NEW YORK — An American pastor of a diverse congregation in Israel known to be targeted by anti-Christian vandals, reminded those in attendance at a recent Mideast prayer service that, according to the Bible, the Jewish people were chosen by God in special service to the world, and never designated as "the teacher's pet." He also called for Christians to be careful in jumping to judgement and picking sides in the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Rev. Charles M. Kopp, pastor of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation, a 100-member Christian church in West Jerusalem, made the remarks last Thursday evening at a World Evangelical Alliance prayer meeting at the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission in New York City.
The occasion of the prayer meeting was "A Call to Prayer for the Middle East," with additional remarks made by the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President of National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Dr. Munir Kakish, Chairman of the Council of Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land (representing Evangelicals in Palestinian Territories); and the Rev. Harry Tees, WEA Ambassador to the Holy Land. During the prayer meeting, opened by WEA United Nations Permanent Representative Deborah Fikes, mention was made of conflicts raging in Syria and Iraq, as well as in other countries in the Middle East. more >>
Australian megachurch Hillsong has influenced Christian worship far and wide, with its songs like "Mighty to Save" and "Awesome God" routinely belted out in churches around the world. The Pentecostal church's music ministry has proven so pivotal to modern Christian worship that its United brand is the subject of a new documentary and, along with Hillsong's other mainstays (UNITED and Young & Free), has racked up this year 10 GMA Dove Award nominations.
But what is behind 31-year-old Hillsong Church's singing success?
According to Autumn Hardman, whose role is Worship Oversight for Hillsong Church's Australian campuses, the secret of Hillsong's success is simple — keeping Jesus front and center. more >>
Travelodge, one of the largest hotel chains in Britain, is removing Bibles from its rooms reportedly because of the country's growing "multicultural" society. The Church of England has condemned the decision, describing it as "tragic and bizarre."
"The reason is because of diversity. With the country being increasingly multicultural, we didn't feel it was appropriate to just have the Bible because there are people of other religions. People were also taking Bibles away and with the redesign of the rooms, it was felt that it would be better to remove them," a Travelodge spokesman said, according to The Daily Mail.
Another spokesman further explained: "In order not to discriminate against any religion, customers who would like a Bible can pick a copy from any one of Travelodge's 500 hotel reception desks across the country, whilst staying at the hotel. To date, Travelodge has not received any customer feedback regarding this decision." more >>
Christian rapper Thi'sl, a St. Louis, Missouri, native, knows firsthand about the racial tensions that have plagued his city for decades. It is that same dark cloud of racial unrest that overshadows the recent police killing of an 18-year-old black man in nearby Ferguson. Calling for justice while trumpeting a peaceful response, Thi'sl also says it is time for the church to step up and face the fact that U.S. Christianity has its own festering racial wounds that have long needed healing.
After the fatal shooting of an unarmed Michael Brown by a police officer on Saturday, Aug. 9, Ferguson's African-American community immediately erupted in furor over what many viewed as another callous killing of an unarmed black man by law enforcement. While police officials say Brown physically assaulted the officer, identified as Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force, eyewitnesses claim the 18-year-old had his hands in the air when he was shot several times. Officials also revealed on Friday, that Brown allegedly was involved in a theft at a nearby convenience store, just minutes before the deadly encounter with Wilson.
In addition to daily vigils and protests — briefly disrupted by looting and an ensuing militarized police response, some frustrated citizens have launched petitions calling for federal reform of police tactics, staged protests in cities across the nation, and voiced their sadness and confusion over the case online. Thi'sl also organized a town hall-styled event at a local church to provide Ferguson youth the space to air their grievances. more >>
As tensions continued in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of a black teenager by a policeman, President Barack Obama was criticized for his handling of race relations.
Various activists, including some in the African-American community, have questioned the effectiveness of President Obama's response, according to NBC News.
Jason Johnson, a politics editor for The Source magazine and a professor of political science, explained to MSNBC his doubts about Obama's handling of matters regarding race. more >>
A popular professional wrestling organization might lose its presence on television due to a failure to reach an agreement for a renewal of a contract with the channel that airs its programming.
Total Nonstop Action, a pro-wrestling organization whose main program, "Impact" draws an average of 1.4 million viewers weekly, remains in contract negotiations with Spike TV.
TNA's contract with Spike is scheduled to expire in October unless the two parties can reach an agreement that will keep the pro-wrestling organization on its Thursday evening slot. more >>