Pope Francis has hit back against those who say that focusing on the poor is a sign of communism, by stating in a speech that caring for the less fortunate is part of the Christian Gospel. He also said that if "faith doesn't reach your pockets, it is not a genuine faith."
Vatican Radio reported that Francis made the comments during mass on Tuesday in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he said: "Oh, this priest speaks about poverty too much, this bishop talks about poverty, this Christian, this sister talk about poverty. Well, they're a bit communist, aren't they?"
The Roman Catholic Church leader asserted that "poverty is at the very center of the Gospel: If we remove poverty from the Gospel, no one would be able to understand anything about the message of Jesus." more >>
Conservative Christians in general — and the Religious Right in particular — have distorted the faith by emphasizing the issue of sexuality to the detriment of Christ's other concerns, such as care for the poor and fighting injustice.
So says Episcopal Priest Tom Ehrich in his farewell column for Religion News Service,
"the Christian right has worked hard to identify a single "Christian" perspective on life, centered in a moral agenda having to do with sex. There is far more to be said. Injustice and gross inequalities matter more to the nation and to God. Jesus, after all, taught mostly about wealth and power, with hardly a word about sex." more >>
Using Creflo Dollar's $65 million Gulfstream jet as one example of exploiting the poor, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slammed prosperity gospel advocates, comparing them to indulgence peddlers made famous during the Church's Reformation era.
"Like the professional pardoners of the Middle Ages who pedaled indulgences to the highest bidders, they pervert teachings for profit. These are the people that the word shame was invented to describe," Abdul-Jabbar asserted.
This little girl may be just 9 years old, but she is already making a positive impact. When Hailey Fort was 5, she and her mother Miranda crossed paths with a homeless man in Bremerton, Washington. It changed the way she thinks and views them forever.
Like many young children, Hailey had many questions. But, she didn't stop once she had the answers her mother provided. Instead of just saying "OK," she insisted her mom buy him a sandwich, which her mother gladly did. As they left this homeless man, Edward, she recognized that it was only the beginning of something she would be passionate about forever.
Her passion toward helping those less fortunate grew stronger as time went on. She now spends her spare time building mobile shelters for the homeless, growing food to give away, fundraising for her projects and even getting donations from businesses so she can provide toiletries to those in need. more >>
A group of volunteers from a church in Charlotte, North Carolina gathered to serve the homeless breakfast before Sunday services. An unidentified homeless person attended this service and dropped off the most selfless offering.
This homeless man did not want to offend anyone with the amount that was put into the envelope. But, that was the complete opposite reaction they had to this offering. This person touched the heart of everyone who attended and did something that they will never forget. He did not want to offend anyone in the church so he humbly wrote on the envelope, "Please don't be mad, I don't have much, I'm homeless. God bless." He left the most heartfelt 18 cents you could ever imagine, and the envelope stood out from the others. People were so touched and felt the need to share with all those around the world.
The lesson you can take away from this heartwarming story is, it's really not how much you give, it's about giving to God with all of your heart! more >>
About 2,500 people will gather in Chicago's Auditorium Theater tonight and tomorrow for the Justice Conference and hear some top evangelical speakers champion the plight of the marginalized and poor. They also will hear some voices far outside evangelicalism do the same, including prominent socialist, activist and professor at Union Theological Seminary, Cornel West. Also, leading a panel discussion on racial justice will be Rev. Otis Moss III, the successor to President Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
According to Stephan Bauman, president and CEO of World Relief, which is sponsoring the conference, this wide diversity is by design. "What we have done with the conference in the past, and are certainly doing this year," Bauman said, is "bring in a voice that might be more controversial or liberal, like Cornel West," but then "complement his voice with much more mainstream evangelical voices like Louie Giglio or Bob Goff or even Eugene Cho. . . . So, let's bring out the broader voice of justice and let people decide what's true, what's right."
Some evangelical leaders, though, are expressing concern that those attending the conference may not be prepared to critically analyze the ideas they will hear. Both West and Moss are proponents of black liberation theology – a theological perspective that views Christianity as a means of liberating black people from white oppression. more >>