RNS photo courtesy Durham Cathedral

Church of England faces backlash over rejecting women bishops

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The Church of England is facing a grave constitutional crisis as a result of last week’s failure to allow women bishops. Church leaders are urging a suspension of the rules to allow a second vote, as members of Parliament say they'll move to force the church to abide by civil anti-discrimination laws. By Trevor Grundy.

End culture war, World Vision head tells Christians

As it dawns on the Republican Party that the American people are not entirely down with the Norquistian anti-tax pledge, so is it dawning that the upper hand in the culture war may not lie with religious conservatives. So along comes Richard Stearns, president of the evangelical international aid agency World Vision, with a call to Christians to lay down their arms.

5 Things Not to Say If You Want to Get Your Book Published, #3: “This Book Is Ready for Publication”

“This book is like a baby that needs to be born and I am looking for a stable.” Can we just say that as a general rule it’s a bad idea to compare your book to baby Jesus? Baby Jesus did not need editing. Mary didn’t send the bambino back and say, “Well, all the basic baby organs are in place, but his eyes are too far apart, and he has redundant navels, and I’m not thrilled with the proposed Jesus title. Can you fix those problems in the second draft?” Those are the kinds of things an editor does. 

RNS photo by David Yonke / Toledo Faith and Values

Racing reverend puts faith into 750-horsepower dragster

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (RNS) Until his recent retirement, the Rev. Dale Schaefer spent most Sunday mornings wearing vestments and leading worship services at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. Whenever he had a day off, the soft-spoken preacher would slip a helmet over his gray hair, don a racing suit, and climb into the cockpit of a 750-horsepower dragster he built from the ground up. By David Yonke.

RNS photo by Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Catholic priests pushed to become better preachers

ST. LOUIS (RNS) The Rev. Don Wester believes homilies should be practical and direct — that they should draw a connection between the everyday struggles of parishioners and biblical truths. And it’s exactly the kind of preaching that Catholic bishops across America are hoping for as part of a new national effort to improve preaching at Catholic parishes. By Tim Townsend.

Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson gives the invocation on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, to begin the Welcoming Ceremony for Barack Obama's presidential inauguration. Religion News Service photo by David Jolkovski

Gay bishop Gene Robinson sets sights on D.C. as retirement looms

CONCORD, N.H. (RNS) When Gene Robinson became the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003, his election triggered shock waves and fears of schism worldwide. Now, as this lighting-rod figure prepares to retire Jan. 5, he’s leaving New Hampshire for a city that knows polarization all too well: Washington, D.C. By G. Jeffrey MacDonald.

Romney’s religious coalition should spook the GOP even more than I thought

A couple of weeks ago I called attention to a striking graphic from the Public Religion Research Institute that compared the religious layout of the Obama and Romney coalitions with the religious layout of the electorate by age cohort. Short version: Obama's (i.e. Dems) looks like the electorate of the future; Romney's (i.e. GOP's), like the electorate of the past.

5 Things Not to Say If You Want to Get Your Book Published, #2: “I’m Happy to Do Interviews”

I started this series with some softball advice: Don't mention in a query letter that God told you to write this book. Most of you were probably patting yourselves on the back when you read that, because you're not psychotic. (Well done, you!) So today's advice is a little less intuitive to sane people: don't tell your publisher that you're happy to do interviews.