Max Lucado Stepping Down
1. "America's pastor" to leave pulpit, citing health concerns
"Your quarterback's tired," San Antonio's Oak Hills Church senior minister Max Lucado told his elder board. After 20 years at the church, and seven months after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, Lucado has announced that he's leaving his position. "My health concerns are not so severe that I feel I'm in any danger, just severe enough that I think a change needs to be made," he told television station WOAI.
He says he'll still regularly preach at the church, which has dropped its affiliation with the Church of Christ, and will continue his prodigious writing (he has two more books out this year). "I compare what is happening to going from being president of a college to joining the faculty," he told the San Antonio Express-News. "It was a painful decision, a hard decision, but I feel very peaceful about it now. I've been thinking about it since September."
In a sheer coincidence, Christianity Today's sister publication Today's Christian offers today an online excerpt from Lucado's Cure for the Common Life. The title? "The Lord's Career Advice: Or, how to take your job and love it."
2. Zimbabwe's protest and crackdown are religious
You may have heard about Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's recent attacks on his opponents. The big news is that police beat Morgan Tsvangirai so severely that they apparently fractured his skull and caused brain damage. What you may not have heard is that the attack came during a prayer meeting. The South Africa Council of Churches reports that in addition to Tsvangirai, "in the last few days, a number of church leaders have also been detained and beaten for participating in public prayer meetings."
3. Knesset considers bill outlawing all evangelism
Israel currently bans evangelism of minors and offering money or goods as incentive for religious conversion. Now the Shas party (the third-largest party in the Knesset, tied with Likud) wants to ban all "proselytism" in the country, YNet News reports. "Whether it's Christians coming from abroad or Jewish converts working in Israel, they all have the same agenda to destroy every trace and memory of the people of Israel, and they plan to do this by converting Jews," says a proposal by MK Yakov Margi. "There is no choice but to adopt the rules applying to forbidding proselytism among minors, for all matter relating to adults as well. In other words, completely forbidding preaching and proselytism."
In related news, the president of the Islamic Society of North America spoke at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to warn of a great danger against Israel and the Jews: conservative Christians. "Right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews, because they [the Christians] are really anti-Semitic," Ingrid Mattson, a Roman Catholic convert to Islam, said at the university-sponsored event. "They do not like Jews." An announcement promoting Mattson's speech quoted Newsweek's description of her as "an ambassador for Islam in the West, preaching tolerance and understanding." Mattson was quoted by The Boston Globe.
4. Compass Direct: Muslims are abducting and forcibly converting Nigerian Christian kids
Religious liberty news service Compass Direct tells the horrifying story about the kidnapping of 13-year-old Victor Udo Usen and the inaction by police in Sokoto, a city in northwestern Nigeria. But "the Usens are not the only Christian family in Sokoto who have had one of their children abducted and forced into Islam," Compass reports. "Christian leaders there say abduction of teenage Christian boys and girls has become a common phenomenon in majority-Muslim Sokoto state." The news service, which is not prone to exaggeration, quotes multiple sources who give multiple examples with specific names. There's a good chance that Western media will be sending reporters to Nigeria next month to cover the country's general election. Seems to me this would be an important story to follow up on.
Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
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