Churchgoers pondering whether to see Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ during Lent know from news stories that they will have to steel themselves for graphically violent scenes and potential anti-Semitic overtones.
The controversial R-rated movie has been scheduled to open in about 2,000 theaters February 25, Ash Wednesday on Protestant and Catholic calendars.
The most common reason Protestant pastors leave parish ministry is an experience of stressful conflict, usually arising from differences with laity or staff but sometimes with denominational officials. Compounding these stresses, ex-pastors say, is a lack of support from church officials and fellow clergy.
Moments before receiving an award at a Muslim dinner last month, Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore turned in his seat to watch, along with nearly 400 other people, some clips from his documentary Bowling for Columbine and from his provocative acceptance speech at the 2003 Academy Awards.
As soon as majorities at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention consented to the election of an openly gay bishop, outnumbered conservative delegates condemned the unprecedented action for “breaking the ties that bind” the U.S. church to the rest of Anglicanism. Nineteen dissenting U.S.
The stone box that possibly held the skeletal remains of James the brother of Jesus has continued to come under critical scrutiny. Should the church and scholars take seriously this item of unknown origin sold to an antiquities collector? Did one hand or two scratch the Aramaic inscription on the limestone ossuary?
On the five Saturday nights before the 2003 Academy Awards show on March 23, a young adult group at a large church in Pasadena, California, has been discussing the five Oscar nominees for best picture.
Daniel Aleshire has been executive director of the Association of Theological Schools since 1998. The Pittsburgh-based association is the accrediting and program agency for graduate theological education in North America. The ATS has 244 Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox member schools.
After attending a conference at Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral seven years ago, leaders of the Lutheran Church of the Master in Sylmar, California, started thinking about changing their congregation’s name.
The theoretical source of many Jesus sayings in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke has long been considered a sure thing in New Testament studies. Most scholars writing about the Synoptic Gospels refer to "Q" (the first letter of the German word for source) without reciting arguments for its existence.
The numbers of Christians living in Iraq, mostly Catholic and Orthodox, have been dwindling for more than two decades. One exodus of Christians began during the prolonged Iran-Iraq war that stretched from 1979 to ’88. The short, violent gulf war of 1991 was followed by 11 years of United Nations economic sanctions, which church leaders say have made life miserable and survival tenuous for many.
The hugely popular “Left Behind” series of novels continues to frustrate mainstream pastors and biblical scholars who object to an “end-times” theology they consider just as fictional as the books’ genre. The readers are real, however. The tenth and most recent volume in the series, The Remnant, picked up 2.4 million orders in the two months before its July release.
“I tell you, that on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.” Luke 17:34-35, NRSV.
A new translation of the Bible has created a tug of words between camps in the evangelical world. Moderates and conservatives are fighting with ultraconservatives over a gender-inclusive New Testament, part of Today’s New International Version Bible, which is based on the best-selling New International Version (NIV).
Though some Catholic leaders blame homosexual priests for much of their church’s sexual-abuse problems, the predominantly gay Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches has had no sexual-abuse liability claims filed against the denomination in the past 25 years. Yet the California-based church body has not been free of offenders.
The latest wave of sexual abuse scandals crashing upon Catholic parishes and chanceries has apparently missed most Protestant churches. In fact, analysts and insurers give credit to mainline churches for adopting policies and practices in the early 1990s aimed at protecting minors from coercive intimacy in congregational settings.
Journalists covering religion regularly cite membership figures for the various religious organizations. They want to give readers an idea of how many people might be affected by developments in a particular group or tradition.
The ever-effervescent Robert H. Schuller—who says he invented the megachurch—was bubbling about the architectural atmosphere of the Crystal Cathedral, which is replete with statuary, greenery and fountains. He said the architectural plan ensures that the nearly 10,000-member church he founded will last for years, regardless of who is in the pulpit.
With his folksy, conversational style, Pastor Frank Harrington turned Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta into a megachurch over three decades. At its peak, Peachtree had nearly 13,000 names on its rolls—six times the membership when Harrington assumed the pulpit in 1970.
In the death chamber at San Quentin just after midnight on January 28, a confessed killer was executed by lethal injection. He was convicted two decades ago for the murder of an 81-year-old woman during a botched burglary in which he cooked noodles in her kitchen as she died.