Since its publication on May 23, the latest installment of the Left Behindseries has sold 1.9 million copies-and that doesn't include figures from Christian bookstores. A New York Times article calls it"an unparalleled achievement for an evangelical novel," but the article's statistics show what an understatement that is."In the last five years," writes Dinitia Smith,"[the series] has sold some 17 million copies in the United States, about three million less than the Harry Potter series."
Three churches in two different states in southern India were bombed Thursday. Though several people were hurt, none was killed. The bombings come a day after a Roman Catholic priest was killed in the northern India city of Mathura, near Delhi.
Sadly, India wasn't the only place to discover a murdered priest this week. Thomas Wells, monsignor at Mother Seton Catholic Church in the D.C. suburb of Germantown, Maryland, was found dead at the church Thursday, apparently beaten to death.
The Church of England is calling its parishes to recapture healing ministries, saying it is one of the church's greatest ways of sharing the gospel. The report is careful not to place the healing ministry of the church in opposition to (or even completely outside) medical practice, saying that the church should partner with medical practitioners."It also recommends the setting up of a review group to assess the compatibility with Christian teaching of widely used forms of complementary medicine and alternative therapies," reports the BBC.
Popular Web sites APBNews.com, Digital Entertainment Network, and NewsWatch call it quits. Salon.com announced staff layoffs and is cutting back its editorial offerings. And Beliefnet gets another $20 million in venture capital. One of these things is not like the others. The all-things-religious site is reportedly relaunching its store today and expects it to provide nearly half of the site's revenues. Will it work?"If Beliefnet provides good services and timely, factual information and so forth, and it's a positive experience, then it's possible in those weekly meetings-prayer groups at synagogues or at church or temple-the word-of-mouth networking effect may be a lot more powerful than it is for other Web sites," Robert Labatt, research director of Internet retail business models, strategy, and marketing at Gartner Group (big enough title for you?) tells The Standard."They're covering a lot of bases. The question is, can they cover them all well and to a depth everyone would appreciate?" (ChristianityToday.com Weblog is curious about your thoughts on Beliefnet. E-mail us here.)
While the article doesn't quite deliver on the promises of the headline ("Evangelicals alter Ethiopia's traditions"), Andrea Useem's piece is great-and one readers aren't likely to see elsewhere. Perhaps the most interesting aspect to the country's growing evangelical population (currently about 10 percent) is that Muslims seem far less concerned than Eastern Orthdox."We are not trying to defeat the Orthodox Church," says a Southern Baptist missionary from Tennessee."We are just bringing the Gospel to the people whoever they are, Muslim, Orthodox or Protestant." Also of note is the comment by Talargie Tafesse, director of missions and evangelism for the Evangelical Church Fellowship of Ethiopia, that"when Orthodox people claim that evangelicals are being Westernized or Americanized, in some ways they are right." And there's a growing worship war, reports Useem:"The evangelical churches have given birth to a trendy new genre of Ethiopian Christian music. The tunes, booming out from corner shops and commuter minibuses, are indistinguishable from modern Ethiopian pop music, except for the Christian lyrics. The new hymns are luring souls from the Orthodox Church, where the beautiful but labored music of the liturgy-brought to Ethiopia by the 5th-century Syrian saint Yared-takes years to master."
John and Patsy Ramsey, who brought truckloads of headaches and sales to Christian publisher Thomas Nelson with their book about the murder of their daughter, JonBenét, have hired a psychic to help them create a composite sketch of the killer. (Just when you thought the story couldn't get any weirder.) No comment yet-at least that ChristianityToday.com Weblog has seen-from Thomas Nelson or the Ramseys on the Christian value of using psychics. But the last we heard, most Christians didn't think it was a very good idea.
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