For more than a decade in Kansas City, Missouri, the name IHOP has referred not only to a restaurant chain featuring pancakes but also to a church named the International House of Prayer. Open seven days a week, 24 hours a day—just like the restaurant—the congregation is known for nonstop praying and singing in anticipation of the Lord's return. Early last month the restaurant chain sued the church for trademark infringement. The two organizations both use IHOP as a web address, distinguishable only by the use of .com for the restaurant, .org for the church (RNS and American Scholar, Autumn).
Oct 08, 2010
During the Vietnam War David Rensberger decided that God was calling him to resist the draft. That decision earned him a prison sentence. While incarcerated he worked in the prison library, where he discovered a scholarly edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. "What was that book doing in that library?" he wondered. He concluded that it was put there for him to find. He began learning Hebrew using that book, which turned out to be the start of a 35-year career in biblical studies (Weavings, 25:4).
Maybe Moses had some help
Oct 08, 2010
A team at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, thinks it has an explanation for the parting of the Red Sea during the Exodus. Using a computer model of a section of the Nile Delta, the team determined that a wind of 63 miles per hour, lasting 12 hours, could have opened the waters for a passage some 2.5 miles long and 3 miles wide and providing a four-hour window for the crossing. This phenomenon is known as a wind setdown. Other researchers suspect that the NCAR team's findings are tainted by a desire to prove the biblical story (CSMonitor.com, September 21).
By the numbers
Oct 07, 2010
The close 2008 senatorial race in Minnesota won by Democrat Al Franken might as well have been decided by the flip of a coin, says Charles Seife. The observable errors in the vote recount process exceeded the number of votes separating the two candidates, which was somewhere between 200 and 300. That fact should unnerve Democrats. Here's a data check to unnerve Republicans: in 2004 the Bush administration claimed that its tax cuts saved the average American $1,586. While that figure is technically accurate, most families received less than $650. The average was inflated by the much larger amount received by the very wealthy (review of Seife's Proofiness in the New York Times Book Review, September 19).
Oct 06, 2010
For over 20 years Kyle Childress's Baptist congregation in Texas has ended worship with a ritual he learned from an African-American pastor: "Let's take each other's hands," it begins. "Now look who you're holding hands with, and hold on tight! Because we're going to need each other this week." Over the years several members have told Childress that at first they didn't know how to respond when encountering a crisis, until it hit them: they could call the person whose hand they had held the previous Sunday (Christian Reflection, vol. 36).