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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.”

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“You are part of a system:” Individual Responsibility within Systemic Sin

Meg Hegemann Oct 17, 2014

I am part of a system that kills young black men. I am part of a religion that has abandoned young people, poor people, black and brown people and has worked diligently to destroy indigenous cultures. I could go on. I claim this because the first step toward recovery is to recognize there is a problem; the first step toward repentance is to name the sin; the first step toward grace is to recognize the need for it.

The congregation I serve is celebrating 100 years in ministry. During those 100 years we have been guilty of sins of racism, sexism, heterosexism and classism. The fact that I have only been a part of this congregation for four and a half years does not negate my responsibility within a sinful institution. We name these sins as a part of our history; as part of our commitment to leave them behind us as we strive toward the kingdom of God.

This is the context from which I went to Ferguson on Monday to participate in a clergy protest. I needed to be with other people of faith to name our own sinfulness, our own complacency within sinful systems. I needed to confess, repent and make a commitment to pursuing a new direction. After this work, our task as clergy members was to approach an individual officer and offer him or her the same opportunity. “You are a part of a system that killed Michael Brown. I call you to repentance and offer to hear your confession.” I had the opportunity to directly approach two officers. Both of them responded to the statement with tears in their eyes. We looked into each other’s souls. What I saw was pain; a need to release the doubt and guilt and confusion and fear that so many of us feel right now, and a need to be overwhelmed by the grace of God who can take that all away.

Politics And Religion Are Never A Good Mix

Gabbie Rhodes Oct 16, 2014

According to an article in The Gazette, religious leaders are starting to voice their frustration with the IRS. Lately, the government agency has been threatening to take away religious leaders tax-free status if they fail to avoid political speech. The threats also take into consideration the religious leaders influence on abortion, environment, and other political policies. Daniel Blomberg, the lead counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C. said, “If you’re a pastor, you can’t be sure unless you just don’t say anything at all. That’s how most of them respond. They steer clear of politics and public policy entirely.” However, despite these threats, religious leaders are generally allowed to advocate unnamed politicians on a basis of their values.

 

Do you think religion has a say in politics and is threatening to take way religious leaders tax-free status is too harsh of a punishment?

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Megachurches to consider using Apple Pay for tithing

Caitlin Kerfin Oct 16, 2014

Online giving and even mobile, kiosk giving is not new for a lot of megachurches. With so many members and campuses they have to be innovative and tech-savvy to keep up with daily donations and events. Pastors and musicians often use iPads for their services and Mac books for their behind-the-scenes technology.

Apple Pay is said to debut Monday as a new mobile payment service, but will this one catch on while others have failed? Some major credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa as well as banks and restaurants like Citi, Bank of America and McDonalds are already set to accept the contactless payments. Consumers may pay with their Touch ID by simply holding their iPhone near a reader, which is supposed to be secure and private.

If this technology catches on, it could make tithing even more convenient and less expensive.

“We prefer e-checks rather than credit card payments because of processing fees, so it saves us money,” said Cassie Schumacher, lead administrative assistant at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

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The Fight to Save United Methodist Camps

Heather Adams Oct 15, 2014

Brittanee Jacobs, 24, has been attending United Methodist Camps since she was 8 years old, accepted Christ there at age 10 and continues to love and fight for the camps, even 16 years later.

But on Sept. 5 the Missouri Annual Conference Camping Board announced they would be closing the four camps after ending the year in a $48,428 deficit. Soon after, many, including Jacobs, took to the Internet and social media to express their confusion and disappointment.

Jacobs is now helping spearhead the campaign, SaveMOUMcamps. The organizers created a website, a Facebook page and started a petition.
She says she didn’t originally know this many people would sign the petition but that she’s also not surprised, calling the campsites home.

“When that was put together, I had never dealt with anything on change.org before and wasn’t really sure how everything worked. And at first we didn’t really have a goal, just trying to get that information out there and see how many people cared,” Jacobs said. “And then the numbers just kept going up and up and up.”

An aerial shot of Aldai E. Stevenson High School, located in the northern suburb of Lincolnshire, one of the few high schools in Illinois that moved football action to Thursday.

Choosing between Yom Kippur and Friday Night Football

Reese Johnson Oct 14, 2014

Being the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur ought to be treated with the same reverence as many institutions treat Good Friday. Yet, outside heavily populated Jewish communities in the U.S., the vast majority of businesses, stores and schools do not alter anything if Yom Kippur falls during a weekday.

This scenario occurred this year, as Yom Kippur began at sundown on Friday, October 3rd lasting until sundown on Saturday, Oct. 4.

During the fall, Friday nights are reserved for the exciting action of high school football throughout the country. However, for many Jewish high school football players, this particular Friday presented a two-fold conflict.

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A Personal Perspective on the Latter-Day Saint General Conference

Maria Haynie Oct 13, 2014

This past Sunday, I intentionally did not go to church.

Instead, I spent most of last weekend at home with my family. We watched and listened to the men and women leaders of the global Church of Latter-day Saints of Jesus Christ as they shared their love, hopes, concerns, and explanations of doctrine in a church-wide conference. Known as General Conference, this semi-annual meeting falls on the first weekend of April and October of every year. Although it is held in Salt Lake City, Utah, all 15 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ world-wide are invited to participate. Since attending in person was not an option, I participated the way many Mormons do. I settled into my couch, armed my two young kids with Legos and coloring pages, and streamed several hours of live broadcasts to my home television.

Image Courtesy of Stoney Lake Entertainment

Two Christians and a Muslim Went to See “Left Behind:” What They Thought Will Surprise You

Greg Perreault Oct 9, 2014

In the wake of the release of the new Left Behind movie, ColumbiaFAVS writers Anna Sutterer, Nathan Edwards and Nabihah Maqbool all went to see the movie and discuss what they saw. Nathan and Anna’s background is in Christianity and Nabihah’s is in Islam. The questions below are questions they choose to pose to each other.

Nabihah: I have only read the Old Testament during my Hebrew Bible class for my undergraduate degree. Later during office hours I spoke to the professor about different views of the afterlife in Christianity and Judaism with him so that’s what I’ll go off of. And for anyone growing up in America, Christian theology, particularly about end times, is so woven into the culture, it’s hard not glean information from it.