COMMENTARY: An inspired choice, even with his uninspiring theology

Tom Ehrich |

(UNDATED) Whenever I lead a communications workshop, I show church Web sites that miss the mark: out-of-date designs and content, a “provider driven” and not “customer driven” focus, too many photos of buildings and clergy and not much apparent thought to what a visitor might be seeking. Then I show the Web site for Saddleback […]

N.J. says complaint over civil union can proceed

Mary Ann Spoto |

TRENTON, N.J. (RNS) New Jersey officials said Monday (Dec. 29) that a lesbian couple can move forward with their discrimination complaint against a Methodist group that refused to let them use an oceanfront pavilion for a civil union. Since the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association regularly made the pavilion available for public use, including weddings, […]

Architect of ELCA merger dies at 90

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) The Rev. Robert J. Marshall, who led the former Lutheran Church in America and helped lay the groundwork for the church’s merger with two other denominations to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, died Dec. 22. He was 90. Marshall, a dedicated ecumenist, was elected president of the Lutheran Church in America, the […]

Poll: No evidence that recession pulls people into pews

Daniel Burke |

WASHINGTON (RNS) The economic recession has not led to an increase in attendance at U.S. houses of worship, according to Gallup pollsters. Despite anecdotal evidence cited in high-profile media outlets, Americans’ worship patterns have held steady in 2008, the Gallup Poll reports. Since mid-February, Gallup said, it has asked 1,000 adults a day how often […]

2009 Calendar of Religious Events

Note: Holidays that begin at sundown continue through sundown the next day, unless otherwise noted. Jan. 5-14 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Conference of Bishops, Jerusalem. Contact John Brooks at 773-380-2958; e-mail: jbrooks(at)elca.org; Web site: http://www.elca.org/news Jan. 6 Feast of the Epiphany (Christian celebration of the arrival of the Magi to visit the infant Jesus. […]

A bible for every taste (and for those with none)

Francis X. Rocca |

Defying the publishing industry’s doldrums, Bible sales remain robust, thanks in part to niche versions like the comic book Manga Bible. Other options include hot pink fake-leather binding, and a “Soul Surfer” edition featuring “tips on catching a good wave.”

Pray to stay

Francis X. Rocca |

Fascinating Wall Street Journal piece on a German housing development for low-income residents, built in the 16th century and still in operation. Tenants live virtually rent-free-as long as they pray for their benefactors’ souls.

Clash of ideas

Samuel Huntington, the controversial political scientist who popularized the idea of a clash of civilizations between Islam and Christianity, died Wednesday. Read the NYT obit here.

Beer & now

  The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn has for years advocated the practice of “mindful eating” in which we take care to notice each moment in the eating experience. In fact, he says its one of the most important Buddhist practices.   Stands to reason, then, that mindful drinking is also important. So, before […]