When thinking about the exact location of the birth of Jesus Christ, for most Christians in the United States if not Western civilization, a familiar image comes to mind. Surrounded by farm animals, the Christ child is laid within a manger, a stable that was likely made of wood with hay on the ground. Traditional images of said manger, the displays erected outside of churches, on public property or at home, generally involve a simple wooden structure as the setting.
However, in some Christian traditions the setting for the manger is not a wooden building, but rather a rockier less man-made locale.
Churches, like the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, state that Jesus was born in a cave, as they were used by shepherds of the time to shelter animals from hostile weather. more >>
Two lesbian Methodist pastors in Seattle, Wash., could soon be defrocked after they decided to celebrate their undying love for each other by getting married in defiance of the Methodist Book of Discipline two weeks ago.
The news comes on the heels of an announcement Thursday by leaders of the United Methodist Church that they had defrocked the Rev. Frank Schaefer of Pennsylvania for officiating the wedding of his son to another man six years ago.
According to a King5.com report, the two female pastors, the Rev. Joanne Brown who pastors Tibbetts United Methodist Church and Christie Newbill who is a pastor at Woodland Park United Methodist Church got married on Dec. 7 before a full house at Brown's church. more >>
For the majority of American Christians, women's voices from the pulpit are a rarity.
According to a Faith Communities Today 2010 survey, roughly 24 percent of Mainline Protestant congregations had female leadership. For Evangelical congregations, only 9% had women on the pastoral staff.
Without endorsing a position on female ordination, Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith seeks to bring more female Christian voices to the mainstream, by offering 40 women under the age of 40 a platform to share a myriad of opinions on ordination, sexuality, divorce, doubt, breast feeding, and gender roles. more >>
A pastor who officiated his son's gay marriage ceremony has been defrocked by The United Methodist Church over refusing to comply with the denomination's rules on homosexuality.
Frank Schaefer of Pennsylvania had his position as a minister terminated by UMC officials after he met with the Board of Ordained Ministry and refused to turn over his clergy credentials.
John Coleman, spokesman for the UMC, told media that Schaefer was told he had to voluntarily surrender his credentials if he could not comply with the denomination's ban on clergy officiating same-sex weddings. more >>
John C. Nienstedt, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has voluntarily stepped down from all public ministry amid a police investigation into allegations that he touched a minor inappropriately in 2009, though he has denied the claims.
"The archdiocese is mindful of the due process concerns of those involved. There must be justice and due consideration of the rights and dignity of every human person, both the individual involved and the archbishop. This is not only the bedrock of our beliefs as Catholics, but also of the justice system of our country," the archdiocese said in an official statement Tuesday.
All within the archdiocese "will be subject to the internal policies we have established," the statement continued. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the individual involved and the archbishop as justice is pursued and all may move forward on a path toward healing." more >>
An early 2016 presidential poll in Iowa found former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan the most favorable, followed by former Iowa Caucus winners Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. Among born-again Christians, Ryan came in closely behind Huckabee. Christian and conservative leaders explained why, but minimized the importance of the poll for long-term results.
"As an Iowan pastor, I can assure you that both [Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee] will have an uphill battle," Cary Gordon, executive pastor at Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, told The Christian Post on Tuesday. Gordon minimized Ryan's 73 percent overall favorability rating among Republicans as premature, arguing that Ryan "will under no circumstances be the next president of the United States and will probably compete with Chris Christie for a dead last finish in the Iowa Caucuses."
Among Republicans, Ryan came in first with a 73 percent favorability rating. Huckabee, Santorum, and Texas Governor Rich Perry followed, with 66 percent, 58 percent, and 55 percent, respectively. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tied with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for fifth, with 51 percent. Florida Senator Marco Rubio tied with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 46 percent. more >>