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Young women, girls over eight years of age and adult women gathered, not only in the 21,000-seat Conference Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, but in meetinghouses worldwide for the General Women's Meeting. Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Mormon feminists seeking change find it in subtle wording

Peggy Fletcher Stack Sep 30, 2014

Mormon feminists may have been surprised by some subtle changes in vocabulary and approach Saturday (Sept. 27) at the church’s general women’s meeting.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf addressed the audience — sitting in the giant Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City or watching via satellite in chapels of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the globe — not just as “sisters” but also as “blessed disciples of Jesus Christ.”

In a speech about living out one’s faith joyfully, Uchtdorf, second counselor in the church’s governing First Presidency, referred twice to women as “daughters of heavenly parents,” alluding to the Mormon belief in male and female deities.

And, for the first time, the charismatic German leader described the meeting as the opening session of the church’s 184th Semiannual General Conference. Until now, General Conference has referred only to the two-day gatherings held during the first weekends of April and October, with the women’s meeting seen as a separate event.

Lecrae’s album “Church Clothes” cover photo. Photo courtesy of

How Lecrae mixed rap and theology to find huge, mainstream success [video]

Sarah Pulliam Bailey Sep 29, 2014

He’s been crowned the “new hip-hop king” and his newest album, “Anomaly,” topped iTunes and Amazon charts the day of its Sept. 9 release. He’s been invited to birthday parties for both Billy Graham and Michael Jordan and riffed on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with host Jimmy Fallon.

It’s the kind of mainstream success that has eluded most Christian rappers. Then again, some people are still trying to decide if hip-hop star Lecrae is a Christian rapper, or a rapper who happens to be Christian.

It depends who you ask, including Lecrae himself.

“God has also raised up lowly, kind of insignificant individuals to do miraculous and incredible things,” Lecrae, 34, said in an interview. “We’re the Gideons, we’re the Davids. Even Jesus himself made himself of no reputation. It’s when you can link it back to God doing it, I think that’s what he loves. He’s not a megalomaniac, he’s deserving of glory and honor, and to use individuals that demonstrate that it was him, and him alone, it accomplishes his mission and that’s success.”

While most Christian artists have struggled to break out of the Christian music subculture, Lecrae has found early crossover success — and a significant following among white evangelical elites. He navigates the tricky waters between rapping explicitly about Christianity while reaching a mainstream audience.

According to Billboard, he’s sold 1.4 million albums and 2.9 million track downloads. “Anomaly” hit Billboard’s No. 1 last week — a first for a gospel album and only the fifth for a Christian album. His acting debut in “Believe Me,” a film about a group of four men who try to con money out of churchgoers, received a short, positive nod from The New York Times.

Images from:

5 Belief-Affiliated Businesses of Downtown Columbia, Mo.

Anna Sutterer Sep 26, 2014

Downtown Optimist Club: You’re never fully dressed without a smile. The Downtown Optimist Club of Columbia, Missouri is an affiliate of Optimist International, a world-wide organization promoting personal growth through service to youth. A variety of individuals from the community make up the membership including people in business, industry, agriculture and professions.

Joining the club involves meetings, service projects, socials and inviting others to improve mid-Missouri quality of life through the promises of the Optimist Creed. The Optimists are active in multiple services, such as the Central Missouri Food Bank, the Boone County Fair, and local youth projects. One of their main declared purposes is: “to aid and encourage the development of youth in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well being of mankind, his community, and the world.”

Do Our Spiritual Leaders Really Have A Way With Words?

Gabbie Rhodes Sep 25, 2014

The Buddhist monk and Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, weighed in on the concept of Jihad, which is a war fought by Muslims to defend or spread their belief. According to the Huffington Post, the Dalai Lama explained that despite the definition, Jihad has a much deeper spiritual meaning within the context of Islam. Specifically he said, “Jihad combats inner destructive emotions. Everybody carries Jihad in their hearts including me.” Additionally, the Huffington Post quoted Pope Francis, who was also quick to speak out against the supposed Islamic State. He said, “Let no one consider themselves to be the ‘armor’ of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression.”


Do you think the violence will cease if so many influential religious leaders continue to speak out against ISIS?


Rosh Hashanah Events at the University of Missouri

Caitlin Kerfin Sep 24, 2014

For students staying on campus during the High Holy Days, the MU Hillel is hosting some events and services to celebrate together.

This schedule and more information may be found on their Facebook event:

Rabbi Jonathan Tabachnikoff will be the guest leading the services.

The Erev Rosh Hashanah service will be at 7 p.m. There will be an Oneg following with food.

The morning service will be at 9:30 a.m., followed by a light lunch. Tashlich and discussion will be at 4 p.m. followed by a picnic at Peace Park.

Second day morning service will be at 9:30 a.m. Shabbat Services will be at 6 p.m. with a kosher dinner following.


Candles for Peace

Caitlin Kerfin Sep 22, 2014

MU Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists and Agnostics (SASHA) is partnering with the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative My Book, Your book, Their Book, No book series to host a candle light vigil for victims of religious discrimination and violence at 7 p.m. Monday at Peace Park. A panel discussion titled “Why does your religion put us at odds?” will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Memorial Union S203.

“The My Book program was the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative’s response to the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ slander film that came out two years ago, Charles Parker, coordinator of Diversity Programs said in an email. “A CDI ambassador Nourah Shuaibi spear-headed our efforts to connect and assist our Muslim Student population.”

On the panel there will be representatives from the Catholic Student Association, ATO, MU SASHA and many other student groups,” Parker said in an email. “We hope to have constructive and open dialogue about why the tense subject of religions put our groups on campus at odds. We also want to find out why collaboration among groups are not as prevalent.”

Chantelle Moghadam, MU SASHA vice president came up with the idea for Candles for Peace last year. The Chancellor’s Initiative contacted SASHA over the summer to get involved in their program and because the theme this year is Religion at Odds, they decided to combine the events.

Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Wash., far right, concelebrates Mass in 2012 with other U.S. bishops in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Pope Francis has named Bishop Cupich as archbishop of Chicago, succeeding Cardinal Francis E. George. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Chicago meets its new archbishop as the ‘Pope Francis effect’ sets in

David Gibson Sep 22, 2014

When Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich got a call 10 days ago with the news that Pope Francis had chosen him to be the next archbishop of Chicago — the pontiff’s most important

U.S. appointment to date — he was so taken aback that he couldn’t speak for a few moments.

“To say that I was surprised doesn’t come close to the word I would use,” Cupich said Saturday (Sept. 20) at a news conference in Chicago introducing him as the successor to Cardinal Francis George, who is 77 and battling cancer.

Asked by reporters how long it took for the reality of his appointment to sink in, Cupich smiled and said, “It’s still sinking in.”

Volunteers wash dishes at a homeless dinner at All Saints Lutheran Church in Spokane.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Meg Hegemann Sep 18, 2014

Some people seem to think that if we stopped providing services for our neighbors experiencing homelessness, than the “problem” would go away. No one has indicated this belief to me directly of course. It is generally phrased, “What do you say to people who believe that if you build it, they will come; that when we provide services we encourage people to come to Columbia to receive those services?” Assuming these people actually exist, this is my response.

People of every income level and housing situation come to Columbia for the same reasons. Some were born here; lots were not. I came to Missouri to pursue a job. I moved to Fulton 11 years ago to pursue a relationship with my now husband. My husband came to Columbia years ago for graduate school, then left to pursue employment. We moved to Columbia over a year ago to be closer to my work. I know people who moved here to take care of aging parents or to have easier access to hospitals, Veteran’s services, or the parks, trails and arts opportunities here. Why do you live in Columbia?

VIEWPOINT: Christianity Involves Discipline, Right?

Gabbie Rhodes Sep 18, 2014

A big topic right now is whether or not spanking your child is really an appropriate form of discipline. According to a CNN article, some people think that spanking is seen as “Christian parenting.” Additionally, there are many studies, books, and ideas that are specifically about spanking your children and its relationship with the will of god. Overall the article states, “Christian spanking is about parents wanting to wield control, instill their values and put children in their place when they question their parent’s authority.”


Do you think spanking your child is honestly a form of discipline that God wants parents to use?