While Dickens’s "A Christmas Carol" is not an overtly Christian story, the theme of starting over is. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he calls those in Christ “a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Important conversations are seldom easy to have. As a child transitions into adolescence, parents often dread “the talk.” Years later, roles shift and adult children are faced with starting another dreaded but critical discussion, one medical and legal professionals often call “the conversation.”
Today it might have started with a tweet, a blog post or a television interview.
But in 16th century Germany, a public conversation began where the public gathered. So Martin Luther chose the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church to post his “95 Theses” as the opening statement for a debate.
Ezekiel and John the Baptizer are two of the most colorful characters in the Bible. Ezekiel was a dramatic visionary who never minced his words about God's judgment and Israel's sins, experienced bizarre visions and declared God's unbroken love for his people. John the Baptizer was also a mysterious and colorful person who appeared out of the Dead Sea wilderness, condemning the Jews' devotion to rules and rituals in the place of submission to the God who loved them, and powerfully calling them to the Messiah who could bring them back to God.
By Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service|
December 12, 2017
(RNS) — Paul Pressler, who was instrumental in the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the late 1970s and early '80s, is fighting a lawsuit by a former office assistant who alleges the onetime Texas appeals court judge sexually abused him over the course of several decades.
By Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor|
December 6, 2017
There is a scene in the biblical Christmas story that bugs me. I didn’t notice it for years. But one Christmas as I was preparing a couple of sermons, I was struggling with how to talk about the same stories we all know and love (without causing the congregation to saw yule logs during the sermon). I fear that sometimes we know the stories so well that we do not really pay attention to the mystery and magic of them.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- As worship pastor Andrew Lucius selects songs for Christmas worship, he is considering specific needs in the Georgia congregation he serves. Among his conclusions: singing only the first verse of familiar carols could leave worshipers spiritually malnourished.
By Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service|
December 5, 2017
WASHINGTON (RNS) — At the Supreme Court Tuesday (Dec. 5), the justices lobbed hypothetical after hypothetical at the lawyers representing each side of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a free speech case rooted in the religious convictions of the plaintiff — and one of the most publicized cases of the year.
In 2006 five pastors joined together and came up with four tenets — Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All — to guide themselves, their families and congregations through their season of preparation for Christmas, called Advent Conspiracy.