If Jesus wrote a letter to the American Church in 2015, what would He say? Maybe what the Church around the world is saying now.
We hear a lot about "the wrong side of history" these days — usually from those who want to convince us we're on it, and that everyone in the future will think like the New York Times editorial board. But if we want to understand where history is really headed, we've got to look at the big picture — the global picture.
President Obama — someone who's used the "right side of history" trope more than once — got a glimpse of that picture in July when he spoke in Nairobi. Addressing Kenya's strong cultural aversion to homosexuality, the President warned that "treating people differently" not because they're harming anyone but because they're "different," erodes freedoms and leads to "bad things." more >>
Pope Francis has urged every Catholic parish and religious community in Europe to take in at least one refugee family and help Europe with its migrant crisis, noting that the Vatican would take two families itself. With hundreds of thousands of refugees making their way toward Western Europe, countries such as Germany and Austria are said to be near the "tipping point" of how much they can help.
"May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family" Francis told the crowds at St. Peter's Square on Sunday.
"Before the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned," he added, according to Vatican Radio. more >>
If I was back in elementary school, and they asked me to write a composition on "My Summer," I'd have one word on the paper. Amazing.
Because I spent it on Indian reservations with a team of 60 Native American young people. Who stood on rez basketball courts, pouring out their Hope Story of how Jesus has rescued them. I had a front row seat on God's awesomeness.
And then there was the moose. more >>
An Israeli rabbi who recently authored a book on charity has argued that the Bible actually calls on people to give 20 percent in charity rather than a 10 percent tithe.
Shneor Cohen, a 27-year-old ordained rabbi, has argued that a commonly cited justification for giving 10 percent may actually be 20 percent.
"Cohen, an ordained rabbi, said that the sages of the Talmud pointed to Deuteronomy 14:22, which states: 'Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.' The verse is often cited as the biblical basis for tithing one's income," reported The Blaze. more >>
A strong majority of American Catholics support raising children in non-traditional families, such as single-parent and divorced households, or by same-sex parents, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life.
"Nine-in-10 U.S. Catholics say a household headed by a married mother and father is an ideal situation for bringing up children. But the survey shows that large majorities think other kinds of families — those headed by parents who are single, divorced, unmarried or gay — are OK for raising children, too," noted Pew in an analysis released on Wednesday, ahead Pope Francis' first U.S. visit later this month in which he'll encounter a national Catholic population largely supportive of family units not advanced or encouraged by Church teaching.
"This may be in part because Francis' American flock is experiencing life in all its modern complexity. According to the survey, one-in-four Catholics have gone through a divorce. One-in-10 have not only divorced but also remarried. One-in-10 are living with a romantic partner, sans wedding, and more than four-in-10 have done so at some point in their lives." more >>
British scholars from the University of Oxford have said that fragments from the oldest discovered Quran appear to predate the founding of Islam by the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which could put into dispute some of the most central tenets of the religion.
"This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Quran's genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven," Keith Small of Oxford's Bodleian Library told the Times of London.
Some of the world's oldest fragments of the Quran were discovered back in July at the University of Birmingham, with radiocarbon dating projecting the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old. more >>