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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Survey: Most Young People Are 'Lost' Despite 'Christian' Label

Though a majority of teens and young adults identify as Christian, a new study suggests that only 15 percent of them have personal relationships with Christ and are deeply committed. THE CHRISTIAN POST - By Audrey Barrick - April 27, 2010 Though a majority of teens and young adults identify as Christian, a new study suggests that only 15 percent of them have personal relationships with Christ and are deeply committed. Most American "Millenials" – those born between 1980 and 1991 – don't pray regularly. Few read their Bibles or other religious texts, and many don't attend church on a weekly basis, according to a LifeWay Research study. "[W]e cannot forget the vast majority of lost young people in this generation. Our hearts should be broken with this reality," said Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. "We should be convicted if we do not yet have a heavy burden to reach this generation." Sixty-five percent of Millennials called themselves a Christian in the study that was conducted on 1,200 young Americans in August 2009. But Rainer estimates that 85 percent of young people are lost. "Many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only," Rainer told USA Today. "Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith." According to the study, one-third of all Millennials agreed strongly that they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today. Nearly a quarter agreed somewhat. Rainer, who has been researching the younger generation for an upcoming book, has hope in the few who are deeply committed Christians. "Millennial Christians will not settle for business as usual in our churches," he said. "They will not be content with going through the motions, programs without a purpose, and spectator Christianity. They take their faith seriously, and they have little patience with churches that focus most of their resources on the members." While most surveyed young people believe Christian churches are relevant today, only 28 percent agreed strongly. Half of those who trust Christ as Savior, and 67 percent who self-identified as "Christian" indicated they do not attend worship services on a weekly basis. More than half (56 percent) of self-identified Christians rarely or never read the Bible and 38 percent rarely or never pray by themselves. Notably, almost three out of four Millennials agreed that they are more spiritual than religious. Even those who trust Christ as Savior were particularly likely to describe themselves as more spiritual than religious (74 percent). The study noted that the popular SBNR label "is no longer a term that means 'I don't have any particular beliefs but believe in spirituality in general.'" Forty-four percent of self-identified Christians agreed strongly that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Among those who trust Christ as Savior, 81 percent agreed strongly. Only 16 percent of young people who don't attend religious worship services indicated the same strength of accord. Moreover, 26 percent of Christians agreed strongly that salvation is through God's grace alone. In other findings, only a quarter agreed strongly that the Bible is the written word of God and is totally accurate in all that it teaches. Only 30 percent strongly believe Jesus Christ was sinless. And the most common belief among Millenials about life after death is that "no one really knows." "Millennials are the most religiously diverse generation in our culture’s history," Rainer said. "Unsure of the afterlife and the life of Jesus, Millennials present the church with a great opportunity to engage them in conversations dealing with the nature of truth and its authority as God." Unedited :: Link to Original Posting http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100427/survey-most-young-people-are-lost-despite-christian-label/ FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The top 25 churches reported in the 2010 Yearbook are in order of size

1. The Catholic Church, 68,115,001 members, up 1.49 percent. 2. Southern Baptist Convention,16,228,438 members, down 0.24percent. 3. The United Methodist Church, 7,853,987 members, down 0.98 percent. 4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5,974,041 members, up 1.71 percent. 5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no membership updates reported. 6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc, 5,000,000 members, no membership updates reported. 7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,633,887 members, down1.62 percent. 8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., 3,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 9. Assemblies of God (ranked 10 last year), 2,899,702 members, up 1.27 percent. 10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 1(ranked 9 last year), 2,844,952 members, down 3.28 percent. 11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 11. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 11. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 14. The Lutheran Church-- Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,337,349 members, down 1.92 percent. 15. The Episcopal Church, 2,057,292 members, down 2.81 percent. 16. Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, no membership updates reported. 17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 17. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,400,000 members, members, no membership updates reported. 20. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., 1,331,127 members, down 2.00 percent. 21. Baptist Bible Fellowship International (ranked 22 last year), 1,200,000 members, no membership updates reported. 22. Jehovah’s Witnesses (ranked 23 last year) 1,114,009members, up 2.00 percent. 23. United Church of Christ (ranked 22 last year), 1,111,691 members, down 2.93 percent. 24. Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), (ranked 25 last year), 1,072,169 members, up 1.76 percent. 25. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (ranked 24 last year), 1,071,616 members, no membership updates reported. Edited :: See Original Report Here http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/belief-blog/2010/feb/12/latest-church-growth-stats-in/ FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Meet President Obama's 'spiritual cabinet'

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE [Advance/Newhouse] - By Daniel Burke - March 10, 2010 Near the end of a bumpy first year in office, President Obama readied for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii, but before he left, he called on a group of five ministers for a spiritual recharge. Like previous prayer calls, this one was more personal than political. "He certainly does not ask us how we would run the country and what issue to pursue or not pursue," said Bishop Charles Blake of the Los Angeles-based Church of God in Christ, who was on the call. For 10 minutes, the president and the pastors prayed for peace, an economic recovery, protection for U.S. soldiers, and for Obama to be guided by a wisdom and power beyond himself. Glimpses into Obama's spiritual life have been rare since he became president. He split with his longtime Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after the fiery minister nearly derailed Obama's campaign, and has not joined a church in Washington. "Having been burned, for lack of a better word, during the campaign and early days of his administration, I would not be surprised that he would be rather discreet about any revelations of his religious life," Blake said. Still, he Obama continues to champion the role of faith in public life, frequently summoning the spirits of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and even St. Thomas Aquinas to frame his policies in moral terms. Like previous presidents, Obama regularly seeks the counsel of longtime Washington insiders, including Sojourners founder Jim Wallis, Reform Rabbi David Saperstein and retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to shape decisions about the Iraq war, health care reform and the economy. But Obama has also turned to a group of fresh--and relatively unfamiliar--faces to manage religious issues in his administration. They are recalibrating America's engagement with Muslims, revamping the White House faith-based office and tending to the president's own soul. A year into Obama's presidency, each of the following seven people has become an essential member of what might be called his "spiritual cabinet." Joshua DuBois His official title is director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Unofficially, Joshua DuBois is the administration's go-to guy for almost all things religious. He travels as Obama's roving ambassador to religious gatherings, connects the president with faith leaders for spiritual counsel, helps scout Washington churches for the first family, and handles the frequent media queries about Obama's faith. Before stepping into politics, DuBois, 27, was a pastor at small Pentecostal church in Massachusetts, and his approach to the president bears traces of his former calling. DuBois sends daily devotionals to Obama's Blackberry--often a Bible verse or an excerpt from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, or a snippet from the works of theologians Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr, particular favorites of the president. More publicly, DuBois is tasked with overhauling the White House faith-based office and managing its branches in 12 federal agencies. Under Obama, DuBois is steering the office away from the Bush administration's policy of direct funding to religious charities, and attempting to rescue it from charges that it improperly blends church and state. Denis McDonough When Denis McDonough was in eighth grade, he heard his older brother, a Catholic priest, deliver a homily entirely in Spanish. McDonough soon learned Spanish himself, and became an expert on bridging cultural gaps. Now, as Obama's deputy national security adviser and chief of staff of the National Security Council, McDonough is working to strengthen international bonds strained by the Bush administration's go-it-alone approach to foreign policy. Traveling by the president's side on overseas missions, the 40-year-old Minnesotan is a crucial player in Obama's quest to engage Muslims, find common cause with the Vatican, and restore the country's moral authority. McDonough helped craft Obama's landmark address to Muslims last June in Cairo, and the robust defense of American foreign policy--including the waging of "just wars"--during the president's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Norway. A key component of Obama's foreign policy is the Catholic concept of the common good, McDonough said. "It's a general posture of seeking engagement to find mutual interests, but also realizes that there is real evil in the world that we must confront," he said in an interview at his West Wing office. "The president also recognizes that we are strongest when we work together with our allies." In addition, McDonough has schooled Obama on the internal politics of the Catholic Church, an institution he knows intimately. His brother Kevin was vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, another brother is a priest-turned-theologian, and his best friend in Washington is a priest. A graduate of St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., he helped vet a young theologian on the faculty, Miguel Diaz, to become ambassador to the Vatican last May. Rashad Hussain As Obama pursues a "new beginning" between the U.S. and Muslims around the world, he frequently seeks the counsel of Rashad Hussain, a 31-year-old White House lawyer. Hussain briefed Obama before his first interview as president--with Al Arabiya, a television station based in the United Arab Emirates. He has also contributed to Obama's two major speeches to Muslims--in Ankara, Turkey and Cairo--offering insights about the history of Islam in America and suggesting suitable verses from the Quran. Hussain has also traveled to the Middle East with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and, closer to home, helped organize a Ramadan dinner at the White House that replaced the usual crowd of ambassadors with young American Muslims. In naming Hussain as his envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Obama noted that the young Muslim is a hafiz (someone who has memorized the Quran). But Hussain and others said Muslims abroad are more likely to take note of his White House credentials, and access to the Oval Office, as he seeks partnerships in education, health, science and technology. "For many years, Muslim communities have been viewed almost exclusively through the lens of violent extremism," Hussain said in an interview. "We do not feel that we should engage one-quarter of the world's population based on the erroneous beliefs of a fringe few." Melissa Rogers When the Obama administration decided that Bush's faith-based office was on shaky legal ground, it sent Melissa Rogers to firm up the foundation. For the last year, the 43-year-old church-state expert has chaired Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. DuBois called Rogers, the director of the Center for Religious and Public Affairs at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, "one of the country's foremost experts on faith and public policy," who is "respected across the board," by liberals and conservatives alike. Her legal and political acumen helped Rogers guide the council's 25 members, who run the theological gamut from Baptist to Hindu, to reach a consensus on more than 60 recommendations for revamping the White House faith-based office, which were presented on Tuesday (March 9). Twelve of the proposals aim to put the faith-based office on more solid constitutional footing by clarifying its "fuzzy" rules, as Rogers says, on charities that accept direct government aid; insulating charity clients from proselytism; and making government partnerships with local groups more transparent. Rogers said she expects the faith-office to enact many of the reforms--and be better off for it. "The more we can come to agreement on the church-state issues, the more durable the policies are," Rogers said, "and the more time and energy we have to focus on people who are in need." Joel Hunter and Sharon Watkins When Obama wants to pray privately, he has repeatedly called Joel Hunter, a Florida megachurch pastor, and the Rev. Sharon Watkins, president and general minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Politically, Hunter, a registered Republican, and Watkins, who heads a liberal-leaning denomination, may not always agree, but, like Obama, both are committed to transcending traditional barriers. Hunter, 61, pastors the 12,000-member Northland Church outside Orlando, and leads a new crop of centrist pastors calling for a cease-fire in the culture wars. He's also pushing to broaden the evangelical agenda to include issues like poverty, immigration and the environment. Watkins, 55, who Obama tapped as the first woman to preach at the post-inauguration National Prayer Service last year, leads a denomination where Christian unity and overcoming divisiveness are central to its DNA. Watkins caught Obama's eye during the 2008 presidential campaign when she closed a tense meeting between Obama and Christian leaders with a prayer that seemed to bond the room's mix of liberals and conservatives. "It's just in her bones to try to bring people together," said Verity Jones, former publisher and editor of DisciplesWorld, a journal that covered the denomination. Hunter and Watkins both declined to comment on their roles in Obama's spiritual life, invoking the rare pastor-president privilege. "He takes his role very seriously," said Hunter's spokesman, Robert Andrescik. "He just doesn't talk about it--all the more because it's the president." Lt. Carey Cash The pastor who's preached to Obama most often since he became president is a 6-foot-4-inch Southern Baptist Navy chaplain whose great uncle was country music legend Johnny Cash. Like President George W. Bush, Obama has often preferred to worship outside the fishbowl of Washington, in the seclusion of Camp David's Evergreen Chapel, where Cash "delivers as powerful a sermon as I've heard in a while," Obama says. White House officials say Obama has worshipped at the Maryland retreat a half-dozen times, and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, have attended Sunday school there. Before his stint at Camp David, Cash, 39, was an All-American football player for the Citadel, and a chaplain for the Marine's 1st Battalion in 2003 in the Iraq war, during which he baptized 59 soldiers, including one in Saddam Hussein's former presidential palace in Baghdad. The Memphis native was raised in a deeply religious household--his mother is a Christian author--and has harsh words for Muslims, writing in his 2004 book that Islam "from its very birth has used the edge of the sword as the means to convert or conquer those with different religious convictions." Cash's three-year rotation at Camp David began in 2009, so Obama has nearly two more years to hear him preach, but they may not form the usual pastor-parishioner bond. Former Camp David chaplains say there is often little interaction between president and pastor outside of the services. "We used to tell people our job is to run it like a five-star resort," said Patrick McLaughlin, who was chaplain at Camp David from 2002-2005. "One of the things you value when you go on vacation is peace and quiet." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/10/AR2010031003208_pf.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Textbook's Beer-Drinking Jesus Image Sparks Outrage in India

THE CHRISTIAN POST - By Ethan Cole - February 21, 2010 An illustration of Jesus holding a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other has sparked outrage among India’s Christian community. What’s worse is that the image was published in a textbook for primary school children. The beer-drinking Jesus illustration was found under the letter “I,” for idol, in a textbook teaching children how to write cursive. “Jesus Christ, who we, along with other Christians across the world, consider as the Son of God, was demeaned,” expressed the Indian Catholic Youth Movement of the Shillong Archdiocese in a statement. “The publication of the despicable picture has deeply hurt our religious sentiments, and its publisher has manifestly breached the provisions of the Constitution of India.” Shillong is the capital of India’s northeastern Meghalaya state, where the image was first discovered this week in textbooks. More than 70 percent of the population in Meghalaya is Christian. Since the discovery of the image, all the copies of the book containing it have been removed from schools and bookshops in Meghalaya, according to Ampareen Lyngdoh, the education minister of the state, . “I am appalled and condemn the violent pictorial presentation of Christ,” Lyngdoh told The Associated Press on Saturday. “The children for whom the textbook was meant look up to Christ with reverence, and they are shocked beyond words.” Meghalaya government officials say they plan to take legal action against the Delhi-based publisher, Skyline Publications, although they did not provide details. And the National Council of Churches in India has demanded the Meghalaya government establish a mechanism to examine all school books before they are distributed. Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has instructed Christian schools across India to remove all textbooks by the publisher. Following the outrage, Skyline Publications has issued an apology for hurting the religious sentiments of the people of Meghalaya state. It also said all the copies of the book are being withdrawn from the market. Unedited :: Link to Original Posting http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100221/beer-drinking-jesus-image-sparks-outrage-in-india/index.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.