By Holly Hollman, Religion News Service|
April 25, 2017
(RNS) After a year of anticipation, the Supreme Court heard oral argument this week in a case involving religious liberty, federalism and original intent. The justices did so despite a recent development that changed the dynamics of the dispute.
Scholarly consensus puts the writing of John's gospel between 90-100 AD. John is referred to in the biblical texts as “the beloved” or “the disciple Jesus loved,” and there is a stronger sense of intimacy in the telling of this gospel. Consider also that John, who outlived the other apostles, had witnessed the outpouring of God's Spirit at Pentecost, the spread of the gospel across the empire, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and had been exiled to Patmos where he wrote Revelation. John also uses philosophical language, but turns to actual events to capture our imagination as he applies a theological truth to life.
By Yonat Shimron, Religion News Service|
April 19, 2017
NEW YORK (RNS) At the top of one of the hardwood sculptures currently on view at The Met Cloisters in Manhattan stands Jesus, flanked by saints and angels, two of whom are blowing the final trumpets. Beneath them, carved in deep relief, are souls in purgatory, prodded by demons, moaning as their fate is decided. At the sculpture’s base is the gaping maw of hell consuming someone.
Even if this were a normal-size work of art, the detailed, perfectly balanced presentation of its 50-plus figures would be remarkable.
Paul Msiza, a South African pastor serving as president of the Baptist World Alliance for 2015-2020, traveled to Jefferson City, Mo., in March. During his visit, he stopped by the Word&Way offices for an interview with Editor Brian Kaylor.
Nearly 700,000 tourists from the United States travel each year to Israel, accounting for about one-sixth of its tourists. Despite being considered a kind of religious pilgrimage to the “holy land,” the lands of the Bible actually stretch across several modern nations.
“But at age fifty years they shall retire from service in the work and not work any more.”
Many Christians quote Numbers 8:25 and then say, “See, God says we are to retire at age fifty.” But full retirement age will soon be age 67 in America. Yet age 50 is a good time for us to start seriously evaluating and planning our retirement income from five sources.
In the gospels, Jesus had to regularly contend with what people thought of him and the people that regularly surrounded him. Whether it was fishermen, tax collectors or the sick, the religious elite wondered why he preferred being around the wrong people. In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus deals with this head on during a meal at the home of Simon the Pharisee.
Recently I was sitting in a church classroom and realized my attention was drawn to a poster on the wall. Was it the art? A snappy headline? Useful information? No, I realized it was because it was promoting something from last year.
It has been said that many Christians would like to go back to the Golden Age of church in the 50s. That’s not possible. Shouldn’t we also try to keep people from reliving the last year or two in our facilities?
We can fantasize about the original apostles who followed Jesus as men of unshakable faith, but the gospel narratives poke gigantic holes in that thinking. Even with the removal of Judas, the remaining eleven appear no different from us. Peter's epic statement about Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), is offset by his denial in the courtyard of the high priest after Jesus’ arrest: “I do not know him” (Luke 22:57). James and John exhibited deep loyalty to Jesus, but they evidenced less than spirituality when they sought places of prominence in the kingdom to come (Matthew 10:37)! But when it comes to Thomas, we do this kind of religious sidestep and label him The Doubter!
By Brent Landau, Religion News Service|
April 13, 2017
(The Conversation) This Sunday, April 16, Christians will be celebrating Easter, the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place. The date of celebration changes from year to year.
Easter is quite similar to other major holidays like Christmas and Halloween, which have evolved over the last 200 years or so. In all of these holidays, Christian and non-Christian (pagan) elements have continued to blend together.