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"End-of-Life Teachings by Belief" graphic by Tiffany McCallen

5 things to know about death and dying debates

Cathy Lynn Grossman Oct 30, 2014

Brittany Maynard’s decision to die soon by a legal, lethal prescription, rather than let a brain tumor kill her, has provoked a national conversation and debate about end-of-life decisions.

In a new video, released Wednesday, she says she feels herself getting sicker by the day. But since she still feels joy in living, she’ll postpone her day of death past the date originally announced — Saturday (Nov. 1).

Maynard, 29, has inspired raging arguments about the values, even about the vocabulary, underlying the choices we make about our last days. Her goal, she still says, is to “influence this policy (on physician-assisted dying) for positive change.”

As ethicists, activists and religious voices square off, here are five things to know about death and dying.

Tim Tebow collects his thoughts while on one knee, a pose that became known as "Tebowing". The image which became a media craze may have been applying a phrase to Tebow praying before his taking the field as a Denver Bronco.  Maybe this is putting my opinion into what Tebowing is a bit too much, as opposed to being strictly a reporter, so feel free to fix it as needed. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Whatever happened to Tim Tebow? And why do you still hate him?

Reese Johnson Oct 29, 2014

Arguably one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports during the beginning stages of this 21st century, Tim Tebow has been scrutinized in the media for a variety of reasons, including his religious beliefs and playing abilities.

The former Florida Gators quarterback, who also spent time with three NFL teams, including a memorable run in the 2012 playoffs with the Denver Broncos, will be in Columbia later this week when SEC Nation makes its debut appearance at Mizzou. He is also a devout Christian who has said he is saving himself to have sex until marriage. This is a stance the media has analyzed and questioned due to his high-profile status.

Tebow won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in 2007 and took home the BCS National Championship twice in his four-year tenure at Florida. Yet, he was taken late in the first round in the 2010 NFL draft, selected 25th by the Denver Broncos. Considering all of the accolades and success he had in college, falling this low was a bit of a surprise, but he was knocked for an unusual throwing style and taking advantage of an offense that may have inflated his stats.

The Holy Bible placed in a hotel by the Gideons.

Losing Your Faith in College (and how NOT to)

Nathan Edwards Oct 28, 2014

No matter if you are a freshmen or a super-senior, it is about that time in the semester that you really take inventory of how you are doing in your studies, your social life and your personal life. But, we usually forget to take stock of our spiritual and religious life. This begs the question, “have I started to lose my faith in college?

For some, the answer is a resounding ‘no’ and, in fact, some of those people have gained a better relationship with G-d. Sadly, for others, the answer is a ‘yes.’ It starts with the little things, like not going to church every Sunday, skipping your daily bible readings, deciding that studies are more important than prayer.

It is too easy to forget about G-d and focus more on temporal things. Paul gives us a good verse to help us in our daily struggle to always keep G-d in mind: “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18). These are powerful words that almost have two meanings. One; we must focus our attention to the final goal of getting to heaven and two, that we must not worry because the temporal aspects of our lives are so insignificant compared to our eternal aspects and pursuit of the eternal aspects.

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5 facts about Mormon polygamy from last week’s controversial LDS statement

Jana Riess Oct 27, 2014

Last week, two new essays about polygamy became available on the LDS Church’s official website, joining a third that appeared late last year.

These statements contained some bombshells about Mormonism’s past that will not be news to most students of history but may indeed prove disturbing for some rank-and-file Latter-day Saints.

Five highlights of the revelations:

Science or Religion?

Gabbie Rhodes Oct 23, 2014

In 2012 a Pew Foundation Survey on religion showed that 20 percent of Americans placed themselves in an “unaffiliated” category. Additionally, a book that covers this topic also explains that these “unaffiliated” people are generally not hostile towards having a scientific approach to life. In fact, this percent of people embrace the scientific aspect of life but as they do this they also look at life in awe and amazement, which is perceived as being spiritual. Now, the main point of this is that essentially 20 percent of Americans are trying to understand the relationship between the world of science and our spiritual experiences. They want to know how spirituality and science can work together without adding in any type of religious influence.

 

So, I want to know whether or not you think spirituality can have any type of relationship with science or if it only relates better with religion?

Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, gives a report to messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting on June 11, 2014. RNS photo courtesy Matt Miller via Baptist Press

Southern Baptist seminary clears president after dispute over Muslim student

Adelle M. Banks Oct 23, 2014

(RNS) The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have affirmed the school’s president, Paige Patterson, after investigating his decision to admit a Muslim student into the school’s Ph.D. program.

Patterson, one of the most revered Southern Baptist figures and an architect of the conservative resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention a generation ago, faced heavy criticism from some Baptists who accused him of violating the standards of his school in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We join with our fellow Southern Baptists in appreciation for and admiration of the evangelistic heart of our president, Paige Patterson,” the trustee board said in a statement Wednesday (Oct. 22) as it concluded its fall meeting.

“Any violations of the seminary bylaws were done in a good-faith enthusiasm to pursue the seminary’s purpose, as set forth in its articles of incorporation.”

The trustees have closed their investigation, and Patterson told Religion News Service after the meeting that the Muslim student, Ghassan Nagagreh, is no longer enrolled at the seminary.

Pope Francis prays at Western Wall in Jerusalem

The Francis Dilemma: leading without leaving your community behind

Timothy Carson Oct 22, 2014

It is almost a ludicrous comparison but I will make it anyway: I understand Pope Francis’ dilemma. There, I said it. It is obvious that this Protestant pastor is neither Catholic nor a bishop, certainly not the Bishop of Rome. Yet we share many things in common. The scale and context is different, of course. But certain matters cross every ecumenical line.

Francis just completed a major conclave with his many bishops. The focus was on the Christian family and how the Church might teach and shepherd a confused flock in these turbulent times. This is no easy task, period. We live in a baffling era. Faith, belief and practice have shifted, no matter the doctrinal convictions of the ages. And how contemporary Christians and families view the church, what they need from and are able to offer to the church has changed. The Prince of Rome has his work cut out for him.

On the surface of appearance one might assume that every Cardinal and Bishop is in lock step with their Pontiff. Such is not the case. A Pope might attempt to rule with an iron fist. But a global manifestation of church resists such micro-managing. Those many bishops were handpicked for their roles under different Papal administrations. There are the traditionalists and the progressives. Whatever posture a Pope might take he is shepherding an unwieldy group of shepherds. This came to the fore during the most recent gathering.

Though the Nicene Creed confesses that there is one church universal, that one church is in no way unified around LGBTQ matters. Putting aside the complicating cloud of recent clergy sexual abuse cases that often involved priests with boys, the church is not of one mind on either sexual identity or orientation. The ecclesial wheels of change grind slowly and unevenly, continent by continent. Whereas Pope Francis has advocated for a much more pastoral and open invitation to gays in the life of the church, the bishops resisted, scaling back that invitation and the change it represented. The Pope went public, bringing to light the difference between original drafts of the statement and how it was revised by more cautious bishops.

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10 Signs You Are Meant to be a Youth Leader

Anna Sutterer Oct 21, 2014

You have choreographed moves for any popular dubstep, T-Swift or christian rap (preferably Lecrae) song

Catholic priest giving Holy Communion. Photo courtesy of Photographee.eu via Shutterstock

Ebola prompts hands-off Mass in Fort Worth, Texas

Lauren Markoe Oct 20, 2014

The Blood of Christ will not be offered during Mass. The Host will be placed in the hands, not on the tongue. And the faithful should not hold hands while reciting the “Our Father.”

These are but a few of the guidelines the Diocese of Fort Worth — not far from the Dallas hospital where three Ebola cases have been diagnosed — has sent to its parishes to calm fears about the deadly disease and to prevent the spread of flu.

While the diocese is perhaps the first in the U.S. to send around such a memo thanks in part to Ebola, such restrictions are common during flu season in Catholic and other churches that offer Communion.

“It’s the same guidelines we have used in past years,” said Pat Svacina, communications director for the Diocese of Fort Worth. “This is just a normal thing. There is no panic whatsoever.”