Southern Baptist Convention gets under way

The big news of the week is the Southern Baptist convention in Orlando, Florida. As the Dallas Morning News leads off its coverage, "Just as you can count on a hot Texas summer every year, you can count on controversy to spring from Southern Baptists' annual June convention." Though there will be plenty of battles, media attention this year is focused on the proposed Baptist Faith and Message, which includes the note, "While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture." The Washington Post takes a very broad approach: "Much of the controversy has centered on whether biblical teachings are absolute or subject to interpretation—the same issue at the heart of gender and morality debates among Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists and Jews." USA Today takes a look at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate-to-liberal denomination within the denomination

India Campus Crusade for Christ evangelist killed

Ashish Prabash, who worked fulltime for Campus Crusade's Jesus film ministry was found stabbed to death in his home in northern India. It appears that his killers also tried to burn down his home. Meanwhile, the Bombay Times asks residents why Christians are being targeted. The consensus seems to be that Christians are an easy target, and that the government isn't doing anything to help them.

Four killed, several houses burned in renewed Indonesia violence

The body count keeps rising sadly in the Moluccan islands.

Thousands rally for Pentecost

45,000 Roman Catholics filled the Sydney SuperDome for a massive baptismal service. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, 30,000 Christians joined together in Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.

Worldwide Church of God keeps moving to mainstream

Most of the congregations in the formerly heretical movement (it underwent a public transformation toward orthodoxy in 1995) now observe Christmas and Easter, and a growing number have shifted their worship services to Sunday from Saturday, the church reported this week.

Quiet, modest "spinsters" leave £27 million to charity

Mary Coyle and Florence Reakes lived together in a small apartment in north London, baking cakes and cleaning their Roman Catholic church. Reakes died in 1996 at age 93, Coyle, died this year at age 88. Now their neighbors are shocked to find out that the two were multimillionaires, and have left £27 million (more than US$40 million) to Christian charities.

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Is Pokémon Christian?

A few months ago, the e-mailbox was full of letters asking us to expose Pokémon as a tool of the devil. Anne Richards, theology secretary of the Church of England's Board of Mission, has written a paper extolling the fad's Christian virtues, especially in the recent film. Weblog hasn't seen the film, but apparently the main character, Ash, dies trying to stop a fight involving a character named Mewtwo (does that spoil the movie for you?). Richards writes, "Mewtwo is completely changed by Ash's sacrifice. All evil is gone from him and he is redeemed. The storm outside is calmed… he flies off to start a new world. He has found new answers to the questions: 'Who am I?' and 'What am I for?' My own children found obvious Christian parallels with all this. They were impressed by the death and resurrection sequence and the fact that at the heart of it all was love."

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