Health & Spirit

Light Notes: A serendipitous bluebird gives wings to a grieving heart

Religion / Religious News /

Grief fluttered about like a wisp of blue; a sadness that often appeared without notice. And even though the promise of summer always gave wings to the woman's heart, happiness eluded her ... until a serendipitous moment.

Some might call this moment a "wink" from God, while others will label it as only a coincidence. But for Nancy Ewert, the ...Read more

Religious groups and leaders call Trump's 'zero tolerance' immigration policy sad, sinful and immoral

Religion / Religious News /

A day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to defend the Trump administration's immigration policies and the separation of children from their families, many faith-based leaders are forming coalitions, signing letters and issuing sharply worded statements against the policy.

"I would like to cite to you the Apostle Paul and his ...Read more

Pence at Southern Baptists' meeting: Light on the prayer, heavy on the politics

Religion / Religious News /

DALLAS -- When Vice President Mike Pence, famously evangelical himself, addressed the Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday, he erred heavily on the side of politics and only dabbled in the Bible.

The stumplike speech confirmed the fears of many at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Dallas, who felt that inviting Pence would...Read more

Spiritual Life: Leave a positive 'thumbprint' on others in their stressful times

Religion / Religious News /

Why is it that we tend to clearly remember and may be influenced by something that happens when we are under stress?

We may never forget the comforting arm and gentle word when we wept, or the shove and harsh word. The cool touch on a feverish brow or cold sneer at misfortune. The encouraging or discouraging word when the future, or even just ...Read more

Do politics belong in Southern Baptist Convention? Some say vice president's visit too divisive

Religion / Religious News /

DALLAS -- The topics on the first official day of the Southern Baptists' annual meeting Tuesday spanned from the fate of a seminary's trustee board to whether to withdraw an invitation to Vice President Mike Pence.

The meeting here is the best reminder that the Southern Baptist Convention is a voluntary affiliation of local churches without a ...Read more

Pope accepts resignations of 3 Chilean bishops tied to sex abuse scandal

Religion / Religious News /

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Victims of a sexual abuse scandal by clerics in Chile's Roman Catholic Church applauded Pope Francis' decision Monday to accept the resignations of three bishops -- including a prelate at the epicenter of cascading allegations of sexual abuse, cover-ups and impunity.

Anti-abuse activists called the move the Vatican's first ...Read more

Prayers and protests: Welcome to the Southern Baptists' meeting in a #MeToo world

Religion / Religious News /

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting will descend upon Dallas this week in the aftermath of the fall of one of its longtime leaders due to his alleged mishandling of sexual abuse allegations.

The gathering officially begins Tuesday morning at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a ...Read more

Supreme Court bemoans 'hostility' to religion in wedding cake case, but what about Trump's 'Muslim ban'?

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court resolved the case of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple by ruling the government may not show "hostility" to religion.

As Justice Anthony M. Kennedy put it: "The Free Exercise Clause (of the First Amendment) bars even 'subtle departures from neutrality' on matters of ...Read more

Light Notes: Her husband gave away the first blooms. Then she received a true gift

Religion / Religious News /

When a special occasion marks the calendar, a colorful gift bag or a box wrapped with a cheery bow often finds its way to a doorstep, an office desk or a mailbox. But once in a while a present arrives at an unexpected moment -- no holiday, no birthday -- as a reminder someone is thinking about us.

Wanda Anderson of Richland, Wash., remembers ...Read more

Paige Patterson's 'break her down' email taken out of context, his lawyer says

Religion / Religious News /

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The lawyer for Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson said he has "not found one credible" allegation against his client, including accusations that he told an alleged rape victim it was "good" she was raped and that he told another not to report what happened to police.

Patterson was fired from Fort Worth's Southwestern ...Read more

Settlement reached between Twin Cities archdiocese, sex abuse victims

Religion / Religious News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Attorneys representing clergy abuse victims appear ready to announce the long-awaited settlement in the Twin Cities archdiocese bankruptcy case Thursday that they say will be the largest ever and will involve more than 400 victims.

St. Paul lawyer Jeff Anderson, who has represented clergy abuse victims around the country, ...Read more

Southwestern Baptist seminary cuts all ties with Paige Patterson

Religion / Religious News /

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has terminated Paige Patterson entirely over his handling of a sexual abuse case at another institution, according to a statement released Wednesday.

Patterson will not receive compensation or be the theologian in residence and is no longer president emeritus, the statement said...Read more

A California church flirts with an unusual social experiment: to never call police again

Religion / Religious News /

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Standing on the front steps of First Congregational Church of Oakland in late April, Nichola Torbett issued a declaration.

"We can no longer tolerate the trauma inflicted on our communities by policing," Torbett, a white church volunteer, said in front of churchgoers who held photos of African-Americans shot dead by law ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Caught with your 'pants down'? Take a moment to find grace

Religion / Religious News /

I'm not sure who was more surprised, but I have a pretty good idea who was more embarrassed. They were. You would be too -- if you had been caught with your pants down.

Running up a steep, rocky and unfamiliar wilderness trail, I came over a rise and there they were -- the man on the right side of the trail and the woman on the left. Both with ...Read more

State Department report on religious freedom slams Saudi Arabia, China for human rights abuses

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- U.S. ally Saudi Arabia continued to torture, execute and discriminate against minority Shiite Muslims last year, according to the State Department, but the Trump administration followed the Obama administration and has granted the Sunni-ruled kingdom an exemption from sanctions normally placed on countries with bad records on ...Read more

As DNA testing takes off, some American Jews look for answers

Religion / Religious News /

WICHITA, Kan. -- Growing up, Seth Merrell was told that he was a member of the Tribe of Levi, the tribe of Israel designated as priests.

He always wondered whether that was actually the case. Eventually, he got an answer.

A DNA test, one of two that Merrell has taken, showed that he was indeed part of the Levi genetic pool.

"As far as from a ...Read more

Southern Baptist leader who urged abused women to pray removed as seminary president

Religion / Religious News /

Southwestern Baptist Theological president Paige Patterson has been pushed into the position of "president emeritus" following a month in a media firestorm after his comments on abused women surfaced.

After a 13-hour meeting on Tuesday that stretched into the early hours of the next morning, the seminary's trustees made a few announcements in ...Read more

Light Notes: Marine veteran wins private battle

Religion / Religious News /

Dark thoughts pressed in upon him, crushing promise like the heel of a boot. For the Marine, it felt as if he didn't have a prayer.

"It was very ugly," James (who asked his real name not be used) said as he remembered the depression that had settled over him after his military service. "I battled suicidal thoughts every day. I thought, 'What's ...Read more

At a church security seminar: Guns, God and 'get those heads up' when you pray

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- Just as the people in Mariners Church began to pull off their hats, bow their heads and close their eyes to pray, Jimmy Meeks snapped at them.

"Get those heads up!" said the pastor and retired Texas police officer.

Hadn't he just warned them that closing their eyes made them targets? Sheep in the presence of wolves. "What's ...Read more

Pope summons Chilean bishops over clergy sex abuse scandal

Religion / Religious News /

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis on Tuesday met with 34 Chilean bishops in the Vatican to discuss a clergy sex abuse scandal that has plagued their national Church.

On the first day of the three-day meeting, the pope "handed each bishop the text with the subjects for meditation," the Vatican said.

"We are feeling first of all pain and shame. Pain ...Read more