Today's Top Five

1. U.S. and British troops free three Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages
Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden and Briton Norman Kember, three of the four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) taken hostage in Iraq November 26 were found today by American and British troops. American Tom Fox, the fourth CPT worker taken hostage by the Swords of Righteousness Brigades, was found dead March 10. "Our gladness today is made bittersweet by the fact that Tom is not alive to join in the celebration," CPT said in a written statement.

The statement's consistent description of the CPT workers as "released" rather than "freed" is causing some critics to call the group ungrateful and theologically problematic. But there is some wiggle room in what to call the moment of freedom. After all, as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the press, "There were no kidnappers in the areas" when the troops launched their operation. But Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch says that's probably because the kidnappers knew they were coming: a member of the "kidnapping cell" had been captured and interrogated Wednesday night.

In the next few days, expect a lot of questions and opinions about how CPT members—especially the former hostages—feel about being freed by a western military operation.

2. U.S. appeals court says belief, not knowledge of doctrine, key to religious asylum cases
When Indonesian Yose Rizal applied for religious asylum in the U.S., explaining that he had been beaten, fired, and threatened with death because of his Christian faith, and that his church had been burned by local Muslims, U.S. immigration lawyers asked him where Jesus had been crucified. "Bethlehem," Rizal answered.

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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.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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