Articles related to Jim Evans, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Church, Charity, Poverty, Justice


Like All Presidents' Budgets, Trump Offers Mixed Bag
Like All Presidents' Budgets, Trump Offers Mixed Bag

By: Zach Dawes
We should praise President Trump's desire to rein in spending and reduce the national deficit, but we should also scrutinize and, when necessary, critique the means by which his administration proposes to do so.

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Report: Food Insecurity Driving Global Migration
Report: Food Insecurity Driving Global Migration

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Food insecurity is a complex reality. Not only does it often grow out of armed conflicts, it also contributes to them. Food insecurity and conflict must be considered together, and a U.N. report offers six solutions.

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Why Do You Not Hear More About Rich Privilege?
Why Do You Not Hear More About Rich Privilege?

By: Roger Olson
While white privilege and male privilege are legitimate areas of concern, you hear little about rich privilege. Having wealth, or appearing to have wealth, gives one automatic privileged status.

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What the Poor Taught Me About Faith
What the Poor Taught Me About Faith

By: Rupen Das
Understanding the faith of the poor is intriguing and challenging. What many seek is a God who cares for them in their desperation and destitution, enabling them to live their lives with a semblance of dignity.

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1 in 4 Children Will Have Difficulty Accessing Clean Water
1 in 4 Children Will Have Difficulty Accessing Clean Water

By: EthicsDaily Staff
An estimated 600 million children - that's one in four - will struggle to access potable water by 2040 if current trends continue, a UNICEF report says. Thirty-six nations currently struggle with sufficient access to clean water.

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Handing Out Cash Won't Help People Who Beg - Part 2
Handing Out Cash Won't Help People Who Beg - Part 2

By: Jon Kuhrt
When interacting with people who beg, Christians are often seen as soft touches. While we should help people in need and be as human and kind as possible, Christians need to stop being doormats.

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Handing Out Cash Won't Help People Who Beg - Part 1
Handing Out Cash Won't Help People Who Beg - Part 1

By: Jon Kuhrt
Pope Francis recently said it's "always right" to give money to people who are begging. While helping people in need is always right, it must be done in a way that actually helps them.

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South Sudan Faith Leaders Address U.N. Famine Declaration
South Sudan Faith Leaders Address U.N. Famine Declaration

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Baptist and Catholic leaders have addressed the United Nations' Feb. 20 formal declaration of famine in South Sudan, noting government complicity in the crises plaguing the African nation.

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UN: Despite Gains, Eradicating Poverty, Hunger Still Illusive
UN: Despite Gains, Eradicating Poverty, Hunger Still Illusive

By: EthicsDaily Staff
While millions still live in extreme poverty and billions remain malnourished, population increases, conflicts and climate change threaten natural resources and food security.

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Love Across Borders: Ministering to Immigrants in Poverty
Love Across Borders: Ministering to Immigrants in Poverty

By: Edgardo Martinez
First Baptist Church of El Paso, Texas, ministers to immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Moving beyond charitable acts, they are also challenging a system that causes poverty and other injustices.

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What's God's Vision for Just and Fair Economy?
What's God's Vision for Just and Fair Economy?

By: Drew Smith
While Christians can disagree about how to create an economy that is more just and fair, we cannot deny that Jesus was clear about what constituted God's vision of a just and fair economy.

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Operation Inasmuch Packs Food for Hungry
Operation Inasmuch Packs Food for Hungry

By: David Crocker
For two decades, Operation Inasmuch has mobilized congregations in 22 states to minister to people in need. The ministry now offers a new way that churches can help - packaging nutritious meals for distribution.

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U.S. Homelessness Declines; Emergency Food Requests Up
U.S. Homelessness Declines; Emergency Food Requests Up

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Emergency food requests increased in 2016, even as overall homelessness rates continued to decline, a new report said. The leading reasons for the increase? Low wages and high housing costs.

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Here's What Really Made Those Wise Men Wise
Here's What Really Made Those Wise Men Wise

By: Mike Massar
We call them the wise men, but those magi who visited Jesus at his birth were viewed with scorn. While it wasn't their intelligence quotient that made them wise, it was the commitment of their hearts.

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A Reminder to March to Beat of Different Drummer
A Reminder to March to Beat of Different Drummer

By: Barry Howard
A drum tree, composed of 34 drums from different eras, stands amid First Baptist Pensacola's Christmas décor. It's a reminder that our faith calls us to march to a countercultural cadence during this hectic season.

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Questions as You Travel the Road to Bethlehem
Questions as You Travel the Road to Bethlehem

By: Yohanna Katanacho
In modern times just like at Jesus' birth, the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem came with consequences and questions - political, legal and theological. Which road will you take to Bethlehem?

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Are You Willing to Stand Up for Creation Care?
Are You Willing to Stand Up for Creation Care?

By: Chuck Summers
Working to preserve and protect the creation is both a religious obligation and an act of worship. People of faith must now, more than ever, be willing to take a stand for creation care.

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Why You Must Do More Than Wish for 'Peace' on Earth
Why You Must Do More Than Wish for 'Peace' on Earth

By: Stuart Blythe
A few days before Christmas, a terrorist attack rocked a Christmas market in Berlin. When Christians gather on Christmas to seek peace on earth, will we remember that we cannot wish for peace? We must work for it.

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Angst-Filled First Christmas Rings True to Immigrants
Angst-Filled First Christmas Rings True to Immigrants

By: Bob Newell
Obscured by today's cultural Christmas is the reality that the original Bethlehem story occurred against a backdrop of pain and dislocation for its main characters. It's a story to which immigrants can relate.

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10 Ways to Connect with Kids, Families on Christmas Eve
10 Ways to Connect with Kids, Families on Christmas Eve

By: Renée Embree
Most peoples' stereotype of church is that it's full of old people. Christmas Eve services give you an opportunity to go above and beyond to show you're welcome and ready for all generations.

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What Do I Want for Christmas?
What Do I Want for Christmas?

By: Robert Parham
"On earth, peace" was a ridiculous announcement at Jesus' birth. Since his birth, it's been an outlandish expectation, a preposterous promise. And yet, as Christmas nears, are we trying enough?

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Ways to Worship When Christmas Day Falls on Sunday
Ways to Worship When Christmas Day Falls on Sunday

By: Jerrod Hugenot
With a low church attendance expected when this Christmas Day arrives on a Sunday, what can smaller churches do? One solution could be this different way to try out a Christmas Day hymn sing.

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Song Reminds Us What We Should Be Thankful For
Song Reminds Us What We Should Be Thankful For

By: Zach Dawes
A new song titled "What I'm Thankful For" - a duet performed by Garth Brooks and James Taylor - offers a needed reminder that the Christmas season is about much more than "making a list and checking it twice."

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The Impracticality of Advent: Immersed in Waiting
The Impracticality of Advent: Immersed in Waiting

By: Rob Hewell
Waiting just seems impractical. After all, Christmas decorations and sales arrived in stores not long ago. Honestly, we're not very good at waiting yet Advent immerses us in waiting.

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5 Ways to Help Those Who Weep During the Holidays
5 Ways to Help Those Who Weep During the Holidays

By: Chris Smith
Christmas lights flashing, choirs singing, shoppers shopping. They all signal "the most wonderful time of the year," even though it's not for many. But when they know you care, you can help lift a broken heart.

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Why You Shouldn't Take Santa Out of Christmas
Why You Shouldn't Take Santa Out of Christmas

By: Beth Allison Barr
Santa is often controversial, especially for Christians. Santa is seen as deflecting from Jesus, as putting emphasis on material gifts and commercialism. But should we leave Santa out of Christmas?

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Faith-Based Hospital Sends Message of Gratitude to
Faith-Based Hospital Sends Message of Gratitude to "the Least" in Local Community

By: Don Sewell
For the fourth year in a row, 70 Baylor Scott & White Health employees handed out more than 500 Thanksgiving sack lunches to the marginalized.

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British Faith Leaders to Gov't: Help Besieged Syrians Now
British Faith Leaders to Gov't: Help Besieged Syrians Now

By: Paul Hobson
The leader of the Baptist Union of Great Britain has joined other faith leaders from that nation to urge government leaders to take immediate action to deliver aid to up to 250,000 civilians in Aleppo.

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Report: Hunger, Poverty Down; 'Daunting Challenges' Remain
Report: Hunger, Poverty Down; 'Daunting Challenges' Remain

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Although hunger and poverty are being addressed more effectively than any other time in history, daunting challenges - including global conflict and climate change - pose significant barriers to eradicating them.

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Being Thankful Even in Times of Great Desperation
Being Thankful Even in Times of Great Desperation

By: Gary Furr
Thanksgiving is a sober and joyful realization that without God and God's gifts we could not survive. And there's no better illustration than Squanto, whose generosity helped the Pilgrims survive their first brutal year.

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How You Can Recover the Lost Art of Being Thankful
How You Can Recover the Lost Art of Being Thankful

By: Danny Chisholm
As Thanksgiving arrives, we might realize that our divisions and wounds have a long way to heal. Let's recall: Gratitude is the path to grace.

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3 Ways to Help Your Kids Live a Life of Gratitude
3 Ways to Help Your Kids Live a Life of Gratitude

By: Christina Embree
Gratitude isn't limited to a spoken "thank you" or a special day. Simply put, gratitude is a life of awe - a place where we are aware of the incredible life we're given, from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

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7 Ways You Can Reach Out to Others This Thanksgiving
7 Ways You Can Reach Out to Others This Thanksgiving

By: Brent McDougal
This Thanksgiving, you can share the love of God in natural ways, ones that fit your plans and hopes for the holiday. So try one of these seven ways to be on mission for God this season. Check out No. 4.

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Putting Leaves of Encouragement on Our Branches
Putting Leaves of Encouragement on Our Branches

By: Matt Sapp
Like leaves on a tree, our lives are covered with people used by God to influence and encourage us. If we take that a step further, is each of us ready to be the kind of person who influences and encourages others?

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Faith-Based Advisory Council's Anti-Poverty Recommendations
Faith-Based Advisory Council's Anti-Poverty Recommendations

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Ending poverty requires coordinated and sustained efforts between government as well as faith-based and community groups and must involve and empower those facing poverty and inequality, an advisory council said.

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Report: Majority of People in Extreme Poverty Are Under 17
Report: Majority of People in Extreme Poverty Are Under 17

By: EthicsDaily Staff
A total of 767 million people worldwide in extreme poverty, defined as a household living on less than $1.90 per day per person. And 385 million of them, half of them, are 17 years old or younger.

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Report: Extreme Global Poverty Declines, Inequality Remains High
Report: Extreme Global Poverty Declines, Inequality Remains High

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Decades of progress in reducing extreme global poverty have been hindered by a continued high rate of income inequality, a report found, with steps to promote shared prosperity seeing mixed results.

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U.S. Food Insecurity Down, Still Above Prerecession Levels
U.S. Food Insecurity Down, Still Above Prerecession Levels

By: EthicsDaily Staff
A total of 15.8 million homes, or 12.7 percent of U.S. households, suffered from food insecurity in 2015. That's down from a high point of 14.9 percent in 2011, but still above pre-recession levels.

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Should the Poor Seek Justice and Liberation? Part 2
Should the Poor Seek Justice and Liberation? Part 2

By: Rupen Das
While the Bible places responsibility for social justice on society as a whole, the poor need to exercise the rights already given to them and to continue pursuing a more perfect justice.

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Should the Poor Seek Justice and Liberation? Part 1
Should the Poor Seek Justice and Liberation? Part 1

By: Rupen Das
Nowhere in Scripture does God encourage or exhort the poor to seek justice. Throughout the Bible, the responsibility for social justice and care for the poor and those on the margins of life is on society as a whole.

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Microfinance Industry: Predatory Lending Practices?
Microfinance Industry: Predatory Lending Practices?

By: Zach Dawes
Predatory lending practices within the U.S. payday loan industry are becoming more widely recognized as advocates push for reforms. But how widespread is the problem within the microfinance industry?

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Circle of Protection Request Meeting With Clinton, Trump to Discuss Hunger and Poverty
Circle of Protection Request Meeting With Clinton, Trump to Discuss Hunger and Poverty

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Circle of Protection seeks a meeting with both presumptive U.S. presidential nominees to discuss their plans to help the poor and hungry.

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Reforms to Payday Loan Industry Deserve Church Support
Reforms to Payday Loan Industry Deserve Church Support

By: Danny Chisholm
Churches with differing doctrines can come together to support reforms to the payday loan industry so poor people aren't forced into financial slavery over loans of less than $1,000.

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Auto Title Loans Often Result in Debt Cycles, Seized Vehicles
Auto Title Loans Often Result in Debt Cycles, Seized Vehicles

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Auto title loan borrowers often find themselves in debt cycles, and many have their vehicles seized due to their inability to repay the loan, says a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report.

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Climate Change Impact on Water Cycles Results in Global Challenges
Climate Change Impact on Water Cycles Results in Global Challenges

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Climate change's impact on water cycle carries negative consequences, such as poor harvests that lead to food shortages.

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Consumer Finance Bureau Notes Online Payday Loans' Hidden Costs
Consumer Finance Bureau Notes Online Payday Loans' Hidden Costs

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Bank penalty fees and account closures are a significant and hidden cost of online payday loans, a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report says.

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Half Million in U.S. Remain Homeless, Report Says
Half Million in U.S. Remain Homeless, Report Says

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Nearly 565,000 people were among the U.S. homeless identified during a one-night count in January 2015, says the National Alliance to End Homelessness' 2016 State of Homelessness report.

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Is There a
Is There a "Christian Economics"? Part 2

By: Roger Olson
Christian thinkers support a variety of economic theories as 'middle axioms' for implementing Kingdom ethics within the world that is not yet the Kingdom of God. Here are four major options.

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Is There a
Is There a "Christian Economics"? Part 1

By: Roger Olson
Whether religious or secular, distributive justice is the determination of how best, if at all, for society to distribute its wealth. It's the place where economics and ethics meet.

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What Role Does Marriage Play in Poverty?
What Role Does Marriage Play in Poverty?

By: Robert Parham
Marriage plays a significant role in the struggle against poverty. And no civic institution is needed more to advocate for marriage and to equip married couples than the church.

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Environmental Conditions Contribute to 12.6 Million Deaths Annually
Environmental Conditions Contribute to 12.6 Million Deaths Annually

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Nearly 25 percent of annual deaths worldwide are due to unhealthy environmental conditions, a WHO report says. Most deaths from unhealthy environments occur in lower-income nations.

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When the Rich Wash Their Feet in Tears of the Poor
When the Rich Wash Their Feet in Tears of the Poor

By: James Gordon
In a society fixated on individual self-interest, national economic advantage and tectonic shifts in wealth distribution, the poor rarely have life chances. The rich seemingly bathe their feet in the poor's tears.

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Why Many Christians Don't Hunger or Thirst for Justice
Why Many Christians Don't Hunger or Thirst for Justice

By: Larry Eubanks
Many folks equate righteousness with sinlessness. But righteousness is tied more closely to innocence and aligns with our treatment of the poor, the powerless, the foreigner, even the sick.

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How Will the Church Respond to Global Woes?
How Will the Church Respond to Global Woes?

By: Margot Hodson
Religious and political extremism fuel war and tensions in many places. Refugees struggle to survive a freezing winter. Global warming threatens our future. How will the church respond?

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Book: Caring for Poor Aligns with God's Presence
Book: Caring for Poor Aligns with God's Presence

By: Rupen Das
Caring for those who are not part of the mainstreams of society because of their poverty, brokenness and rejection is a prophetic act, says the author of "Compassion and the Mission of God."

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Dueling Narratives Seek to Define Our Culture
Dueling Narratives Seek to Define Our Culture

By: Colin Harris
Our society is defined by dueling narratives, with each side fighting to control their message. The volume and intensity of this struggle are greater than ever, but the struggle has been around a long time.

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Baptists Save Poor Communities in Myanmar
Baptists Save Poor Communities in Myanmar

By: Joe Nicholson
The Karen Baptist Convention, a network of Baptist churches in Myanmar, is reaching some of the nation's most vulnerable people and helping them to lift themselves out of poverty.

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Helping Others to Escape Poverty's Grip
Helping Others to Escape Poverty's Grip

By: Bob Newell
Born into poverty in 1935, Elvis Presley overcame the odds to become a music legend. Many others around the globe face similar disadvantages. How can we as Christians give them opportunities to prosper?

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Presidential Hopefuls Send Videos on Poverty To Christian Leaders
Presidential Hopefuls Send Videos on Poverty To Christian Leaders

By: EthicsDaily Staff
A Christian organization asked the presidential candidates to provide short videos on their approach to end poverty and hunger. Eleven candidates responded; three did not.

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Why Luke Referred to Bethlehem as 'City of David'
Why Luke Referred to Bethlehem as 'City of David'

By: Larry Eubanks
The title of "city of David" had always referred to Jerusalem until Luke's Gospel, when he bestowed that title on Bethlehem. It was Luke's way to highlight Jesus' opposition to the powers that be in Jerusalem.

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This Christmas, Let's Give Joseph His Due
This Christmas, Let's Give Joseph His Due

By: Jim Kelsey
Every Christmas, Joseph gets short shrift. But like Mary, Joseph was an extraordinary human being used by God to usher in a new chapter in God's pursuit of us.

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Singing in the Darkness: A Christmas Tradition?
Singing in the Darkness: A Christmas Tradition?

By: Zach Dawes
The recent tragic headlines cannot overpower the love and joy we experience as we celebrate Christmas. Both traditional and little-known holiday songs reflect God's powerful love.

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Christ Will Give More Than You Can Contain
Christ Will Give More Than You Can Contain

By: James Gordon
The story of Jesus turning water into wine resonates with a world that needs to recover hope from hopelessness. He will give you more than you can contain and offer more blessing than you can think.

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Don't Let Grief's Darkness Eclipse Light of Christmas
Don't Let Grief's Darkness Eclipse Light of Christmas

By: Barry Howard
Holidays can be dark days emotionally for many of us. Grieving is healthy as long as you are moving through the grief process as opposed to becoming stuck in your grief.

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Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas
Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Churches are a pipeline for gift-giving throughout the year. Here are more reports on what local churches are doing to support the common good in their communities during this Christmas season.

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Sharing Christmas Truth During a Season of Excess
Sharing Christmas Truth During a Season of Excess

By: Bill Wilson
The celebration of Christmas has ebbed and flowed throughout U.S. history. During the Advent season, Christians have the opportunity to provide a more meaningful message to society's season of excess.

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4 Christmas Gifts for People in the Middle East
4 Christmas Gifts for People in the Middle East

By: Nabil Costa
For people living in the Middle East and North Africa, life is incredibly hard. This Christmas season, here are four gifts that would help children and families escape their daily burdens.

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In a Hate-Filled World, Where Can You Find Peace?
In a Hate-Filled World, Where Can You Find Peace?

By: Chuck Summers
Hate is incredibly strong these days and seemingly drowns out all hope of peace. Is there any place you can go to find peace? Surrounded by God's creation, you can find tranquility.

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Bridging 4 Cultural Obstacles to Share God's Love
Bridging 4 Cultural Obstacles to Share God's Love

By: Juan Aragon
Followers of Jesus need to be intentional about making real and meaningful bridges with people from different languages, beliefs, values, behaviors, customs and attitudes.

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In Fractured Times, Don't Take Your Eyes Off the Prize
In Fractured Times, Don't Take Your Eyes Off the Prize

By: Jerrod Hugenot
Zephaniah, a biblical prophet, spent much of his time railing against the excesses of the day. We live in no less fractured times. Zephaniah reminds people of faith to keep our eyes on the prize.

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Where's the Good News?
Where's the Good News?

By: Robert Parham
The Christian Christmas tradition is about proclamations and promises of good news. Newspapers and cable TV, however, offer a steady drumbeat of bad news. So, where is the good news?

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Trusting God to Break Though Our Weary Cynicism
Trusting God to Break Though Our Weary Cynicism

By: Guy Sayles
Christmas is the season of joy, but sometimes our joy gets crowded out by skepticism and suspicion. Despite that, we can trust God to show up in places as unexpected as our weary cynicism.

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Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas
Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Churches are gift-giving institutions during the Christmas season. Here are how a few churches are enhancing their communities and advancing the common good this holiday season.

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Getting to the Root of When Excessive Wealth is Evil
Getting to the Root of When Excessive Wealth is Evil

By: Zach Dawes
It's easy to criticize folks who possess excessive wealth. However, having wealth isn't inherently evil. How we acquire it and what we do with it determines whether or not it is evil.

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God's Christmas Gift: It's the Contents Not the Wrapping
God's Christmas Gift: It's the Contents Not the Wrapping

By: Colin Harris
Every Christmas season looks familiar: gift shopping, holiday entertaining, time off from work and school, special church services. But that's just wrapping. Let's look at the gift's contents.

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You're Not Called to Fear, You're Called to Love
You're Not Called to Fear, You're Called to Love

By: Larry Eubanks
There's a tension between fear and love. A person living in constant fear and anxiety dies from the inside out. A person surrounded by unconditional love flourishes even in the harshest conditions.

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Finding the Beauty While Living In-Between Addresses
Finding the Beauty While Living In-Between Addresses

By: Greg DeLoach
We're all living in-between addresses. It is not where you are from or even where you are going that matters most, but where you are right now. And Advent reminds us of that.

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Nature's Lesson: Don't Rush Through Life
Nature's Lesson: Don't Rush Through Life

By: Chuck Summers
Nature has its own pace and doesn't tend to rush things. We could learn something from nature. Our rush through life keeps us from experiencing what God has in mind for us here and now.

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A Christian Response to Yet Another Mass Shooting
A Christian Response to Yet Another Mass Shooting

By: Matt Sapp
What do we do following yet another mass shooting? Christian political engagement is no substitute for personal, individual action. One thing's clear: We can't match hatred for hatred.

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Let's Build on the Good of Thanksgiving Day for the Good for Our Neighbors
Let's Build on the Good of Thanksgiving Day for the Good for Our Neighbors

By: Robert Parham
Thanksgiving in and of itself strengthens community and encourages neighborliness. Let's build on that for the continuous good for our neighbors.

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Former ISIS Captive: 'They Fear Our Unity'
Former ISIS Captive: 'They Fear Our Unity'

By: Gary Furr
ISIS' world is totally closed to any rational thought. They believe their bizarre theology is correct and that they are the tripwire to cause the world's end, said a French citizen held captive by ISIS for 10 months.

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Unmitigated Climate Change Will Put 100 Million More in Poverty
Unmitigated Climate Change Will Put 100 Million More in Poverty

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Climate change will impoverish an additional 100 million people globally by 2030 if sufficient steps are not taken to mitigate global warming, a World Bank report concludes.

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Shaun King Confronts the
Shaun King Confronts the "Christmas Crazies"

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Tired of dealing with the craziness of the Christmas season? See how one church confronts it to encourage a more meaningful observance in the latest video interview from EthicsDaily.com.

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An Incarnational Christmas, Anyone?
An Incarnational Christmas, Anyone?

By: Colin Harris
It's that time of year again when well-meaning people start lamenting the 'war on Christmas.' Maybe we should fret less about putting Christ back in Christmas and focus more on being Christ at Christmas.

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British Churches: Benefit Cuts Will Harm Poor Families
British Churches: Benefit Cuts Will Harm Poor Families

By: Paul Hobson
The British government's welfare reform bill is a dangerous shift that will harm poor families and their children, according to a report from churches representing several faith groups.

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How Will Your Church Stand Against Predatory Lenders?
How Will Your Church Stand Against Predatory Lenders?

By: Danny Chisholm
More than 20,000 payday and car title loan stores operate in our country. Many keep borrowers in a perpetual cycle of crushing debt. How will your church stand against predatory lenders?

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Why Disputes Between Churches, UK Gov't Will Increase
Why Disputes Between Churches, UK Gov't Will Increase

By: Jon Kuhrt
As austerity measures kick in, clashes between the British government and churches will increase. Government wants Christians to pull drowning people out of the river. It doesn't want them to ask who's pushing them in.

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Jesus Calls for Justice; We Prefer Self-Righteousness
Jesus Calls for Justice; We Prefer Self-Righteousness

By: Christopher B. Harbin
Jesus called us to righteousness, but we've since changed the definition. We've adapted it to following of a specific code that has more to do with cultural norms than what is truly right. Jesus calls for justice.

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Doing Good With Christmas Shopping
Doing Good With Christmas Shopping

By: Robert Parham
Americans will soon spend billions of dollars during the frenzied Christmas shopping season. Why not spend some of that money in ways that will advance the common good?

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How Should You Respond to People Begging?
How Should You Respond to People Begging?

By: Jon Kuhrt
In most large cities, it's common to cross paths with someone begging for money, but giving money is often "killing with kindness." Here are four things you can do to help instead.

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Why Churches Should Support UN Sustainable Development Goals
Why Churches Should Support UN Sustainable Development Goals

By: Chris Hall
The United Nations will vote on its Sustainable Development Goals to tackle poverty, hunger and other issues over the next 15 years. Here's why your church should support these initiatives.

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Sharing Gospel of Compassion with Louisiana's Poor
Sharing Gospel of Compassion with Louisiana's Poor

By: Mike Massar
Lake Providence in Louisiana is a city of contrasts. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen. But amid the poverty, Baptist missionaries have dedicated their lives to help those with deep needs.

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UN Poverty Goals Worthy of Christians' Support
UN Poverty Goals Worthy of Christians' Support

By: Gershon Nimbalker
The U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals have been an ambitious undertaking to address many facets of extreme poverty. Christians should be passionate champions of these goals.

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Sowing Justice Through Generosity to the Poor
Sowing Justice Through Generosity to the Poor

By: Molly T. Marshall
It's always easier to blame the poor for their circumstances rather than appraising the systemic realities making upward mobility nearly impossible. We prefer the poor to be invisible, even in our churches.

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Why Microfinance Industry is Under Microscope
Why Microfinance Industry is Under Microscope

By: Hugh Sinclair
The microfinance industry is increasingly under a microscope, challenging the wisdom of indebting poor people en masse. While the scrutiny will yield improvements, here are three challenges that remain.

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Microfinance's Mystical Lure All But Evaporated
Microfinance's Mystical Lure All But Evaporated

By: Hugh Sinclair
Microfinance was once all the rage, the capitalist panacea to eliminate poverty. But its mystical lure has evaporated. How could we believe indebting the poor could help them escape poverty?

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Legal Work: The Future of Mission? - Part 2
Legal Work: The Future of Mission? - Part 2

By: Vickey Casey
Knowledge is power in countries such as Mozambique and Uganda, but telling people they have rights is only half the battle. Making affordable legal services available is another challenge altogether.

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Legal Work: The Future of Mission? - Part 1
Legal Work: The Future of Mission? - Part 1

By: Vickey Casey
Countless poor people all over the world need legal advice, advocacy and support but can't afford lawyers. Lawyers partnering with BMS World Mission are restoring balance to a system weighted against the poor.

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Homelessness Unites Range of Social Issues
Homelessness Unites Range of Social Issues

By: Jon Kuhrt
Homelessness brings together a whole range of social issues - the political issues of material poverty, the moral issues of families and relationships and the personal issues relating to a person's inner identity.

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3 Types of Poverty Often Leading to Homelessness
3 Types of Poverty Often Leading to Homelessness

By: Jon Kuhrt
The number of homeless people living on the streets is a social barometer indicating wider levels of poverty and exclusion. At least three factors lead to someone becoming homeless.

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Global Poverty Reduced, Shortfalls Remain
Global Poverty Reduced, Shortfalls Remain

By: Paul Hobson
The U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals have produced the "most successful anti-poverty movement in history," with the number of people now living in extreme poverty down by more than half.

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What Our Founders Meant by 'Liberty and Justice for All'
What Our Founders Meant by 'Liberty and Justice for All'

By: Barry Howard
Our ancestors envisioned a nation in which liberty and justice would be for all people. Some folks, however, have reduced 'liberty' to a license for self-centeredness and 'justice' to mere retaliatory action.

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Stopping Terrorist Recruitment of Stranded Minority
Stopping Terrorist Recruitment of Stranded Minority

By: Joe LaGuardia
The Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world. A reported 6,000 are stranded at sea, and they're prime candidates for terrorist recruitment.

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Bible Rebukes the Powerful Who Dismiss, Ignore the Hungry
Bible Rebukes the Powerful Who Dismiss, Ignore the Hungry

By: James Gordon
The Bible has a lot to say about food, especially when the powerful, who are well fed, control food distribution and increase the number of poor who go hungry. We have a responsibility to each other.

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Lessons Learned from Working with People in Poverty
Lessons Learned from Working with People in Poverty

By: Joel Snider
People who work with those in deeply engrained poverty must balance the need to alleviate desperation versus creating dependency. To understand the struggle of that decision, you must know the people in crisis.

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Making the Poor Part of Our Lives - Part 2
Making the Poor Part of Our Lives - Part 2

By: David Fitch
While programs that alleviate pain and suffering are important, our relationship with the poor is not to be organized as a church program. Instead, out of everyday life, we are to come alongside the poor.

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Making the Poor Part of Our Lives - Part 1
Making the Poor Part of Our Lives - Part 1

By: David Fitch
Churches dedicate whole ministries to do justice and mercy as programs for the poor. While such ministries do alleviate immediate suffering, they inevitably keep the poor at a distance.

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Global Food Insecurity Decreases, Millions Still Undernourished
Global Food Insecurity Decreases, Millions Still Undernourished

By: EthicsDaily Staff
The global population considered food insecure has declined by 167 million since 2005 and by 216 million since 1992, a report says. Reduction of food insecurity has varied greatly from region to region.

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Challenging the Shame of Being Poor
Challenging the Shame of Being Poor

By: Rupen Das
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus challenges the culture of honor for the rich and shame for the poor. Like the rich man, we cannot exclude the outsider as unworthy of our care.

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World Bank Programs Result in Millions Displaced
World Bank Programs Result in Millions Displaced

By: EthicsDaily Staff
World Bank development programs have caused 3.4 million persons to be displaced, and many bank-funded initiatives have given rise to human rights abuses, according to a series of reports.

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British Charity Urges Churches to House Vulnerable
British Charity Urges Churches to House Vulnerable

By: Fiona Spence
Ed Walker wanted to do something about Britain's homeless so he and his wife bought a house and rented it out to an ex-offender who had been living in a hostel. And Hope into Action was born.

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Why Too Many Christians Go it Alone, Pilgrim
Why Too Many Christians Go it Alone, Pilgrim

By: Mark Tidsworth
Many Christians see the process of growing as disciples as personal, private and individualistic, believing they don't need a community of faith. Here's why playing the John Wayne type won't work.

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Restoring Creation Care to Our Theology
Restoring Creation Care to Our Theology

By: Larry Eubanks
Care for the earth is a part of biblical theology, but somehow it doesn't find its way into a lot of Christians' theology. If we are going to get our lives in line with the plans of God, we must recover this emphasis.

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How Our Notion of Justice Compares to God's
How Our Notion of Justice Compares to God's

By: Stephen Holmes
The ideas of justice differ enormously across the whole spread of human culture and history. The Bible doesn't offer a clear definition, but we know God expects justice to reach all people without fear or favor.

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How Your Church Can Make Missions More Effective
How Your Church Can Make Missions More Effective
By: Barry Howard
Without any long-term objective to your church's mission strategy, your church could be encouraging a sense of entitlement that trends toward continual poverty. Here are five steps to break that cycle.
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Living Wages: How to Match Ideals to Reality
Living Wages: How to Match Ideals to Reality
By: Zach Dawes
Moving toward a living wage to enable full-time employees to live self-sufficient, food-secure daily lives is a noble goal, but matching ideals to reality will be complicated and costly.
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The Kindest Way for Churches to Destroy People
The Kindest Way for Churches to Destroy People
By: Barry Howard
Does your church need to re-evaluate how to best use its resources for the poor and vulnerable? The author of "Toxic Charity" examines the ineffective approach taken by many churches and nonprofits.
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How Does God's Grace Shine Through You?
How Does God's Grace Shine Through You?

By: Molly T. Marshall
To reach the fullness of the unique human identity purposed for us, we must focus attention on God's self-revealing in Christ and the ways he continues to shine through faithful sisters and brothers.

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Faith Leaders to Make Poverty, Hunger a 2016 Election Focus
Faith Leaders to Make Poverty, Hunger a 2016 Election Focus

By: EthicsDaily Staff
An alliance of Christian ministers is urging 2016 presidential hopefuls to call attention to hunger and poverty in their campaigns and present their views on video.

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Believing in God Entails More Than Lip Service
Believing in God Entails More Than Lip Service
By: Drew Smith
Jesus calls those who hear his message to a belief that is more than simply mental conformity to God's rule. He called and continues to call folks to the actions of faith.
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What the Apostle Paul Says about Economic Justice
What the Apostle Paul Says about Economic Justice

By: Simon Jones
The Apostle Paul lived in a world where an elite few owned almost everything and called the shots. But Paul believed the principles of mutuality and equality were God's blueprint for human society everywhere.

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Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World
Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World
By: Guy Sayles
It's ironic that, during this season, we sing about peace while storm clouds of violence and fear darken the horizon. These problems may paralyze us, but Jesus isn't powerless to change them.
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An Advent Reflection: Conquering Fear and Hatred
An Advent Reflection: Conquering Fear and Hatred

By: Elmo Familiaran
Fear, hatred and violence grip our world. Fear is the mother of hate, and hate has many offspring - slavery, avarice, genocide, bigotry, violence. But fear cannot drown out the words of the Prince of Peace.

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When It's Hard to Believe That God is With You
When It's Hard to Believe That God is With You
By: Larry Eubanks
When you live in relative comfort, believing that God is with you is easy. Those who are vulnerable or impoverished find it hard to believe that God is with them – unless we serve as God's hands.
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Learning What It's Like to be the Other Person
Learning What It's Like to be the Other Person
By: Taylor Sandlin
Most of us live out of our own perspective with little attempt to understand another's point of view. When told we don't understand other viewpoints, we become defensive. What if we tried grace instead?
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A Political Nativity in the Nation's Capital
A Political Nativity in the Nation's Capital
By: Brian Kaylor
In early December, the streets of Capitol Hill are briefly transformed into a walking live nativity, enacting the original Christmas message in the heart of the nation's power structures.
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Let's Challenge Fear That Fuels Prejudice, Inhumanity
Let's Challenge Fear That Fuels Prejudice, Inhumanity
By: Matt Sapp
When people are afraid, they quickly fall into an "us" versus "them" mentality. This Christmas, let's no longer remain silent and have the courage to speak out against prejudice.
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Each Christmas, We Celebrate Jesus the Refugee
Each Christmas, We Celebrate Jesus the Refugee

By: Elijah Brown
We often gloss over the part of the Christmas story when Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to Egypt, becoming a refugee family. Whether we admit it or not, we celebrate Jesus the refugee every Christmas.

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Why Churches Remain at Heart of Tackling Poverty
Why Churches Remain at Heart of Tackling Poverty
By: Jon Kuhrt
Christians don't have a monopoly on making a difference to those in need, but even the most hard-bitten critics of Christianity have to admit that the church makes a massive contribution in combating poverty. 
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What You Gain When You Choose to Give Thanks
What You Gain When You Choose to Give Thanks

By: Gregory Magruder
Do you take time for thanksgiving? Not just the holiday called Thanksgiving, but the practice of giving thanks. When we give thanks, we eclipse the unpleasant and live a life of satisfaction.

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What Your Church Needs for Healthy Growth
What Your Church Needs for Healthy Growth
By: Bill Wilson
If your church wants to experience healthy growth, it won't be through new programs. Healthy churches grow when their members develop personal and powerful relationships.
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3 Reasons You Can Be Thankful During Bad Times
3 Reasons You Can Be Thankful During Bad Times
By: Alistair Brown
We all face circumstances for which it's difficult to express thanks. When those bad times hit, these three thoughts will keep you focused on what doesn't change: God's constant love.
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The Politics of Jesus: Compassion and Justice
The Politics of Jesus: Compassion and Justice
By: Drew Smith
Jesus was a political figure, but not in the sense that he was involved in any political power system of his day. His message and his mission confronted the social structures of his day with the politics of God.
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Global Baptists Speak Out on Religious Liberty, Justice, Migration
Global Baptists Speak Out on Religious Liberty, Justice, Migration

By: Brian Kaylor
Baptists from nearly 60 nations gathered in Turkey for the annual gathering of the Baptist World Alliance, electing new leaders for the global group and passing six resolutions.

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The Church Outside the Walls
We have been created, you and I, in partnership with our Creator-Redeemer God, to help bring our world into right relationship with God. That has to do with more than just getting to heaven. Far more. It speaks to how we take care of the earth God has created and given us, it determines how we relate to others, especially those who are different from us. It expresses itself in every facet of our being. We live – right now, you and I – in God’s faith story.
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Even When You Face Unbearable Suffering, God's Near
Even When You Face Unbearable Suffering, God's Near
By: Rupen Das
On that first Good Friday, the disciples didn't know that there was going to be an Easter Sunday. That first Saturday after Jesus' death was a time of desolation and mourning. We all must face such Saturdays.
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Mission Workers Help to Keep Mom, Daughter Together
Mission Workers Help to Keep Mom, Daughter Together
By: Vickey Casey
Thiri lives in constant fear that her estranged husband will steal their daughter away to live with his second family. BMS World Mission and one of its partners are helping to keep her family intact.
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Different Gifts, Common Good
On this Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the church, I believe that God’s Spirit is working within this congregation possibly to conceive and give birth to an alternative worship service that taps into the different kinds of gifts, different kinds of service and different kinds of working at UBC to worship the same Spirit, the same God and the same Lord.
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Playing Fair: Christians and the Fair Trade Movement
Playing Fair: Christians and the Fair Trade Movement
By: Joe LaGuardia
The fair trade movement, focused on obtaining needed food while sufficiently and fairly supporting the farmers and manufacturers who make it, is breaking through in the Christian world.
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The Super Rich and Income Inequality
The Super Rich and Income Inequality

By: Vinoth Ramachandra
We've known that economic inequality is cumulative and hereditary and that the super rich are hijacking democracy. Now, a new book offers the sophisticated statistical analysis to back it up.

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Debt and Britain's Children: Bullying, Anxiety, Going Without
Debt and Britain's Children: Bullying, Anxiety, Going Without

By: Paul Hobson
The findings of a British study show that millions of children in Great Britain are suffering worry and anxiety, bullying and going without essentials as their families are trapped in debt.

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Why Church of England Must Break Ties with Government
Why Church of England Must Break Ties with Government
By: Jon Kuhrt
Having key roles in Britain's national events is seductive, but it is in forsaking them that the Church of England will find greater integrity. Until it does, it can never fully speak truth to power.
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Ministry Provides Hope, Education for Indian Children
Ministry Provides Hope, Education for Indian Children
By: Sarah Stone
More than 50 children left the yellow bus and spent the next few hours singing, playing and laughing. But soon the bus would have to take them back to their impoverished lives on India's streets.
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Lotteries Here to Stay but Still Shameful
Lotteries Here to Stay but Still Shameful

By: Reggie Warren
Promoters must know lotteries prey on the poor and ignorant. Governments ought to be ashamed for promoting gambling just as Christians ought to be ashamed for participating in it.

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What Happens When Our Tithe Neglects the Poor?
What Happens When Our Tithe Neglects the Poor?
By: Larry Eubanks
While the Lord is happy when we give generously to support the church, the message of Malachi reminds us that we cannot forget the poor when we give our tithe to the Lord.
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The One Pervasive Addiction Almost All of Us Have
The One Pervasive Addiction Almost All of Us Have
By: Griff Martin
Our greatest addiction is to money and materialism. We're addicted to wanting and needing more, and money is how we get it. This addiction is killing not only our nation, but also our world.
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How
How "The Hunger Games" Society Isn't Far from Our Own
By: Seth Vopat
In "The Hunger Games," the wealthy few make themselves throw up so they can continue to enjoy a lavish feast while the poor starve. With what we waste, are we so different?
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The United Way
So let us mark it and mark it well: we are bound together by our devotion to Christ. Nothing else – nothing else – matters. The light of Jesus’ presence illuminates our deeds and encourages us to unite in him, even when we disagree. It is the only way to be church. It is the only way to be followers of the One who gave his life for us. It is the only way to live out the promise of our baptism, to be united in Christ.
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Liberia’s Economy: No Comfort for Oppressed or Oppressors
Liberia’s Economy: No Comfort for Oppressed or Oppressors
By: Richard Wilson
Unemployment in Liberia is about 85 percent. Many seek work day after day. The nation’s economic system provides no comfort for the oppressed as well as their oppressors. 
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British Children in Poverty Face Chilling Reality
British Children in Poverty Face Chilling Reality
By: Baptist Times Staff
More than 3 million families in the United Kingdom are likely to cut back on food so they can pay their energy bills this winter, a survey found. It's a scandal, an archbishop said. 
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Too Light a Thing
Oddly enough, it was when Isaiah gave up in his despair – essentially calling a spade a spade when he said that he had no clue as to what to do next – when his own ideas of what was needed were given over, and his own sense of purpose was shredded and put away, that he then found room in his heart for God to give him a new vision for his people.
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Are Charity Shops Becoming Too Pricey for Poor?
Are Charity Shops Becoming Too Pricey for Poor?
By:  James Gordon
Charity shops began as places where people with low incomes could find necessities for knock-down prices compared to the retail market. Are some of them becoming too expensive for the poor?
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Baptism's Fruit? Pursuit of Righteousness, Justice
Baptism's Fruit? Pursuit of Righteousness, Justice
By:  Larry Greenfield
Before Jesus' baptism, John the Baptist spoke about bearing fruit. And what fruit should our baptism produce? The start of our pursuit for righteousness and justice.
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Magi's Visit Reminds Us Rulers Must Rule with Justice
Magi's Visit Reminds Us Rulers Must Rule with Justice
By: Drew Smith
The Magi's visit reminds us that the rulers of this world are not the true authorities over God's cosmos, particularly if they seek to rule with illegitimate, unjust and oppressive power.
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Epiphany Signals the Coming Light of God's Justice
Epiphany Signals the Coming Light of God's Justice

Coming roughly 12 days after Christmas, Epiphany Sunday reminds us that the darkness will not yield easily to the manifestation of a new order. Each of us must seek the light of God's justice.

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Let's Remember Those Persecuted for Christ's Sake
Let's Remember Those Persecuted for Christ's Sake
U.S. Christians typically don't appreciate the religious freedom we enjoy. While we celebrated Christmas openly, many Christians around the world had to observe the day in secret.
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Love Never Fails
Being a person of faith will take you down roads you never thought you would travel. Don’t wait to begin that journey until all your questions have been answered, or you know where the road will end. Take the first step and rely upon God to go with you and guide you. This was what Joseph did. He responded to God’s call upon his life with more questions in his heart than answers, but he discovered that God took every step with him and provided what he needed all along the way.
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For Struggling Millennials, 14 Christmas Truths
For Struggling Millennials, 14 Christmas Truths
Many millennials have trouble connecting to church. They want – but don't often find – honesty and transparency. Here are 14 truths about Christmas for millennials and others seeking truth.
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What Are You Watching This Christmas?
What Are You Watching This Christmas?
Many things in this busy season can take our eyes off the focus of Christmas. Maybe we should be like the shepherds or wise men and spend a few moments focusing on creation.
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What Can Birthdays Teach Us About Advent?
What Can Birthdays Teach Us About Advent?
As we move through Advent's preparation for the church's celebration of that first birthday we call Christmas, we look forward to reliving the joy of the new life that has changed the world in so many ways.
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Lessons Learned from Singing about Peace Amid Hostility
Lessons Learned from Singing about Peace Amid Hostility
In our world torn by war and dysfunction and stress, peace seems to be an elusive prize. Jesus offers a peace to us that can't be shaken by storms or enemies or crisis or even death.
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How Christians Remove Christ from Christmas
How Christians Remove Christ from Christmas
Many Christians are thankful at Christmas that their personal sins have been taken care, but that's only part of the story. Many don't concern themselves with the societal sins that burden the "least of these."
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Paul's Hallmark Thanksgiving Card
At all times and in every circumstance, we can find silver linings around our clouds. When we do, we need to thank God for them and express our deepest gratitude to those who reach out to us in ways we never expected. This is what Paul did, and it is what we need to do, also.
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Throughout Holidays, Churches Invest in Local Community
Throughout Holidays, Churches Invest in Local Community

Baptist churches across the United States are, once again, providing significant social capital during the Advent and Christmas holidays. Here are a few ways they're making a difference.

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Advent: Taking the Scenic Route to Christmas
Advent: Taking the Scenic Route to Christmas
Many of us feel forced to travel toward Christmas in the fast lane in a culture focused on shopping and accumulating. Advent encourages us to go slow and breathe in the scenery.
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Re-Imagining Christ
We might not go as far as imagining Jesus as our surfer dude, or Jesus as our Hell’s Angel, but we do like to think of Jesus as our friend. Among evangelicals, I hazard a guess that the most popular image of Jesus is thinking of Him as “our personal Lord and Savior.” But that also seems so far removed from the images of Christ described in our New Testament Lesson from Colossians this morning.
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Not Interested in Christmas
Jesus may not yet be interested in a birthday party, but I do think he is definitely interested in coming to meet you... that what he wants to do is come to you in ways he has never done so before. Whether Jesus has come to you once or twice, or many times over, he’s waiting yet again for an invitation from you to accept him into your heart. I do believe he is interested in that[...]
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Thankful for this Kind of King
In today’s epistle lesson from Colossians we are reminded that Jesus is the one in whom “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” This one, this bleeding, dying man…all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in him. He is unlike any king we have ever seen before, and thank God for that. This is the kind of king who might even remember us when he comes into his kingdom. And for that, on this Sunday before Thanksgiving, I am thankful.
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Early Harvest Meal Provides Model for Immigrant, Native Relations
Early Harvest Meal Provides Model for Immigrant, Native Relations

After peeling away the layers of mythology that now surround the first Thanksgiving meal, we find a needed reminder that when people are in need, the right thing to do is to offer help.

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Thankfulness Runs Throughout Our Christian Heritage
Thankfulness Runs Throughout Our Christian Heritage
As we approach Thanksgiving, it's good to reflect on the importance of giving thanks. Our Christian heritage is filled with examples of how we should be thankful. Here are just a few.
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The Lord's Prayer Urges Us to Focus on Common Good
The Lord's Prayer Urges Us to Focus on Common Good
Jesus taught us to pray for bread. That prayer is about more than meeting individual needs; it's about all of us. We pray not just for our own needs, but the needs of the world.
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How Love of Money Distorts Perceptions of Human Worth
How Love of Money Distorts Perceptions of Human Worth
When Scripture tells us the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, it's not just a warning about our infatuation with wealthy. We can let the "love of money" usurp God's notion of human dignity.
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Why I Hate
Why I Hate "Silent Night" During Advent
With angels, shepherds and barnyard animals present, Mary and Joseph weren't likely to have a silent night. Amid the season's clutter, it's hard to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
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5 Ways Your Church Can Emphasize Thankfulness
5 Ways Your Church Can Emphasize Thankfulness
Thankfulness and gratitude have positive effects on emotions, health and interpersonal relationships. Perhaps it's time for more churches to take the lead in celebrating a season of Thanksgiving.
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Solving Hunger Will Require More Than Charity
Solving Hunger Will Require More Than Charity
Jesus lived in hungry times. The devil suggested he take the struggle out of the provision of bread and be hailed as messiah. But hunger isn't an issue that will be solved by charity.
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Curbing Our Resentment as Holidays Secularize
Curbing Our Resentment as Holidays Secularize
As society abandons religious holidays like Thanksgiving for increasing secularization, many of us react with resentment. What if we turned our pointless whining to positive affirmations?
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Baptist Minister Learns Lesson on Greek Veranda
Baptist Minister Learns Lesson on Greek Veranda
A gentle rain and a simple meal on a veranda are a reminder of how good life is. But for the homeless and poor in the street below, this same rain is not a welcome sight.
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David: This is the One
We are told that David was a man after God’s own heart, but what exactly does that mean? It is when Samuel anoints David that the spirit of the Lord, as the Bible says, “came mightily upon David from that day forward.” Could it be that God made certain, on that momentous day, that his heart was entwined with the heart of this young shepherd boy? We can’t really say for sure. The only thing that is of certainty here is that David is God’s chosen... for whatever reason.
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Poverty Challenges Power in Pirate Movie
Poverty Challenges Power in Pirate Movie
If you decide to watch "Captain Phillips," a PG-13 film loosely based on a 2009 maritime hijacking, go armed with more than an understanding that the American way is not the global way.
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Global Initiative Plans Vigils to End Corruption
Global Initiative Plans Vigils to End Corruption
A global call to action is organizing vigils and seeking a million folks to sign its online petition, calling on governments, financial institutions and churches to act decisively to end corruption.
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Giving Away Our Trash in the Name of Generosity
Giving Away Our Trash in the Name of Generosity
For those of us with an abundance, it's easy to give away clothing we don't want to those in need. Instead of such thoughtless giving, we should seek to build genuine relationships.
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As Rich Get Richer, Will Ancient History Repeat Itself?
As Rich Get Richer, Will Ancient History Repeat Itself?
When a nation allows a few to have way too much while many have insufficient resources or barely enough, God's blessing and protection goes away and judgment follows. It's the biblical pattern.
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Rich Presumptuously Expect the Poor to Serve Them
Rich Presumptuously Expect the Poor to Serve Them
As the parable of the rich man and Lazarus reminds us, the rich are so presumptuous they expect the poor to serve them. You don't have to look farther than Congress to know this is still true today.
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British Churches Increasingly Tackle Food Poverty
British Churches Increasingly Tackle Food Poverty
Four out of five churches in the United Kingdom are supporting food banks in one way or another, a new report said. Can more be done to find long-term solutions to food poverty?
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Your Choice: Engaged with Risk or Disengaged with Safety
Your Choice: Engaged with Risk or Disengaged with Safety
To follow in the path of Jesus calls for risky social engagement that seeks to meet and understand, to engage and help, to welcome and embrace "the other." The choice is yours.
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Promises to Keep
We – you and I, this church, this community, this city – can we say we have arrived, that we have reached our final destination? Of course not. We live each day in the midst of a divine promise. How we share that promise with those who come after us makes and forms the true essence of our faith and gives us the purpose for our living now. God’s promise has no expiration date.2 But now, for this period of time when you and I live and move and have our being, the fulfillment of that promise is in our hands.
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Don't Always Play it Safe
I understand. Standing against the strong winds of injustice is hard, but there is nothing on this table today which calls us to play it safe when it comes to living out our faith. Everything here encourages us to be as bold as Jesus was in the pursuit of justice.
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Dealing with Hunger Now and in the Future
Dealing with Hunger Now and in the Future
Whether domestically or overseas, it is more important to decrease hunger in the future than to simply give food to hungry people in the present. Food for the Hungry tackles both.
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Impoverished Village Rich in Authentic Community
Impoverished Village Rich in Authentic Community
Jay is college-educated and from the U.S. He chose to live in an impoverished village in Belize with his wife and son. Despite the village's material poverty, its residents are happy and enjoy true community.
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What Keeps Many of Us from Helping the Poor
What Keeps Many of Us from Helping the Poor
What's our obligation to the poor? It all comes down to community. If we regard them as inside our community, we'll help. If not, we won't. Jesus had some thoughts about who's in our community. Everyone.
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Building Bigger Barns While Ignoring the Hungry
Building Bigger Barns While Ignoring the Hungry
The U.S. House of Representatives, under the guise of cost cutting and fiscal responsibility, passed a farm bill that aids the rich and attacks the poor. It reflects Jesus' parable about a foolish farmer.
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Righteousness - Far More Than Personal Piety
Righteousness - Far More Than Personal Piety

Many folks consider themselves righteous if they're upright, pure and above approach, but there's another meaning to the word that they miss. It involves a desire for justice.

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Will Churches Speak Out Against Unequal Medical Coverage?
Will Churches Speak Out Against Unequal Medical Coverage?
About 20 percent of the U.S. has no medical insurance, and many others have inadequate coverage. The U.S. healthcare system has evolved into a giant "shell game." Will the church speak up?
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House's Farm Bill Vote Calls Christians to Speak Up for Vulnerable
House's Farm Bill Vote Calls Christians to Speak Up for Vulnerable
The House GOP passed a farm bill that included no funding for food stamps, placing our most vulnerable at greater risk. Christianity's message is clear – protect the poor.
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4 Reasons Parents Should Make Children Attend Church
4 Reasons Parents Should Make Children Attend Church

All parents have struggled with the fear that they could make their children hate church if they forced them to go. Here are 4 grace-filled reasons for taking your kids to church.

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From Poverty to Trafficking: How You Can Help
From Poverty to Trafficking: How You Can Help
Eight women – seven ensnared in human trafficking, one migrant worker rape case – have this in common: Poverty drove them there. We can end trafficking, and here's what you can do.
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Fighting Food Poverty: Practical Care + Political Activism
Fighting Food Poverty: Practical Care + Political Activism
British churches are helping the poor who have been hit hard by budget cuts and rising unemployment. But that practical care needs to join with political activism to bring about real change.
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Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
Unless citizens express their opposition, we will soon see the toll on the poor of across-the-board spending cuts and at least 14 states opting out of Medicaid expansion.
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Educating Donors about Where Their Money Goes
Educating Donors about Where Their Money Goes
Sponsorship of children in Third World nations is a near-perfect marketing strategy for raising funds. That's why it persists despite concerns expressed by local people.
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House Members Cite Jesus in Farm Bill Debate; One Favors Food Stamp Cuts, Accepts Farm Subsides
House Members Cite Jesus in Farm Bill Debate; One Favors Food Stamp Cuts, Accepts Farm Subsides
Citing the Bible, a Tennessee congressman justified cutting food stamps to the poor even though he's accepted millions in federal farm subsidies. That's hypocrisy.
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Skype Interview: Grace Ji-Sun Kim on the Korean Church
Skype Interview: Grace Ji-Sun Kim on the Korean Church
Christianity is booming in South Korea, a nation of 50 million. Grace Ji-Sun Kim talks about the state of the Korean church in a new Skype interview with EthicsDaily.com.
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Hunger – The Hidden Cost of Tax Injustice
Hunger – The Hidden Cost of Tax Injustice
Developing nations could eradicate poverty and hunger with lost revenue, a new report says. One reason they don't have the revenue? Corporate tax dodging.
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How You Can Help People Overwhelmed by Life
How You Can Help People Overwhelmed by Life
Faced with an overwhelming process to find the help they need, many people and families feel demoralized. Will churches live up to their calling to help them in any way possible?
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As Dow Rises, Don't Forget Those Left Behind
As Dow Rises, Don't Forget Those Left Behind
The Dow breaks 15,000, and everyone starts cheering. Or are they? We must not forget the homeless, poor, elderly and children who suffer because of sequestration.
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Pain, Grief Remind Us We Need One Another
Pain, Grief Remind Us We Need One Another
Experiencing pain is a part of what it means to be human. It's part of what connects us to other human beings. At the end of the day, we all just want to be loved.
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Albanians Face Personal Odysseys in Greece's Economy
Albanians Face Personal Odysseys in Greece's Economy
The Odyssey, an ancient Greek epic poem, is the tale of one man's frustrated attempt to return home. Today in Greece, many Albanians endure their own personal odysseys.
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Wherever You're From, We All Crave Being Useful
Wherever You're From, We All Crave Being Useful
We will sometimes go to desperate lengths to feel useful. We forget others want to be validated for doing something, and we've got the gifts to help them.
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How Your Church Can Discover Authentic Worship
How Your Church Can Discover Authentic Worship
Everyone seeks a church that really worships, that really knows how to praise God. While we don't know exactly what worship is, we are always quick to point out what it isn't.
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Skype Interview: Kevin Hagan Discusses Feed the Children
Skype Interview: Kevin Hagan Discusses Feed the Children
Kevin Hagan, president and CEO of Feed the Children, explains how the organization is addressing the underlying causes of hunger in a new Skype interview from EthicsDaily.com.
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Governments Accountable to God for Poor's Care
Governments Accountable to God for Poor's Care
Throughout Scripture, God pronounces judgment on Israel and her neighbor nations for oppressing the poor. Our government is just as accountable to God for our care of the poor.
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50 Years Later, King's Jail Letter Still Hits Home
50 Years Later, King's Jail Letter Still Hits Home

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" 50 years ago today, addressing the need for nonviolent action to overcome the nation's deeply rooted racism.

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How Your Church Benefits From a Long-Term Pastor
How Your Church Benefits From a Long-Term Pastor
Most ministers rarely stay long at churches. Many move on in search of greener pastures. Many congregants feel they must defend their turf. What if those attitudes changed?
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The Invisible Poor in Your Own Back Yard
The Invisible Poor in Your Own Back Yard
The United States is a nation of plenty, yet some of our neighbors live with so little when we have so much. Why are the poor in our own back yards so invisible to us?
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4 Ways Your Church Can Help Health Care Needs
4 Ways Your Church Can Help Health Care Needs
Poverty, lack of education, no health insurance all create barriers for many people who need health care. Here are four ways your church can help meet their needs.
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What Does The Choice of a Pope's Name Mean?
What Does The Choice of a Pope's Name Mean?
A pope's name has strong symbolic significance. For Cardinal Bergoglio, choosing the name Pope Francis reflects a vow of care for human beings and the environment.
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5 Things a Pastor Learned in the Hospital
5 Things a Pastor Learned in the Hospital
Do you want to improve your ministry visiting people in the hospital? Here are five things one pastor learned when he was faced with a three-week hospital stay.
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Blaming Our Schools Doesn't Solve Problems
Blaming Our Schools Doesn't Solve Problems
Many churches and their members complain about schools, youth and teachers. And why not? It's easy to do. But it's time to stop criticizing and to start offering solutions.
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Why Your Church Isn't Like a Ford Model T
Why Your Church Isn't Like a Ford Model T
Like assembly lines mass-producing millions of Ford Model Ts, today's churches are seeking the right formula to mass-produce growth. But people are not material objects.
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Unjust U.S. Prison System Needs Reform
Unjust U.S. Prison System Needs Reform
A disproportionate number of people of color face both prison time and capital punishment, leading groups like Amnesty International to conclude that our judicial system is discriminatory.
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British Churches Support Anti-Poverty Amendments
British Churches Support Anti-Poverty Amendments
British Baptists and other denominations are joining the Archbishop of Canterbury's call to support government measures to prevent up to 200,000 children from plunging into poverty.
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UK Report Busts Comfortable Myths about Poverty
UK Report Busts Comfortable Myths about Poverty
Politicians and the media in Great Britain have misused statistics that reinforce myths that blame the poor for being in poverty, a new report says. The poor deserve the truth.
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The Pros and Cons of Microfinance to Beat Poverty
The Pros and Cons of Microfinance to Beat Poverty
Microfinance institutions can be an effective tool to address poverty when handled ethically by lending organizations and clients. And that's where churches can help.
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What If Your Church Were More Like Rotary?
What If Your Church Were More Like Rotary?
Rotary is an international service organization with the motto of "Service Above Self." Here are six ways your church could mature if it were more like the Rotary.
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5 Moral Challenges Caused by Food Injustice
5 Moral Challenges Caused by Food Injustice
Pope Benedict XVI has decried the abuse of animals in our food production. Consider these five moral challenges about how the food on our table gets there.
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1 in 3 Britons Boycotting Tax-Avoiding Companies
1 in 3 Britons Boycotting Tax-Avoiding Companies
A third of Britons are currently boycotting the products or services of companies that do not pay their fair share of taxes in the United Kingdom, a new survey reveals.
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 How 3 Alabama Churches United for Their Community
How 3 Alabama Churches United for Their Community

When three Alabama churches collaborated to help a local school, it also offered the congregations a chance to develop new friendships from another part of town and enlarge their worlds.

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Carnival Cruise Debacle Teaches Ironic Lesson
Carnival Cruise Debacle Teaches Ironic Lesson
The Carnival cruise debacle ended on a generally happy note for all concerned, but don't miss the irony of the wealthy living for a few days in Third World-like conditions.
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Obama:
Obama: "The Time Has Come" for Immigration Reform
As he urged a joint session of Congress to tackle immigration reform, President Obama's State of the Union address highlighted the importance of faith leaders.
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What Your Building Use Policy Says About Your Church
What Your Building Use Policy Says About Your Church
Your church's building use policy reflects your church's vision. Does that policy communicate the spirit of a crucified Christ or that of a self-absorbed congregation?
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Maybe Churches Should Stop Being So Nice
Maybe Churches Should Stop Being So Nice
Churches often avoid dealing with discomforting questions about the issues of the day. By trying so hard to be nice, they miss their calling to engage in moral reflection.
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The Plumb Line
We have to look at our ministry in new and different ways, and it may require that we consider doing it in ways that we’ve not thought of before. But there will always be one constant. If we do not measure everything we do – everything – with the plumb line of love, nothing else will square.
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Ambitious Study Weighs Divorce's Toll on Kids
Ambitious Study Weighs Divorce's Toll on Kids
A new report releases an ambitious set of findings about the effects of divorce on children, urging church leaders to do more for the health of churches and the next generation.
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This Year, Give the Gift of Friendship
Who needs your help today? Who needs you to be their Elizabeth, offering support, advice, guidance, encouragement and a blessing?
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Skype Interview: Bill Wilson Shares Advice for Search Committees
Skype Interview: Bill Wilson Shares Advice for Search Committees
Churches that do the best job of finding their next pastor have one thing in common. In the latest Skype interview from EthicsDaily.com, find out what Bill Wilson says that is.
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A New Prayer for a New Year: God Bless This Mess
A New Prayer for a New Year: God Bless This Mess
Many assume they need to get their lives together before they approach God. But God comes to us as we offer him our mess and invite him into the midst of it.
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What Point of View Guides Your Life?
What Point of View Guides Your Life?
When authors develop a strong point of view, readers can relate to their characters. If you think people need to follow your point of view, you're likely not employing Jesus as your life's editor.
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Skype Interview: Zach Dawes on New Role as Managing Editor
Skype Interview: Zach Dawes on New Role as Managing Editor
How does what EthicsDaily.com offers connect to a trend in local church life? Zach Dawes, new managing editor of EthicsDaily.com, explains in our latest Skype interview.
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7 Ways Your Church Can Become More Innovative
7 Ways Your Church Can Become More Innovative
Change isn't easy. When it happens in church, we either adapt to it or use it as a springboard for innovative and effective ministry. Here are 7 areas where that can happen.
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4 Habits to Build Healthy Leadership at Your Church
4 Habits to Build Healthy Leadership at Your Church
Is your church led by staff or controlled by staff? When staff leadership is unhealthy, it's often at the heart of church conflict. Try these 4 habits to build a healthier leadership culture.
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After Christmas
If we think about what happens after Christmas, what happens after Christmas should be what happens before Christmas.
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Are Public Charity and Social Justice Different?
Are Public Charity and Social Justice Different?
The life of service includes both personal and communal acts of mercy as well as social justice and peacemaking. Why have some Christians given up on the latter?
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British Movement Inspires Young to Tackle Injustice
British Movement Inspires Young to Tackle Injustice
A relief agency has kicked off an initiative to bring young people from across the United Kingdom together to find ways to change the systems that keep people poor.
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Caring for the Poor: It’s Not Just for Christmas
Caring for the Poor: It’s Not Just for Christmas
During Christmas, much emphasis is placed on acts of kindness, including giving to the poor. But we need a system of social justice that operates all year long, not just at Christmas.
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What Linus Missed When Telling Luke's Christmas Story
What Linus Missed When Telling Luke's Christmas Story

Luke's Christmas Story was revolutionary when it was written and still is today. We need to see past all the sentimentality and shallow theology that has come to surround it.

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Fear and Exclusion: Difficult Roadblocks to Peace
Fear and Exclusion: Difficult Roadblocks to Peace
When religion or politics focus on fear and exclusion, they provide a kind of false peace. Jesus wants to dismantle that false peace and show us a new way forward.
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Letters of Hope
Who doesn’t need hope?
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Is Christmas About What God Did or Who God Is?
Is Christmas About What God Did or Who God Is?
Christmas is about a lot of things. What if it's also a disclosure of who God is that enables us to see a Christmas in every birth and the possibility of incarnation in every life?
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Newtown Reminds Us Christmas Always Includes Tears
Newtown Reminds Us Christmas Always Includes Tears
Newtown's tragedy pushes out into the open what we often hide from ourselves and one another at this season: We gladly sing "Silent Night," but Christmas includes tears. It always has.
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Consumption: New Religion During Christmas Season?
Consumption: New Religion During Christmas Season?
During Advent, many forget the meaning of Christmas and instead fill their emptiness with retail therapy. Let's rethink Christmas and how we spend our time and money.
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Skype Interview: David Hull Discusses
Skype Interview: David Hull Discusses "Living Christmas Tree"
Constructing a Living Christmas Tree for the Christmas presentation at First Baptist of Huntsville, Ala., represents the church in action, Pastor David Hull says in an EthicsDaily.com Skype interview. (Photo: fbchsv.org)
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Churches Are in Minority at Christmas – And That's Good
Churches Are in Minority at Christmas – And That's Good
Being a minority voice in a larger conversation is not just for Christmas; it is the future of the U.S. church. We no longer can dictate to culture how it will behave or believe.
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This Year, Give the Gift of Peace
A peacemaker can even dry God’s tears and ease God’s troubled heart over the behavior of His children. No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
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What You Can Learn from Following an Eccentric
What You Can Learn from Following an Eccentric
Some eccentric people may seem to wander aimlessly, but they are actually on a purposeful path. And that eccentricity is good if they're making the world a more human place to live.
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War on Christmas? Some Christians Miss the Point
War on Christmas? Some Christians Miss the Point
Some Christians feel it is their duty to defend Christmas, as if Christmas were in some sort of weakened state. One could argue that Christmas could use a bit of humbling.
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Fear or Faithfulness?
As much as it might mess with our traditional understanding of the widow’s mite and her sacrificial giving, we must not leave her on the pedestal of a stewardship lesson. When doing so, we miss the life application lesson of Jesus’ radical teaching moment.
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Where Are the Other Nine?
For the blessings of faith, let’s be the thankful one.
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Real Jubilee Can Help World's Debt-Crushed Poor
Real Jubilee Can Help World's Debt-Crushed Poor
Debts need to be canceled when they are out of control, and measures put in place to stop future debt crises. It's biblical and has been done before. Will you join the call for justice?
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A Woman Deeply Troubled
We thank God for every good gift that has come from his hand to ours.
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How to Cook a Turkey
Are you striving to be good in every way? Are you faithful to those who need you to be responsible? Is your love strong enough to see people through their worst times?
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2 Antidotes to Cure Cynicism from Your Life
2 Antidotes to Cure Cynicism from Your Life
Cynicism can cripple the spirit. As Thanksgiving nears, try these two helpful practices – reframing and forgiving – as an antidote if cynicism rules your life.
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Power Principles
Justice is the standard by which we are to measure every political and social system. Justice is the standard that defines whether a ruler is a success or failure.
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Skype Interview: Sister Simone Campbell on Justice in Democracy
Skype Interview: Sister Simone Campbell on Justice in Democracy
People must go beyond charity and work to establish justice for the hard problems facing our society, Sister Simone Campbell tells EthicsDaily.com in the latest Skype interview.
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Answers Elusive for Refugees in Morocco
Answers Elusive for Refugees in Morocco
Refugees sneak into Morocco on their way to what they hope is a better life in Europe, but they're not welcome and their lives are endangered. Is the church willing to help?
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Candidates Talk About Middle Class, Silent on Poor
Candidates Talk About Middle Class, Silent on Poor
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama talk a lot about helping the middle class, but both of these men of faith are silent when it comes to plans to help the poor and disenfranchised.
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Tinted Windows and Bodygaurd
Real power, the power of the kingdom, is found in humility, and in service to others.
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God’s Bouncers
ou see, we’re not called to be God’s bouncers, to keep the church clean and pure. We are messengers of the grace that only God can give to those who find it.
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True Freedom Will Create Society of Justice
True Freedom Will Create Society of Justice
True freedom is more than showing our patriotism. It involves establishing a society based on equal rights for all, economic justice, compassion and charity.
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What Do You Do When You See Injustice?
What Do You Do When You See Injustice?
What do we do about the injustice we see in our society, culture and churches? If we don't do anything about eliminating oppression and achieving justice, we are the problem.
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Worker Justice in the 21st Century Empire
We must decide whether to live for God as prophets or for the Enterprise Empire as pawns.
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Will You Eat Less to Reduce Global Hunger?
Will You Eat Less to Reduce Global Hunger?
Eating less can substantially reduce global hunger, not to mention improve the health of those of us in the U.S., where obesity has become a national epidemic.
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Lebanese Churches: From Actors to Advocates
Lebanese Churches: From Actors to Advocates
As Lebanon's poor and marginalized are endangered by a fractured social safety net, will churches step up to be true advocates for those most at risk?
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How One Person Can Inspire a Child to Read
How One Person Can Inspire a Child to Read
By the time they're in fourth grade, 70 percent of low-income children can't read at a basic level. Sometimes, it only takes one person to inspire a child to read.
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Will Postmoderns Support the Church?
Will Postmoderns Support the Church?
If younger adults were more aware of the fiscal realities facing the church, could they be persuaded to share more of the costs?
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New Source of Mayhem and Death Stalks Illinois
New Source of Mayhem and Death Stalks Illinois
Chicago murders were down in July, and the overall crime rate is down 10 percent. However, a new source of injury, mayhem and death hit Illinois when drastic Medicaid cuts went into effect.
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How Africa Will Lift Itself Out of Poverty
How Africa Will Lift Itself Out of Poverty
Africa will lift itself out of poverty when its leaders embrace God's standards for morality and his call to love your neighbor as yourself, a keynote speaker said.
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Global Campaign to Highlight Poverty, Corruption
Global Campaign to Highlight Poverty, Corruption
A coalition of Christian groups is launching a campaign to highlight global poverty and corruption, which keeps more than 850 million of the poorest of the poor undernourished.
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Ethical Lessons from Everyday Lives of the Poor
Ethical Lessons from Everyday Lives of the Poor
To focus on the daily existence of the marginalized – as mundane as crossing a river with a bundle of banana leaves – is to critically analyze the good and bad that shapes and forms the daily life of the poor.
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Where Worship and Justice Meet
Where Worship and Justice Meet
A connection between the vast mystery of the universe and the dimension of morality that makes human community possible seems woven into the biblical concept of creation and the prophetic call for justice.
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Why You Can't Live in the Good Old Days
Why You Can't Live in the Good Old Days
We often yearn for the way things used to be, but those days never existed. As one teacher reminded, the world always changes and is always the same. What matters is how we respond.
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Think Twice When You Find Buttons in Your Offering Plate
Think Twice When You Find Buttons in Your Offering Plate
Buttons in the offering plate? Surely, they have no value. We're quick to judge what has value. Why, for example, is the small-church pastor any less successful than the mega-church pastor?
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How Should Churches Help Poor? Compassion or Justice?
How Should Churches Help Poor? Compassion or Justice?
When churches provide aid to the needy, are they unwittingly helping governments abdicate their duty to poor citizens? Perhaps more churches ought to be crying out for justice for the poor.
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Could Those Who Make Your Shoes Afford Them?
Could Those Who Make Your Shoes Afford Them?
We enjoy our middle- and upper-class lifestyles because of the poor. Yet we seldom consider the connection between our privilege and their economic disenfranchisement.
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Help the Poor? Many Christians Prefer to Blame Them
Help the Poor? Many Christians Prefer to Blame Them
The myth that the poor get what they deserve has been around since Jesus' day. While too many Christians accept the myth, one group is taking steps to help poor women.
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Celebrate Independence Day - for Christians
Celebrate Independence Day - for Christians

As we near the Fourth of July, how do Christians celebrate their true independence day? It begins by working for God's will on Earth, which means a place of shared abundance.

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Have Southern Baptists Entered Witness Protection?
Have Southern Baptists Entered Witness Protection?
"Baptist" used to mean freedom, tolerance and autonomy. Now it means bigotry and partisan politics. And that's why so many Southern Baptist churches need to change their names.
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Dads Aren't Perfect but We're Grateful for Them
Dads Aren't Perfect but We're Grateful for Them
There are no perfect fathers. Some are more skilled than others, but all are flawed in some way. But this Father's Day, we remember that many of them taught us how to live.
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Churches Can Help Solve Home Foreclosure Crisis
Churches Can Help Solve Home Foreclosure Crisis

Our nation has more than 18.5 million vacant houses and nearly 6 million Americans in poverty housing. There's a solution - if churches and their disaster relief agencies want to help.

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When the Broken-Hearted People Agree
When the Broken-Hearted People Agree
The tortured learn to keep silent in order to avoid the pain of the powers over them. Will we facilitate the silence or will we be ministers of grace to help the tortured find their voice?
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End-Time Doomsayers Make Islam Their New Anti-Christ
End-Time Doomsayers Make Islam Their New Anti-Christ
Some religious groups have a propensity for identifying their opponents with ultimate evil. And now, with the help of end-time doomsayers, Islam is the new agent of Armageddon.
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Faith's Slow Retreat into Irrelevance
Faith's Slow Retreat into Irrelevance
When we allow faith to be redefined as scientific truth or political ideology, we subordinate it to these other realities. To continue down this path is to march our faith toward irrelevance.
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A Lesson in Encouragement from the Fishing Hole
A Lesson in Encouragement from the Fishing Hole
Many people are trying to figure out how to live in a meaningful manner. They crave depth, purpose and faith. Can you bait the hook with some encouragement?
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The Danger of Unquestioned Religious Devotion
The Danger of Unquestioned Religious Devotion
Unquestioned religious devotion takes its toll in many ways. Sadly, people throughout history have never done so much wrong as they have done in the name of religious conviction.
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"The Rich and the Rest of Us"
"The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto" attempts to bring the issue of poverty to the forefront of American politics and raises questions for how churches should respond.
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Being Thankful for Impact of an Opinionated Woman
Being Thankful for Impact of an Opinionated Woman
If something didn't work the way it should, Ethel would find out why and fix it. She was a formidable woman with strong opinions about everything. And you know what? She was right.
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How Good Teachers Inspire Our Better Angels
How Good Teachers Inspire Our Better Angels
The children in our public schools come from every imaginable and unimaginable situation, but never underestimate the power of a good teacher to make a difference in their lives.
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Norquist's No-Tax Ideology Is Foolishness
Norquist's No-Tax Ideology Is Foolishness
Grover Norquist taps public resentment of taxes without a hint of his underlying opposition to Social Security, public education and all that makes middle-class prosperity possible.
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Will We Follow God's Command to Care for Poor?
Will We Follow God's Command to Care for Poor?
Whether it's Protestant Reformer John Calvin or Catholic social teaching, we are reminded that Christianity teaches us to care for the poor. Will we listen?
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The Resurrection: Something to Prove or Experience?
The Resurrection: Something to Prove or Experience?
The four Gospels and Paul's accounts of Jesus' resurrection don't agree with each other. What do we do about that? We can try to reconcile it, reject it or experience it.
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Public Education Is Lottery Loser
Public Education Is Lottery Loser
Disappointed you didn't win a Mega Millions windfall? Join the club. State lotteries have failed to deliver on repeated assurances that they would be a windfall for public schools.
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How Evangelicalism Has Watered Down the Gospel
How Evangelicalism Has Watered Down the Gospel
The throngs cheered as Jesus entered Jerusalem. But he soon disappointed them by not validating their nationalistic dreams, supporting their claims of exclusivity or endorsing their political exceptionalism.
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How the Poor Teach Us About the Divine
How the Poor Teach Us About the Divine
In a dirt-floor hut in a Mexican village, a poor woman's simple action taught students and their professor more about divinity than all of their textbooks could.
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The Predictions That Harold Camping Missed
The Predictions That Harold Camping Missed
Folks like Harold Camping may view the Bible as a cosmic crystal ball, but the true predictive power of Scripture is its foretelling of the consequences of human behavior.
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Appearances Can Be Deceiving
By all appearances, we’re doing what God wants, that which would make Jesus happy. But we need to be aware of, and careful of, the possibility that appearances can be deceiving.
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When Faith, Government Intersect for Common Good
When Faith, Government Intersect for Common Good
Our Constitution certainly mandates a separation of church and state – even if it doesn't use that language. However, no mandate separates faith from public life.
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Alabama Faith Leaders Urge Anti-Immigration Law's Repeal
Alabama Faith Leaders Urge Anti-Immigration Law's Repeal
Religious leaders in Alabama are urging state lawmakers to make the noble and honorable action of repealing the state's anti-immigration law, one of the harshest in the nation.
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Those Who Break Boundaries Give Us Courage
Those Who Break Boundaries Give Us Courage
Something innate in the human spirit drives us to reach beyond our boundaries. John Glenn broke one of those boundaries 50 years ago when he orbited the Earth.
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How Not to Attract Excellent Teachers
How Not to Attract Excellent Teachers
Calling it a biblical principle, an Alabama senator opposes raising teachers' salaries because it will attract people who are not called. But guess who voted for a raise for state lawmakers?
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Bonhoeffer – A Faith That Stood Against Darkness
Bonhoeffer – A Faith That Stood Against Darkness
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who urged German Christians to stand against Nazi tyranny and violence, joined in a plot to assassinate Hitler – one of the more problematic elements of his life.
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Eating Is Moral Act in World Where Obese Outnumber Hungry
Eating Is Moral Act in World Where Obese Outnumber Hungry
The global community's diet is unbalanced. Millions face daily hunger; millions of others who struggle with obesity are eating themselves to death. How will we respond to this imbalance?
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Church-State Separation: The Line's Easy to See
Church-State Separation: The Line's Easy to See
The line between responsible Christian citizenship and political partisanship isn't hard to define. People of faith need to bring their beliefs to bear on all matters of public life without violating church-state separation.
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Missouri Faith Leaders Take On Predatory Lenders
Missouri Faith Leaders Take On Predatory Lenders

A coalition of community and faith groups is supporting an initiative petition to be placed on Missouri's November ballot to cap the rate of predatory lending at 36 percent.

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In Cleveland, a Battle over Unwanted Churches
CLEVELAND (RNS) The Euclid Avenue Church of God and the former Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration sit empty on this city's former Millionaires' Row.
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Harsh Political Partisanship Feeds off Division
Harsh Political Partisanship Feeds off Division
Not long after President Obama concluded his State of the Union address, critics were denouncing him. Today's politics thrives off a hard-edged division that won't allow compromise.
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This Immigrant First-Grader Knows Her Neighbor
This Immigrant First-Grader Knows Her Neighbor
Odds are Paola, an immigrant first-grade student, will suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate health care, an inferior education. But she teaches all of us to love our neighbors.
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Why Presidential Hopefuls Must Feign Religious Piety
Why Presidential Hopefuls Must Feign Religious Piety
The presidential race is shaping up as an old-time religious revival. Sadly, many people of faith are willing to settle for token recognition while real issues, such as poverty and racism, are ignored.
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Flood of ‘De-baptisms’ Worries European Church Leaders
PARIS (RNS) A decade ago, Rene Lebouvier requested that his local Catholic church erase his name from the baptismal register.
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For God So Loved Not Just You, But the World
For God So Loved Not Just You, But the World
Much of what passes for Christianity these days either has been thoroughly politicized or deeply privatized. God's interested in more than our spiritual journey; there's a world of needy people out there.
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Mixing Politics and Religion = Weakened Faith
Mixing Politics and Religion = Weakened Faith
Wanting to have their faith affirmed by political leaders, many Christians are content to redefine what it means to be Christian in overt political terms.
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Uncovering the Cracks in the Micro-Credit Industry
Uncovering the Cracks in the Micro-Credit Industry

The micro-credit industry was once seen as the magic formula to end poverty. However, we now see that microfinancing isn't helping the poor out of poverty.

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N.C. Man Has a Gentle Madness for Church Fans Collection
WILMINGTON (RNS) William McNeill remembers two things about sitting in the pew at Singletary United Methodist Church in Dublin, N.C. as a boy.
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Catholics' Message: Peace Through Justice
Catholics' Message: Peace Through Justice
Since 1968, the Catholic Church has designated the first day of every year as "World Day of Peace," but not everyone likes the Church's message of seeking peace through justice.
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What Has to Change for Your Resolutions to Succeed
What Has to Change for Your Resolutions to Succeed
We should resolve to do better in all areas of our lives. But when we fail to grow and learn from past experiences, we will make the same mistakes over and over again.
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When God Came Down...“Unwrapping Jesus”
... that the real gift of Christmas is not that iPod or iPad, that sweater or coat or whatever it is you couldn’t live without, but the Christ child.
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Christmas Banner Causes Big Spat in Small N.J. Town
PITMAN, N.J. (RNS) Located just 17 miles southeast of Philadelphia, Pitman, N.J., has the rural feel of fictional Bedford Falls in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
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Poll: Nearly 80 Percent of Americans are Christian
(RNS) As Christmas nears, more than three-quarters of Americans identify themselves as Christian, Gallup reports.
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United States and Christianity – Authentic Inventions
United States and Christianity – Authentic Inventions
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich called Palestinians an invented people, but is that so bad? In some respects, Christmas, the United States and even Christianity are inventions.
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Like Mary, Do You Believe God Will Right Injustice?
Like Mary, Do You Believe God Will Right Injustice?
A person of fierce faith, Mary believed the promises of God to her downtrodden people. Do you have the same profound expectation that God's strong arm will put to rights the world's injustice?
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This Christmas, Do You Know Where Jesus Is?
This Christmas, Do You Know Where Jesus Is?
The one who entered the world in weakness and vulnerability came to reveal a way of life that has the power to transform everything. But do Christians know where Jesus is?
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Atheists Aim to Change Image of Penny-pinching Scrooges
(RNS) If Dec. 10 had been an average day for Doctors Without Borders, its website would have logged 4,000 hits.
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How Well Do You Handle Interruptions?
God uses ordinary people along their journeys to help those who are struggling, and God doesn’t wait until everything has been marked off our list. So get ready.
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When God Came Down...“A Departing Angel”
But any time you feel that holy twinge, when you perceive in your heart that perhaps God is trying to tell you something that will, in all likelihood, change your life, there just may be an angel involved. If that happens to you, you might also discover that God’s message is found, not just in what the angel has to say, but in what is not said after the angel has departed.
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What Happened to Wise Men's Gold? The Long-Awaited Answer
What Happened to Wise Men's Gold? The Long-Awaited Answer
The wise men's gold should have lifted Mary and Joseph out of poverty. So what happened to that wealth? While the Bible doesn't literally give us an answer, it does offer some strong clues.
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U.S. Jumps to Top of Charity Index
WASHINGTON (RNS) Americans: the most generous people in the world. In this season of giving, that’s no idle gloat.
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Why Nativity Scenes Don't Belong in Town Squares
Why Nativity Scenes Don't Belong in Town Squares
Upset you can't put up a manger scene in the town square? Perhaps we should spend less time worrying about rights we think we have and more time modeling the respect and hospitality of Jesus.
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On Dec. 25, Atheists Celebrate a Different Birthday
(RNS) Deck those halls with boughs of apples and top that tree with a finger puppet of Sir Isaac Newton.
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Christmas: From Political Narrative to Family Holiday
Christmas: From Political Narrative to Family Holiday
When we observe Christmas today, it is based on the Victorian reinvention of the holiday as a time to celebrate family, a sanitized version of the political accounts found in the Gospels.
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Where the War of Christmas is Really Lost
Where the War of Christmas is Really Lost
'Tis the season for certain faith ministries to declare that Christmas is under a full-scale assault, but the true war on Christmas isn't being lost because a store clerk wishes you a happy holiday.
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Conservatives Rate Naughty and Nice Christmas Retailers
(RNS) Don’t let the strains of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” over the store’s audio system fool you. Barnes & Noble is “against” Christmas.
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St. Louis Church Channels Anger over Pujols for Good
ST. LOUIS (RNS) As members of The Gathering began to hear of the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, they decided to act.
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Does God Pick the Winners in Football Games?
Does God Pick the Winners in Football Games?
God cares deeply about every facet of our existence, but does he care about our golf score as much as he cares about children's welfare? Does he care which side wins a football game?
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The Danger of Mixing Santa and Jesus at Christmas
The Danger of Mixing Santa and Jesus at Christmas
The Christmas story is about the incarnation of Jesus and not about Santa bringing gifts to good little boys and girls. Mixing the two muddles the good news.
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Turning the Holidays into Holy Days
Christmas will mean so much more to us if we pull aside everyday to feed our spirits through study, prayer, reflection and meditation.
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As America's Rich Get Richer, Hispanics Suffer
As America's Rich Get Richer, Hispanics Suffer
Even though past generations of Hispanics bought into the American Dream, the economic structures have been – and continue to be – constructed to maintain their disenfranchisement.
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Generous Gratitude
Life is full of choices that lead us down one path or another.
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When God Came Down...Already
We all carry our own issues into worship today, don’t we, our distractions and sometimes our depression? This is how we begin this Christmas season. When you stop and think about it, it’s pretty much how we start every Christmas season. We’re exhausted and we still have a month to go.
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God’s Thanksgiving
The Father is waiting. And even when we are a long way off, He will run to us, embrace us, kill the fattened calf, and say, “Welcome home. Oh my, I’ve been looking for you to come home.”
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Our Culture Tells Poor Kids: You Have No Value
Our Culture Tells Poor Kids: You Have No Value
Our distorted culture says happiness grows out of buying and consuming things. With more than 15 million children living in poverty, are we sending a message that they have no value?
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The Value of Gratitude
Thanksgiving has done far more than give us TV dinners, though. It has highlighted the value of gratitude and reminded us of the importance of expressing appreciation to those who have helped us along our journey.
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What is church?
Today is Christ the King Sunday originally known as, the Feast of Christ. The celebration was put in place in 1925 when Pope Pius the XI realized secular society was losing interest in church participation. This holy day is a celebration of Christ’s reign in the world and a day to offer Christ to the community.
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Catholic Bishops Stay Mum on Economic Turmoil
BALTIMORE (RNS) Twenty-five years ago, Catholic bishops issued a statement that became the touchstone for religious opposition to “trickle down” economics.
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British Food Banks on Rise as Cuts Hit Poorest
British Food Banks on Rise as Cuts Hit Poorest
As the British government's cutbacks take effect, one charity estimates that the number of people seeking assistance from food banks could swell to a half-million by 2015.
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Poor People's Campaign Needed More Than Ever
Poor People's Campaign Needed More Than Ever

The Poor People's Campaign of 1968 has largely been forgotten. Yet as the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to widen, the need for a push for economic justice is greater than ever.

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As Population Grows, Conflicts Will Increase
As Population Grows, Conflicts Will Increase
We now have 7 billion people on our planet. And as that number grows, we'll see increased struggles for dwindling resources, such as food, water and oil. How will we respond?
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We May Not Feel Rich in the U.S. – But We Are
We May Not Feel Rich in the U.S. – But We Are
With 20 percent of the U.S. population holding 85 percent of the nation's wealth, many of us don't feel rich. Compared to the world's population, however, we're quite wealthy.
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Faith Groups Target Super Committee
WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious communities are holding prayer vigils, phoning politicians and organizing letter campaigns in a bid to protect safety net programs.
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Many in the 99 Percent Are Far From Poverty
Many in the 99 Percent Are Far From Poverty
Those who occupy Wall Street don't have the wealth of the 1 percent. However, as they demand their slice of the economic pie, they're also not in the same league as the truly impoverished.
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British Churches Back Robin Hood Tax
British Churches Back Robin Hood Tax
Amounting to a fraction of a percent, a proposed European tax on financial transactions could rake in billions to fight poverty and climate change, but it's meeting resistant from the Britain and the U.S.
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Economy Transfers Wealth - From the Bottom Up
Economy Transfers Wealth - From the Bottom Up

Our current economic system transfers wealth from the bottom of society to the top, creating a growing income disparity between the rich and poor, many of whom are disproportionately people of color.

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Study: Teens Leave Churches Seen as Judgmental, Unfriendly
(RNS) Why do young Christians leave the church?
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Three Reasons Why Jesus Condemns Rich, Favors Poor
Three Reasons Why Jesus Condemns Rich, Favors Poor

The rhetoric of the rich and their defenders reveals how out of touch they are with Americans struggling to provide for their families. The teachings of Jesus, however, were harsh on the wealthy.

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Update: Church/jail Sentencing Program Under Review
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (RNS) An alternative sentencing plan that would give inmates the choice between time in jail or a year in church will be delayed.
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Criminals Offered Choice of Time in Pews or the Pokey
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (RNS) A new alternative sentencing program offers first-time, nonviolent offenders a choice of a year in church or jail time and fines.
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Seeing Justice through God's Eyes
Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden is dead. The Taliban regime that hosted him in Afghanistan has been overthrown by a military coalition led by the United States. But justice still seems far from us. Ten years later, are we not walking in gloom?
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Gospel for "The Help"
God is sending prophetic people to challenge the empires of wealth and power that oppress workers, immigrants, those who are poor, elderly, weak, and otherwise oppressed. God's gospel is always working on people, working in people, and working toward justice.
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"Circle of Protection" Differs Morally from "Christians for a Sustainable Economy"
The Circle of Protection says budget cuts shouldn't be made on the poor's backs. Christians for a Sustainable Economy says our focus should be on the economy. Which one reflects the authentic Christian message?
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Cutting Kids' Programs – The New Corporal Punishment
Cutting Kids' Programs – The New Corporal Punishment
While attitudes change toward corporal punishment in the U.S., politicians who push for cuts in programs that benefit poor children practice another form of corporal punishment.
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Super Rich View Poor as Mere Collateral Casualties
Super Rich View Poor as Mere Collateral Casualties
While budget-panicked governments in the U.S. and Europe take out their fears on the urban poor and lower-middle class with cutbacks to services, the super rich get away with tax evasion on a huge scale.
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"The Conscience of Alabama" Calls Out Injustice
For nearly 40 years, Wayne Flynt has confronted the racism and accompanying poverty in Alabama with a courageous and informed passion. Yet he remains an unassuming and soulful individual.
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Religion and Taxes – Speaking Up for the Common Good
Religion and Taxes – Speaking Up for the Common Good
Countering the voice of the anti-tax, anti-government crowd, those who believe government has a role in providing society's safety net think it is essential to give a hand to those whom society counts least.
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Religious Leaders Battle Alabama Immigration Law
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Alabama religious leaders say that a new immigration law would interfere with the practice of their religion.
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Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Harper Lee
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Harper Lee
Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" profoundly challenged racism's empty mythology. Today, insecure majorities still view anyone different, including Hispanics and Muslims, as a threat.
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How You Can Be Greedy Without Being Rich
How You Can Be Greedy Without Being Rich
Scripture is clear that greed is not only sin because we put wealth and possessions in place of God, but also – and perhaps an even greater sin – because it prevents us from sharing with others in need.
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As Economy Declines, Who Ultimately Pays the Price?
As Economy Declines, Who Ultimately Pays the Price?
The economy continues to decline. Financial benefits shift to the wealthy. Charitable dollars continue to plummet. And those suffering the most will be the ones about whom Jesus was most concerned.
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An Interview with God:
An Interview with God: "Who Said I Endorsed Them?"
Granting a rare and brief "interview," God discusses politicians who say they're suited for office because they have a special relationship with God. Does the Almighty endorse?
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Why Should Anyone Work for the Common Good?
Why Should Anyone Work for the Common Good?
Why work for the common good? Why not just watch out for you and yours? A commitment to the common good recognizes that the community as a whole benefits from services that help everyone.
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How Will We Respond to Africa's Starving Families?
How Will We Respond to Africa's Starving Families?
As parents and children starve in a drought-ravaged region of Africa, what will it take for those of us blessed with plenty to abandon our complacency and respond with compassion and sacrifice?
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How to Live the Real Political Message of Jesus
How to Live the Real Political Message of Jesus
Many Christians in the United States ignore the political nature of Jesus' message. Like Israel's prophets, Jesus confronted leaders about their injustices. And the one he spoke the most about? Poverty.
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When God Expects Us to Answer Our Prayers
When God Expects Us to Answer Our Prayers
As politicians call for prayer to end droughts and disasters, we should remember we have a role to play in the answers. If we've caused problems, such as altering weather patterns, we should fix them.
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British Churches Support Poverty-Reduction Goals
British Churches Support Poverty-Reduction Goals
Jesus said the poor would always be with us, but it wasn't a call to inaction. British churches are doing their part by supporting the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals, targeting poverty, malnutrition and education.
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Battling Over the Meaning of the Bible's Words
Battling Over the Meaning of the Bible's Words
As language continues to evolve and as biblical scholars help us better understand the meaning of ancient words, Bible translations need to be updated. This presents a problem for those who adhere to inerrancy.
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In Caylee Anthony Case, Where is Justice?
In Caylee Anthony Case, Where is Justice?
After the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, people across the nation felt robbed of justice. Funny thing about justice. We want it for others, but prefer mercy for ourselves.
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Wresting With a Just Response to National Debt, Taxes
Wresting With a Just Response to National Debt, Taxes
What's the Christian response to the national debt? How do the debt and our weak economy affect the poor? Participants viewing the EthicsDaily.com documentary on faith and taxes wrestled with these questions.
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Pastors Lobby for Poor in Heated Deficit Talks
WASHINGTON (RNS) More than 4,000 pastors told Congress that churches would not be able to fill the gap facing social service providers if deep cuts are made.
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Mission Group: Seafaring Laborers Face Isolation, Danger
Mission Group: Seafaring Laborers Face Isolation, Danger
Many seafaring laborers choose the job to escape poverty in their home countries. They face incredible isolation and even danger. One mission group says churches can help them.
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Is America Ready for a Mormon President?
Is America Ready for a Mormon President?
With its strong emphasis on family and the church's vigorous mission activity, the Church of Latter-Day Saints is one of the fastest-growing religions in the world. But is America ready for a Mormon president?
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Why Our Founders Favored Church-State Separation
Why Our Founders Favored Church-State Separation
The genius of our Founding Fathers is that they knew that religion, however positive and wholesome it can be, also serves as a divisive force for those who disagree with particular tenets of faith.
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In the Games of the Rich, the Poor Lose
In the Games of the Rich, the Poor Lose
As dire warnings continue about the slowing down of global economic growth, few ask who bears the cost for such growth. As the rich play games with the economy, the world's poor suffer.
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Why Jesus Rejects the Eye-For-Eye Mentality
Why Jesus Rejects the Eye-For-Eye Mentality
Violence is a vicious cycle. We have fought for so long against each other that warfare has become our natural state. But Jesus' call to nonviolent resistance to evil shows us the path to genuine humanity.
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Forgotten Past: Religious Minority to Oppressive Majority
Forgotten Past: Religious Minority to Oppressive Majority
As some Christians celebrate Alabama’s adoption of the harshest anti-immigration law in the nation, it’s clear they have forgotten their own roots as an oppressed religious minority.
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Two Kinds of Faith – Disembodied and Embodied
Two Kinds of Faith – Disembodied and Embodied
Faith can be classified into two major categories. Disembodied faith allows us to promote faith without really getting involved with people. Embodied faith is fleshed out and part of a community.
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Never Satisfied
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The Greatest Lesson I Learned From My Dad
The Greatest Lesson I Learned From My Dad
Our parents are our first teachers, and their lessons are embedded deep in our souls. Of my dad's many lessons, I am particularly grateful that he taught me people are important.
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Empty Religiosity Ignores Issues of Justice
Empty Religiosity Ignores Issues of Justice
When Christian leaders in powerful nations discuss truth only in matters of religious apologetics but not in issues of justice and accountability, is it any wonder that evangelical Christianity faces a crisis of credibility?
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When Religious Values, Common Good Coincide
When Religious Values, Common Good Coincide
Catholic bishops recently took Speaker of the House John Boehner to task, claiming his congressional actions didn't uphold Catholic teachings. At what point do religious concerns become issues of the common good for society?
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Christians Shatter Taboos in Talking about Money
BEVERLY, Mass. (RNS) No sooner had 29-year-old Graham Messier joined a small group at his church earlier this year than he found himself breaking an American taboo.
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"Let the Churches Do It" Is a Deceptive Myth
The idea that churches can tackle national poverty, take care of those who are ill, and rebuild communities after natural disasters requires a spoonful of bad moral theology and a cup of dishonesty.
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Power of Community Can Address Hunger, Poverty
Power of Community Can Address Hunger, Poverty
When natural disasters strike, communities are quick to help their neighbors. That's humanity at its best. What will it take for us to respond to the "slow-motion" tragedies of hunger, lack of health care and loneliness?
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End-Of-World 'Prophets' Profit From Peoples' Fears
End-Of-World 'Prophets' Profit From Peoples' Fears
A radio evangelist predicted the world will end on Saturday. While end-time marketers have been making money by feeding off people’s fears for a long time, there’s another perspective.
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Justice or Vengeance: Which Do You Choose?
Justice or Vengeance: Which Do You Choose?
If we're true to our faith, we must value human life without a "but" or an "if." Once we think people are too far from saving or restoration, this is when we renounce our faith.
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On What Kind of Foundation Do We Build Our Ethics?
On What Kind of Foundation Do We Build Our Ethics?
When an enemy's defeated, the glee born of sweet revenge often gives way to deeper wisdom. It's a reminder to build our ethics on the rock of careful theological reflection and not the sand of impulse.
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The Shakertown Pledge: Nine Ways to Make a Difference
The Shakertown Pledge: Nine Ways to Make a Difference
The Shakertown Pledge, a response to the unequal distribution of global wealth and resources, was written 38 years ago. What impact would these nine declarations have if you followed them?
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Faith Leaders Cite Justice, Caution Celebrating Bin Laden's Death
Faith Leaders Cite Justice, Caution Celebrating Bin Laden's Death

Reflecting on Osama bin Laden's death, Islamic, Christian and Jewish faith leaders reflected on the need for justice, cautioned against celebrating his death and discussed how to move forward toward peace.

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Does God Send Natural Disasters When Angered?
Does God Send Natural Disasters When Angered?
We ascribe to God a terrible anger that lashes out from time to time in the form of natural disasters. God is angered by our sinfulness, and a price must be paid. But another portrait of God is found in the Bible.
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Feeling Troubled While Still Grateful for Justice
Feeling Troubled While Still Grateful for Justice
Osama bin Laden killed thousands of Americans. American forces have killed him. Justice has been done. The formula seems so simple. So why is it difficult to feel good about it?
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When an Enemy Falls, How Do We Respond?
When an Enemy Falls, How Do We Respond?
The United States celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden as a triumph of justice. Revelers waved flags and shouted chants of victory. What is the appropriate response to the death of an enemy?
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What Jesus Really Wants Us To Pray For
What Jesus Really Wants Us To Pray For
Jesus taught us to pray so things here on earth will work like they do in heaven. What's not working? Three wars, for starters. Add poverty, hunger and an economic system that rewards the rich and punishes the poor.
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Resurrection: More Than Just Life After Death
Resurrection: More Than Just Life After Death
By raising Jesus from the dead, God defeated death and secured for all who have faith the gift of eternal life. And, unfortunately, that's where it stops for many Christians.
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As Self-Appointed Media Watchdog, AFA Goes On Attack
As Self-Appointed Media Watchdog, AFA Goes On Attack
The American Family Association, self-appointed watchdog of all things moral in the media, decrees what can and can't be watched. In their latest campaign, they give a tacit blessing to verbal abuse and other assaults.
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Green Day: Musical Prophets of Church's Hypocrisy
Green Day: Musical Prophets of Church's Hypocrisy
Green Day's rock albums have provided scathing commentaries not only of the government but also of the church. Evangelicals would do well to hear and consider Green Day's critique.
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The
The "Christ-Haunted" Music of Kate Campbell
Although the Christian music industry won't have her, Kate Campbell's music, as reflected in songs like "Bear It Away," brings a prophetic insight into social issues.
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Why We Need Less Charity, More Justice
Why We Need Less Charity, More Justice
We need more than charity if we want to make a meaningful difference to address poverty. When we work for justice, we can address the larger issues of taxation and education that keep poverty alive.
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Where Santorum Falls Short on Church-State Separation
Where Santorum Falls Short on Church-State Separation
Rick Santorum, who is likely to seek the GOP nod for president, said fellow Catholic John F. Kennedy did "great damage" with his "radical" support for the separation of church and state. Kennedy gets it; Santorum doesn't.
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Group Claims Environmentalists Belong to
Group Claims Environmentalists Belong to "Cult"
Efforts to save the environment and curb global warming are the result of "a cult" that worships the creation rather than God. That's the bizarre claim of a DVD series cosponsored by the Cornwall Alliance.
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Almost 25 Percent of U.S. Children in Poverty
Almost 25 Percent of U.S. Children in Poverty
About 16 million children in the United States live in poverty – an increase of 2 million in the last two years and "the fastest fall for the middle class since the government started counting 51 years ago," a news report said.
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Three Reasons Why One Pastor Advocates for Poor
Three Reasons Why One Pastor Advocates for Poor
God has a bias toward the poor. With the cards of social resources stacked against the weak and the vulnerable, God tries to balance the scales by being on the side of the most vulnerable – the biblical widow and orphan.
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What Would Jesus Cut From Federal Budget?
What Would Jesus Cut From Federal Budget?
The current conservative resurgence of anti-government spending is focused on monies that are intended for the poorest and most vulnerable of our society. Is this what Jesus would cut?
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Widow's Mite Condemns Culture of Religious Greed
Widow's Mite Condemns Culture of Religious Greed
The story of the widow's mite is generally idealized as an example of Christian behavior for the poor. Instead, Jesus is denouncing a religious social structure that cons the widow out of what little she has.
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World's Poor Lose Evangelical Help on Two Fronts
World's Poor Lose Evangelical Help on Two Fronts
Evangelicals don't really care about the world's impoverished. They want the federal government to cut back on economic assistance to the poor, and their churches don't give two cents about the world's hungry.
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How the United States Can Find Its Voice Again
How the United States Can Find Its Voice Again
Two extended wars and an unregulated banking system have just about brought the United States to its knees. Not a bad place to be if you happen to be a person of faith, but a tough place if you're part of a people of pride.
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Budget Cuts Target the Poor, Faith Groups Say
(RNS) Get ready for more undernourished infants, dangerously cold homes and disease-stricken communities in developing countries.
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Love Your Enemy? What Was Jesus Thinking?
Love Your Enemy? What Was Jesus Thinking?
As the Sermon on the Mount reveals, Jesus understood how to undermine oppressive power. So how do we apply Jesus' teachings in the U.S. when we more closely resemble the oppressor than the oppressed?
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Why Christians Shouldn't Flee From Public Schools
Why Christians Shouldn't Flee From Public Schools
Some segments of the Christian community believe public schools are waging war on their faith. Instead of fleeing, Christians should work with others to provide every child access to the best education possible.
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Tent Rules
With the presence of almighty God in the tent of our soul, I am persuaded, with the Apostle Paul, that neither death, nor life, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall separate (or shake) us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
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Imitate Christ? Let's Not Get Carried Away
Imitate Christ? Let's Not Get Carried Away
Some people, even Christians, don't want to imitate Christ. To do so would mean following his radical ethic of love, his call to nonviolence and his message about sharing with the poor and practicing forgiveness.
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A Close Look at The Divine Mandate
Religion does not exist to make people more religious. God's light calls us to focus on living with justice, compassion, and humility.
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How to Fulfill the Greatest Commandment
How to Fulfill the Greatest Commandment
The bold ethical challenge to love God and neighbor is reduced to a lowest common denominator of personal piety in many faith communities. But the biblical expectation laid on people of faith is to seek a just community.
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Living in a Post-MLK World
At its core, racism and segregation were theological problems then and now in that we don’t recognize the sacredness of all humans but treat others as “less than.” The social system that affirmed the separation between the “haves and the have-nots” meant that those in the latter category were given very few opportunities to grow, to learn, to earn, and ultimately to have dignity. The system rewarded one class while suppressing another and Dr. King was moved to change the way things were.
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Political Right's Perverted Liturgy: No Taxes
Political Right's Perverted Liturgy: No Taxes
Schools may falter, the elderly and ill may suffer and our children may be trapped in poverty, but none of that seems to sway the political right from its single-minded mantra of no taxes.
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Faith-Based Programs – No Magical Cure
Faith-Based Programs – No Magical Cure
Supporters of faith-based programs would argue that religious groups are better suited than the government to deliver social services. But faith is not a magical social ointment; it is a way of living in relationship with God.
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Social Gospel Squares with Jesus' Teachings
Social Gospel Squares with Jesus' Teachings
Is the gospel purely personal, having only to do with individual salvation and life after death? Or is there a social component to the gospel? Does Jesus' message say anything about economics and politics?
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Will Constitution's Reading in U.S. House Resonate?
Will Constitution's Reading in U.S. House Resonate?
When the Constitution is read at the beginning of the new session of the House of Representatives, may it be more than a ritualistic gesture and serve as a reminder of the responsibilities of our public officials.
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Hopes – Not Resolutions – For the New Year
Hopes – Not Resolutions – For the New Year
Many of us make resolutions for the chance to make things better than they were. In addition to our personal resolutions, let's commit ourselves to a few hopes for our nation and our world in the new year.
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Pondering Christmas
The message of Christmas is really too wonderful to be reserved simply for a season, a week, a weekend, or a day. The message of Christmas is that Christ has come to the world and Christ would come to each one of us. Do we ever genuinely ponder what that means?
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British Baptist Mission Responds to Climate Change Summit
British Baptist Mission Responds to Climate Change Summit
The latest round of talks by world leaders at a United Nations' climate change summit was encouraging, British Baptist leaders said. The establishment of a climate fund will protect poor nations against climate impacts.
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10 minutes with Robby McGee
(RNS) Every December, Christmas culture warriors square off over whether it’s politically correct to say “Merry Christmas.”
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Have Yourself a Prophetic Little Christmas
Have Yourself a Prophetic Little Christmas
Nothing's wrong with a festive attitude toward Christmas, but our festive Christmas observances seem disconnected from God's prophetic work in Christ. We need to celebrate being prophetic followers of Jesus.
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Christmas Prayer Confesses Our Love of Violence
Christmas Prayer Confesses Our Love of Violence
The birth of Jesus represents the supreme effort on God's part to reshape our flawed humanity back into his own image. If we would only accept as true the things Jesus had to say to us, what a different world this might be.
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Legends Abound for Lords-a-leaping and Maids-a-milking in `Twelve Days’
(RNS) Twelve drummers? Ten leaping lords? Two turtle doves?
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Looking at Christmas Through a Different Lens
Looking at Christmas Through a Different Lens
This Christmas, are we able to see the Christ child in the cradles of the homeless shelters, in the arms of a frightened mother in Afghanistan or in the faces of the millions of victims of our broken value systems?
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The Child – God's Unlikely Source of Redemption
The Child – God's Unlikely Source of Redemption
The child is a sign of what matters most to humanity. And the unlikely source of God's redemption is a child who will know "how to refuse the evil and choose the good."
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Joseph: A Man of Character Who Stood by Mary, Jesus
Joseph: A Man of Character Who Stood by Mary, Jesus
Joseph was the perfect partner for God in finding a family to raise God's son. If Mary was the wind beneath Jesus' wings, Joseph was the ground on which Jesus learned to stand.
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Poll Finds Family, not Jesus’ Birth, at Heart of Christmas
(RNS) While nearly all Americans celebrate Christmas, most focus more on family than religious traditions, a new survey shows.
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What Happened to the Wise Men's Gold?
What Happened to the Wise Men's Gold?
We all know the Christmas story so well that it's a challenge to see it with fresh eyes. Perhaps if we ask some different questions, we can hear this beloved story anew. Here's a three-question start.
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African-American Faith Groups Join Forces
African-American Faith Groups Join Forces
Nine major African-American denominations are working together for the betterment of their collective churches and the African-American community.
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Divine Love Empowers Us to Stand Up for Vulnerable
Divine Love Empowers Us to Stand Up for Vulnerable
When we are confident that we are forever God's beloved children, then we are empowered to love God's creation and one another with God's unconditional love.
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Why 'E Pluribus Unum' Is a Better National Motto
Why 'E Pluribus Unum' Is a Better National Motto
President Obama drew criticism for saying "E Pluribus Unum" rather than "In God We Trust" is the national motto. While Congress OK'd "In God We Trust" as a knee-jerk reaction to McCarthyism, Obama knows his history.
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Christian and atheist Groups in Race to Raise Money for Charity
(RNS) Christians and atheists are fighting again—this time over who can raise more money for charity.
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Bulgarian Priests Join Union over Late Paychecks
SOFIA, Bulgaria (RNS/ENInews) The decision by Bulgarian Orthodox priests to join a trade union has angered at least one church hierarch.
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When Joy is Hard to Find During Christmas
When Joy is Hard to Find During Christmas
The losses we carry seem heavier for some reason when the Christmas lights go up and the music begins. Without denying our sadness, we can choose to give the joy of the moment its proper place.
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Why the Christmas Season is Like Lucy the Camel
Why the Christmas Season is Like Lucy the Camel
During Christmas we sing about peace on earth and deliver food and clothing to the poor. All that changes after the holiday. The meaning of Christmas is a lot like Lucy the Camel – trotted out a few days every year for show.
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Former Anglican Head Bemoans Attempt to Air-brush Christianity
LONDON (RNS) George Carey has slammed attempts to “air-brush” Christianity.
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Being Thankful is Always in Style
(RNS) President Obama reminded us that Thanksgiving is an opportunity “to focus our thoughts on the grace that has been extended to our people and our country.”
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Will the Faithful Ignore in Tax Debate the Biblical Imperative to Protect the Poor?
Will the Faithful Ignore in Tax Debate the Biblical Imperative to Protect the Poor?
The biblical testimony has a clear word in favor of the poor. But too many people of faith negotiate away the biblical imperative to protect the poor in favor of the materialistic imperative to protect the rich.
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Why Retail Stores Are Where We Really Worship
Why Retail Stores Are Where We Really Worship
Why all the hullabaloo when retail store employees proclaim "Happy Holidays" to shoppers? Pressuring retail outlets to say "Merry Christmas" does nothing to advance the meaning of Christmas.
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Muslims Prepare Halal Turkey Thanksgiving Feast
(RNS) The kitchen clamors with young cooks preparing South Asian dishes.
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Why Healthy Christians are Grateful and Generous
Why Healthy Christians are Grateful and Generous
If the gospel has penetrated a person's heart, old self-centered habits are replaced with a generous spirit whose gratitude is manifest in visible and life-changing ways.
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Taking Care to Prevent Twisting of Religious Customs
Taking Care to Prevent Twisting of Religious Customs
While Ramadan and Thanksgiving can be times for personal and spiritual reflection, they can be easy venues for radical extremist nationalists to make them subservient to a generic and theocratic patriotism.
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Fair Trade Repels Attack by Free Trade Think-Tank
Fair Trade Repels Attack by Free Trade Think-Tank
A free-market think-tank issued a scathing report against the fair trade movement, which works to help the world's poorest regions. Great Britain's BMS World Mission, which supports the movement, hit back.
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A Word of Thanks, A Note That Leadership Is Fragile – Like Holding an Egg
A Word of Thanks, A Note That Leadership Is Fragile – Like Holding an Egg
EthicsDaily.com succeeds because it provides a place for goodwill people of faith to address a variety of issues mostly from a biblical vantage point and always out of a desire to advance the common good.
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Hunger Group Hopes for Progress in 2011 on Global Malnutrition
WASHINGTON (RNS) Significant progress on global malnutrition can be made in 2011, the ecumenical anti-hunger group Bread for the World said.
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How Do We Live Out God's Will on Earth?
How Do We Live Out God's Will on Earth?
When we pray for God's will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven, how in heaven's name can we ever know what that would look like? The question of what God wants has an answer in the writings of the prophet Micah.
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Culture War Is Back for Christmas
Culture War Is Back for Christmas
America's culture war at Christmas is back, except this year fundamentalist Christians and Fox News didn't fire the first salvos. This season, it appears the godless fired first.
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U.S. Hunger Stats Stable, but Still at Record High
WASHINGTON (RNS) The number of Americans struggling with hunger remained stable in 2009 despite the economic downturn, but remained at the highest recorded level.
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When Christians Favor Retribution Over Forgiveness
When Christians Favor Retribution Over Forgiveness
Most Americans feel the need for more forgiveness in their lives yet many of them believe some behaviors can't be forgiven. Perhaps we can't experience forgiveness because we won't grant it to others.
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Can Do-It-Yourselfers Provide Better Aid Relief?
Can Do-It-Yourselfers Provide Better Aid Relief?
Despite the view of the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof, there's no evidence that do-it-yourself aid projects, in which amateurs circumvent large aid agencies to implement their own programs, do a better job.
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Blessed Are The Poor? Jesus Can't Be Serious
Blessed Are The Poor? Jesus Can't Be Serious
Some believe the needs of the poor are draining away our meager resources and that people are poor because of bad choices or sinful lives. So why does Jesus tell us that the poor are blessed?
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What Might Jeremiah Say to Midterm Elections?
What Might Jeremiah Say to Midterm Elections?
Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, spoke out against economic injustice and religious idolatry that favored the few at the expense of the many. Should he be the patron prophet for our times?
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Reflections on Justice, Mercy, and Trust
Fight the good fight with courage trusting God's justice and mercy for strength. Finish the long race trusting God's justice and mercy as you run.
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In Middle East, Religion Has Added to the Conflict
In Middle East, Religion Has Added to the Conflict
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political issue and should be worked out using political and diplomatic resources, not theological debate. Religion, in this case, has contributed more to the problem rather than the solution.
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Why Young Adults Reject Conservative Christianity
Why Young Adults Reject Conservative Christianity
Two political science experts warned that young people are rejecting conservative Christianity – and in big numbers. Many have been turned away by the politics of anti-homosexuality.
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Faiths Call for Raising Funds for Common Good
Faiths Call for Raising Funds for Common Good
Questions of taxation would seem to be political issues upon which the faith community has little to say. However, the three Abrahamic traditions speak of the need for funds to be gathered for the common good.
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Paying Taxes: Seeking the Welfare of All
Paying Taxes: Seeking the Welfare of All
To "seek the welfare of the city" in our day takes the form of generosity of heart when paying taxes. We all benefit by a tax system that protects the most vulnerable and requires those with greater resources to live justly.
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Some Religious Charities Receive More Despite Overall Drop
(RNS) Several of the nation’s largest religious charities reported increases in private support.
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British Baptists Urged to Seek Fairness Over Equality
British Baptists Urged to Seek Fairness Over Equality
A British watchdog group issued a report examining how fair Great Britain is. While equality is impossible in many areas, Christians are called to work for a fairer society.
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The Real Tragedy of State-Sanctioned Gambling
The Real Tragedy of State-Sanctioned Gambling
Those who oppose gambling as a moral concern need to help legislators have the backbone necessary to reform our tax system and raise adequate taxes for schools and other services.
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Tax Exemption – Not a Right But a Privilege
Tax Exemption – Not a Right But a Privilege
An Oklahoma pastor intentionally broke the law by endorsing a candidate for governor from the pulpit. Nothing prohibits churches from endorsing candidates – as long as they are willing to give up their tax-exempt privilege.
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Discover How You Can Help Eliminate Hunger
Discover How You Can Help Eliminate Hunger
More than 1 billion people in the world are hungry, most of them in underdeveloped nations. And we don't have to look far to realize people closer to home struggle with hunger. With so many in need, what can we do?
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Understanding the Lost Politics of Jesus
Understanding the Lost Politics of Jesus
One of the great losses to Christianity over the past few decades is an adequate understanding of Jesus' politics. Jesus wanted his followers to have an identity based on the values of God's kingdom rather than Caesar's empire.
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Can We Help the Poor if We Don't Listen to Them?
Can We Help the Poor if We Don't Listen to Them?
While many well-meaning influential people are spending time and resources to determine the best ways to help the world's poorest people, they're leaving someone out of the dialogue. The poor.
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Save the Date, Change the World on 10.10.10
Save the Date, Change the World on 10.10.10
Will you and your church be part of 100 million Christians praying on Oct. 10, 2010, for a "fresh vision" that will result in freeing a half-billion people from extreme poverty? It's part of the vision of the Micah Challenge.
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Candidate's Bogus Claim: Hitler Favored Church-State Separation
Candidate's Bogus Claim: Hitler Favored Church-State Separation
A GOP candidate for the U.S. House claimed Hitler was the inventor, or at least the champion, of separating church and state, but it's not true. Hitler sought to nationalize the Christian church.
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Keeping Possessions from Possessing Us
Keeping Possessions from Possessing Us
If we take Jesus' words and actions seriously, it's clear he championed the cause of the poor. While most of us aren't wealthy by U.S. standards, we are rich by global standards. That makes us complicit to the inequity.
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Religious Freedom in U.S. is For Everyone, Not Some
Religious Freedom in U.S. is For Everyone, Not Some
Angry protests over an Islamic center near Ground Zero. A Florida pastor threatens to burn the Quran. If we don't guarantee religious freedom for all, we betray the genius that lies behind the U.S. Constitution.
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Report Finds Spike in U.S. Poverty Levels
WASHINGTON (RNS) The number of people in poverty in America increased to its highest recorded point last year.
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British Christians Promise to Reduce World's Poverty
British Christians Promise to Reduce World's Poverty
A church-inspired global anti-poverty organization seeks to sign up millions to make personal pledges to fight extreme poverty. And they're urging churches around the world to unite in prayer on Oct. 10.
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Charity report: U.S. ties for fifth in global giving
(RNS) The U.S. tied with Switzerland for fifth place in a world giving index.
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Obama Rumors? Beck as Moses? Catching Up After Time Off
Obama Rumors? Beck as Moses? Catching Up After Time Off
During 13 weeks of sabbatical, it was hard not to write about a provocative news story or someone in religious life doing something bizarre. Now, with the R&R over, several things really need to be addressed.
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Christian Women Prefer Sunday Services to Shopping, Study Says
(RNS) Protestant and Catholic women in the United States have grown unhappier since stores have stayed open on Sunday.
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Will We Take Action to Help Those with No Homes?
Will We Take Action to Help Those with No Homes?
Thousands turn out for housing voucher applications in Atlanta. Hundreds seek shelter in the tunnels under the Las Vegas strip. When will Americans re-evaluate our commitment to society's most vulnerable?
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Atheist Group to Raise Funds for Religious Charity
(RNS) An atheist foundation that seeks to foster charitable giving among nonbelievers is encouraging members to donate to a religious charity.
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Are You Evangelical? Or Just evangelical?
Are You Evangelical? Or Just evangelical?
While the term 'evangelical' has many applications, some have hijacked the word, when it's capitalized, to denote an identifiable movement in Christian history known more for its political positions than its doctrine.
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Free At Last—To Serve
But Christians in America are called to reserve their first loyalty not to the government in Washington but to the Kingdom of God. Our Commander in Chief is ultimately Jesus, not the President.
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A Divine Sense of Justice
People who love God know that evil is real and that people can choose to behave in wicked ways. People who know God know the difference between misfortune and wickedness, both personal and social.
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Radical Generosity: Normal for Christian Community
Radical Generosity: Normal for Christian Community
When the early Christians gave up their possessions for the good of others, it was more than an expression of genuine generosity. They modeled the norm for Christian identity and community.
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Safeguarding an Essential Freedom

"Church and state should be separate." That six-word sentence is found in all three versions of the Baptist Faith and Message which is the confession of faith of many Baptist churches.

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Even Columnists Need to Take a Sabbath
Even Columnists Need to Take a Sabbath
The Sabbath is a time of rest and reflection. It's a chance to connect with God and a time to reflect on what it means to be a human being in this world God has made.
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Today's 'Centurions' Let Those in Need Suffer
Today's 'Centurions' Let Those in Need Suffer
Today's politicians have much to learn from the centurion who knew the limits of his authority before Jesus. They are more concerned with their own survival and refuse to submit to the authority of serving the common good.
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 Part 2: Carter's Steady Pursuit of Peace, Justice
Part 2: Carter's Steady Pursuit of Peace, Justice
After leaving the White House, President Jimmy Carter decided to put his faith and his political visibility to work in the cause of justice, promoting democracy in places no one dreamed democracy was even possible.
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Part 1: Jimmy Carter Melded Religion, Politics
Part 1: Jimmy Carter Melded Religion, Politics
Jimmy Carter made being "born again" a campaign issue in 1976, vowing that his faith would help him govern. In the aftermath of Watergate, the American people were looking for someone they could trust.
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What's Your Ministry Model? Scarcity or Abundance
What's Your Ministry Model? Scarcity or Abundance
Two philosophical styles play out in most churches. One is concerned with the preservation of the material assets and the status quo. The other is more focused on information and ideas. Where are you?
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The Trouble With God? It's Not What You Think.
The Trouble With God? It's Not What You Think.
Some people wonder whether God exists. Others struggle with why He allows suffering. But did you ever think life would be far less aggravating if we did not have to take God into account?
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Enforcing Commandments as Law of Land
Enforcing Commandments as Law of Land
Sarah Palin says the law in America should be based on the Ten Commandments. While some parts of the Law of Moses are the law of the land, enforcing the others are going to be tricky.
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Muslim Stories About Obama, Seminary Leader
Muslim Stories About Obama, Seminary Leader
Some people believe that President Obama is a secret Muslim no matter how much evidence exists about his faith in Christ. Meanwhile, Liberty University's president appears to have exaggerated his Muslim roots.
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National Day of Prayer: Facts and Fiction
National Day of Prayer: Facts and Fiction
As the National Day of Prayer approaches this Thursday, let's correct a few distortions. President Obama, for example, is not trying to cancel the day. That's a rumor rooted in the nonsense that he's not a Christian.
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Teaching Our Children the Value of Prayer
Teaching Our Children the Value of Prayer
Numerous statistics suggest that many children now in our Baptist churches will walk away from worship and church life by the time they are in their 20s. So seeing some of them recite the Lord's Prayer was encouraging.
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One Woman's Mission to India's Poor
One Woman's Mission to India's Poor
Lepers. Orphans. HIV patients. Prisoners. The elderly. Marginalized youth. They are among the poorest of the poor in India. And Leena Lavanya forges her own path to minister to all of them.
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How Preachers Earn the Role of Prophet
How Preachers Earn the Role of Prophet
One of the most precarious tasks a preacher faces is that of being a prophet. Being prophetic is part of a healthy sermon diet; it cannot be the only item on the menu.
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Obeying God's Word – When It Suits Them
Obeying God's Word – When It Suits Them
When Baptist leaders explain how they can justify banning women preachers, they often shrug and say that's what God's word says. By selectively embracing the Bible literally, they are impeding God's working in our world.
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Health-Care Reform – A Pro-Life Victory
Health-Care Reform – A Pro-Life Victory
Being pro-life is more than being anti-abortion. We must value life enough to devalue any issue that undermines it. And health-care reform supports the rights of children to live and to flourish.
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Faith and Science: Not an Either/Or Choice
Faith and Science: Not an Either/Or Choice
Can the Bible be read seriously without being read literally? The unnecessary conflict between faith and science is wreaking havoc on both faith and science.
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Feet, Eyes, Noses, and Other Necessary Body Parts
Paul was not into one-man-bands or church situations where one individual tries to possess and express all spiritual gifts. Paul says that the church is comprised of many members with a variety of gifts, all working together to strengthen God’s kingdom.
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Defeating Racism at the Spiritual Level
Defeating Racism at the Spiritual Level
While racial discrimination is no longer legal, we've got a long way to go. As a spiritual disorder, racism is so deeply rooted in us that nothing short of a conversion experience can change a person's mind and heart.
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Culture Clash: No More Taxes vs. Charity and Justice
Culture Clash: No More Taxes vs. Charity and Justice
Two great systems of thought are colliding. There are those who complain they are taxed to death, and others who proclaim the moral imperative of charity and justice growing out of the Abrahamic religions.
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Four Characteristics of New Church Model
Four Characteristics of New Church Model
A new model of church is emerging, and it doesn't fit the traditional definition that's focused on building, people, location and programs. These groups tend to have four characteristics in common.
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Fewer Ministers Plan to Serve in Churches
Fewer Ministers Plan to Serve in Churches
Churches in America may be facing a dramatic shortage of ministers in the coming years. Less than a third of students now attending seminary intend to minister to congregations.
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Economic Recovery on the Poor's Backs
Economic Recovery on the Poor's Backs
How is the nation redeeming itself after years of reckless economic growth? Rather than drawing on the abundance among us, we're forcing the poorest among us to endure the suffering for the rest of us.
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Why We Still Choose Barabbas Today
Why We Still Choose Barabbas Today
The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, made a show each year at the Passover of releasing one prisoner as a goodwill gesture. One year, he had two candidates: Barabbas and Jesus. Even today, we make the wrong choice.
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Gifts in the Body
God has so arranged the body of Christ to give honor to the inferior members that there may be no dissention within the body and that the members may have care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer with it. If one is honored, all are honored together.
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Hijacking Faith to Fit Science, Politics
Hijacking Faith to Fit Science, Politics
Redefining faith as scientific truth or political ideology subordinates faith to these other realities. Out of a desire to have faith validated and affirmed by wider culture, some are allowing their beliefs to be hijacked.
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Socialism? No, It's Being Good Neighbors
Socialism? No, It's Being Good Neighbors
It's time and past time to lay aside our paranoia about government and figure out how we are going to care for the poor, the sick and weak in our midst. That's not socialism; it's neighborly-ism.
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When Church and State Should Interact
When Church and State Should Interact
Separating church from state does not mean our public life should be void of faith. Since the days of the biblical prophets, the voice of faith has called for justice and peace in our common existence.
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What Tea Party Protesters Get Right
What Tea Party Protesters Get Right
Christians can learn something from the tea partiers. We ought to be in serious discussions about a whole range of issues that must include the roles of government.
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Opposing Gambling for Wrong Reason
Opposing Gambling for Wrong Reason
Alabama's governor is on a crusade against gambling, but is it for the right reason? Do Christians oppose gambling because they want to control bad behavior or because it preys on the poor?
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Three Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty
Three Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty
The death penalty should be abolished because it is unjust and a waste of taxpayer of money. But there's an even greater reason to oppose it. Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful."
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 This Old House: A Constitution-Reform Parable
This Old House: A Constitution-Reform Parable
Once, there was a village called Alabama. Its villagers learned that the house that protected their children, the elderly and the poor was old and needed repair. Read what happens in this modern-day parable.
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New Constitution Overdue for Alabama
New Constitution Overdue for Alabama
Once again, political leaders in Alabama have introduced bills to give the state's citizens a voice in rewriting the constitution. Similar efforts have failed in the past, even though it's past time for a new constitution.
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Left Turn: Some Evangelicals Shun Rigid Ideology
Left Turn: Some Evangelicals Shun Rigid Ideology
Are some evangelicals moving away from the political and theological right wing? The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good seeks to be above ideology rather than subservient to it.
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Churches Should Offer Shelter From Life's Blizzard
Churches Should Offer Shelter From Life's Blizzard
When life's anxiety and confusion swirl around people like a raging blizzard, too many clergy and churches only add to the storm. Will we remember our calling to be a shelter in the storm?
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Prophet on the Edge
The God-called prophets always see things the rest of us don’t see.
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 If You're Going to Preach, Be Like Buster
If You're Going to Preach, Be Like Buster
My grandfather had a certain contempt for preachers. When he learned I was going to become one, he begged me to reconsider. And when he realized I was determined, his advice was simple: Be like Buster.
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Faithful Oregonians Advance Tax Fairness in Statewide Ballot Measures
Faithful Oregonians Advance Tax Fairness in Statewide Ballot Measures
Faithful Oregonians ran with perseverance the race for justice, passing ballot measures that will avert a shortfall in the state's two-year budget that would have resulted in cuts to services affecting the poor and middle class.
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Where Is God When We Suffer?
Where Is God When We Suffer?
If God's all powerful, why wouldn't he stop suffering? If he's good, why would he allow it? As we view the devastating images from Haiti, these questions have no satisfying answer, but we must still ask.
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Hanging It Up? Whistle-Blowers Face Uphill Battle
Hanging It Up? Whistle-Blowers Face Uphill Battle
Whistle-blowers take great personal risks to bring to light wrongdoing. They often face reprisal from the very organizations they've exposed. In Bradley Birkenfeld's case, it meant going to prison.
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 Worship Should Be More Than Routine
Worship Should Be More Than Routine
Jesus' custom was to attend church but he broke the customary way to worship. Are we comfortable with worship that has become part of our routine or that compels us to change our communities?
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When Anxiety Attacks, Do Churches Help or Hinder?
When Anxiety Attacks, Do Churches Help or Hinder?
People come to church every week craving a connection to a God who can absorb their anxiety, calm their fears and inspire them to hope. How does your church help people cope with life's challenges?
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Who is Pat Robertson Hearing? GOD or GOP?
Who is Pat Robertson Hearing? GOD or GOP?
Every year, Pat Robertson proclaims what God has told him will happen in the coming year. But Robertson's batting average isn't good. Maybe that's because instead of listening to GOD, he's more in tune with the GOP.
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Supporting Haiti in Aftermath of Earthquake
Supporting Haiti in Aftermath of Earthquake
Haiti, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, was rocked by a magnitude-7 earthquake, on Jan. 12. The time to live out the words of Jesus has come upon us again. Will we respond?
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Alabama Nonprofit Advocates for Poor
Alabama Nonprofit Advocates for Poor
What does it mean to do justice? Ask a nonprofit group like Alabama Arise. Its annual list of issues affecting the state's poor, coupled with strategies to address them, is a reflection on how to do justice.
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Correcting an Out-Of-Balance Tax System in Arkansas
Correcting an Out-Of-Balance Tax System in Arkansas
Taxes often hit working families with low and middle incomes the hardest. And with Arkansas' unbalanced tax system, it's time for that state's citizens to fight for a fair and responsible tax system.
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A Christmas Past to Reflect on the Year Ahead
A Christmas Past to Reflect on the Year Ahead
It's 95 years ago on Christmas Eve. Several British and German troops broke into an unofficial truce, a spontaneous outbreak of decency. Today, can we learn to set aside our differences?
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Seasonal Charity: A Doorway to Biblical Justice
Seasonal Charity: A Doorway to Biblical Justice
Poverty won't yield to charity alone. There aren't enough soup kitchens and shelters in the whole country to begin to make a dent in America's poverty. To make a difference, we need a commitment to justice.
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What Would Make Jesus Happy on His Birthday?
What Would Make Jesus Happy on His Birthday?
When Jesus looks at the earth at the time of year when many of us celebrate his birth, is he dismayed by the materialism and self-righteousness he sees? Maybe his thoughts would be something like this.
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Topsy-Turvy
When it comes, not only to Christmas, but to the world in which you live, where do you get your ideas? If you are willing to risk it, look with fresh, new eyes at that book you have in your lap. It might just change your perspective. Better yet, it might just change your world and make everything – everything – topsy-turvy.
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John the Baptist's Pointed Reminder about Christmas
John the Baptist's Pointed Reminder about Christmas
The words of John the Baptist may not be Christmas-card sweet but they call us to look at our own lives, our relationships with God and the ways those relationships impact how we live our lives.
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Forgetting We're Not So Different from Those in Need
Forgetting We're Not So Different from Those in Need
At what point do we forget the Golden Rule? With so many people in need, we should remember that it's only a very thin line that separates most of the haves from the have-nots. And many cross it.
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Christmas Fear: What We Can Learn from the Shepherds
Christmas Fear: What We Can Learn from the Shepherds
Two thousand years of carols about the perfect baby Jesus and angels that look like Precious Moments dolls have obscured the hard-hitting implications of the Christmas story, leaving us unafraid of the repercussions.
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Why Don't We Live By Hymns We Sing? Chronic Lyricosis
Why Don't We Live By Hymns We Sing? Chronic Lyricosis
When we sing the great hymns of the Christmas season, why don't we actually live what they say? Perhaps we're hearing different words. Or maybe we're afflicted with Christian Christmas chronic lyricosis.
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Past Christmas Days: Historical Facts and Trivia
Past Christmas Days: Historical Facts and Trivia
Christmas has different meanings to many people. We remember that God gave his Son on that first Christmas Day. Some view Christmas as a lovely custom; others a grand holiday. What does history record?
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The Ancient Cries in Palestine at Christmas: Part One
The Ancient Cries in Palestine at Christmas: Part One
Months after the joyous cries of Elizabeth and Mary for the births of their sons, another cry was heard from mothers in and around Bethlehem. But these were not cries of joy.
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Christmas Hymn Reminds Us Separation Won't Last
Christmas Hymn Reminds Us Separation Won't Last
Sobering words from a joyful Christmas hymn remind us of the divisions that have separated us since The Fall. Imagine if we were able to eliminate all the artificial distinctions that divide us.
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Guess Who's Watching You This Christmas Season?
Guess Who's Watching You This Christmas Season?
When I got up this morning, I had this sensation that I was being watched. No matter what I did – brewing coffee, checking headlines on the computer – I sensed other eyes watching me. Who was it?
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Finding Christmas Cheer in an Unexpected Place
Finding Christmas Cheer in an Unexpected Place
The holiday hunt for perfect gifts. The clutter of Christmas decorations. The grumpiness of people during this season. It's enough to make you dread Christmas – until you find joy somewhere you didn't expect.
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Church Criticized for Hosting Palestine Service
Church Criticized for Hosting Palestine Service
A London Baptist church was the focus of protests after hosting a carol concert organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. A minister at the church stood by the program, but one critic said it politicized Christmas.
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7 Things Your Pastor Wishes You Knew, But Is Afraid To Tell You
7 Things Your Pastor Wishes You Knew, But Is Afraid To Tell You
The interchange between clergy and laity can be a delicate balance. Pastors have a few things they wish congregants understood to help encourage healthier relationships. Here are seven.
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Remembering Ricky Bobby's Word about Baby Jesus
Remembering Ricky Bobby's Word about Baby Jesus
Too many American Christians are like Will Ferrell's character, Ricky Bobby, in "Talladega Nights." They adore the little baby Jesus of Christmas but pay no heed to the man who makes moral claims on people of faith.
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Just War Theory: A Time for Careful Evaluation
Just War Theory: A Time for Careful Evaluation
Just war theory goes back to the fourth-century theologian Augustine and was developed to help leaders carefully evaluate the circumstances before going to war. Are the wars we wage based on a just cause?
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Who's More Likely to Steal Christmas? Grinch or Greed
Who's More Likely to Steal Christmas? Grinch or Greed
A fictional icon like the Grinch can't really steal Christmas, but greed certainly can. Before we say greed doesn't rob our Christmas, it might be prudent to examine ourselves more closely.
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Climate Change Talks Begin Months after Evangelical Christians Confessed Sin
Climate Change Talks Begin Months after Evangelical Christians Confessed Sin
Through the Micah Network, global Baptists have offered sound theological reflection about earth care and a clarion call for action to protect the poor. If only U.S. Baptists would follow suit.
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Doesn't Add Up: Calculating Exactly How Many Are Saved
Doesn't Add Up: Calculating Exactly How Many Are Saved
A Kentucky Baptist official recently said that 2,587,995 Kentuckians "are lost without Christ." Can we really calculate the precise number of "lost" people? Or is this more evangelical arrogance?
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Do 90 Percent of Us Not Want to Hear Injustice?
Do 90 Percent of Us Not Want to Hear Injustice?
Does 90 percent of America have hearing loss? They do if you count people who willfully ignore what is happening in the world. Many tune out the lack of health care, rampant Wall Street greed and other injustices.
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The Overlooked Season: Don't Skip Advent This Year
The Overlooked Season: Don't Skip Advent This Year
As mission-driven Christians who live in a market-driven culture, the reflective disciplines of Advent keep us alert to stealth forces like materialism, busyness, greed and indifference.
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Christmas Toy Drives Require Immigration Check
Christmas Toy Drives Require Immigration Check
Many were outraged by news that Christmas toy drives in Houston were requiring proof of citizenship. What does it say about our country if we won't extend Christmas joy to the child who is here without documentation?
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In Those Days
This Advent season needs to find us doing our duty. And what is that? I’ll put it this way... If we do not use this season as an opportunity to be people of light who share the good news that God has come to our darkened world, then there is reason for us to question whether we are truly Christ followers.
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Biblical Justice: More About Forgiveness Than Revenge
Biblical Justice: More About Forgiveness Than Revenge
As the 9/11 trials approach, it is an appropriate time to examine the Christian perspective of justice. In biblical terms, justice is closely related to forgiveness, not to revenge.
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Better Angels Needed for Peace in Christmas Wars
Better Angels Needed for Peace in Christmas Wars
Verbal grenades have been launched once again in the Christmas wars. Caught in the crossfire are Americans of all religious convictions and no faith commitments who want to enjoy the season without a culture war.
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Advent is Most Satisfying Way to Celebrate Jesus' Birth
Advent is Most Satisfying Way to Celebrate Jesus' Birth
Many churches will mark the beginning of Advent on Sunday, a month-long reflection on the meaning of Jesus' birth. It's far more significant than simply encouraging retail outlets to say "Merry Christmas."
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Even on Thanksgiving, Millions Will Go Hungry
Even on Thanksgiving, Millions Will Go Hungry
While every day is filled with opportunities to give thanks, Thanksgiving gives us a chance to take a day to reflect and be grateful, including the fact that many of us have access to sufficient food.
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Thanksgiving: The Feast of Enough
Here this lesson again.  It may be a new normal.  I don’t know, but what I do know is this:  The God who provided manna, the God who provided water from the rock and quail in the wilderness, his son Jesus Christ who fed one group and then another so much that there was enough left over, that God has more abundance to share with us, and it is enough.  For that, let us give thanks with glad hearts this Thursday.
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The Good Life: In the Checkout Line But Not of It
During the Sundays of Advent, we will learn how to worship more fully our true God and not the god of consumerism, because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus. We will also learn how to reorder our desires so that we’ll spend less on ourselves this Christmas in order to free our resources for things that truly matter.
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Judge Hits the Brakes on Christian License Plates
Judge Hits the Brakes on Christian License Plates
A judge rules that South Carolina's plan to allow license plates that promoted Christianity was unconstitutional. It was the right call. After all, Jesus didn't say they shall know you by your advertising.
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Do Teenage Criminals Deserve Life Without Parole?
Do Teenage Criminals Deserve Life Without Parole?
An estimated 100 prisoners are serving life sentences for crimes they committed as minors. Are teenagers mentally capable of making decisions with adult-size consequences?
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Teddy Roosevelt's 10 Reasons for Going to Church
Teddy Roosevelt's 10 Reasons for Going to Church
Why attend church? Well, back in 1917, Teddy Roosevelt, America's 26th president, provided 10 reasons in an interview to Ladies Home Journal. Here's what he had to say.
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The Price of Greed: Desire for More Consumes Us
The Price of Greed: Desire for More Consumes Us
We were told in the 1980s that greed is good. However, greed makes us less human. In the anxious quest for more and more stuff, we become like the commodities we consume.
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Together
What a great church!  How great each and every person is!  We are woven together and used together by the spirit of Christ that makes us one.  Together, we are the church.  Together, what in God’s name can we not do? 
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Reckless Generosity
I think that you and I can be this kind of person. It will not be easy in our culture and will require help. You’ll need people who inspire and encourage you, like this widow did Jesus. This church is one place you will find people like this. Come join us on our journey of faith.
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Church Triumphs and Troubles- Part 1
Seeds are often inconspicuous.  Change is noticed.  Seeds are planted in relative obscurity.  Crops are noticed at harvest time.  Loving people privately in obedience to Jesus Christ will always be necessary before their lives and situations will change.  Loving must happen before discipleship can be effective.  Loving must happen before people will believe what is printed on a bulletin or tract.  Loving must happen before what we sing and preach about can take root and grow into a harvest for God.
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Sharing God's Concern for Poor Means Fairer Taxes
Sharing God's Concern for Poor Means Fairer Taxes
Many people of faith are acutely aware of God's stance toward the poor. However, our expressions of charity alone will not suffice. We must change the very structures that overtax the poor.
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The Dream Continues: More Work Needed to End Racism
The Dream Continues: More Work Needed to End Racism
Racial discrimination and segregation are no longer legal, but Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of seeing a nation united rather than divided by race has not made as much progress. It's a spiritual problem.
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Living the Dream: Finding Purpose and Mission in Life
Living the Dream: Finding Purpose and Mission in Life
What's your idea of a dream life? Most of us think of a dream life as an upgrade in our circumstances, a life with fewer challenges and greater comfort and convenience. But is this God's dream for us?
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What the Church Does and What It Is
People need to know that God's love is real, so let's be the Church.  Let us live like people who believe that God loves, forgives, and welcomes every soul thru Jesus Christ.  Let's call people to trust God's new reality of redemptive love and resurrection hope by our living.  Let's challenge the sin system of self-centeredness, self-righteousness, alienation, oppression, and death.  Let's be the Church of Jesus Christ by doing what the Church is called to do.  Then people will know that God's love/life is real!
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America Founded as Christian Nation? Author Busts Myth
America Founded as Christian Nation? Author Busts Myth
While Dan Brown's new novel may not be as controversial as "The da Vinci Code," the author seems determined to annihilate the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation. He may be doing us a favor.
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Bible Too Liberal? Conservative Bible Project Will Fix It
Bible Too Liberal? Conservative Bible Project Will Fix It
The Conservative Bible Project believes modern translations of the Bible, and even some textual matters, are tainted with a liberal bias. Their plan is to rewrite the Bible so it reflects a more conservative viewpoint.
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Dearly Departed: The Separation of Church and Jesus
Dearly Departed: The Separation of Church and Jesus
Minorities in church. Rushing to war. Alleviating poverty. For some Christians, certain areas of life are simply too important to run the risk of Jesus meddling with them.
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Can't We Steal a Little Money to Pay for Health Care?
Can't We Steal a Little Money to Pay for Health Care?
I have written a few columns suggesting that health-care reform is a moral imperative. One reader said I was promoting the idea of the government stealing our money. Let's think about that.
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Tag- You're It
We’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill.  I’m pretty certain we don’t want to follow Joe Paterno at Penn State.  That would be a formidable task to undertake, to be sure.  But we can’t skirt a larger task, for you and I work in the shadow of the Master.  We are to share His words, and we are to do His work.  We are to be His hands and His feet.
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Abusers Distort Bible to Justify Domestic Violence
Abusers Distort Bible to Justify Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is still shockingly common and found too often in the church. Such violence is not an issue of anger management or marital strife; it is ultimately a matter of power.
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Can We Help Jobless People Up Without Hand-Outs?
Can We Help Jobless People Up Without Hand-Outs?
The mark of a civilized society is that it will work to limit poverty. Is it possible to make sure that everyone has enough to live on without removing the incentive for people to work?
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Why Have Americans Been So Quick to Justify Torture?
Why Have Americans Been So Quick to Justify Torture?
Politicians tell us torture has provided crucial security information, but one study says that doesn't hold water. Why have so many of us been willing to accept this rationale? One word says it all.
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When Calamity Strikes: Is God Our Punisher or Healer?
When Calamity Strikes: Is God Our Punisher or Healer?
Some ministers are quick to see God's judgment in calamity, but they work from an incomplete picture of God. As a result, they teach too many people to live under God's scorn rather than his grace.
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Stance Against Health Care Resurrects Religious Right
Stance Against Health Care Resurrects Religious Right
The Religious Right was in tatters last year, but health-care reform has given these religious naysayers, posing as spokespersons for Jesus, something new to which they can say "no."
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The Last Word: Controlling Translations of the Bible
The Last Word: Controlling Translations of the Bible
The New International Version Bible is set for an update, and a translation battle is brewing. Whoever controls the words used in a translation controls how we are able to think about theological issues.
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Who Needs Police? Law Says People Must Trust God
Who Needs Police? Law Says People Must Trust God
A judge rightly struck down a Kentucky law that said its citizens could only be safe unless they believed in God. Why do people write into law what can only be embraced by faith?
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Tax-Reform Advocate Running for State Office
Tax-Reform Advocate Running for State Office
A nationally known tax expert who has made headlines, and enemies, for her tax-reform suggestions, which advocated shifting more tax burdens away from the poor, is running for office in Alabama.
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Who's Going To Be the Anti-Christ Today?
Who's Going To Be the Anti-Christ Today?
In the '70s, author Hal Lindsey pegged the Soviet Union as the agent of the anti-Christ. But the Soviet Union fell, and Christian doomsayers eventually made Islam their new anti-Christ.
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American Christian Missions: Tour Guides or Conquerors?
American Christian Missions: Tour Guides or Conquerors?
Kudzu has choked the southeastern United States since it was first introduced here. Has most mission work by American Christianity behaved like out-of-control kudzu?
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Will You Take a Stand During Your Normal Routine?
Will You Take a Stand During Your Normal Routine?
Among the 125 notable vehicles of the 20th century in the Henry Ford Museum, including a string of presidential limos, you can actually board only one and sit where its most famous passenger sat.
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What's Really Motivating Angry Town-Hall Mobs?
What's Really Motivating Angry Town-Hall Mobs?
Members of Congress holding town hall meetings on health care reform are being shouted down by angry mobs of constituents. Pure paranoia? Not really. It's displaced racism.
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Steeple Chase: Sparrow's Lesson in Beating the Odds
Steeple Chase: Sparrow's Lesson in Beating the Odds
Against the odds, a small sparrow protecting her young took on a turkey vulture perched on a church steeple. May we have the same sacrificial courage.
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Clergy Letter Project: Science, Bible Can Co-Exist
Clergy Letter Project: Science, Bible Can Co-Exist
The Clergy Letter Project began when a biologist and several clergy wrote a statement affirming the teaching of evolution. Nearly 12,000 Christian clergy have now signed the letter.
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Diverse Faith Groups Rally for Health Care
Diverse Faith Groups Rally for Health Care
While the clock is ticking on President Obama's health care reform plan, a strong push in support of reform is coming from a diverse coalition of faith communities.
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Hate Crimes Bill Won't Restrict Sermons
Hate Crimes Bill Won't Restrict Sermons
A pending hate crimes bill is causing some Christian conservatives to fret, but there's no reason to fear that preachers' right to speak freely will be restricted.
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Your Church Not Growing? Blame the Birth Rate
Your Church Not Growing? Blame the Birth Rate
Some church leaders blame low birth rates for denominational dips. If you take evangelism seriously, making more disciples should have nothing to do with procreation.
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Fame
Whenever Jesus – then or now – sees others, he looks upon them with a spirit of compassion. The only difference is that now he depends on you and me to be his eyes, his hands and feet, to reflect his presence, and to show his sheep a better way of life and where the Shepherd is. To do so, we’ve got to be willing to put up with the inconveniences.  Even more, we have to be passionate about being compassionate. After all, it goes with the fame.
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Defining Words' Meaning is Path to Control
Defining Words' Meaning is Path to Control
Humpty Dumpty's smarter than we think. To win control, you need to be the one to define what words mean – even if you have to take them out of context.
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The DNA of God: Charity
It is because we are never more Christlike, we are never more like the one who made us, than when our hearts truly and genuinely give out of love. May God grant us generous hearts so that in the world there might be a people that others could look at and say, I see God in them.
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The DNA of God: Justice
Let us today, as children of God, have an understanding of justice. There are two different means, the justice in the world and the criminal justice system, that is one. But let us also understand what God wants for justice. As much as we would ever commit ourselves to personal morality and trying to live the right way, let us commit ourselves to justice for all people, that the people of God in this world would be known for treating all people, through all systems, the way the children of God are supposed to treat people. “Let justice roll down like the river and righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
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Leafy Green Justice
We, too, are living in the power of that resurrection, but we are often less than cooperative and generous. With cheap energy we have chosen endless sprawl. We rattle around in enormous houses and enormous suburbs, distant from one another in every way. I put signs in our yard supporting a school board candidate in the recent election and then I went up the street and got permission to plant signs in yards of the neighbors I know – a grand total of four across the street and two on our side. The signs were signs of the limits of our neighborliness. 
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Baptists: Muslims Part of Extended Family
Baptists: Muslims Part of Extended Family
Baptists should approach Muslims with compassion and friendship. The first step in showing genuine love for another person is to accept them as they are.
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Baptist States Judged Poorly on Tax Laws
Baptist States Judged Poorly on Tax Laws
States with tax policies that oppress the poorest and most vulnerable citizens were also likely to have large Baptist populations, new research says.
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Maybe the Church Needs to Lose Power
Maybe the Church Needs to Lose Power
Jesus’ encounter with a hemorrhaging woman is a lesson for the church. If we haven’t felt a power loss, do we deserve to be called the Body of Christ?
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 Independence Day: When Poverty Loosened Grip on Family
Independence Day: When Poverty Loosened Grip on Family

Grills will smoke and fireworks will pop as Americans celebrate Independence Day this weekend. Ten years ago, a poor family from Mexico celebrated a different kind of independence day.

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No Secret Identity: Why One Church Dropped
No Secret Identity: Why One Church Dropped "Baptist" Name
Not all churches that drop "Baptist" from their names are going incognito. For one congregation, it was a way to choose a name that established their identity instead of enthroning a denomination. (Photo: Marcia Manning)
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Haiti Must Work Together to Rebuild, University President Says
Haiti Must Work Together to Rebuild, University President Says
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. If the nation wants a future, it will require the united work of the Haitian people, not foreigners, according to the president of the Christian University of Northern Haiti.
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America as Melting Pot? We're Really More of a Tossed Salad
America as Melting Pot? We're Really More of a Tossed Salad
America has been described as a melting pot, a place where people from diverse backgrounds merge into one. However, we are often more like a tossed salad, with unique pieces of cultural heritage clearly visible and intact.
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Social Justice Requires Personal Sacrifices from Each of Us
Social Justice Requires Personal Sacrifices from Each of Us
You don't have to look hard to find examples of social injustice in the world. Too often, however, many of us choose to overlook injustice because it's not convenient to act. Next time, let's each do our part to do the right thing.
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 Would a Baptist Church by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?
Would a Baptist Church by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?
Some churches have removed Baptist from their names, but others seek to reclaim the meaning of the name. Many principles of historical Baptist theology and polity offer a solid basis for citizenship in a free and diverse society.
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Pastor and Former SBC Vice Pres Prays for President's Death
Pastor and Former SBC Vice Pres Prays for President's Death
Wiley Drake, former second vice president of the SBC, let it be known that he was praying for President Obama to die. Is praying for someone's death consistent with the values and truth that Jesus embodied in his life and ministry?
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Absolute Religious Rhetoric Leads to Violent Behavior
Absolute Religious Rhetoric Leads to Violent Behavior
It's tempting to dismiss the murder of Dr. George Tiller as the behavior of a deranged person, but the highly charged religious rhetoric that informs much of the pro-life movement will not allow for that explanation alone.
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Georgia Death Penalty Case Calls Christians to Consider Justice
Georgia Death Penalty Case Calls Christians to Consider Justice
Troy Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of an off-duty police officer. No weapon was found, and no evidence linked him to the crime. As a matter of justice, will Christians call for the reopening of the case?
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After Obama's Election, Much Work Awaits Us to Fulfill King's Dream
After Obama's Election, Much Work Awaits Us to Fulfill King's Dream
The euphoria of the inauguration of Barack Obama has passed. Will we open our eyes to the unfinished business that lies ahead of us? Now is the time to be counted among those who will help President Obama pursue a more just and equitable society.
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A Bible for America Reveals Spiritual Arrogance and Ignorance
A Bible for America Reveals Spiritual Arrogance and Ignorance
"The American Patriot's Bible" places Scripture alongside American history. Millions of Christians, however, aren't Americans. It is arrogant to think America commands some unique position in relation to the Christian message.
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From a Biblical Perspective, Is the Church Really King?
From a Biblical Perspective, Is the Church Really King?
Any discussion about the nature of the denominational structure that does not begin with a biblically precise view of the church is bound to lead to more, not less, misunderstanding.
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Can We Rekindle Our Love for Society's Less Fortunate?
Can We Rekindle Our Love for Society's Less Fortunate?
Our nation's divorce rate shows it's not easy for married people to stay in love. But what about those outside our immediate circle of love and care? It's easy to divorce ourselves from society's less fortunate when times were good.
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Top 10 Reasons Not to Display the Ten Commandments
Top 10 Reasons Not to Display the Ten Commandments
Officials in White County, Georgia, placed the Ten Commandments on display in their courthouse with other historical documents. Here are 10 reasons why government displays of the Ten Commandments are a bad idea.
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Report to the Faith Community from Three Days with Al Gore
Report to the Faith Community from Three Days with Al Gore
The message from the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was clear: The poorest everywhere are the ones most at risk to the impacts of climate change. Will Christians be part of the solution?
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Maybe What the Church Really Needs is a Loss of Power
Maybe What the Church Really Needs is a Loss of Power
We have been raised in a society where it has long been assumed that religion and power go together. But, as a new survey suggests, the church’s days as the hub of power in society may be numbered. That may not be so bad.
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Churches with Country-Club Mentality Resemble Narcissus
Churches with Country-Club Mentality Resemble Narcissus
Do our churches resemble a religious version of a country club or the beloved community spoken of by Martin Luther King Jr.? Have we chosen inward-focused church busyness over outward-focused Kingdom business?
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Economic Policies That Help Poor Should Be Pro-Life Priority
Economic Policies That Help Poor Should Be Pro-Life Priority
A federal agency's report revealed that teens' abortion rates increased from 2001-05, reversing the decline of more than a decade and covering most of Bush's first term. When economic policies treat the poor unjustly, pro-life concerns take a big hit.
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All Too Often, We're Eager to Accept Bogus Info at Face Value
All Too Often, We're Eager to Accept Bogus Info at Face Value
What causes so many otherwise intelligent folk to ardently embrace and believe disinformation? Perhaps it's because these little nuggets of lunacy serve as proof that their view of the world is absolutely right.
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Evangelicals' Support of Torture Reveals Double Failure
Evangelicals' Support of Torture Reveals Double Failure
Nearly 62 percent of white evangelical Christians believe that torturing suspected terrorists is often or sometimes justified, marking the failure of two great traditions that at one time were the foundation of American society.
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Politicians Leave Poor to be Devoured by Economic 'Wolves'
Politicians Leave Poor to be Devoured by Economic 'Wolves'
Like the hired hands of Jesus' day who ran for safety instead of protecting the sheep from wolves, many politicians lack the courage to protect the growing number of people who are suffering.
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Couple Address Medical Needs of Banjara People in India
Couple Address Medical Needs of Banjara People in India
Macarena and Eddie Aldape hold medical camps twice a month across northern India, helping people whose socio-economic status limits their access to healthcare, education and jobs with decent wages.
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Christians Have No Reason to Fear Public Education
Christians Have No Reason to Fear Public Education
Many parents, especially Christians, are convinced that public schools are waging war on their values. While some have turned to home schooling, a case can be made for Christians to keep their children in public schools.
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Environmental Groups, Churches Explore Ways to Team Up
Environmental Groups, Churches Explore Ways to Team Up
Environmental organizations, such as the National Wildlife Federation, the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, are reaching out to churches and faith-based organizations for partnerships on issues of environmental stewardship.
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McCain's Strategist: GOP Should Support Gay Marriage
McCain's Strategist: GOP Should Support Gay Marriage
The Republican strategist who ran John McCain's presidential campaign says supporting gay marriage fits with the party's belief in personal responsibility. How Christian conservatives will react is far from clear.
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Does Your Church Measure Success Like Jesus Did?
Does Your Church Measure Success Like Jesus Did?
Numbers often function as the yardstick of a church. Increased numbers lead to an increased budget, which leads to increased ministry opportunities. It's often championed as the paradigm for a church's success, but is it the paradigm for faithfulness?
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Finding a Church is Never Easy, Especially if You're President
Finding a Church is Never Easy, Especially if You're President
Searching for a church home is a big decision. It's even tougher when the entire nation's watching you. No matter what church the First Family joins, for some it will be the wrong choice. Maybe we should let them worship in peace.
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Missouri Shouldn't Balance Budget on Backs of Poor
Missouri Shouldn't Balance Budget on Backs of Poor
The Missouri House has cut funding for social and mental health services. While all major faith traditions have a concern for the poor and vulnerable, we can't do it alone. We need the government to provide essential services.
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G20's Solutions Don't Solve Greed-Driven Global Crisis
G20's Solutions Don't Solve Greed-Driven Global Crisis
The economic crisis we are in was created by our greed – an addiction to always wanting more. This system has now come crashing down, and the world's poorest suffer most from the consequences.
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God's Comeback: Editors Claim Rise in Faith Will Help Economy
God's Comeback: Editors Claim Rise in Faith Will Help Economy
Fewer Americans claiming to be Christian may reflect a move away from church politics and denominationalism. Despite the downward trend, two economists say a return to faith is near and will be good for business.
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Palm Sunday's Lesson: Jesus Doesn't Fit Our Mold
Palm Sunday's Lesson: Jesus Doesn't Fit Our Mold
At the time of Jesus, Israel had been the pawn of one great kingdom or another for nearly 600 years. Those who hailed Jesus' arrival into Jerusalem with cloaks and tree branches hoped for a great king to set them free.
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At the Table: Break
Befriending brokenness and putting it under the blessing of God do not necessarily take away the pain, but it lets the light in. Through the grace of God, human suffering becomes not an obstacle to the joy and peace we long for, but the means to it.
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The Power of Love
Who needs your help right now? Who needs you to be courageous and compassionate? Whose heart is as troubled as Jesus’ was in this text and needs you to walk with them along their journey? What could you do that might change the way they live the rest of their life?
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Alabama Voters May Have Their Say on Rewriting Constitution
Alabama Voters May Have Their Say on Rewriting Constitution
Alabama politicians have dodged the opportunity to allow Alabama voters to decide whether or not to hold a constitutional convention. This year may be different.
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America’s Nonprofits Are Running Out of Cash
America’s Nonprofits Are Running Out of Cash
Over 50 percent of nonprofits surveyed said the recession will have a “permanent negative financial effect on their organizations.”
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Proclaiming God’s Justice Will Draw Wrath of Powerful
Proclaiming God’s Justice Will Draw Wrath of Powerful
The Gospel of Mark narrates John’s arrest and death in a way that implies something deeply theological about the vulnerability of those who would dare to be prophets of God.
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Technology Will Allow Churches to Extend Ministry
Technology Will Allow Churches to Extend Ministry
Facebook and other social networking platforms enable people to reconnect with old friends and stay connected forever. What’s the implication for faith communities?
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Will Churches Follow the Fate of Newspapers?
Will Churches Follow the Fate of Newspapers?
Print publications are disappearing as more Americans go online for their news. With fewer young adults attending religious services today, are churches heading down the same path?
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Diversity Reigns Among So-Called Liberal Clergy
Diversity Reigns Among So-Called Liberal Clergy
Categorizing people by means of narrow labels is just another way of not having to think deeply about them.
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Finding a Church to Call Home: It’s Not a Bargain Hunt
Finding a Church to Call Home: It’s Not a Bargain Hunt
All too often, many “church shoppers” become frequent “church swappers.” Searching for a church home is a crucial life decision. Here’s one pastor’s perspective on what to look for in a church.
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We Lost the Ideal of Collective Responsibility
We Lost the Ideal of Collective Responsibility
So long as we persist in holding on to the idea that government is some sort of alien power, is in fact our adversary, we will live as a nation divided against itself.
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Liberationist Approach Troubles Conservatives and Liberals
Liberationist Approach Troubles Conservatives and Liberals
My intelligence is challenged by students (as well as by some faculty and administrators) when I allow the spirituality of marginalized communities to inform and impact my scholarship.
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Baptists Bet Casinos, not Taxes, Are Moral Issue
Baptists Bet Casinos, not Taxes, Are Moral Issue
Religious groups are more than eager to love their neighbors when it comes to regulating personal behavior. But when it comes time to take on the big issues of social and economic injustice, conservative Christians begin to sound more like a certain character in one of Jesus' parables.
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BWA to Appoint New Director for Freedom and Justice
BWA to Appoint New Director for Freedom and Justice
Raimundo César Barreto Jr. of Brazil is being recommended as the BWA’s first director of its Division of Freedom and Justice.
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The Future of Churches: A Network of Niches
The Future of Churches: A Network of Niches
The same thing that is happening in the broader culture will happen in churches, too—more options, more models, a network of niches, rather than a predominant church form.
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Five Lessons Churches Must Learn to Survive
Five Lessons Churches Must Learn to Survive
Here are the five lessons churches must learn from newspapers, television and retail if churches are going to survive as a viable social institution.
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Pittmans Minister to Poor Miami Neighborhood
Pittmans Minister to Poor Miami Neighborhood
ATLANTA -- When many wouldn’t, Angel and Jason Pittman believe—in their neighbors, in the community, and in what God can do. After years of living that message in Overtown, the poorest neighborhood in Miami, the local community is starting to believe, too.
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Develop ‘Muscle Memory’ for Compassion
Develop ‘Muscle Memory’ for Compassion
Jan Chapman asks, "I'm wondering today if it's possible to develop a muscle memory for our compassion response."
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Ark. Pastor Denounces Guns in God's House
Randy Hyde: "We all know that occasionally churches have been victimized by gunmen. The latest took place last year in a Unitarian church in Knoxville, Tenn. But does anyone honestly believe that allowing worshipers to shoot back is the answer?"
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 Al Mohler Stokes Division with Comments on Evolution
Al Mohler Stokes Division with Comments on Evolution
This past week marked the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. All across the country there were celebrations and denunciations—not by the same people, of course.
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When Can Donors Trust a Charity?
When Can Donors Trust a Charity?
Here are the questions I think need to be addressed by a charity to answer the question of their trustworthiness.
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CBF Couple Fights Poverty in Rural Alabama
CBF Couple Fights Poverty in Rural Alabama
ATLANTA -- Last summer Matt and Melanie Storie moved to rural Perry County, Ala. Statistics say it’s one of the nation’s poorest counties, but these Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel believe it is a place where hope and the presence of Christ are bringing about change.
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The Compassionate Community
But if we’re to be the compassionate community molded by the way of our Leader, we must look over the wall of the community to see who’s outside the gates, banished there by the people of God, unable to get in other than to get on their knees to beg. There’s a risk in loving the outsiders to be sure. But if we’re the people of faith we claim to be, that’s the kind of love we must share.
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Would Jesus Carry a Gun to Church?
Would Jesus Carry a Gun to Church?
Here is a question related to what the lawmakers in Arkansas are considering: “Would Jesus carry a gun to church?” I think most of us would certainly answer no to this question. But the issue over guns in church raises a larger question about our infatuation with violence that is directly contrary to Jesus’ message and life of non-violence.
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God, the Globe and Greed
God, the Globe and Greed
This is the primal message, or should be, of all religious traditions: We humans are interconnected. We are all hardwired to a Source, and in the end our allegiance to this Source is measured by how we care for each other in our human family.
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Churches Must Be Strengthened, Not Captive, to Past
Churches Must Be Strengthened, Not Captive, to Past
The greatest lesson we can learn from our experience in the SBC is to embrace the good experiences and to try to avoid duplicating the bad experiences. The old saying that “those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it” is appropriate, but once one has studied history, he or she must take action in the contemporary world.
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Little Rock Pastors Recall Ministry at Crossroads of History
Little Rock Pastors Recall Ministry at Crossroads of History
Former pastors, ministers and staff members at Second Baptist Church in Little Rock gathered there recently on the church’s 125th anniversary to dialogue about ministry.
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DVD Showing on Racism Hits Home
DVD Showing on Racism Hits Home
Showings of “Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism” in two tiny south Arkansas towns hit home.
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Christian Mission vs. Humanitarian Relief
Jesus declares that the ancient prophecy of Isaiah was coming to life as he read it. The theme of his life would be one of service to the unwell, distressed, oppressed and impoverished. This is what happened, but Jesus also had a message. It was one that spoke of freedom, the restoration of the divine in human life, the power of forgiveness and a place for us all in the purposes of God.
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Office of Faith-Based Initiatives Should Disappear
Office of Faith-Based Initiatives Should Disappear
For my part the office could simply go away. If we want to spend money to help people, then create the Office of Helping People in America, and then go do it. The work is not going to be any more effective if it is done under the auspices of a church or any less effective because it is being done by secular professionals.
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Watching ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
Watching ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
Even with all that is unfamiliar to many Americans--the sprawling and filthy slums, the abject poverty, the strict caste system, the religious violence between Hindus and Muslims, the Indian music, names and scenery--there is much that we recognize besides the rags-to-riches narrative.
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CBF of North Carolina Pursues Luke 4 in Missions
CBF of North Carolina Pursues Luke 4 in Missions
Missions abroad are worthwhile, Larry Hovis said, but he feared that too much emphasis farther away could mean that CBFNC was neglecting an important part of the CBF mission of serving “the most marginalized, the most neglected, the least evangelized.” There were plenty of people in North Carolina who fit that description, he believed.
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Baptists in Search of Unity
Baptists in Search of Unity
It is an ambitious and even audacious idea. But it is a hopeful one. For too long we have skirted the edges of disaster existing as "us and them." It's time, not just for Baptists, but for everyone, to find a way just to be us.
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What $206 Million Buys
What $206 Million Buys
Our priorities are determined, most clearly, by what we spend our time and our money on. What does that Super Bowl broadcast say about us?
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MLK and the Missional Church
MLK and the Missional Church

If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, what would he say to the growing missional church movement?

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Global Poverty
Too many American Christians have myopia about the malnourished and their moral obligations.
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Obama Resets Nation’s Moral Compass in First Week
Obama Resets Nation’s Moral Compass in First Week
President Barack Obama has reset the nation’s moral compass. Granted much of what he did was rhetorical. Nonetheless, he struck a new moral direction away from the nation’s failures, save one exception.
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God As Athletic Director
God As Athletic Director
The theology at work here goes something like this: When you win God is with you, but when you lose, you are on your own. Of course, it doesn't always work out so well for winners.
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See Neighbor As Kin or Nothing Will Change
Morale alone will not fix what is broken in our country. But without some sense of common purpose, some level of hope, some willingness to embrace our neighbor as our kin, nothing is going to change anyway.
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Want to Be Biblical? Approve Prayers at Inaugurations
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Inauguration Reminds Us of What Prayer Is, Isn’t
Prayer is not ceremonial. Prayers offered at public events like football games, graduations and presidential inaugurations are mere ceremony. They are prelude to something else that is the main event. If Jesus is right and prayer is actually a conversation we can have with God, then we have no business reducing it down to the level of a starter pistol at a foot race.
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True Liberation Requires Self-Evaluation
At an academic conference I was challenged publicly for "airing dirty laundry" about "our" people when I critiqued intra-Hispanic oppressive structures. In other words, it was OK for me to criticize the dominant culture, but I must never turn that critical gaze inward, lest I betray my own people and expose our shortcomings.
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Faith Makeup of Congress Reflects That of Country
That diversity will be on full display as the 111th Congress convenes and begins its work. According to recent analysis by Congressional Quarterly and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the new Congress' religious diversity is significantly representative of the diversity that exists in the country as a whole.
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A 2009 Challenge to the Church
The church needs to recommit herself to sharing the light and warmth of the gospel in a world that is cold and uncaring. The work of the church never ends. It's a good thing, too, because even though the church is made up of forgiven sinners, were it not for the church, the body of Christ would resemble a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle with no pieces connected.
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Bold Claims for a National Reformation
Maybe it was the timing of New Year’s with all the resolutions and stuff, but I too am intrigued by Chopra’s simple yet bold request to our President-elect to reframe our national direction from warring to peace with nine basic steps.
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Ministry Leaders Must Contextualize
Recently, I wrote that an effective ministry entrepreneur needs to acquire specific knowledge, cultivate certain values and develop competent skills to be effective in ministry. Two of these skills are being able to read or discern the culture in which one ministers and then to use that culture to influence belief.
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Honk If You Love Jesus
Late last month a federal judge issued a temporary order against the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles for issuing a faith-based car tag with the words "I Believe" featured prominently. The judge is of the opinion that the tag unconstitutionally promotes Christianity. The state attorney general disagrees, and so Jesus will have yet another day in court.
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Hopes and Prayers for the New Year
I am praying and hoping that we find a way to get our troops out of Iraq. I know I already said that, but we really need to get our folks home.
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The Christmas Story as Moral Resource in the Vortex of Conformity
Forgotten in Christmas homilies and hymns is the gritty story of human of resistance. Yes, resistance.
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We Can Have Joy in the Winters of Life
The season of Advent prepares us for Christmas Day, the day that Joy came down from heaven and entered into the hardships of humanity as a vulnerable child.
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Find the Right Fold
I let someone go from the church the other day. Not an employee. A parishioner. And a friend.
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'Christmas Trees'
A poem about Christmas trees by Sara Powell.
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Santa Claus and Pogo
Nast campaigned for justice in all forms of endeavor. He was like Will Rogers in his regard for political bureaucrats.
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Five Things to Do This Week to Improve Your Career
Use the downtime to improve your career. Each day, spend an hour doing one of these five things and you'll be ahead of the game when the ball drops.
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A Christmas Prayer
The birth of Jesus represents the supreme effort on your part to re-shape our flawed humanity back into your own image. If we would only accept as true the things Jesus had to say to us, what a different world this might be.
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Navigating Charity Options
As many individuals ponder their end-of-year giving, they are inundated with numerous cash-strapped charities making special requests. With the Salvation Army, Focus on the Family, various denominations and religious universities reporting budget deficits, there are plenty of places to give, but not all could be wise investments.
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A Plain, Profound Nativity
My favorite nativity is plain and simple yet somehow profound—kind of like my parents.
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CBF Outreach Brings Christmas to the Poor in Arkansas Delta
The Mohawk haircut on the shepherd gave it away. This wasn�t going to be a typical Christmas nativity depiction.
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Roaches and Rats: A Nativity Reflection
I must have been about three years old when this image was burned into my mind, and probably it will be the last thing I recall when I lay on my death bed as an old man.
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Hard Times Reveal the Depth of Our Roots
Shallow roots will not yield authentic community with poor and suffering people. I can only offer what I have first received. The watching world needs to see deeply rooted faith.
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'Are You Ready for Christmas?'
We need to be reminded that it is possible to leave Christ out of Christmas. What must we do to prevent this from happening? How do we prepare spiritually for Christmas? Taking our cue from John the Baptist, it requires that we feed our spirits, share our faith and help those that are struggling along our journey.
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The Impulse to Silence Dissent
Silencing dissent is just about the most un-American, and un-Christian, thing imaginable. Our Constitution was written by a host of rowdy and intelligent dissenters. And nearly every hero of our faith started off as a dissenter.
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Bowing to Baal in the Season of Giving
The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is an organization of 1,400 parents and supporters who recently petitioned 24 major toy companies to limit their holiday ads aimed at children this season.
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I Was Just Quoting Jesus
I recently wrote a column suggesting that as Christians we could do a better job finding ways to collectively provide assistance to the least of these among us. The responses were swift and angry. I was accused of distorting the Bible in order to advance a liberal socialist agenda. I thought I was just quoting Jesus.
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What We Can Learn From Wal-Mart Death
We're a lot like the folks at the back of that Wal-Mart line. We have no idea who's up there ahead of us. We can't see who's being crushed by the weight of our wants. All we know is that there's a sale and the doors are now open.
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March to a Different Drummer
Our drum tree serves as a holiday reminder that God calls us to march to the beat of a different drummer, receiving our formative cues and motivation from the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus.
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Analyzing the Religious Vote
Religion has played a pivotal role in every election in this country since 1976. That remains true for our most recent presidential race as well. Even though the U.S. Constitution does not allow a religious test for public office, religious voters put the full force of their faith to work in deciding who would get their vote.
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Giving Thanks Is a Way of Life
Thanksgiving is more than a day. Thanksgiving is more than an attitude. Thanksgiving is a way of living.
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Seasonal Mood Swings
Why only at the apex of our material pursuits do we suddenly notice our struggling neighbors? Could it be that our temporary bouts of charity are really efforts to atone for a life of meaningless consumption?
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War on Christmas Is Back, Thanks to Atheists and Christian Fundamentalists
Aside from the humanists/atheists and Christian fundamentalists, about the only ones who benefit from the verbal brawls over the war on Christmas are the cable TV talk shows, which both feed on and feed off the extremists, relishing false choices, ranting guests and narcissistic hosts.
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Don't Perpetuate Economic Injustice
How can it be possible that so many people who claim allegiance to Jesus can be so complacent about the plight of the poor? How can they ignore what Jesus said about loving our neighbor?
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Baptists: Governments Must Keep Promise to Poor
Two Oklahoma Baptist leaders are calling for Baptists to take action to assure that governments keep their financial commitments to poorer countries even in the midst of a global financial downturn.
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The Audacity of Hope
Something of an awakening occurred among many of the faithful. It's almost as if scales fell from their eyes and they saw that they were not really being represented by conservative politicians so much as they were being pandered to by them.
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New Board Game Focuses on Thanksgiving
Americans should give thanks, even amid economic hardship. That's the message—and opportunity—of a new board game.
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Halloween As Prelude to Christmas Demise
Halloween serves as a warning to those Christians who would gladly give over the particulars of their faith into the hands of culture.
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Festival Workshop Explores Arts in the Black Church
The black church must make sure its own artistic voices are welcomed there, said panelists at a recent workshop on the church's relationship to media and the arts.
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Be the Answer to Your Prayer
What is the real purpose of a National Day of Prayer? I have often been puzzled by efforts to get large numbers of people praying about something. Is the assumption being made that God only responds to a critical mass of people praying. That until a certain number is reached, God will not act?
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Church Tax Exemption Isn't a Right
This past Sunday 33 pastors from all across the country deliberately broke the law. Prompted by the Alliance Defense Fund, a socially conservative legal consortium based in Arizona, these pastors stood in their pulpits and endorsed political candidates.
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Who Would Jesus Torture?
Would Jesus condone torture if it yielded information that might prevent a terrorist attack? Anyone who has studied the life and teachings of Jesus closely, really thought about the red-letter parts of the New Testament, would answer, no.
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Baptist Relief Agency Labels World Hunger Crisis a 'Daily Disaster'
While Baptist World Aid observes World Hunger Month during October, the world's hunger crisis is a daily disaster. This year's awareness campaign seeks to drive home that point with the worldwide Baptist community under the theme, "Hunger Crisis: A Daily Disaster."
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Jesus for President
What would happen if Jesus came to 21st century America, performed a couple of low-key miracles just to get folks talking, then announced he was running for president of the United States?
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New Zealand Church Leaders Urge Leaders to Fight Poverty
Church leaders in New Zealand have issued an open letter calling on all politicians to make reducing poverty a high priority during an election year.
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City Councilman Faults 'Sorry Churches' for Not Fighting Social Ills
Taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for social programs because there are too many "sorry churches" that aren't doing what they're supposed to do, according to a city official in Jacksonville, Fla.
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Weather Politics, Weather Theology
Sometime around the middle of August, James Dobson's Focus on the Family released a video urging Christians to pray for rain. Not rain to end the drought in the Southeast and other places, but rain to drown out a political message. The video encouraged Christians to pray for rain during Barak Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver on the last night of the Democratic National Convention.
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An Olympic-Sized Problem
Like many Americans, my attention recently was on the Olympic Games. I heard a report that more workers were coming to work too tired to be productive, because they have been staying up late watching the events.
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Diversity and Particularity
We live as a people in the midst of great diversity. We are diverse in age and gender and race and religion, especially religion. Even among Christians there is great variety. When we factor in the many other religious expressions in America, we are as one scholar put it "awash in a sea of faith." And that doesn't even take into account the many people who have no faith at all.
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Christian Leaders as Power Brokers
It sounds like the beginning of a corny joke: Two Christian guys walk into a Baptist church and tell the pastor they want him to help one of them become president of the United States.
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Enter the Antichrist
Mark Twain once wrote, "I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's."
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How Churches Might Face the Coming Crises
An earlier column talked about several converging crises--energy, economy and environment. Since then the price of gas has gone down! Proof that I was wrong. Not!
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Back to School
As summer slowly grinds to a steamy close, children and young people around the country are gearing up to go back to school. For most of them that means public school.
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A Candle for Those Oppressed
This Friday, the attention of the world will turn to Olympics. Extensive media coverage will be given to exceptional athletes--the talented swimmers, gifted gymnasts, Dream Teams and so many others.
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Ready, Set, Pray
For years now the Fredericksburg, Va., city council has started their monthly meetings with prayer. Working through a pre-established rotation, each council member takes a turn seeking guidance from a higher power for the council to do its work.
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Ready, Set, Pray
For years now the Fredericksburg, Va., city council has started their monthly meetings with prayer. Working through a pre-established rotation, each council member takes a turn seeking guidance from a higher power for the council to do its work.
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Church Must Go on the Offensive Against Violence
The church shooting last Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn., was a nightmare I have long feared. Churches, like schools, are easy targets for madmen wishing to inflict harm on defenseless people.
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Church as Family
What do you think of when you hear the term church?
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History, Faith and Politics
The decades between 1970 and 2020 will eventually be seen as one of the most significant periods of our history, especially in regard to the interplay between politics and religion. And the 2008 presidential campaign may well serve as an object lesson for the whole period.
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Making Interruptions Into a Ministry
It's not unusual to get a phone call and be asked, "Are you busy?" Now that question is tricky. Of course I stay busy. If I'm in the office, I'm not doing crossword puzzles.
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A Great Investment on Just Pennies A Day
A little over a year ago, the Missions Committee offered a small way we can impact our community. They sponsored "piggy banks" for each Sunday school class asking for loose change offerings to benefit God's Pantry.
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Christian Aid Group Blames Food Crisis on Trade Policies That Hurt the Poor
"Ruinous" agricultural policies forced upon poor countries by donor governments and financial institutions are to blame for the food crisis that threatens 100 million people with hunger, according to the international anti-poverty group Christian Aid.
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The Future of Faith-Based Initiatives
It is probably too early to speculate how history will rate George W. Bush's tenure as president. There will obviously be many words written about Sept. 11, the war in Iraq, tax cuts for the rich, the polarization of the country along partisan lines, the disputed 2000 election, and so on. The most problematic piece for me will be his legacy with the faith community.
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What Will We Do about Hunger When Bread Prices Are Linked to Oil Prices?
Two statements about global hunger appeared a month apart. The latter statement will test the depth of commitment of the former.
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Do You Love the Church?
During the Friday evening worship service at the CBF annual meeting in Memphis, the CBF director of missional church ministries began his presentation by saying, "I love church." He then invited the participants to repeat the phrase in unison. I'm not much into cheerleading, so I didn't open my mouth. I just couldn't bring myself to say the words. Let me tell you why.
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The Dream Hospital
Hospitals might be the only place where life is seen in its extremes. Happiness and sadness coexist in hospitals. Deaths and births happen simultaneously. Helena, Ark., is also a place where death and birth happen on nearly a daily basis. And while physical deaths and births happen here, I'm focusing more on the death and birth of dreams.
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How America Lost Its Soul
It was a noble experiment; risky but worth the risk. Human beings have inalienable rights, Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. A declaration of human rights.
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Talking Back to the Pulpit
Churches in the African-American tradition are familiar with "talking back." This give-and-take between the pulpit and pew offers immediate and affirming feedback with "that's right," "come on now" and "preach it" in response.
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Professor Says 'Stewards of Knowledge' Wasted Resource in Churches
People sitting in church pews with knowledge about complicated social issues but who use it only to enrich themselves are a wasted resource for the Kingdom of God, a former tax lawyer turned fair-tax activist told a Baptist Center for Ethics audience last week.
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Top Ten Questions Never To Ask a Hispanic Who Is Visiting Your Church
Over the years I have had the pleasure of visiting many predominant Euro-American churches. Without fail, some well-meaning person would usually approach me and ask a question that literally left me speechless.
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The Cross Must Again Become the Focal Image of Christianity
What does it mean to be Christian? The word, as far as we know, is first used in Acts 11:26, when the disciples are called Christians at Antioch. The term itself means one who follows Christ. But in our modern society, where Christianity has been so intertwined with American culture, the word has lost its original meaning, and its common use clouds our understanding of what it means to be a Christian.
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Great Preachers Wear Dresses
What do Karen Armstrong, Kathleen Norris and Anne Rice have in common? Actually, they share several similarities. They are all white women born in the 1940s who have been heavily influenced by the Catholic tradition and are prolific and acclaimed English-language authors.
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Speaker Encourages Churches to Advocate for Just Tax Laws
Churches have often misused and misunderstood the Bible verse that says "render unto Caesar" as an excuse for tolerating unjust taxes that oppress the poor, a speaker at a Baptist Center for Ethics luncheon said Thursday.
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A New Name For Alabama's Education System
I want to propose a new name for Alabama's education system--one that more accurately portrays the true status of public education in our state. I propose we call our public schools "the Lazarus system."
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CBF Coordinating Council Endorses Micah Call
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinating Council on Wednesday endorsed a global Christian campaign to deepen engagement with impoverished and marginalized communities and challenge international leaders to achieve the Millennium Development Goals to cut poverty in half by 2015.
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The Evidence of Things Not Seen
In March of this year, 11-year-old Kara Neumann of Weston, Wis., died as the result of a diabetic condition known as ketoacidosis. This condition is normally treatable with injections of insulin. When properly treated it is rarely fatal. But Kara's parents did not seek medical treatment for their daughter. Instead, they prayed.
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Religious Politics as Spectacle
In our last episode of religion and politics on the campaign trail we left Sen. John McCain rejecting the endorsement of John Hagee. McCain found out that Hagee thought the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves, because they would not leave Europe and move to Israel.
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No Free Lunch
I'm sitting at my desk eating a free lunch and trying to catch up on the news from an international food summit currently taking place in Rome. It is being sponsored by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
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McCain's Faithful Second Team
I am beginning to feel a little sorry for Sen. John McCain. He's done everything he is supposed to do. He beat out a large contingent of Republican presidential hopefuls fairly early allowing him to occupy the enviable position of presumptive Republican nominee for president for three months now. He's been scurrying about trying to rally the party behind him and all the other things the presumptive nominee does leading up to the Republican National Convention in September.
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Buckner Reaching Out Across the Border
Try to imagine visiting the second largest city in the world with 28 million residents. Then think about that city in terms of a two-and-a-half hour flight from Dallas.
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Payday Lenders Prey on Working Poor, Let's Pray Christians Work To End Predatory Lenders

Payday lenders are like McDonald's and dry cleaners--good businesses that want good locations to provide ready accessibility to customers who need good financial services. Payday lenders offer a popular product in economically tough times for which customers express overwhelming satisfaction. Only a few complain, according to a payday lending spokesperson.

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Hear Our June 19 Luncheon Speaker, Who Said Fair Taxation Is Pro-Life Issue
Don't miss the Baptist Center for Ethics' luncheon in Memphis on Thursday, June 19, at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's annual gathering. You will hear a Methodist law-school professor who rocked Alabama's faith community out of its moral lethargy about an unfair tax structure; encouraged a Republican governor, who sought justice for the least of those in his state; and grabbed the attention of the Wall Street Journal. She has the moral vision of a biblical prophetess and the analytical carefulness of a tax expert.
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CBF Announces Partnership With Micah Challenge
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship recently announced a two-year partnership with Micah Challenge USA, part of a global campaign to mobilize Christians against poverty.
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Starfish, Lotteries and Taxes
The Alabama Senate is considering a bill that will, among other things, remove the state portion of tax on food. I'm hopeful the bill will pass and have encouraged others to do what I have done--call their senator to encourage support for the bill.
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Sermons Should Call Us to Radical Discipleship
Perhaps it's who I am, but when I sit in church trying to follow the sermon, I am often stunned by the blandness of many Sunday-morning homilies.
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50 Million Printed Bibles Illustrate Strength, Unity in China's Churches
In announcing the 50 millionth Bible printed by the Amity Printing Company of Nanjing, China, the head of religious affairs announced that Chinese Bibles will be made available at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Special worship services will be provided in whatever language necessary.
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Where is God in the Storm?
Somewhere a preacher is preaching. He shakes his fist at the ceiling as he describes the wrath of God. That wrath has come, he tells his attentive congregation, on the crest of a terrible storm. God has shown his power and his might by smashing a wall of wind and water into villages in the troubled country of Myanmar.
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Power, Not Prejudice, Keeps Churches Segregated, Author Will Campbell Says
The church remains the last bastion of segregation in America not primarily due to prejudice but because of power, says civil-rights advocate and author Will Campbell.
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The Fragmenting Christian Right
It appears that the Religious Right is coming undone. Having played a dominant role in national politics since the 1980s, it now appears that the key players will be sidelined during the upcoming presidential campaign. It also appears that some among the conservative Christian movement think the partisanship of the past decades have hurt the cause of Christianity overall.
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If the Bible is So Important, Why Don't We Take Jesus More Seriously?
A friend of mine was telling me of his latest adventure of faith. The church he pastors has a sign on the main road of their small town. They posted this message: "The Sum of Christianity is Love God, Love Your Neighbor. The Rest is Doctrine." My friend said that message caused unexpected controversy in the Christian community of his town. One minister took out an ad in the local paper attacking the message and the church that posted it. Others communicated their criticism in more direct ways.
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God's Kingdom is a Kingdom of Consciousness
When you read the Gospel narratives, do you ever notice how Jesus sees and hears those people ignored by others? Whether a blind beggar, a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years or a hungry crowd, Jesus either sees them when others don't or he sees them quite differently than others do. These encounters inform us that Jesus had an intentional consciousness of those around him.
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Mother's Day for Peace
According to Wikipedia, the roots of Mother's Day may go all the way back to celebrations of motherhood by the ancient Greeks. In 16th century England, the custom developed of observing Mothering Day on the 4th Sunday in Lent. On that day, people would return to their "mother church" where, naturally, they would likely encounter their mothers.
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Render Unto the IRS
Kenyn Cureton is vice president for church ministries for the Family Research Council. The FRC is a right-wing religious organization that lobbies for the usual litany of right wing religious concerns-anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, prayer in schools and so on.
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It Takes a Cyclone to Awaken Conscience
What is more mystifying--the things that occupy our attention or the things that should occupy our attention?
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Activists Claim Large African Delegation Kept Methodists From Liberalizing Stance on Homosexuality
United Methodists would have changed church rules calling homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching" this year had it not been for delegates from overseas, a conservative activist claims.
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God's Kingdom is a Kingdom of Sharing
In Luke 12 Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who had plenty. In fact, the man had so much grain that he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. This rich man believed that because of his new windfall he was set for a life of ease and pleasure. Yet, in a shocking twist of events, the man's life came to an unexpected end, and his abundance was wasted. He had assumed that his surplus of grain would keep him comfortable for years to come, but instead his life was demanded of him that night, and his excess became useless.
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Liberation Theology a Significant Theological Movement
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama's former minister, continues to be a factor in the ongoing presidential campaign. His recent media blitz has put his theology and social views on the front burner. I find it interesting to hear his views characterized as representative of Black Liberation Theology.
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LEEDing By Example
Curiously, churches have lagged far behind institutions of higher education and corporations in paying attention to environmental responsibility and sustainability in constructing buildings. In some conservative Christian circles, the recent obsession with creation(-ism) has led to a great deal of talk but very little walk in creation care. In some liberal circles, environmentalism has become a new creedalism, but with little or no impact on the design and construction of church facilities.
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Baptist Minister/Judge Says Incarceration a Moral Issue
Baptists should condemn the idea that incarceration cures crime, advocate just alternatives to prison and work to reclaim and restore persons leaving the penal system, says an appellate judge and ordained Baptist minister.
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The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of Love
In reading the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, I cannot help but draw one fundamental conclusion about the essence of God: God is love. From Genesis to Revelation, the pages of the Bible sing forth that God is love. If this is true, then we must conclude that the primary characteristic of God's kingdom is also love. While we speak about God's kingdom coming in power, it is in the power of love that God's kingdom transforms the world.
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Struggling in Silence
Do you know which professional group in the United States experiences the highest rate of suicide? According to the most recent edition of Newsweek magazine, the highest rate of suicide in our country, higher than among any other professional group, occurs among doctors.
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Fundamentalists on the Left and Right
Chris Hedges has lived an interesting life so far. He is a graduate of Harvard divinity school and once considered a career in the ministry. He eventually ended up in journalism where he served for two decades as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and National Public Radio. In 2002 he shared the Pulitzer Prize with a team of writers for coverage of global terrorism.
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God's Kingdom is a Kingdom of Peace
At the beginning of his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus makes nine statements that would be enough to offer us a guide to living the way God would have us live even if they were the only extant words of Jesus we had. Each statement promises blessings if we live according to what is demanded by Jesus. Unfortunately, his demands are not easy, as he tells us that to find blessings we must be poor, be mournful, be meek, hunger for righteousness, be merciful, and endure persecution in the name of Jesus.
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World Bank Official Warns Rising Food Costs Could Push 100 Million Into Poverty
Surging food prices could push 100 million deeper into poverty, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Sunday at the close of the International Money Fund-World Bank spring meetings in Washington.
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Churches Use 'An Inconvenient Truth' as Teaching Tool
There's a valuable teaching tool for pastors and religious educators willing to take a little political risk: Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," say two congregational leaders who have shown the film in Baptist churches.
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The Cost of War
There have been a lot of numbers thrown about recently regarding the cost of the war in Iraq. The estimates now suggest the war will run through trillions of dollars.
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Will Prosperity Theology Bring Peace between Christianity and Islam?
The "Atlantic" magazine has a cover title of "Which Religion Will Win" with an artistic question mark designed out of a crescent moon intersecting with a crucifix atop a globe. One of the issue's major articles examines the competition between Christianity and Islam for adherents in Nigeria, "God's Country," Africa's most populous country.
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Faith and Doubt
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is currently offering an exceptional production of Tom Dudzick's humorous play, "Over the Tavern." The story line is about a Catholic family in the 1950s that literally lives over a tavern. The characters, Chester and Ellen, are struggling to raise their four children, including two teenagers, a son who has down syndrome and a son who doesn't want to be Catholic.
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BCE Luncheon to Explore Morality of Fair Taxation
An Alabama law professor who argues that fair taxation is a moral issue will present her case June 19 at a luncheon meeting sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics. The gathering is in conjunction with the 18th General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, scheduled June 19-20 in Memphis, Tenn.
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The Bible and Pedophilia
I have been pondering this issue of sexual predators in the church. Much of the conversation has revolved around larger denominational structures, rather than local churches. I think that has happened for at least two reasons. Pedophilia was for the most part perceived as a Catholic issue. It was too convenient to ignore the imagery of non-married clergy and altar boys. Huge court cases and enormous financial settlements only served to reinforce our prejudices. It has now become apparent that issue is an iceberg in the Baptist ocean as well.
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Media Fall Short in Reporting About Religion
The media is blamed for a lot that is undeserving, but one place cable, networks, newspapers and the Internet do come up short is in-depth reporting on church polity and oratory in the varied worship services.
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Jesus' Message that God's Kingdom Coming Into the World Still Relevant
In the opening of Mark's Gospel, after his baptism and temptation, Jesus announces that the kingdom of God is at hand. The way in which the author narrates this proclamation as Jesus' first words in the story suggests that Jesus' central message throughout his life was about the kingdom of God.
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Hate and the Pulpit
I know it's not new, I guess I am just more aware of it. But it does seem to be more prevalent. I am talking about anger and hate filled language spoken from American pulpits.
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4,000 War Dead More Than Just a Number
The number of dead Americans in Iraq passed 4,000 this week. It was almost lost in the midst of the Easter holidays. I only knew one of those 4,000, but it changed my view of the families that have lost, the soldiers who fight and the awful cost of war.
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Why I Believe in the Resurrection
Sunday Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection is viewed by believers just about everywhere as the foundation of Christianity. They assert that by raising Jesus from the dead God has defeated death and secured for all who have faith the gift of eternal life.
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Name Calling in the Name of Jesus
I've been following an interesting back and forth between two prominent American religious figures. The individuals involved are Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Randall Balmer, an Episcopal priest and professor of American religious history at Columbia University.
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The Real Jesus Offends Us
When I was working on my Ph.D. in Edinburgh, Scotland, I would often take breaks from my writing and roam Auld Reekie, as Edinburgh is affectionately known. One of my favorite places of respite from the grind of writing a dissertation was the National Gallery. There I could view in peace the creative works from the great artists of history.
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Bring Your Bible to Church--And Your Gun
"Git out the old six-shooter, Ma, we're goin' to church." That might sound like it's from a Hollywood western, but it may not be fiction for long.
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Extreme Religious Endorsements
Sen. Barack Obama recently received an endorsement from a controversial religious leader who promotes hate toward certain groups. Ironically, Sen. John McCain was endorsed by another religious leader who also promotes hate toward certain groups.
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Poverty and Justice Bible 'Megaphones' God's Concern for the Poor
A British Bible society is launching the first-ever study Bible highlighting more than 2,000 verses that emphasize God's concern about injustice and the poor.
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Faith in America: Believers on Pilgrimage
The Los Angeles Times recently featured a new study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The results offer a snapshot of faith in America--although "home movie," might be a more accurate description of the report. People of faith in America are on the move--it's like a pilgrimage.
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A New Voice for the Faithful
The expression, "there at the beginning," took on special meaning for me this past week. I was witness to the birth of a new movement in Alabama, a movement which has the potential to redefine the way faith communities confront social concerns in our state. The movement has a name: the Alabama Faith Council.
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Where Do Payday Lenders Go to Church?

Do a Google search for the words "Baptists" and "payday." You will be surprised by what you find and disappointed by what is missing. You will find abundant references to the Baptist preacher R. G. Lee, who preached over 1,200 times the same sermon--"Payday Someday." You will find little evidence that Baptists care enough about predatory lenders to take reformatory initiatives.

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New Baptist Covenant Celebration a Gift to North American Baptists
Like every other Baptist gathered in Atlanta, I was so pleased at the experience from participating in the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. I was unsure whether to come at first, not knowing what to expect or what to think about what might come of this meeting, but I was told by one of my elder mentors that I needed to be there. As usual, the wisdom of my friend was right on target and I am grateful to God for the chance to see it with my own eyes and to hear it with my own ears.
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Jesus' Political Message Pronounced Judgment on Imperial Power
Most readers of the Gospels are familiar with Jesus' confrontations with demons. Throughout his ministry, Jesus encountered many individuals who were said to be possessed by unclean spirits; spirits who were in direct opposition to Jesus' mission, but who ultimately could not stand against the power which Jesus thrust upon them. While these stories convey various levels of meaning, there is one in particular that suggests that Jesus' political mission opposed the arrogant power of empire.
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New Covenant Baptists Must Grasp 'Other Reality' of Diversity
I am writing this short article in the afterglow of the Atlanta event that celebrated the New Baptist Covenant. The overall response from the Canadian contingent, even though our participation was more as observers than egalitarian partners, was that the speakers were inspiring and the workshops stimulating.
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Payday Lenders Boom Where Conservative Christians Exercise Political Power

The predatory practice of payday lenders flourishes in the Bible Belt, the very place where one would think that the piety and morality of church goers would oppose such ventures that charge the poor exorbitant interest rates exceeding those of "the old mafia loan sharking syndicates." That is not the case, according to a new study that maps the correlation of payday lenders and conservative Christians.

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New Baptist Covenant: One-Time Event, or Beginning of a Movement?
To an outsider, the main impetus for the New Baptist Covenant, supported by 30 Baptist denominations and groups in North America might seem clear: an opportunity for the Baptists of North America to re-group after the years of controversy centered on the Southern Baptist Convention and its withdrawal from the Baptist World Alliance.
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It's Been a Long Time Since I've Wanted to Rededicate My Life at a Baptist Meeting
The New Baptist Covenant meeting was, without doubt, the most inspiring, uplifting, heart-warming and stimulating meeting in my lifetime. It was also the first time I've been proud of being a Baptist in at least 30 years.
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To Become a Movement, New Baptist Covenant Must Look to Future
January's historic Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a new movement in Baptist life. Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend enjoyed three days of fellowship and reconciliation with Baptist brothers and sisters from all walks of life, absolutely incredible, God-inspired preaching, and chances to learn about ways to help heal those who have been broken by our sinful world.
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Al Gore the Prophet
From time to time throughout this long presidential campaign, I have heard several people say they wish Al Gore would get into the race. I am not one of them. I don't want the former vice president to run for president, because it would distract him from the important work he is doing in the cause of the environment. The consequences of that campaign have truly global significance.
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The New Baptist Covenant Celebration: A Grand Experiment
The New Baptist Covenant Celebration was a great success. Bringing together Baptists from various denominational communities, theological traditions, ethnicities and geographic locations was an unprecedented venture.
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Reflection on the New Baptist Covenant: Where Do We Go From Here?
The New Baptist Covenant meeting was a wonderful gathering of like-minded Baptists. I have been invited to reflect and evaluate the meeting, consider what the future might hold for this kind of meeting and provide suggestions for local and hemispheric actions. Let me start with an evaluation using the name of the meeting:
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Baptists Must See Crisscrossing of Race, Poverty and the Environment
Goodwill Baptists in North America are having feverish public and private conversations about next steps. Of course, trying to get Baptists heading in the same direction is like herding cats, a near impossibility.
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Baptists Found Their Voice Again at New Baptist Covenant Celebration
Anyone who has been around Baptist preachers very long knows that the old simile about us being like manure is embarrassingly true: spread us around and we do a little good, but get us all together and we stink to the high heavens.
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Reflections on a New Baptist Covenant
I was privileged this past week to participate in a truly historic event. Baptist groups from all across North America, even from around the world, gathered in Atlanta for a three-day show of Christian unity. The event, dubbed a New Baptist Covenant, brought together white Baptists, African-American Baptists, Hispanic Baptists, Asian Baptists and others. We all joined hands and lifted our voices praising God. And we prayed, prayed for a return to traditional Baptist principles.
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The New Baptist Covenant: What's Next?
The New Baptist Covenant gathering in Atlanta exceeded all my expectations, and I hope it marks the beginning of a new day for Baptists in North America.
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Sacrifice Was Jesus' Master Plan
Today is Ash Wednesday. It is a time to think of sacrifice. It is a time to think of willing sacrifice. We give something up; usually physical in nature to appreciate the sacrifice of the cross and to sharpen our spiritual vision for Easter, which is just around the corner.
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Living With Our Fallibility
It has been a pesky problem from the very beginning. Adam, who walked with God in the cool of the garden, could not follow one simple proscription. Abraham, called by God to be the progenitor of a great nation, lied about Sarah being his wife to save his own hide. Moses, chosen from among all the people of the world to receive God's law, could not follow simple instructions like hitting the rock once instead of twice. And let's not forget about King David. In a single stroke, David managed to mangle four of the Ten Commandments.
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New Baptist Covenant Celebration was Political, but not Partisan
Fifteen thousand pastors and laypersons representing churches across the land met last week in Atlanta under the banner of the New Baptist Covenant to offer a progressive voice for Baptists. All Baptists in North America were invited, and every major group signed on except Southern Baptists.
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Living With Our Fallibility
It has been a pesky problem from the very beginning. Adam, who walked with God in the cool of the garden, could not follow one simple proscription. Abraham, called by God to be the progenitor of a great nation, lied about Sarah being his wife to save his own hide. Moses, chosen from among all the people of the world to receive God's law, could not follow simple instructions like hitting the rock once instead of twice. And let's not forget about King David. In a single stroke, David managed to mangle four of the Ten Commandments.
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Gore Delivers Most Important Baptist Address in 30 Years
Former Vice President Al Gore delivered the most energetic, substantive and potentially transformative speech made by a Baptist to a Baptist audience in 30 years.
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Author John Grisham Offers Tips to Restore Baptists' Good Name
Why are Baptists so often viewed as narrow, intolerant, politically naïve and prone to internal warfare?
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Jimmy Carter Rates New Baptist Covenant Celebration His 'Most Momentous' Religious Event
One of the world's most famous Baptists, Jimmy Carter accepted Christ at age 11 and began teaching Bible lessons 65 years ago.
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Clinton Challenges 'Epidemic of Indifference' in Address to African-American Baptists
The past seven years in Washington have seen an "epidemic of indifference" and a "collective turning of the government's back" on people in need, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a joint meeting of four major African-American Baptist groups Wednesday in Atlanta.
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Life Lessons From Father to Son
After 31 years as a parent you would think I would have some sense of competence about the task. Well, I don't. If anything, as time goes along, I feel more perplexed than ever.
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Death in the Congo
Last week the International Rescue Committee released its latest mortality survey for the Democratic Republic of Congo. They do a survey every 2-3 years; the methodology is as sound as it can be given the circumstances, and these surveys are widely acknowledged as the best estimate of how many people have died as a result of Congo's wars.
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What I Hope in the New Baptist Covenant
For the greater portion of my professional life, I have felt more at home outside of my denomination than within it. I guess it can be expected when you're from a divided family.
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New Baptist Covenant Is Already a Success
Announcing success before an event is risky, even foolish business. But in the Pauline tradition of being foolish for Christ's sake and forsaking the wisdom of the world, which warns against naming success in advance during problematic times, I want to announce that the New Baptist Covenant next week in Atlanta is a success based on what it has already accomplished.
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The Misunderstood Man From Nazareth
Back in November of last year Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent letters for financial information from six of the countless mega-church television preachers. The senator was widely portrayed as persecuting these millionaire preachers. The offended preachers surrounded their auditors with lawyers and let the senators, IRS and anyone interested know that they were not responding to such insolent questions.
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Help Wanted: Black Friend
The great modern-day theologian--Steven Colbert of the popular Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report"--recently began accepting applications for the position of his very own "black friend."
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In Memory Of Martin Luther King
In his elegant little book, "Finally Comes the Poet," Walter Brueggemann writes that the task of the preacher is to be "a voice that shatters settled reality and evokes new possibilities." If he is right about that, then no preacher in the last century has been more effective than Martin Luther King, Jr. His words helped shatter the settled reality of segregation. He also gave voice to the possibility of what he called the "beloved community."
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Will the New Baptist Covenant Be Political?
Polite conversation encourages the avoidance of discussing religion and politics. It is for good reason. In the history of the world, more blood has been shed and more lives have been lost by the way these forces have conspired together, short of any other factor except a blatant quest for raw absolute power.
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Al Mohler for President--of the SBC
Amidst the intense campaigning for the presidency of the United States, there is a smaller yet significant campaign of another type taking shape--the campaign for president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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Face-Based Religion
"God is in His Heaven, and the hypocrites are in His church." Now before you send me hate mail about being anti-Christian, I am only paraphrasing the results of a LifeWay Research survey on church affiliation. LifeWay is part of the Southern Baptist Convention headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.
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New Baptist Covenant Celebration Chance to Move Forward in Race Relations
North American Baptists will soon have one of the best opportunities in our history to address the racial divisions that have too long defined us.
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One Nation, Indivisible?
Over the holidays my wife and I enjoyed watching the movie classic "The Bells of St. Mary's." It's not really a Christmas movie, but it has all the themes of faith and grace that we celebrate during the season, and the story has a nice holiday feel to it.
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Baptists Speak With Unified Voice in New Baptist Covenant
The end of this month marks an historic event for Baptists in North America.
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A Position Opposing Abortion Does Not Make One Pro-Life
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down one of its most memorable decisions in the Roe v. Wade case. That decision viewed laws that banned abortion as violations of constitutional rights to privacy and gave women the right to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Since that decision, the issue of abortion has been center stage in each election campaign for president, and the debates that have raged have divided the United States along entrenched partisan lines to the point where both sides feel so passionate about their views that they have mischaracterized the other side's position.
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Christians Should Respond to the Immigration Debate with the Compassion of Christ
The Christmas Season has once again come and gone. Presents have been opened and exchanged, decorations have been stored for another year, and resolutions have been made to start the New Year. The ever-familiar Christmas story lives on in our hearts and minds, narrating for us the incarnation of God into the world in the person of Jesus. Yet, while we celebrate and retell the story with feelings of warmth and comfort, from its beginning to its end the story is a narrative about the rejection of Jesus as a stranger and alien in a foreign land.
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Attend Lunch with Nobel Laureate
Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore will speak at a luncheon scheduled for Jan. 31, 2008, from noon to 2 p.m., in Atlanta, in the Thomas Murphy Ballroom at the Georgia World Congress Center.
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New Year Hopes and Wishes
I don't do New Year's resolutions anymore. However, I do have a few New Year's hopes and wishes.
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Christmas Star Gets Its Due on Epiphany
(Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly) Christmas, despite what the calendar says, isn't over. And the star--"star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright"--that shone over Bethlehem won't go dim until it gets its proper due on Epiphany on Sunday.
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Looking Into the Eyes Of Jesus
During the Christmas holidays, several news outlets carried an article about Rudy Giuliani reading the Christmas story at a children's home in Harlem. The heart-warming headline was followed by a story explaining that he is following up on a 14-year tradition. Every December Giuliani goes to the children's home to read "Twas the Night before Christmas."
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Seasonal Charity and Biblical Justice
The holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas is the most intensely charitable time of the whole year. Church and civic groups gather clothes, food, and toys for needy families. Volunteers make their way to homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Busy shoppers dutifully drop their change into Salvation Army buckets.
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Transforming Poverty by Reconsidering Our Citizenship
The power of our communities lies in the ideals of our common humanity. To continue to live in separate villages whose cohesiveness is ephemeral at best, or in gated communities of homogeneity, will only enhance everyone's poverty.
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Baptists Celebrate Christmas in Malaysia
Washington (BWA) For the very first time, permission was granted by Malaysian authorities for Christians to celebrate Christmas in the Muslim-majority country.
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Christmas Preparation
Every year at Christmas I take a week of vacation either before or after the holiday. This year I took off the week before. Knowing that things might be hectic in the church office I thought I had everything lined up and taken care of related to adopted Christmas families, the weekly food program and everything else that takes place during the week. I really needed a break to get myself ready for Christmas.
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The More Things Change, the More They Change: A Christmas Memoir
As a child I would go to bed on Christmas Eve so excited I could hardly sleep. Of course, part of the problem was that the last words I heard from Mama before I went to bed were "Go to sleep now; Santa Claus won't come if you're awake." So I went to bed terrified that I wouldn't be able to sleep and certain that if I didn't sleep then there would be no gifts for me.
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There's 'Joy' in the Manger
Through the years I have enjoyed observing countless living nativity scenes during the holiday season. Most of these scenes are staged on the lawns of church campuses or they are incorporated into annual Christmas pageants. Many of the scenes include both human characterization and a menagerie of live animals.
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Who Is Jesus?
As we make our way to Christmas Day when millions of Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Jesus, perhaps it's worth asking, "Who is Jesus?"
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The Kingdom of God is Ultimate Reality
The Kingdom that Jesus taught is ultimate reality--reality that cannot be transgressed without dire consequences. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23.)
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Baptist Preacher Urges Wal-Mart to 'Be a Better Neighbor' in TV Spot
A faculty member at Baptist-related McAfee School of Theology appears in a new television ad critical of Wal-Mart.
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Up and At 'Em
The good news is, if you're awake, you're alive. The bad news is, you have to get out of that comfy bed, find something to wear, and at least try to be someone who is pleasant to be around.
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Advent: Waiting for the World to Change
John Mayer's song called "Waiting for the World to Change" has been my head as I think about Christmas. Mayer writes compelling lyrics about how we often feel like we don't have the power to change our world. "Now we see everything that's going wrong/with the world and those who lead it/we just feel like we don't have the means/to rise above and beat it." So we keep waiting, Mayer says, waiting for the world to change.
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Is Violence Among Humans Inevitable?
This Christmas season has been tragically scarred by a series of senseless violent acts. Shopping malls and churches are the latest venues for troubled individuals to take out their frustrations on the innocent.
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Immigration IS a Social Issue
Immigration continues to dominate much of the discussion among Republican presidential candidates. The issue sparked a fierce back-and-forth exchange between candidates Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney during the recent CNN/YouTube debate.
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New Baptist Covenant Celebration Must Avoid Appearance of Partisanship
I am a supporter of the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant. I hope the meeting will enhance Baptist relationships and Baptist witness. Still, I see a potential problem with the political image it may present.
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A Parable of Christmas for Our Time
I have been trying to come up with a parable for the Christmas season. I wanted to write a story that would capture the mood of this strange religious time we live in. But before I could even get my imagination cranked, reality came along with something much better than any thing I might dream up.
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Reviving the Real War on Christmas
I am originally from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, home to Bunker Hill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickenson and Mary Baker Eddy. I am proud son of Massachusetts, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I am anti-Christmas.
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The Ballad of John and John (Ode to John Lennon)
Every year when December hits, we hear a lot about John. That's John, as in the strange and hairy man screaming as loud as he can that we've really messed up the world, and we all better get our act straight before it's too late.
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The Link Between Politics and Religion
Nearly every week someone complains that my column is not about "faith matters." The accusation is that I write more about politics than faith and should therefore call the column "political matters."
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Lunchtime: Eating for the Benefit of Everyone Else
In many churches, food is as commonplace as pews, choir robes and altar calls. In fact, potluck is as much a part of the Christian vernacular as prayer, peace and pastor. Therefore, the call to eat for the benefit of others is an important one in the life of a Christian and a Christian community.
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Avoiding Advent Boycotts
EthicsDaily.com recently carried a Religion News Service story about a new church movement called the "Advent Conspiracy."
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Make Your Own Gifts This Season
'Tis the season to go crazy.
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Creeds, Covenant and Community
Creeds developed early in the history of the church. "Jesus is Lord" may well have been the earliest one. The Apostle's Creed came later, followed by a number of creeds developed and approved by church councils. Most early Protestants continued to generate creeds.
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Make Christmas More About Giving, Less About Consumption
Christmas is not your birthday--unless you're Jimmy Buffet, Clara Barton or Jesus, that is. But you already knew that.
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In Search Of Christmas
Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to begin preparing for Christmas in earnest. Unfortunately with the arrival of the season also comes the accompanying lunacy. I refer of course to the annual battle to save Christmas. The decision by many retailers to use the inclusive language of "Happy Holidays," rather than "Merry Christmas," has become the latest battleground for conservative Christians' war on culture.
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Being in God's Place and Time
The nurse who greeted us in the emergency room was pleasant and efficient. I could not help noticing, however, the colorful tattoo on her right forearm. Below the tattoo were two additional figures, which looked like Chinese characters.
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Arlo Guthrie, Thanksgiving and a Yarmulke
Thanksgiving may not be a "Jewish" festival, but each year one of its rituals stirs in me the memory of a moment when my puzzled, uncertain exploration of the "Jewish thing" took on new power for me. And when I came to understand the power of a yarmulke.
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Keeping Perspective When Things Go Wrong
Sitting around the dinner table with friends talk turned to the war and our frustrations with so much that is wrong with our world. Someone said they were tired of politicians who kept up the shell games of half-truths. Another volunteered that they were tired of worrying about economy and oil and terrorism and the bleak future. Someone said they were just tired of saying goodbye to some special people who had made their own journey just a little easier. The more we talked, the more hopeless we became.
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Thanksgiving Trumps Christmas, Orange Is the Color for the Common Good
Thanksgiving trumps Christmas. Cultural fundamentalists and sentimental Christians may read that statement as heresy.
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U.S. Senator Requests Donation Information of TV Evangelists
Back in the 16th century, the Dominican monk Tetzel, to fulfill the pope's demands, preached from village to village how the faithful could shorten the time of their loved ones in purgatory with a few shekels. According to Roland Bainton's classic life of Martin Luther, Tetzel would say to the villagers:
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Torture and the Appearance of Evil
Perception is reality. It's not the only reality, but it is real to the one perceiving it. Perceptions can change, but until they do, what someone perceives as being real is real--to them.
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Pluralism Challenges Exclusiveness of Christianity
There is no doubt that 21st century America is more religiously diverse than any previous century. This may be due mostly to the 1965 Immigration Act that abolished an immigration policy that was exclusive to European immigrants.
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A Crisis of Faith
Since the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, conservative evangelicals have served as a formidable political force. Comprising over one the third of the electorate, evangelicals voting in concert have faithfully delivered numerous victories to conservative candidates.
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A Crisis of Faith
Since the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, conservative evangelicals have served as a formidable political force. Comprising over one the third of the electorate, evangelicals voting in concert have faithfully delivered numerous victories to conservative candidates.
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Seekers After Less Than God
A story that appeared recently in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution set me to thinking about the ethics of attending church as a "seeker."
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God's Economics: Choosing Who Gets What
Economics is like a game of musical chairs. There are not enough chairs in the world for everyone to have as many as they would like. But rather than play music and race to the nearest chair, we have an auction, and those with the most money buy their chairs while those without are left standing.
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It Starts When You're Always Afraid
Fear is a great motivator. Nothing gets folks moving like a good jolt to the adrenal system. Marketing gurus understand this very well. That's why so much of what we are offered for consumption, from mouthwash to politics, is wrapped in fear.
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New Book Examines Jonah Story from the Underside of Oppression
The Old Testament story of Jonah is more than a fairy tale about a man being swallowed by a whale, and even more than an evangelical call to preach the gospel to those in foreign lands, but instead a model for reconciliation between the haves and the have-nots, says a new book.
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Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
There have never been many of them, but every now and then God manages to refresh the earth in general and the faith community in particular with the presence and the preaching of a prophet. I am not referring to some soothsayer who claims to be able to predict the future.
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A Place for Jesus in the Church?
A Web-based group calling themselves TopVerse.com recently conducted a survey asking Christians to identify their favorite verses. The reason for the survey was to speed up an online search feature offered at the site.
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White House Seeks to Reduce Program Providing Energy Assistance to the Poor
Two weeks after President Bush vetoed a children's health insurance bill claiming he wants to put poor children first, the White House is threatening to veto legislation to boost funding for a program that helps low-income families pay their heating bills.
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Too Much Pluribus, Not Enough Unum
I feel so cliche coming home from a visit to Germany with scores of pictures of the magnificent kirches, churches, at the center of every hamlet and city across Deutschland.
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Separation of Church, Government Good for Both
One of the most frustrating things I encounter as a minister is the realization that many if not most Christian people do not appreciate the idea of a separation of church and government. In fact, not only do they not appreciate the idea, many vehemently oppose the notion. Which is terribly troubling because separation is a good thing--for the church and the government.
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Does Fred Thompson Worship at the Church of Civil Religion?
Fred Thompson exemplifies civil religion--religion that honors the nonspecific idea of the little "g" God and requires nothing more than a nod in political speeches. Civil religion is the opposite of authentic religion.
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Poor Children Victims of Multiple Marginalization
In September 2006, I was asked to lead a Bible study on children and poverty for the all-staff gathering of National Ministries (American Baptist Churches, U.S.A.) The purpose of the study was to help staff explore the biblical mandates related to the Children in Poverty Initiative, which was adopted in 2005 as denomination-wide issue of concern.
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Oral Roberts University, Hagee, Seek Influence Beyond the Church
Recent allegations against Oral Roberts University raise larger issues concerning the influence the university has around the nation.
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Reaching Young People At All Costs?
Having served as a pastor now for over 30 years, I have seen every sort of outreach gimmick you can imagine. Churches have been willing to do almost anything to get people into church, especially young people.
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Fair Taxation a Pro-Life Issue, Professor Says at 'Golden Rule Politics' Screening
Abortion is an important moral issue, but not for the reason many pro-life Christians believe, says a University of Alabama law professor and seminary graduate who has spent five years on the sawdust trail preaching the gospel of tax reform.
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Violent Young Men
I saw the Halo youth-ministry story that everyone's commenting on when I picked up a copy of the New York Times at the airport on Sunday.
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What Should Churches Do About Immigration?
Let's face it: Global migrations in the 21st century will not disappear just because of wishful thinking.
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National Council of Churches Charts New Course
The National Council of Churches, America's leading ecumenical group, charted a new course by selecting a long-time educator and ecumenical leader to head a newly restructured and downsized organization.
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A War For Oil
From the very beginning of the war in Iraq, faith leaders, and others, have raised concerns that the conflict did not meet the criteria for a "just war." Just-war theory has been taking shape for centuries. In its present form there are a minimum of five conditions to be met in order for an armed conflict to be considered "just."
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Guidelines for the Political 'Crazy Season'
What's a Christian to do during the political "crazy season"--i.e. the race for the presidency of the United States? When asked, I usually answer in terms of what a Christian should and should not do.
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Cookies, College, Career and Creation
I have been saddened with all the discussion of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's homemaking degree. It seems such a waste of energy and resources that have once more distracted Baptists from the mission of Christ Jesus--to be the hands, voice, and presence of God in a needy world.
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Southern Baptists Push Immigration Reform
On Sept. 16, Latino church groups demonstrated in front of the Georgia state Capitol against the failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and against the provisions of Georgia's Senate Bill 529.
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Will You Sign the Nazareth Manifesto?
I invite readers of EthicsDaily.com, their fellow church members, friends and the multitude of goodwill Baptists to sign "The Nazareth Manifesto" found in Luke 4:18-19, where Jesus announced his agenda.
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Is Atheism On The Increase?
According to a recent article in the "Washington Post," atheism is on the rise in America. Margaret Downey, president of the Atheist Alliance International, reports that her organization's membership has doubled in the last year. She also reports that the Alliance's annual convention already has a 500-person waiting list.
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The Role of Religion in Politics
I was privileged recently to participate in a project sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics. The BCE folks pulled together six ministers and four politicians, along with some other interested parties, and encouraged them to talk about "the rightful role of religion in politics." The result is a 36-minute DVD entitled "Golden Rule Politics."
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Praying For The Lottery
This past week the multi-state MegaMillions lottery reached $330 million. On Saturday morning, there were four winners. One of them, Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett of Nottingham, Md., believes his good fortune was the result of prayer.
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When We Pray For Our Enemies, What Do We Say?
One of the most difficult things Jesus ever said was "love your enemies." And he didn't stop there. Jesus also said "pray for those who persecute you," and then you will be like God. So it would appear that Jesus wants us to pray for our enemies because that is what God does.
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Christianity and Capitalism
The only history we have of earliest Christianity is found in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Written by the same person who wrote the Gospel of Luke, the book of Acts opens with Jesus' ascension and concludes with Paul's arrival in Rome. The book ends up being mostly about Paul, but several chapters are devoted to the first followers and their life in Jerusalem.
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The Virtue of Tolerance
Simple toleration of someone or some idea is not the ideal expressed in our founding documents. In America we don't promote tolerance among religions; we practice "religious freedom."
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Fear and Trembling Among the Faithful
I've never met Brent Beasley, senior pastor at Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., but I have become a huge fan. In a recent column at Ethicsdaily.com, Beasley asks the question, "Why are Christians so prone to fear?"
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Praying For Rain
Alabama, along with several other places in the country, is suffering through one of the worst droughts in decades. Agribusiness, whether it takes the form of cattle or produce, is dependent on water. And agribusiness is big business in Alabama.
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The Offense of Fantasy
With seven bestsellers in the series, and five blockbuster movies, like it or not, Harry Potter is here to stay. And there are those who are not happy about that. Many Christian parents and church leaders fear that Harry's popularity promotes witchcraft and paganism among young people.
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What Would Jesus Do?
The language of my faith is replete with appeals for believers to "be faithful to Jesus." Other words include "faithful follower," "loyal disciple" and "let Jesus be Lord of your life."
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Who Would Jesus Stone?
A tragedy of biblical proportions occurred in Iran this past week, according to an Associated Press report. A man convicted of adultery was stoned to death in a village in the northern part of the country.A tragedy of biblical proportions occurred in Iran this past week, according to an Associated Press report. A man convicted of adultery was stoned to death in a village in the northern part of the country.
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From Faith Comes Certainty
A thoughtful piece on President Bush's present state of mind caught my attention this past week. Written by Peter Baker, a staff writer at the Washington Post, the title asserts "a president besieged and isolated, yet at ease."
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Born on the Fourth of July
This coming week we celebrate the 231st anniversary of the founding of our nation. All across our land there will be fireworks and parades commemorating our successful fight to free ourselves from British rule. And it is absolutely fitting and proper that we should remember our national story. I just wish we remembered it better, and more of it.
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A Political Shift for Southern Baptists?
For the past three decades Southern Baptists have been, for the most part, faithful political conservatives. Like other believers on the religious right, culture-war issues have made them reliable supporters of the Republican Party. This party loyalty has been especially evident during the annual Southern Baptist Convention. Visits and calls from sitting presidents have become routine. President Bush beamed in this year via satellite.
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Has America Become an Empire?
Has America become an Empire? With the demise of the old Soviet Union, America certainly exists as the only remaining super power in the world. And that is a unique place to be, uncharted waters in many ways. For nearly our entire history we have either been underdogs who bravely faced up to super powers, or were one among others. Now, we stand alone.
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Apology for Slavery Just a Step
The decision by the Alabama Legislature to pass a resolution apologizing for our state's role in slavery has provoked mixed responses. Some hail it as a step forward in healing a wound from our troubled past. Others see the move as too little to late. Still others want to know why we are apologizing for something someone else did wrong.
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Jurassic Park Meets Noah's Ark
A new museum in Petersburg, Ky., is attempting to bring together faith and science in an interesting way. Calling their endeavor "Creation Museum," promoters hope to use the museum to celebrate God as creator--which is a good thing.
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The Gift Of Memory
We were fortunate some years back to be in Washington D.C. when the United States Holocaust Museum opened. We stood in line for hours to get tickets, and hours more to get in. Hundreds and hundreds of people were there to see and remember.
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Jerry Falwell's Legacy--A Politicized Faith
The death of Jerry Falwell marks a significant milestone in one of the most interesting periods in American Christian history. Falwell was the result of a particular social and religious evolution that greatly impacted faith in America. He also lived long enough to actually contribute to that evolution.
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What Preachers Will or Won't Say
A new book by a Baptist minister is sure to stir debate among Christians of every stripe. According to Oliver "Buzz" Thomas, author of the book, there are "10 things your minister wants to tell you, but can't because he needs his job." By the way, that's the title.
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Fear, Arrogance and Ignorance
There is a wonderful scene in the movie "Bull Durham" in which a seasoned catcher is trying to mature an impetuous though talented young pitcher. The catcher says, "You've got to play this game with fear and arrogance." Trying to deliberately yank the chain of his mentor the pitcher replies, "Right, fear and ignorance."
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In Violence We Trust
The tragic shooting at Virginia Tech has left us numb. It is difficult to understand how such a horrific event could take place with no apparent meaning behind it.
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An Emerging Christianity
Christians may believe that they are participants in a "faith once delivered to the saints," but the shape of that faith has varied greatly through the centuries. From the stately and ornate forms of Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, to the humble and plain worship of the Amish, Jesus is followed and revered in a myriad of ways. In fact, so great is the diversity of forms within Christianity, it may be more appropriate to refer to them in the plural--Christianities.
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The Bible, Science and Homosexuality
For some time now a contentious battle over homosexuality has raged in our country. The war has been fought primarily on three fronts: religion, politics, and science. Religion and politics are by far the most volatile, and the most destructive. Some of the language used by segments of the faith community to wage their part of the war comes very close to dehumanizing gays and lesbians.
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Let the People Decide
The minister who mentored me used to say, "Jim, don't be afraid to trust the people."
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The Moral Dilemma of Homelessness
It is a familiar scene. You are walking along a busy sidewalk when suddenly a shabbily dressed man or woman approaches and asks for any loose change. What do you do? We have all been told that any money we give goes for drugs or alcohol. We are also told that giving them money only encourages their begging behaviors ensuring they will never seek honest work.
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Resurrection in the Present Tense
The first time I met Carl he was dying of cancer. At least, that's what everyone told me.
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The Sermon on the Mount, American Style
The Sermon on the Mount is regarded by most Christians as the heart of Jesus' teaching. Unfortunately, what Jesus has to say there has not been overwhelmingly embraced by much of the Christian community in America. Perhaps it is time to update the sermon so that it is more in line with American culture. Maybe something like this:
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The Values Of The Values Voter
A new Associated Press-Ipsos poll is yielding important information that will likely have great significance for the so-called "values voter," and those organizations that promote values voting.
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Putting God In A Box
Just when you thought it was safe to go out and enjoy a religious holiday again, two filmmakers come along claiming to have found the tomb of Jesus. This latest effort at Christian-baiting may not rise to the level of the annual battle over saying "Merry Christmas," but that won't keep the moviemakers or Christian advocacy groups that will rise to defend the faith from making a lot of money from it.
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A Faithful Response to the War
Here's what we know. First, our reasons for going to war in Iraq were almost entirely based on fabrications and fantasies. There were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks, and there was no threat of Iraq acquiring nuclear weapons.
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A Pound And A Half of Flesh
In Alabama, if you are convicted of a felony and sent to prison, not only do you lose your freedom for the duration of your sentence, but you also lose your citizenship--even after you have served your term. In Alabama, and a few other states, even after you have served your term and are released from prison, you still can't vote.
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The Cult of Celebrity
The way the old joke goes, eventually everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. For Anna Nicole Smith, she got a bit more than 15 minutes, though some of it has followed her to the grave.
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Science, Faith and Politics
From Africa comes a story of an interesting convergence of science, faith and politics. The national museum in Kenya is planning to display what is known as Turkana Boy--the skeletal remains of a young male who lived during the Pleistocene age--roughly 1.6 million years ago. It is hailed by scientists as one of the world's most famous and important fossil discoveries. Turkana Boy represents the most complete skeleton of a prehistoric human ever found.
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Onward Christian Warmongers
A faith-based group calling itself "Christians Reviving America's Values," or CRAVE, is concerned about the way the war in Iraq is being fought. As a Christian group we might think they are alarmed by the level of violence. Or maybe they are worried about the use of weaponry that unintentionally, yet inevitably injures and kills civilians. Or maybe, in the spirit of many Christian leaders over the centuries, they believe that war itself represents a failure of Christian ideals.
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Building a Big Baptist Tent
The word "Baptist," and especially Southern Baptist, is for many a synonym for Republican politics. Many Baptist leaders such as Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, have enjoyed unparalleled access to the White House and the ear of the president. They have played a key role in setting the conservative political agenda, and have been instrumental in keeping Republicans in power.
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Peace Or Trouble Maker?
Since leaving office in 1981, Jimmy Carter has been by far our most active former president. His efforts through the Carter Center to help fledgling democracies, and his support of poverty initiatives and other humanitarian concerns helped him win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
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In Memory Of Martin Luther King
In his elegant little book, "Finally Comes the Poet," Walter Brueggemann writes that the task of the preacher is to be "a voice that shatters settled reality and evokes new possibilities."
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The Power of a Pardon
The recent death of Gerald R. Ford, the 38th president of the United States, has given us an opportunity to reflect on his presidency and on the circumstances that brought him to office in the first place.
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Hopes And Prayers For The New Year
The New Year has become a time for us to gather up our hopes and prayers for the coming year and express them in resolutions. The idea of "New" seems to lay out the prospect for something different, something better. I confess to being a resolution maker.
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Christmas in the South
Christmas in the South is unlike Christmas anywhere else in America. While obviously there are many common factors that show up in Christmas festivities nationwide, there are features of a southern Christmas celebration which are truly unique.
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The Spirituality of Congress
We may enjoy some level of separation of church and state in this country, but there hardly exists anywhere a separation of faith from public office. There is spiritual vitality in virtually every branch of government. From President Bush's heart-warming Methodism, all the way to the disciplined Catholicism of Justices Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Roberts, faith and government are linked arm in arm.
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How Many Christians Does It Take To Make A Coalition?
In July of this year, the Christian Coalition of America elected Florida megachurch pastor Joel C. Hunter to serve as the group's new president. He was slated to take over the job from Roberta Combs who will continue to serve as chair of the Coalition's board of directors. Hunter's appointment was made public in October and he was to begin serving in January.
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Bacon Eaters And Greedy Gossips
North Carolina Baptists, meeting in their annual convention a few weeks ago, changed the way they determine membership for churches in their convention. In addition to things like believing in God, Jesus and the Bible, North Carolina Baptists also added a statement about homosexuality. Any church that affirms a homosexual lifestyle cannot be a member of the convention. And if already a member, the convention has the right to expel an offending church.
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A Modest Christmas Proposal
With Thanksgiving Day behind us, we now enter the Christmas season at full gallop. Of course, Christmas has been peeking out here and there since Halloween, but now it's official. It's all here--the shopping, the lights, the traffic, the music and the controversy. Controversy? Yes, sadly it's true.
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An Open Letter to the Governor of Alabama
Dear Gov. Riley: Congratulations on your re-election. Your 58 percent margin is the largest since 1982, when Alabama governor races started being competitive. For my part, I'm glad you won. You have demonstrated understanding about the needs of the poor in our state and have taken significant steps to address their needs.
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Scientists Come Out Swinging and Praying
One of the bad things about war is that it is almost impossible to wage one without demonizing the opposition. This is true in actual wars where people get killed, and it's true in wars of words where people just get insulted.
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Unnecessary Divisions in the Body of Christ
With mid-term elections just a day away, every political action group in America is working full throttle to get out the vote for their candidate, party and favorite issue. Not least among these politically active are members of the Christian community--from the left and the right.
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The Last Temptation of the Church
A new book out claims the Bush administration has used its unique and highly visible connections to conservative evangelicals merely for political gain.
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Communities of Faith Must Speak
We have reached a critical and increasingly tragic crossroads in the war with Iraq. We know now that there was no real justification for launching the war in the first place. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, as apparently many people in the government and the military knew before hand. And there was no connection between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks.
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Murder in a One-Room School House
Nothing captures America's sense of longing for a simpler time quite like the idea of a one-room school house. That is at least part of the reason why the horror that took place this past week at an Amish school in Pennsylvania was so devastating. The murder of children is reason enough for grief and anger. But for the assault to take place in a setting seen by many as the embodiment of a time of innocence now past, creates in us an acute sense of loss.
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The Do's And Don'ts Of Church Politics
With midterm elections just around the corner, political activity is rumbling towards a resounding crescendo. Included among this political chorale are voices from various elements of the faith community. The political hymn singing of faith groups has become one of the mainstays of the political season.
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Marks Of An Authentic Church
Jesus said that we would be known by our love. Lately though, we people of faith, Christians in particular, are better known for our politics.
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Can Baptists Save The World?
Is it possible that Southern Baptists could be the key to saving the world? E. O. Wilson seems to think so. Wilson, in case you don't know, is an Alabama native and former Southern Baptist layman. He is now one of foremost experts in the field of entomology. He is also the creator of his own sub-discipline in biological research known as sociobiology. And apparently he believes Southern Baptists can help save the world.
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The Lasting Effects of September 11

At the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, it is hard not to ask "What is different now?" Other than the obvious changes brought about by increased airport security, daily "alert updates," and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has anything really changed?

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On Jesus And Keeping The Rules
For over two weeks now, Elvira Arellano, has taken shelter in a United Methodist Church in Chicago. Arellano sought sanctuary in the church when she learned that Federal officials planned to deport her back to Mexico. She has lived illegally in the United States for over seven years.
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Christian Coalition: A Question Of Integrity
You can always tell when it's election time in Alabama. The red, white, and blue "vote for me" signs start popping up along the highways. Television ads with their mind numbing "I am more conservative than my opponent" mantra start hitting the airways. And the Christian Coalition mails out their candidate surveys.
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Staying On Message With Jesus
A group calling themselves Conservative Christians of Alabama was recently encouraged by their leader to "intimidate" the city council of Huntsville. That word, "intimidate," is the word they used.
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Left Behind Or Led Astray?
Let's define success. The Left Behind series, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins has now sold over 60 million copies. There are 11 sequels to the original novel, and three prequels. The series has also spawned a children's series with nearly 40 different titles.
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The Right And Left Hand Of God
For some time now, groups like the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, have served as a conduit for funneling a particular political agenda into the hearts and minds of many Christians.
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The Left Hand Of God
"The unholy alliance of the political Right and Religious Right threatens to destroy the America we love. It also threatens to generate a popular revulsion against God and religion by identifying them with militarism, ecological irresponsibility, fundamentalist antagonism to science and rational thought, and insensitivity to the needs of the poor and the powerless."
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The End Of Faith
Sam Harris, philosopher and doctoral student in the field of neuroscience, has written a devastating book about faith--devastating, that is, to faith.
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The Voice of Faith Necessary in Social Issues
Christian groups in America have a long history of political activism. The issues may change from one generation to the next, but the impulse to reform society seems a constant feature of faith.
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Faith Versus Science, The Latest Chapter
Ever since Copernicus proposed that the earth was not the center of the universe, people of faith have been at odds with people of science. Whether true or not, the story of Galileo challenging the church's official position that the earth was the center illustrates the conflict dramatically.
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Faith Versus Science, The Latest Chapter
Ever since Copernicus proposed that the earth was not the center of the universe, people of faith have been at odds with people of science. Whether true or not, the story of Galileo challenging the church's official position that the earth was the center illustrates the conflict dramatically.
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The View From The Sidelines
Years ago, priest and writer Henri Nouwen was serving as chaplain on a Dutch cruise ship making its way to Rotterdam. They were in a thick fog. Everyone was edgy and nervous as the ship crept along virtually blind in the water. The captain was pacing back and forth, anxiously trying to get through the fog without slamming into anything.
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Vote For Jesus
The primaries are now over and the main races are set for November. Marriage is also safe. With the Marriage Protection amendment to the Alabama state constitution, marriages in our state are now secure from the ravages of the so-called "gay agenda." We haven't figured out yet how to save marriage from what actually threatens marriage—I guess that will require yet another amendment in some future campaign.
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A Christ-Haunted Culture
Southern literary icon, Flannery O'Connor once said: "By and large, people in the South still conceive of humanity in theological terms. While the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted."
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Forgive Us Our Debts

"The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender." Anyone who has ever been in debt has experienced the truth of this biblical proverb. And let's be honest with each other--debt is something we know about.

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Parental Guidance And Matters Of Faith
In what is becoming the latest clash between fundamentalist Christianity and the rest of the world, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) recently assigned a PG rating to an explicitly Christian film. The movie, "Facing the Giants," is the story of a football team with a losing record that suddenly gets turned around and starts winning when the coach finds God.
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The Protection of Marriage
I am not usually given to making predictions about future events, but I feel fairly safe with this one: There will never be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining what marriage is supposed to look like.
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The Gift Of Memory
We were fortunate some years back to be in Washington D.C. when the United States Holocaust Museum opened. We stood in line for hours to get tickets, and hours more to get in. Hundreds and hundreds of people were there to see and remember.
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Fact, Fiction And Faith
With the movie version of Dan Brown's novel "The DaVinci Code" about to debut, all the anxiety that accompanied the book's success is back. Of course, we must account for the success, and the fact is, it's a pretty good mystery action story. But that is not all there is to it. Helping to fuel record sales and fuel the controversy is the book's unique plot. The story is carried along on the back of a particular interpretation of Christian history.
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The Ups And Downs Of Mothers' Day
This Sunday churches around the country will incorporate into their services of worship some sort of recognition of the role of motherhood. In fact, so powerful is the emotional pull of this holiday that even some congregations that closely follow the liturgy of the church year will be forced to at least offer a passing nod to the office of Mom.
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Misusing Jesus' Name
I am tempted to file a defamation of character lawsuit on behalf of Jesus. I wish Jesus would do it himself, but I know he won't. He would much prefer that we win people over to his viewpoint by preaching his word and following his example. And that's fine as far as it goes.
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Believing or Not Believing the Bible
We are in the midst of the Easter season. Christians everywhere continue to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We have heard the Gospel stories about the crucifixion and the empty tomb and continue to hear with gladness words like, "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
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Faithful Support For Public Education
Public education has been under assault for some time now from segments of the Christian community. That's why it is all the more amazing to learn that a Baptist entity has decided that instead of attacking public schools and undermining the morale of teachers and administrators, why not affirm the work of those who teach our children, and ask God to bless their efforts.
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The Meaning of Easter
Listening to the many Easter sermons that will likely be preached this Sunday, a person might get the idea that the central question surrounding the resurrection of Jesus is whether or not it actually happened. Preachers across the land will dwell at length on the significance of the empty tomb and how its vacancy proves that Jesus was raised from the dead. The goal, of course, is to change the minds of those who doubt. For with doubt removed, faith will be born—at least that's the hope.
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Budgets and Taxes as Moral Issues
In his best-selling book "God's Politics," Jim Wallis argues that governmental budgets and tax policies are moral issues. The reason why? Because the way communities raise revenue, normally in the form of taxes, and how that money is spent in the form of programs and services, affect people's lives. That means budgets have moral consequences. The moral standard for Wallis, of course, is the biblical vision of economic justice.