From today's Washington Post:
To reach people who never enter a sanctuary, [Episcopal pastor Harry] Brunett and [marketer Chuck] Donofrio have used market research and focus groups, and have designed weekly services that, among other things, deliberately de-emphasize Jesus Christ.
"The sad fact is the name of Jesus Christ has become for many people exclusionary," said Donofrio, president and CEO of a Baltimore marketing and public relations firm. "Many people experience using Jesus almost as a bludgeon to beat them into submission."
The Post reports that the services, where Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is given equal time with Saint Benedict and Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again" is one of the hymns, has the backing of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and its bishop, the Rev. Robert Wilkes Ihloff. "We're enabling people to discover God themselves, maybe through Jesus, maybe through Buddha, maybe through any number of ways," says Brunett. "It's not a back-door way to catch people and bring them to the Episcopal Church."
Another missionary kidnapped in the Philippines
How stupid are these guerillas? They have to know that if anything happens to Martin and Gracia Burnham, the two New Tribes missionaries they are already holding captive, the U.S. military will rain down hellfire upon them. Now they go and kidnap another foreign missionary? Giuseppi Piarantoni, an Italian priest, was kidnapped last night as he celebrated Mass. The local military isn't totally sure it was the Abu Sayyaf who took him, but it sure looks that way.
The controversial sayings of Pat Robertson, part 6,531,402,312
"Ladies and gentlemen," Pat Robertson said on Monday's 700Club, "our president said Islam is a peaceful religion, [but] I beg to differ with our distinguished leader. That just isn't the case." (If you're watching the program, Robertson's comments appear 21 minutes in. If the first link doesn't work, try this one.) The Boston Globe asks a bunch of religious leaders what they think of the statement. "I think it's unhealthy that Robertson's doing it," says Michael Cromartie at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. "Even if he's right, what does he think the president is supposed to do? Wipe out all Muslims? If I was in Robertson's place, I'd want to encourage Islam to find its more peaceful doctrines and promote them." It doesn't sound like anyone is getting too bent out of shape over the comments, unlike when Robertson supported China's one-child policy or said the U.S. deserved the World Trade Center attack. For more on what The 700 Club is saying about Islam, check out its site's "Understanding Islam" area.
Prayer, revival, and church attendance after 9/11:
- Letting God back in | Prayer, long banned from schools, is making a post-terror comeback. No one is protesting yet (Time)
- Terrorism sparks debates on school prayer | Officials are explaining that prayer has never been banned outright from schools — it's a question of how it's done: by whom and under what circumstances (Freedom Forum/Associated Press)
- Prayer in school resurfaces after terrorist attacks | Prayer groups have to be voluntary (WEWS, Cleveland)
- Pray—don't worry about how it works | Survey finds 69 percent of U.S. adults say they've been praying more since terror acts. (Religion News Service)
- Seeking solace in religion | Pews are packed, and pastors, busy (The News & Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina)
- Many look to clergy for answers | Unease after attacks spurs more counseling (The Denver Post)
- Clergy heed Bush's call | Services "back to normal," but talk of response to terrorism remains (The Cincinnati Post)
- New age over, some say | Events of Sept. 11 seem to have ended egocentric era (The Columbus Dispatch)
- Scholar's book on addressing evil finds new life | Marilyn McCord Adams examines how God might "make good" on evil (The New York Times)
Christianity and Islam:
- Some churches becoming places to learn about Islam | Local Muslims invited to speak to Nashville congregations (The Tennessean)
- Willow Creek welcomes Muslim cleric's perspective | Pastor, imam have dialogue at suburban church (Chicago Tribune)
- Critic of Koran temporarily barred from speaking at Ohio college | Fears of violence keep Christian evangelist banned (Associated Press)
Politics and law:
- Calif. Gov. signs gay rights bill | Domestic partners may make medical decisions for incapacitated partners, sue for wrongful death, adopt a partner's child, and will property to a partner (Associated Press)
- Anthrax 'joke' at hospital backfires | Chaplain at St. Mary's suspended, and could face charges, over fake letter (Times Union, Albany, New York)
- Sex change minister in check row | Women's fashion store wouldn't accept check written in Welsh (BBC)
- Diocese's resources exhausted | Anglican Diocese of Cariboo sued out of existence (ChristianWeek, Canada)
Missions & ministry:
Copyright © 2001 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
See our past Weblog updates:
October 17 | 16 | 15
October 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8
October 5 | 4 | 3 | 2
September 28 | 27 | 26 | 25 | 24
September 21 | 20 | 19 | 18 | 17
September 14b | 14a | 13 | 12 | 10
September 7 | 6 | 5 | 4
August 31 | 30 | 29 | 28 | 27
August 24 | 23 | 22 | 20
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Read These Next
- TrendingChristian and Missionary Alliance Will Ordain WomenMinisters may now use the title “pastor” regardless of gender.
- From the MagazineHow One Family’s Faith Survived Three Generations in the PulpitWith a front-row seat to their parents’ failures and burnout, a long line of pastor’s kids still went into ministry. Why?
- Editor's PickMost US Pastors Use Armed Congregants as Church SecurityWith shootings on the rise, more churches are dropping no-firearms policies and turning to gun-carriers in their flock, survey finds.