusing on the lives of pastors have caught on with viewers and won awards, showing a shift in viewing from mainstream TV to online viewing.
The first series "Plant" is a mockumentary web series filmed in New York City. The show follows the lives of Rev. Todd Lawn and his wife Tammy as they leave the safety of the suburbs to develop a new ministry in the heart of the city. However, things are not quite as they seem in the city, and the pastor must deal with the threats from the pastor of a mega-church who wants his job. It's a "David vs. Goliath" story told in a modern day setting.
"Plant" was recognized for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing at the Los Angeles Web Series Festival. Actresses Liz Days, Susannah Jones, and Peggy Queener were also recognized, as was writer Andrew Nielson. more >>
Dutch Christians have boycotted a Netherlands church for displaying an exhibit they believe encourages anti-Semitism.
Named "Room No. 4" the exhibit was brought to Utrecht's Domkerk Church, one of the Netherlands best-known places of worship, by the Dutch Coalition for Palestinian Children in Israeli Detention. The exhibit features adult models tied up in ropes to portray jailed Palestinian children who are in Israeli detention facilities.
Earlier this month, Hebe Kohlbrugge, a member of the church, joined other Christians in the protest by boycotting the exhibit due to what he believes to be a permeating anti-Jewish sentiment from the piece. more >>
Fashion designer and icon Oscar de la Renta died Monday, Oct. 20 after a battle with cancer; he previously spoke about his Roman Catholic faith being a comfort to him and that the only certainties in life were birth and death.
"Yes, I had cancer," de la Renta said last year. "Right now, I am totally clean. The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life."
The designer, the only son of seven children born to a couple in the Dominican Republic, made a name for himself with his elaborate yet tasteful designs. He managed to dress several of the first ladies of the United States, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama. more >>
A church and state watchdog group has warned that the recent controversy over Houston city officials subpoenaing sermons from pastors may create a major conservative fundraising effort.
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote that Houston's legal move against pastors who oppose their recently passed LGBT ordinance will create a conservative backlash.
Writing for the Washington, D.C.-based group's blog "Wall of Separation," Boston argued that the incident "will launch a thousand right-wing fund-raising letters." more >>
There has been a lot of attention paid lately to the alarming numbers of a decreasing membership in mainline Protestant denominations in the United States in recent years.
Denominations like The Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) have annually reported losses in membership and attendance figures for their churches.
However, the denominations are not losing members at as high of rates as in 2013, according to their spokespeople. more >>
It started when Fox News broke the explosive story: "The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, or gender identity. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court."
The Houston Chronicle reported it began with Houston's new non-discrimination ordinance driven by Annise Parker, Houston's first openly lesbian mayor and approved by the city council in June.
A group of Houston pastors opposing the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot. But in a controversial turn the city unexpectedly tossed out the petition in August over alleged "irregularities." The opponents of the non-discrimination bill (which originally included among other things that men could use women's restrooms and visa-versa – but that point was pulled early over the criticism) filed a lawsuit, and the city attorney responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors. more >>