In the making of the documentary film "Bible Quiz" perhaps it would have been easy for storyteller and producer Nicole Teeny to poke fun at a group of Scripture memorizing hyped-up teenagers engrossed in an intense national Bible Quiz playoff and its surrounding culture. Instead, Teeny lets the players and the competition do the talking, real and honest sharing in front of the camera, and what unfolds is an inside look at a specialized ministry and a maturing young believer.
"Bible Quiz," which recently had its West Coast premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California, has as its backdrop a relatively unknown competition (Bible quizzing) involving youth groups around the nation that memorize entire books of the Bible, and in the case of the central figure in the film, more than 2,000 verses. The competition culminates in a "Super Bowl" of sorts in a national playoff held in Wisconsin.
Organizers of the competition say the contests and the preparation for them are primarily about building a personal foundation on God's word found in the Bible. They consider the coaching of youth who spend hours at a time memorizing Scripture a ministry and not a type of program. more >>
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it will no longer use the terms "mother" and "father" when collecting information about a student's legal parents when those parents apply for federal student aid. Instead of using the words "mother" and "father," the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) will use "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."
The announcement states that the changes to the 2014-2015 federal student aid form "more accurately and fairly assess students' need for aid" and that "Gender-specific terms fail to capture income and other information from one parent when a student's parents are in a same-sex marriage under state law but not federally recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act."
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics…. [that] provide[s] an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families." more >>
Debate over prayer in school made headlines again, this time in the Riverside School District in Lake City, Ark. Its school board voted on Monday to cancel its sixth grade ceremony rather than to allow prayer to be a part of the ceremony.
Controversy over whether or not prayer would be allowed resulted from an April 15 letter from the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, on behalf of an anonymous "concerned parent." The Foundation's mission is to "promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism."
The Foundation wrote, "As you may be aware, the Supreme Court has continually struck down prayers at school-sponsored events, including public school graduations. A prayer taking place at a 'regularly scheduled school-sponsored function conducted on school property' would lead an objective observer to perceive it as state endorsement of religion ... We request Written assurances that Riverside Public Schools is taking the appropriate steps to ensure that religious rituals are not part of graduation ceremonies or any other school-sponsored events." more >>
A panel of experts with conservative values is set to discuss their views of the risks involved with a proposed change in the Boy Scouts of America that would allow gay youths to join local troops while continuing to exclude gay leaders. The discussion will be hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., and is scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
John Stemberger, Eagle Scout and Founder of OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of concerned BSA parents, Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts and other Scouting leaders, says the Christian-based organization will not only lose a large number of members and financial sponsorships, but will run the risk of creating an environment where boys will be susceptible to homosexual encounters.
"The most important point is, and the BSA knows this, but they are not talking about it or entered it into their analysis, is that this move will absolutely dramatically increase boy-on-boy sexual contact," Stemberger told The Christian Post on Thursday. more >>
According to a recently announced study, praying for close friends or romantic partners can lead to more forgiving and overall cooperative behavior.
Florida State University released the results of a report of five studies Wednesday, which concluded that individuals who prayed for a close friend or romantic partner were "less vengeful" and "more cooperative."
"Study 3 showed that, compared to partners of targets in the positive partner thought condition, the romantic partners of targets assigned to pray reported a positive change in their partner's forgiveness," reads the study's abstract. more >>
When it comes to good parenting, Americans rank "loving" as a top characteristic. Being a "committed Christian," meanwhile, is a much less desired trait, according to a new poll by LifeWay Research.
The online poll, which surveyed 1,054 adult Americans on March 25, 2013 and provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed +3.1 percent, separated the results on the qualities needed for fathers and the qualities needed for mothers, as determined by the voters.
For mothers, 85 percent of respondents said that it was mandatory that they be "loving." "Supporting, " "protecting," "encouraging" and "understanding" made up the other top five choices, in that order. Fewer people chose "committed Christian" (26 percent) as a mandatory trait for good parenting than "religious" (35 percent). more >>