Articles

From hell to atonement, musician Audrey Assad has been quietly evolving

May 18th, 2018
Four years have passed between spiritual songwriter Audrey Assad’s last studio album and her new, highly anticipated record, “Evergreen.” During that time, the evangelical-turned-Catholic says she began deconstructing her faith and battling anxiety. Though her fans did not know, her religious beliefs were “practically nonexistent” at one point. Assad’s newest album chronicles something of a spiritual [...]
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Why Paige Patterson’s apology may not be enough

May 18th, 2018
In just two weeks, Paige Patterson has done what none could have predicted: He’s given America’s largest Protestant denomination two black eyes. The first injury was inflicted when his comments about spousal abuse and women went viral. The statements, which span decades, include objectifying a 16-year-old girl in a sermon, saying “everyone should own at [...]
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In a #Metoo moment, will Southern Baptists hold powerful men accountable?

May 18th, 2018
The Southern Baptist Convention’s statement of faith calls on its members to “contend for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.” But the nation’s largest Protestant denomination must now decide whether that includes situations in which respected men have abused their power with women. Last week, an audio recording surfaced on which Paige Patterson, a high-profile [...]
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‘Glorious glitter bomb’: Critics loved ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ but much of religious America was unimpressed

May 18th, 2018
New York isn’t thought of as an exceptionally Christian town. But as I sat in the Marcy Armory on Easter Sunday night live-tweeting NBC’s broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” you could have fooled me. More than 1,000 audience members whooped, clapped and even wept as John Legend portrayed Jesus, Sara Bareilles played Mary Magdalene and [...]
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The Scandal Tearing Apart America’s Largest Protestant Denomination

May 18th, 2018
Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson gestures as he makes his opening speech to the Southern Baptist Convention Tuesday, June 15, 1999 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Patterson asked church members to get beyond their own concerns and focus on evangelizing cities in a last worldwide missionary effort. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) Over the past [...]
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Why isn’t there a ‘War on Easter’ like Christmas?

March 28th, 2018
  For most Christian Americans, the holiest week of the year looks like most others. People purchase Starbucks lattes without lamenting the design of the cup and shop at Target without critiquing the greeters’ salutations. They may stop by their local courthouse, but it won’t be to protest the removal of an Easter scene from [...]
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Can former journalist Lee Strobel make a convincing case for miracles?

March 27th, 2018
A few years ago, I experienced a miracle at a writing conference outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Following a talk I gave on storytelling, a group of women approached me and one stepped forward: “We have a word from God for you.” I froze but maintained a cautious smile. The women explained that they were friends [...]
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Advice for dealing with critics – from a religion writer with plenty of them

March 9th, 2018
A hand shot up in the conference hall about six rows back. “Jonathan, as an opinion writer who covers religion and politics, you take a lot of heat,” the earnest man. “How do you deal with critics?” I paused. “Good question. How do you deal with them as an opinion writer?” Continue reading…
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Responding to American Christianity’s obsession with youth

March 7th, 2018
  (RNS) — Centuries ago, some of our ancestors powdered their wigs in order to appear older and wiser. Today, adults dye their hair darker to seem young and relevant. It’s difficult to dispute that, as Simon Donnan put it, “Youth is the new global currency.” One might assume that the Christian church, which often touts [...]
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Billy Graham, the Last Nonpartisan Evangelical?

March 1st, 2018
It’s difficult to overstate the influence of the Rev. Billy Graham — who died at 99 in his Montreat, N.C., home on Wednesday — on American public life, and indeed the world, over the past century. It’s estimated that the globe-trotting preacher shared the Christian message with 215 million people in more than 185 countries, [...]
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Desiring God, mental health, and the truth about ‘chronological snobbery’

February 16th, 2018
The first time I had a panic attack, I was sitting at a traffic stop on a country road in North Carolina. A strange sensation that felt like an itch crawled along the underside of my skin until my whole body vibrated. My face flushed, my hands moistened, my chest tightened, my breathing quickened until [...]
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The 12 most dangerous countries for Christians

January 16th, 2018
A protester defiantly waves an Egyptian flag with the emblems of Christianity and Islam ( the cross and the crescent ) added – a message of religious unity. Clouds of tear gas are lit up with an eerie glow by the sinking sun. – Courtesy of Alisdare Hickson via Flickr Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/2mhL29P) – Egypt [...]
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Sexuality, Race, And Gender: 3 Explosive Insights About America’s 100 Largest Churches

January 3rd, 2018
Last October, evangelicalism was rocked by the launch of ChurchClarity.org, an organization that reports churches’ LGBTQ+ policies and rates congregations based on their level of clarity. The website angered Christians on both sides of the issue. Some conservatives attacked the CC’s liberal leadership, while some progressives claimed that labeling churches undermined progress. Nevertheless, Church Clarity persisted. Over the past two months, CC [...]
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Forget ‘Happy Holidays.’ Let’s Talk About Congress This Christmas.

January 3rd, 2018
The following is a guest post from Cheryl Bridges Johns and Alexei Laushkin The season leading to Christmas can be so busy and bustling that we overlook the staggering invitation to peace and tranquility. But Advent is a reminder that God stands ready to invite us into his kingdom. And this should be good news for allpeople, [...]
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After Roy Moore, Evangelicals Must Trade Wishful Thinking For Soul-Searching

December 15th, 2017
Everyone agrees that Democrat Doug Jones won yesterday’s hotly contested Senate race in Alabama. Everyone, that is, except Republican candidate Roy Moore. The controversial candidate refused to admit defeat in a speech delivered late last night. Instead, he asked his supporters to “wait on God and let this process play out.” Moments after Moore’s speech, however, it [...]
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