Archive for June, 2010

Favorite Gospel

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 by JEL

Earlier today I was wondering if there was a consensus out there as to people’s favorite gospel. Short answer: no. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are all chosen and for many different reasons. I surfed around a bit and found this post to best illustrate my point. Yes, I know it’s three years old, but they had the same Gospels way back in 2007 that we do now.

Scroll down to see the 47 comments and you’ll see what I mean.

Science and Religion

Monday, June 28th, 2010 by JEL

Many religious Americans feel that the country’s scientists are hostile to religion (and, to be fair, many scientist think that religious people are hostile to science). Is that really the case? Elaine Howard Ecklund, a professor at Rice University, recently researched and wrote a book called Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think.

For a quick synopsis, click here. Her findings are really interesting. For one, top scientist do, in fact, go to and belong to churches. But they often have to practice “secret spirituality” at work for fear their colleagues will doubt the validity of their work if they openly admit their faith. And at church, they turn to “secret science,” reluctant to talk about scientific matters with their fellow parishioners so as not to offend them.

I am constantly amazed at how many of the world’s problems could be solved if people put down their plastic barriers and just talked (and listened) to each other.

AOK Thursday: One Step at a Time

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 by JEL

Our little weekly posts trying to spotlight kindness seem (more than) a little pale in comparison to what this guy is doing. His name is Armand Young and he’s walking from California to Ground Zero in NYC to promote kindness and honor the victims of 9/11 and our fallen soldiers.

“I just got sick of seeing our country falling apart and people hurting people and people robbing people. I decided to change the world and show people no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you could change the world by a simple act of kindness.”

Let him tell his story:

Do You Believe Jesus Will Return by 2050?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 by JEL

The Pew Research Center in Washington, DC conducted an April poll of 1,546 adults. One of the questions they asked was if the respondent believed Jesus would return by 2050. 41% said “yes.” Among white evangelical Christians, the “yes” response climbed to 58%.

They also published data broken out by education level. 59% of people with no college experience believed Jesus was coming, while only 19% of college graduates believed in a return by 2050.

AOK Thursday: Showered with Kindness in Rainout

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 by JEL

A father takes his two sons to see a minor league baseball game in Florida. They arrive to see the game has been called on account of rain, but rather than leaving with long faces and disappointment, they see kindness all around them. They score pretzels, a treasured baseball, a program, get their picture taken, and are escorted out like VIPs.

I’d say the Brevard County Manatees (and their staff) made some fans for life. Check out the whole story.

Putting the BP Oil Spill in Perspective

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 by JEL

In the eighth chapter of John, there’s a story of a woman caught in the act of adultery and the crowd that’s ready to stone her. (Bart Ehrman in his book, Misquoting Jesus, shows that the story was not part of the original scriptures and was added later, but I digress). Jesus is writing on the ground with his finger and looks up at the would-be stoners and says:

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” – John 8:7

Lots of shoe gazing ensues, followed by crowd dispersal. Jesus diffused the situation by changing the perspective.

Which is something we should all be doing regarding the BP oil spill. Fists in the air won’t accomplish much; more shoe-gazing might. Mark Johnson writes a compelling post about this in the God’s Politics blog:

“I know, however, that I am in no position to “throw the first stone.” My style and standard of living cries for oil wells to be built.”

Read the whole thing. Then count your laces.

AOK Thursday: Mr. Lovewell

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 by JEL

Before the band MercyMe (great name, by the way) started recording their sixth album, they got together to discuss the concept the music should explore. They came up with “kindness” and created a character, Mr. Lovewell, who inspires people to go out and be nice to each other. What kind of guy is Mr. Lovewell? Well he…

“…sees the good in everyone. He’s really trusting, and he just gives everybody a chance. He believes that even the smallest things he does could potentially change the world.” – Bart Millard of MercyMe

The Lovewell concept is spreading as their album zooms up the charts. People are doing random acts of kindness for others and leaving behind notes signed, “Mr. Lovewell.”

The band walks the walk. Just ask Glenda James about her “new” car.

Who’s More Like Jesus?

Monday, June 7th, 2010 by JEL

I just saw this column by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. In it, he describes the swift excommunication of a nun who saved a woman’s life. Meanwhile, all the priests and bishops guilty of child abuse are “re-assigned,” or in rare cases, suspended, or in even rarer cases, defrocked. But still allowed to take the sacrament.

Two passages from the story hit home for me. The first is a quote from a doctor who works at the same hospital as Sister Margaret.

“She is a kind, soft-spoken, humble, caring, spiritual woman whose spot in Heaven was reserved years ago. The idea that she could be ex-communicated after decades of service to the Church and humanity literally makes me nauseated. True Christians, like Sister Margaret, understand that real life is full of difficult moral decisions and pray that they make the right decision in the context of Christ’s teachings. Only a group of detached, pampered men in gilded robes on a balcony high above the rest of us could deny these dilemmas.”

The other is from Kristof:

Sister Margaret made a difficult judgment in an emergency, saved a life and then was punished and humiliated by a lightning bolt from a bishop who spent 16 years living in Rome and who has devoted far less time to serving the downtrodden than Sister Margaret. Compare their two biographies, and Sister Margaret’s looks much more like Jesus’s than the bishop’s does.

AOK Thursday: Muffins

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 by JEL

It’s always fun to research acts of kindness for this weekly post. Many are simple (e.g., man sees woman is cold, offers his jacket), but my favorites are ones that involve planning and effort. Almost like setting up an elaborate practical joke where everyone feels good in the end.

Here’s a nice story about a woman who baked blueberry muffins before heading out on her long drive. No, they weren’t for snacking between rest areas; they were for the tollbooth operators she would meet along the way. It all comes boomeranging back in the end.

Animating Jesus

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 by JEL

Among the 28 projects Comedy Central is considering to develop into programs for the coming season is an animated series about Jesus. The network’s blurb sums up the show thusly:

“A half-hour animated show about JC (Jesus Christ) wanting to escape his father’s enormous shadow and to live life in NYC as a regular guy. A lot has changed in 2000 years and he is the ultimate fish out of water. Meanwhile his all-powerful yet apathetic father would rather be playing video games than listening to JC recount his life in the city. JC is a playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb.”

A coalition led by Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) has yet to see the non-existent show, but has already come out against it. The coalition also includes the Media Research Center, the Family Research Council, the Catholic League, the Parents Television Council and the American Alliance of Jews and Christians. In urging advertisers to boycott any such project, the group said:

“After we reveal the vile and offensive nature of Comedy Central’s previous characterizations of Jesus Christ and God the Father, we expect these advertisers to agree wholeheartedly to end their advertising on Comedy Central and discontinue their support for unabashed, anti-Christian discrimination.” – Brent Bozell, president of the MRC.