Health & Spirit

Pope Francis arrives in Chile, honors 'bishop of poor'

Religion / Religious News /

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Pope Francis arrived here in the Chilean capital Monday evening to start a weeklong swing through Chile and Peru in which he is expected to highlight the plight of indigenous peoples, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the precarious status of immigrants and the poor.

In an eleventh-hour schedule shift, Francis ...Read more

High praise: Pot churches proliferate as states ease access to marijuana

Religion / Religious News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Services at the Coachella Valley Church begin and end with the Lord's Prayer.

In between, there is the sacrament.

"Breathe deep and blow harder," intoned Pastor Grant Atwell after distributing small marijuana joints to 20 worshippers on a recent Sunday afternoon. "Nail the insight down, whether you get it from marijuana or ...Read more

Light Notes: A cry for help transforms drug-addicted mom

Religion / Religious News /

Hopeless by anyone's standards: Three felonies, hooked on meth, countless hours of jail time and enough mug shots to wallpaper one of her kid's bedroom door.

With a rap sheet that reads like a hardened criminal, Alisha hit bottom in life -- at thirty. But her impassioned cry for help after 14 years of methamphetamine addiction didn't go ...Read more

When your faith is bigger than your fear, miracles happen

Religion / Religious News /

For three years, Becky Davis made plans to leave her corporate job at an optical retailer, but each time her exit date arrived, she struggled to take the leap.

Next year, she'd tell herself.

Then as 2011 faded into the new year, Davis found herself flat on her back in a hospital. Days after undergoing surgery to remove fibroid tumors, she ...Read more

A pastor drives 1,000 miles to get to his small church, and the people who need him

Religion / Religious News /

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Like many pastors, Joey Gilbert felt called to serve.

But that call ended up being long-distance.

Gilbert has been pastor at a small church in the Bayside community -- which has an average Sunday attendance of 40 -- for about 17 months.

Children rush up to give him a hug, even though they might be bashful about talking...Read more

Jessica Hahn, woman at center of televangelist's fall 30 years ago, confronts her past

Religion / Religious News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's been three decades since the world found out about the 15 minutes she spent in a Florida hotel room with televangelist Jim Bakker. But Jessica Hahn says it's only been in the last two years that she's finally confronted her anger about what happened, and how it's affected the rest of her life.

She says she's angry at ...Read more

11 killed in traffic accident during pilgrimage in Mexico

Religion / Religious News /

MEXICO CITY -- Eleven Catholic pilgrims died in a traffic accident on Tuesday as they were returning from one of the world's largest annual Catholic celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Mexico City.

A truck transporting the pilgrims collided with another vehicle, which hit it from the back on a road linking the capital with the city of ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Message brings transforming joy

Religion / Religious News /

Dave Barry is a funny -- and at times insightful -- writer. In his piece "Important Things it Took Me 50 Years to Learn," he states, "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance."

Speaking of dancing, how long has it been since you let yourself jump up and down for joy?

Maybe it was at an athletic event. Even the most subdued ...Read more

Light Notes: Hark! The silent 'angel' suddenly sings, and a family rejoices

Religion / Religious News /

The old-fashioned Christmas carol began to fill the living room as the pianist caressed the familiar keys. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," was one she loved, and that holiday season it seemed angels hovered nearby.

"We look back on that as one of our most spiritual Christmases," Susan Darrington said, remembering her 94-year-old mother-in-law's...Read more

Light Notes: Gabriel the cat brings comfort and joy

Religion / Religious News /

Most likely, you've heard of Gabriel the angel. But have you ever heard of Gabriel the cat?

One was a biblical messenger from heaven and the other ... well, it's a story that may give pause for thought.

It was Christmastime 2010 when a roaring fireplace could barely quell the chill of an Iowa winter -- or warm the emptiness in a mother's heart...Read more

Spiritual Life: Use your voice to be a light in the world

Religion / Religious News /

A popular television show called "The Voice" features singers who blind audition in front of four expert coaches. These judges then must decide whom to choose -- or not choose -- based solely on the singer's voice. If the coach hears and responds to the voice, he or she hits a button, swinging their chair around to face the singer.

In essence, ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Learn how to let go

Religion / Religious News /

Given the myriad self-storage units around our community, you might agree that we have a problem letting go of things. In drawers, closets, garages, shops, sheds and the above-mentioned units we keep, collect, hoard and store far more stuff than we will ever need or use.

It's not just stuff we can't release, but experiences, memories and life ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Have courage in the face of fear, intimidation and obstacles

Religion / Religious News /

When Jesus walked this Earth, he hardly ever asked people where they had been. He was much more interested in where they were going, and how they would finish their race.

It's the finish line that matters most to God.

In the Old Testament book of Joshua we read about Caleb, an 85-year-old patriarch who finished life well. Caleb wanted a piece ...Read more

Light Notes: Timely monetary gift creates stunned thankfulness

Religion / Religious News /

The question loomed large, larger than the news that her job was about to end.

Would she be "all in" with her promise to faithfully tithe from her very last paycheck? Or would pending rent and an already overstretched budget be reason enough not to give this one time?

It was a question the "40-something" mother of two pondered.

Officially ...Read more

Churches, nonprofits could profit politically under House tax bill

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- Not only would houses of worship be able to more actively promote political candidates, but so would nonprofit groups under a section inserted into the House tax bill an hour before it was due for a key vote.

The last-minute change affecting the so-called Johnson amendment was tucked into a "manager's amendment" to the GOP tax ...Read more

Light Notes: Random acts of kindness spread around the world

Religion / Religious News /

Without a doubt, it was contagious. In less than 30 days, the phenomenon had affected countless numbers, traveled from coast to coast -- even internationally -- and spread smiles ear to ear.

The random acts of kindness had multiplied at an astonishing rate, all because of a birthday invitation from Kristi Black to her Facebook friends one year....Read more

Poll: Most US adults say you don't have to be religious to be moral

Religion / Religious News /

It's an age-old topic debate: Must you believe in God in order to hold strong moral values?

Most Americans now say no, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Fifty-six percent of adults surveyed say you can be a good person without divine faith, up from 49 percent in 2011.

Not surprisingly, 85 percent of adults who were not ...Read more

GOP plan to ease law on political speech from the pulpit gets lukewarm reception

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- Faith-based leaders and political conservatives are annoyed that a provision in the House Republican tax bill that seeks to roll back a law preventing houses of worship from endorsing political candidates doesn't go far enough.

The provision, tucked into the back of the 429-page GOP bill, appears to allow political speech from the...Read more

GOP tax bill would allow politics from the pulpit

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The House Republican tax plan would upend a longstanding measure, known as the Johnson Amendment, that prohibits politicking from the pulpit, and critics say it could turn churches into new conduits for political money.

Under current law, churches, charities and other 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations are prohibited from ...Read more

Light Notes: Wartime love letters offer vital link

Religion / Religious News /

In the early 1940s when a teenage boy deftly flung the newspaper to front porches in Twin Falls, Idaho, little did he know that in a few short years he would be part of the news. Nor did he know how words on a page would be a lifeline.

"Pearl Harbor happened smack in the middle of my senior year," Bob Bush of Richland, Wash., recalled in 2013 ...Read more