Today's Top Five

1. Connecticut churches face tax penalties for ministries
Sunday's The New York Times has a troubling story on how costly it can be for a church to serve the needy. Definitely worth a read.

2. 7th Heaven ends its run tonight
The Times has an interesting review, in part criticizing the show for moralizing against premarital sex, but also for being duplicitous: "As distasteful as the series might seem to liberal sensibilities, it is arguably more offensive still to conservative ones, because of the sleaziness with which it puts across the Christian values to which it halfheartedly aspires. … It revels in the illicit behavior it condemns and takes pleasure in its own creepy innuendos." Slate agrees: "For all its conservative sexual mores, 7th Heaven is one of the most sexually frank shows on television. So does The Denver Post: "Just read any '7H' plot summary and tell me it isn't as trashy as The O.C. ('Virgin Martin impregnates Hilary Duff's slutty older sister on the day he meets her.')" Not revealed in the final episode: the actual denomination that the pastor dad actually belongs to.

3. AIDS groups shunning Saddleback
The front page of today's San Francisco Chronicle reports on Saddleback Church's plan to help people with HIV and AIDS. But the plan may not come into fruition because other AIDS groups—though desperate for volunteers—are suspicious of the conservative church. Joe Garofoli reports:

[S]ome secular HIV care providers are wary of Saddleback's motives. They don't trust them. Not yet.
After decades of hearing evangelical Christian leaders demonize homosexuals for their "sinful" lifestyle or criticize the risky behavior that led people to contract HIV, some care providers are leery of ...
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Weblog
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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