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 >>
There's a good piece by Andrew Walker in First Things on a popular international church network called Hillsong's apparent equivocation on marriage. At a recent New York press conference, the ministry's leader, Brian Houston, declined to answer whether the ministry affirms the biblical position. Instead, he stresses the church's need to stay "relevant."
Earlier this year the pastor of Hillsong's New York's congregation, the ultra hip Carl Lentz, shared similar views with CNN. His wife added: "It's not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That's their journey." Hmmm. If it's not the church's place to tell anyone how to live, then what is the church's purpose? Entertainment? Affirmation?
Socialization? And if it's not the church's role to counsel how to live, then who or what should? Perhaps it's the central message of our age that each autonomous individual chooses his/her own path without reference to others. more >>
Former leaders from Seattle-based Mars Hill Church may return to serve the congregation, now that Mark Driscoll, the megachurch's founder and former head pastor, has resigned, according to recent local news reports.
One former leader and member of Mars Hill who left because of Driscoll's leadership, Kevin Potts, told a news station that he is planning to return.
"Hopefully helping that church rebuild into something that glorifies Christ," said Potts to KING 5 Television in an interview posted Sunday. "I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen when I show up to church tomorrow morning … My purpose isn't to show up and say, 'Ha ha, Mark's gone, we won.'" more >>