Back in the mid-1980s, I was working as a director of religious education at St. Peter's Catholic Church in western Maryland.
That part of Maryland, like parts of 12 other U.S. eastern states – from Alabama to New York, and all of West Virginia – is part of the Appalachian Mountain region.
In those days, as I got to know the beauty of Appalachia, and some of the simple, friendly and caring mountain folks, I discovered the grinding poverty many of them were experiencing. more >>
It was a simple enough request: drop off your drawers. That was the tongue-in-cheek promo a Buckhead, Atlanta, church used to encourage members attending its special "Single Series" to purchase packages of men's briefs to donate to a local shelter. Based on photos shared online, members of the North Point Ministries church, founded by pastor Andy Stanley, went above and beyond with their donations.
"This series, as part of our do.justice initiative, we are partnering with Atlanta Mission to supply them with fresh clean underwear for their clients. On night 2 and night 3 we are asking all of our singles to bring BRAND NEW Men's briefs, size L and up," reads the online instructions for those attending the "Singles Series" at Buckhead Church.
The church explains that the yearly "Singles Series" gatherings, most recently held on May 19 and 26 and on June 2, are a way for unattached adults from all six North Point Ministries campuses to get together for worship and teaching, and of course, to mingle. more >>
Pope Francis has said that leaving migrants to die in the Mediterranean sea, such as the fate of thousands in the past few years, is similar to the "scourge" of abortion and euthanasia. The pontiff spoke out at a meeting of the Italian Science and Life Association, where he warned against several "attacks against life."
"The scourge of abortion is an attack on life. Leaving our brothers on the boats in the Sicilian channel is an attack on life. Death at work is an attack on life because it does not respect the minimal security conditions," Francis said, according to an article on LifeNews on Monday.
"The love of Christ urges us to become servants of the small ones and the elderly, of every man and every woman, through which the primordial right to life is recognized and protected." more >>
The Islamic State terrorist group is being accused by local government officials of kidnapping over 500 children from the Anbar and Diyala provinces in Iraq, and there is fear that some of the children could be forced to carry out suicide bomb attacks.
Farhan Mohammed, a member of Anbar's Provincial Council, told the Turkish news organization Anadolu Agency on Saturday that the Islamic State abducted approximately 400 children in the Anbar towns of Ar Rutba, Al-Qaim, Anah and Rawa in raids that took place over the course of a week.
Mohammed further added that he believes more children in the area will be recruited to join ISIS and that they could be used to carry out jihadi attacks. more >>
An intense heatwave in India that has broken some temperature records has killed over 1,100 people and counting in the last few days. Poor and homeless people are most vulnerable to the sweltering conditions, while the nation reportedly recorded its highest maximum temperature at 117 degrees Fahrenheit at Titlagarh in the state of Odisha on Monday.
CNN reported that 884 of the deaths were recorded in the state of Andhra Pradesh, with another 226 people confirmed dead in Telangana. The millions of homeless people in India are the most vulnerable, as they must often stay outside and face the heat, with nowhere else to go.
TIME Magazine said that deaths have also been reported in the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal, and in Gujarat on the country's western coast. It added that local newspapers and Twitter users have been posting images of 113°F temperatures in the capital of New Delhi melting some of the city's asphalt roads. more >>
Churches should stop spending so much time fighting against abortion and gay marriage and do more about poverty and suffering, some say. There are three important points to keep in mind when you hear this claim.
Hosted by the National Association of Evangelicals and Georgetown's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, the May 11-13 Catholic-Evangelical Summit on Overcoming Poverty brought together both Evangelicals and Catholics, liberals and conservatives, to discuss how churches can better address poverty. There were 17 sessions in all. Solutions offered dealt not only with what local churches can do, but the roles government, business and labor can play as well. more >>