RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service AP, Dallas Morning News Win Wilbur Awards (RNS) Religion writers for the Associated Press will be recognized for their work in the series, “The New Missionaries” at the 2007 Wilbur Awards, to be presented April 28 in Louisville, Ky. Other newspapers to be presented with awards include The Dallas Morning News for best religion section and Lancaster (Pa.) New Era for “Lost Angels: The Amish School Shootings.” The annual awards, sponsored by the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) honor secular media who communicate religious issues, values and themes in their news coverage. Other recipients include: _ National Magazine: Newsweek, “Billy Graham in Twilight” _ Editorial Cartoon: John Sherffius, Boulder Daily Camera _ Fiction Book: “The Best People in the World” by Justin Tussing _ Non-fiction Book: “Water from the Well” by Anne Roiphe _ Television (Drama): “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Nevada Day Part 1&2” _ National Television News: CBS News Sunday Morning, “Muslim in America” _ Local Television News: KWQC-TV, “Big Church/Little Church” _ Television Documentary: Vision TV, “Evangelical Tourism” _ Dramatic Feature Film: Every Tribe Entertainment “The End of the Spear” _ Melissa Stee Fla. Bishop Rejects `Good Neighbor’ Proposal on Dissident Churches (RNS) A top Anglican panel has recommended a “good neighbor” approach to solving disputes between six Episcopal breakway parishes in Florida and their bishop, but the bishop almost immediately rejected the plan.

Innovative Nuns Find Answer to Gluten-Free Wafers

c. 2007 Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly CLYDE, Mo. _ Like other nuns across the nation and around the world, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration spend most of their day in prayer. “Our main work is prayer,” said Sister Lynn D’Souza. “That is what we see as the mission for the church, for the world _ to pray for the needs of people of all places, of all times.” The sisters pray together _ five times a day _ and they pray alone, two-and-a-half hours a day.

RNS Religion Calendar

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Here is the RNS calendar of major religious holidays, denominational meetings and other events for April and May. It will be updated monthly. March 31-April 1 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: annual general conference, Salt Lake City. Contact: Dale Bills at 801-240-4377; e-mail: billsdk(at)ldschurch.org April 1 Palm Sunday (Christian) April 2 Passover (Jewish celebration of the exodus from slavery in Egypt; eight-day holiday; begins at sundown and ends on April 10) April 5 Mawlid al-Nabi (Muslim commemoration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in approximately A.D. 570.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Inmate Wins Right to Buy Mormon Religious Texts NEW ORLEANS (RNS) A Mormon inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary will be allowed to receive religious materials from certain vendors under a settlement the American Civil Liberties Union reached with state officials. Norman Sanders, who is serving a life sentence for killing two people, is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a student in a Bible program, according to a federal lawsuit filed in July in Baton Rouge. The prison implemented a vendor list in 2003, laying out publishers and stores from which prisoners could buy books and documents. But the list included no sellers of the scholarly religious texts Sanders wanted to buy, said Katie Schwartzmann, an ACLU staff attorney.

At This Church, Scum of the Earth Is Welcomed and Wanted

c. 2007 Religion News Service DENVER _ The people who worship with Pastor Mike Sares at this rented space are mostly young, many of them students, some clean cut, some a little raggedy. More than a few of the 300 congregants have grappled with depression, abortion, drugs and homelessness. Some wrestle with their demons still _ and at this church they talk openly about it. They call themselves Scum of the Earth.

Marcus Borg Retires, Still Asking the Questions and Looking for Answers

c. 2007 Religion News Service

PORTLAND, Ore. _ Oregon’s leading theologian walks his dog up and down the trendy streets of the Pearl District. His neighbors know Henry, the shaggy gray Glen of Imaal terrier, whose short legs set the pace. But few recognize Marcus J. Borg, the graying guy in the wool cap, as the spokesman for a different approach to Jesus Christ.

COMMENTARY: For the Bible Tells Me So

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) “American life would be so much better if we just obeyed the Bible.” That kind of sentiment is frequently invoked to cut off any meaningful religious discussion. It’s also used to shut off debate on contemporary issues or to buttress a specific political position. But we Americans, who pride ourselves on individualism and personal freedom, should never be bullied into silence when clergy or politicians smugly throw a Scripture passage into our faces and cite those verses as the ultimate authority on a particular subject. If such politicians and clergy are the only people able to define the Bible’s meaning for the general American society, we are all the losers.

Zoroastrians and Conversion

Zoroastrians, Divided Over Conversion, Face a Shrinking Future RNS’ Rana Rosen looks at the future of Zoroastrianism, a faith that forbids converts, and whose numbers are dwindling, in this week’s full-text article, linked above. Quote: Now, the still-raging conversion disagreement-mostly between Zoroastrian immigrants in North America and hard-line conservatives in India who have preserved the community there for more than 1,000 years-has prompted a new soul-searching question: Are they are a religion open to all or an insular ethnic line with common ancestors? The fate of the world’s dwindling Zoroastrian community may depend on the answer. And each camp-the “orthodoxy” and the “reformists,” as they are called-resents the question.

Dean Courts Evangelicals by Just `Showing Up’

c. 2007 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ Howard Dean hopes to make a point to students at Eastern University on Thursday (March 29) before even saying a word. “My real core message is my showing up,” Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in an interview Wednesday. Billed by Democrats as Dean’s first address to an evangelical audience, the speech aims to counter the “right wing propaganda machine” by presenting a “real live Democrat willing to talk to you,” said the former presidential candidate. The larger strategy?

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Lawmakers Issue a `Call to Prayer for America’ WASHINGTON (RNS) For one group of congressmen, the buck doesn’t stop at the Capitol or the White House: It stops with God. The Congressional Prayer Caucus, formed in 2005 by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., on Wednesday (March 28) asked Americans to pray for five minutes weekly for the benefit of the United States. The prayer caucus, made up of 38 lawmakers from both parties, has a new Web site, http://www.prayercaucus.org, where people can sign up for a five-minute block of time each week to pray for the nation. The goal _ a “call to prayer for America” _ is to have Americans praying for their country 24 hours a day, according to the group’s charter.

10 Minutes With … Karen King

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The Gospel of Judas caused quite a splash when it was published last year: Would it explain why he betrayed Jesus? Was this the “other side” of the story people had waited for? Would Judas be vindicated? As it turns out, not quite.

Women Figure Prominently in Easter Drama

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) When Rhonda Kelley reads the Easter drama in her Bible, the professor of women’s ministry feels God’s affirmation of her as a woman. “Jesus really valued women and always reached out to women,” said Kelley, who teaches at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is co-editor of The Woman’s Study Bible. “I know that God values me, but to see it in his life, when he was here on Earth, demonstrates to me his great love and care for women.” Women figure prominently in the Gospel lessons that culminate in Jesus’ resurrection. In roles unusual for that period, they travel with Jesus and then are witnesses to his crucifixion and burial.

The Empty Tomb Still Draws a Crowd

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The Resurrection of Jesus still draws a crowd, even when it’s not Easter Sunday. “I’ve been at major universities where the Resurrection topic got standing room only,” said Gary Habermas, a scholar at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. A few years ago, more than 1,500 people turned out to hear him debate a well-known atheist in California, he said. Nearly two millennia after the apostles first spread news of this seminal event in Christian history, scholars still cogitate over the Resurrection.

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Presiding Bishop of Church of God in Christ Dead at 67 (RNS) Bishop Gilbert E. Patterson, the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, died Tuesday (March 20) of heart failure. He was 67. Patterson was in his second term as presiding bishop of the predominantly black Pentecostal denomination, after first being elected in 2000. Patterson, the pastor of Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tenn., was defeated by one vote in a close election in 1996.