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‘We wish to scream, but there are no ears that wish to hear’: Monday’s Roundup

Chaldean Christians in Detroit are howling into the abyss. Mars Hill Church continues to implode. Serena Williams thanks Jehovah.

The World Meeting of Families Philadelphia 2015 iconic image created by Neilson Carlin. Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of Philadelphia

It’s back-to-school Monday. Kids may grumble, but consider this:

With schools doubling as shelters, classes have been postponed in northern Iraq, especially among the Yazidi religious sect. Aid officials say it will be months before all those children of displaced families, including many Christians, can be accommodated in classrooms.

Quote of the day

Chaldean Christians, many of whom settled in the larger Detroit area, are watching the disintegration of their religious community in Iraq with dismay and horror.

“We wish to scream, but there are no ears that wish to hear,” Bishop Francis Y. Kalabat wrote recently in a letter posted in the church lobby in Southfield, Mich.

No separation

The Russian Orthodox Church has strenuously denied any role in stirring up or aiding separatist turmoil in Ukraine. But evidence of close ties between the church, or individual Orthodox priests, and the pro-Russian cause is growing, according to the New York Times.

Slow mo implosion

Mars Hill Church in Seattle, home to embattled pastor Mark Driscoll, who stepped down for a few weeks, continues to implode. Pastors at four of the church’s 15 satellites told their congregations that their church location would likely close, writes Warren Throckmorton, a Grove City College psychology professor who has been blogging about the turmoil there.

And The Seattle Times says reports the church plans to cut 30 to 40 percent of its paid staff of about 100.

Meanwhile, here’s something you don’t see that often: Suspended pastor John Munro of Charlotte’s (N.C.) Calvary Church, will return to his flock next week after an investigation determined a complaint that he violated the employee handbook “was not supported,” according to The Charlotte Observer.

The World Meeting of Families Philadelphia 2015 iconic image created by Neilson Carlin. Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of Philadelphia

The World Meeting of Families Philadelphia 2015 iconic image created by Neilson Carlin. Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Branding the family

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released the official prayer and image for the big World Meeting of Families conference, which is set to take place in Philly September of next year. Pope Francis said he’s going.

Is it just me, or this faux Renaissance image a bit of an anachronism?

Resignation accepted

The Vatican announced it has accepted the resignation of Ireland’s Cardinal Séan Brady whose tenure was beset by clerical child sex abuse scandals and claims he helped to cover up abusers.

Three Italian nuns were killed over the weekend in a parish in the north of Burundi’s capital, officials and a priest in the African state said on Monday.

Peace pilgrimage

Eighteen Catholic bishops from across the U.S. leave on a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week to pray for peace.

Taking a stand

Family members of September 11 victims are taking a stand against Islamophobia with a new bus ad campaign.

“Islamophobia is not pretty,” the ad reads. “Let’s build bridges, not walls. Hate hurts, hope heals.”

Thanking God

In sports news, Serena Williams thanked Jehovah for her win over Caroline Wozniacki and for capturing her third U.S. Open. Here’s what God had to say:

The F-word

The Washington Post has an interesting take on Washington’s favorite F-word. No. It’s not what you’re thinking. Alec MacGillis writes that tons of politicos are using the word “frankly,” while at the same time being disingenuous about their claims to forthrightness.

Back and forth

Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher are arguing about the merits of Christianity. Here’s the most recent sally.


S. Truett Cathy, who grew his boneless chicken sandwich business from one store in Georgia to the Chick-fil-A chain — a $5 billion company with more than 1,800 locations — died early Monday morning. He was 93.

Lillian Gobitas Klose, whose refusal, on religious grounds, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as a seventh grader in a Pennsylvania public school in 1935 ignited national indignation, as well as a roiling legal fight, died on Aug. 22 at her home in Fayetteville, Ga. She was 90.

Catholic Bishop Cirilo Flores of San Diego died Saturday (Sept. 6). He had been ailing since April when he suffered a stroke.

New leadership

Jerry Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., was elected president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. — the nation’s largest historically African-American denomination. The 7.5 million-member denomination met Sept. 1-5 in New Orleans.

Skip it

Mark Moring at Christianity Today says the only reason to watch “The Identical,” the new movie about a very, Elvis-esque musical sensation and his identical twin, is the music. “Skip the theater altogether and listen to the soundtrack instead,” he advises.

Freedom of pasta

Finally, here at RNS we’ve been keeping close tabs on important matters such as the Pastafarianism movement. Yes, the church of pasta. We’re happy to report that an Oklahoma woman and a member of the church, managed to get a state driver’s license with a spaghetti strainer on her head, which she says is a testament to religious freedom.

Tune in for more fun religion news in this space Tuesday. While you’re at it, sign up to get these missives five days a week.