Stories I’ve Found, 5/3/2013

There’s one story I haven’t found that I wanted to: the release of the 2 Syrian Orthodox Bishops kidnapped April 22.  Precious little seems to be going on to find out who’s holding them or getting them released from world leaders, in spite of universal protests by Muslim and Christian leaders of all shades.

Interesting stories I have found this week:

John Blake of CNN shares Four Signs When Religious Beliefs Become Evil.

Mark Silks reviews When Prophecy Fails  It’s always interesting to see what happens when people reinvent a story to perpetuate unfulfilled hopes.

Something I’ve never heard of before, but sounds like an excellent idea: Threshold Choirs who visit the dying.  Here’s their organizational website.

I’ve been following stories the past few days about the Pentagon pursuing anti-Christian policies with a suspicious eye, knowing how the press likes to sensationalize stories these days. Religion News Service has an excellent summary of the data from a fairly objective perspective. I find this statement by Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen very interesting: “Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).” I’m looking forward to the distinction between Evangelization and Proselytization being spelled out a bit more, for all our sakes; the definition would be quite useful for all of us.

A fascinating story about the challenges of being a preacher’s child.  I’ve known several myself, including my brother-in-law, as well as ministers of all denominations with families. It’s hard for most people to have an idea what a challenge it can be to grow up in a fishbowl.

I’ve just seen the movie 42 about Jackie Robinson’s breaking baseball’s color barrier, and it’s a good movie. Terry Mattingly unpacks some history of the hero’s faith background that wasn’t included that would have helped understanding Robinson’s journey better. I was glad the movie cleared up an initial impression it gave the Branch Rickey was primarily out for money in bringing Robinson to the Dodgers.

This story from northern New Jersey about a priest who’s admitted to molesting a minor that’s been in a ministry with access to children after agreeing not to has me asking one question: why is this happening now in this way?

Bill Tammeus offers two good posts the past two days (his blog is usually excellent). The first is a thoughtful reflection about a controversial speaker coming to a college campus, and the questionable wisdom of disinviting someone.  The second is an excellent summary of a recent Pew Survey about the attitude of Muslims worldwide; Bill’s summary is the best I’ve seen. Be sure and follow the links, as well as the little story at the end about Pope Francis’ critique of modern slavery.

Omid Safi shares his list of 5 Dumbest Things Said About The Boston Marathon Bombings. I shudder to think how many dumb things didn’t make the cut.

In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Leah Libresco articulates a reason I love fiction, and especially science fiction, as a way to explore ideas. As she puts it: “Fiction. . .lets us encounter possibly threatening ideas without setting off our defenses.” I would add that the best defense to the Typical Mind Fallacy  is assuming I’m not typical; we would all understand things better if we didn’t think we were typical, or should be.

There’s a new blog on the Religion News Service: Moozweek, a weekly summary of Muslim news not found elsewhere.  Regardless of what you may think about Islam (or any other religious orientation), it’s best to know what folks are thinking and doing from their own perspective.

Religion News Service has a great article on Women who convert to Islam.  There’s a stereotype they do it to please Muslim husbands and boyfriends; this isn’t usually the case.

Wow, there’s even a church for jerks now (no, they don’t deserve capital letters). Sounds interesting, having a church especially dedicated to jerks. Fill in your own comment about churches that aren’t intentionally for jerks but are anyway here:___.

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