In a post-secular world, and a post-Christian America, it seemed we might be past the time of towering faith figures and transnational, transcendent religious leaders. Enter Pope Francis-the pontiff formerly known as Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio - who is a religious rock star in a way many thought was impossible. Pope Francis has found a broad, welcoming audience in the United States, and American Catholics have found a new hope for their Church.
While evangelicals do not share Catholics' interest in the flourishing of the Catholic Church, evangelicals still have a stake in his popularity and success. The rise of Pope Francis suggests to evangelicals that even in this new century, Christians can have a faithful presence and influence in American public life.
Francis' popularity is driven by his pastoral, inclusive, and humble approach to the Pontificate. He has eschewed the worldly perks of some of his predecessors, opting for a simpler wardrobe and a less luxurious home and car. He has reached out to unexpected people: the Muslim girl whose feet he washed, the meetings and meals he has held with the homeless and those at the margins, his interview with atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari, his encouragement to mothers to breastfeed in church, and his words of humility on the topic of gay priests. more >>
A Christian organization dedicated to highlighting the experiences of those raised under the controversial teachings of homeschooling and family planning advocate William G. "Bill" Gothard reports that the conservative Christian minister has been accused of sexually harassing dozens of young women and teen girls who worked or volunteered with his nonprofit.
Since the organization, Recovering Grace, published the allegations from various women online, critical mentions of Gothard's alleged sexual harassment have emerged in several publications, such as the Baptists Today News Journal, the Chicago Now blog, Patheos and the American Conservative.
On Feb. 3, Recovering Grace published an explanatory letter on its shift in mission, spurred by allegations made by at least 34 different women who claim they were victims of "textbook sexual harassment" and emotional abuse at the hands of Gothard. more >>
British-born ministry 3DM invited various Church leaders in the New England area to join them on a quest to re-imagine discipleship and church culture in America last week.
The group, whose headquarters are now based in Pawley's Island, South Carolina held a Discipleship and Mission Workshop at the Church of Emmanuel in Foxboro, Mass. from Feb. 4-6 that attracted church leaders from all over the northeast region of the U.S.
"We're not getting discipled, we're [learning how to use 3DM's tools]," said Vincent Gressi from Oasis Christian Center in New York City in regards to his experience with the material. "I've been discipled, now I should be discipling someone else. [3DM created tools], not a system [to make this possible]." more >>
Valentine's Day, if we're honest, is an irritating holiday even for Christians. Everywhere we look there are baked-goods and candy hearts expressing their eternal love for us in pink frosting. For those of us struggling to keep up with New Year's diet resolutions, the temptations can be downright maddening. But all the talk about love and affection got me thinking. What if this year I asked my homosexual neighbor to be my valentine?
This radical thought might come as a shocker, since it's no secret I'm a die-hard conservative culture warrior. Marriage, sexuality, and family as divine institutions established by God in Genesis, affirmed by Jesus in Matthew and supported again by several Pauline texts are what I spend my days defending in the public square. But recently, I faced the fact that homosexuality is not only a public policy issue. It's also a deeply personal matter that leaves many Christians asking the question, "Can I uphold my convictions and love my homosexual friend?"
Last weekend I participated in Evangelicals for Social Action's (ESA), "Oriented to Love" retreat. The purpose of the retreat was to bring together twelve individuals who professed faith in Christ but held differing moral values, politics, and of course, sexual orientations. Despite being questioned as a "spy" and told I wanted to "bring America back to the 1950s" over lunch, I'm thankful for the experience. It was here that I saw the tough face of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community actually consists of real, broken, vulnerable, thoughtful, creative, kind, and emotional individuals struggling to navigate through this earthy life just like the rest of us. As such, they are deserving of our respect. more >>
Angie Smith, bestselling author and popular speaker, confesses in her new book, Chasing God, that she had been a Christian for more than 10 years when she experienced what she calls a "crisis of faith" — coming to the end of her own exhaustive efforts to understand God.
Instead of getting to know Him for herself, Smith spent those years trying to figure God out, and using what others had to say about Him as her guidepost.
"And maybe you, like me, have been spending your time going after the wrong objectives (without realizing it) and it's left you weary of the whole process," Smith writes in Chasing God. "What was meant to be a gift has become an obligation, a source of guilt or a way to fight fear." more >>
Hollywood might have called it, "Revenge of the Nuns." But this isn't Hollywood. This is reality. Real people, real women, fighting back against the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) attack on religious liberty, a right to which women have equal claim to as men.
The Supreme Court's decision to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor with an injunction from the president's abortion-pill mandate forces the Democrats to face an inconvenient truth: the so-called "war on women" is theirs to own.
From the beginning, the president and his party tried to frame any and all opposition to the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, which forces employers to provide drugs like Plan B (also known as the morning after pill), Ella (essentially a week-after pill)and others in their healthcare plans as an attack on women. No doubt, they were not planning on the most famous plaintiff in the resultant largest class-action religious liberty lawsuit in American history to be an order of chaste women who have devoted their lives to caring for the impoverished and dying elderly. more >>