Lent is in full swing for many Christians who started their 46-day period (40 not counting Sundays) of self-denial on Ash Wednesday, with some taking up a fast of food or alcohol, cutting back on watching television, or refraining from using social media in an effort to gain ground in their spiritual life.
The period known as Lent, which ends on Easter Sunday upon the start of Holy Week, has its roots in a 4th century tradition and is not mentioned in the Bible, although it is observed in some fashion by various Christian traditions, including Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox. The season traditionally starts on Ash Wednesday with observers getting the sign of the cross rubbed onto their foreheads with ashes, a reference to Jesus Christ. Although Ash Wednesday is not mentioned in Scripture, dust and ashes are symbolically identified with repentance and mourning.
While some may argue that efforts at self-discipline and spiritual growth should be a year-round pursuit for Christians, many nonetheless use Lent as an occasion to recalibrate their spiritual life, as well as draw others to Christ. more >>
Mandy Hale, who is affectionately known as "The Single Woman," chatted with The Christian Post on the eve of Valentine's Day about using singlehood as an advantage during the holiday traditionally celebrated in romantic ways by couples. Hale is one of several speakers featured at a Christian-based event for single women in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday hosted by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Hale suggests that singles having a hard time with the celebration of romance on this day can cherish other types of love in their life, including relationships with parents, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
For singles, the holiday should not be "this horrible day that you need to 'cope with' or 'survive,'" she writes in her interview with CP via email. more >>
Rap artist Lecrae, who became the first Christian hip-hop musician to take home a Grammy for his album "Gravity" on Sunday, said he hopes people will begin to understand that his faith is a part of who he is as a person and artist and not simply a musical genre.
"To me it's a testament of years of laboring to break down barriers in music and culture," Lecrae told The Christian Post via email about winning the award for Best Gospel Album. "Hopefully people will listen and understand what I do creatively and how my faith is a part of who I am, not a genre."
After winning the award, Lecrae thanked God and his family of devoted fans for his accomplishment on Twitter. He tweeted, "Just won a Grammy. I dedicate it all to the Unashamed fam all over the planet. 1.1.Six-To God be the Glory." more >>
A stampede in India on Sunday resulted in the death of 36 victims, predominately older women, as millions rushed to take part in the world's largest religious festival at a temporary city in Allahabad, northern India.
The tragedy reportedly occurred at the train station located in the northern city of Allahabad, where a stampede took place as thousands scurried to board a train that would take them to the site of the Kumbh Mela festival, a two-month -long festival that takes place at a makeshift city featuring a long, sandy bank that represents the intersection of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.
Sunday was said to be one of the most holy days to bathe in the rivers as part of the festival, and the temporary city, which is constructed four times every 12 years for the festival, saw an attendance of 30 million Hindu pilgrims in one day. more >>
WASHINGTON – Hundreds of people from all 50 states and over 160 nations came to the nation's capital for the 61st Annual National Prayer Breakfast. Guests crowded the International Ballroom of the Washington Hilton off of Connecticut Avenue for the Thursday morning event, which featured politicians, musicians, an Olympic gold medalist, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Attendees of the breakfast described the event as having an aura of inspiration and being a beneficial practice for federal government officials who frequently attack each other in uncivil political debates.
Kathleen O'Connell of Media Fellowship International, a Christian organization that ministers to entertainers and media professionals, told The Christian Post that she found it "inspiring." more >>
The decline of church attendance within recent years may have been prompted by the growing frustration within the church body concerning leadership marred by growing numbers of scandals and churches more concerned with entertaining those in the pews than feeding them spiritually.
Emily Michaels is completing her graduate studies at New York Theological Seminary in New York City. When questioned about her opinion concerning the path of the Christian church, she gave a surprising answer. "I really would like to see the church operate in the days of my grandmother. The church has become such a show these days. It operates just as a play on Broadway. You have your production team, singers, musicians, dancers, skits and VP sections. Everything has to happen at a certain time. We give so much time to all of these things but only allow five minutes for the Holy Spirit to appear. What happened to just plain church?"
Cynthia Hartgrove, a Christian who attends a megachurch in New Jersey, shares her sentiment. "I have stopped attending church for that very reason. If I want to be entertained, I can go to a movie. I am not saying that singing and dancing are not permitted but when the choirs perform for the cameras, I have a problem. It takes a lot to get out of bed when your heart is heavy to attend church only to be disappointed because you received nothing in the process." more >>