January 2015 Issue

 All January articles are provided below. Just scroll to see the list, and click to read any article.

 

Israel: Faith, friction and firm foundations

The sunset over Nazareth is nothing short of spectacular when viewed from high atop Mount Precipice. Every turn of the head gives a worthy perspective on grandeur. The gathered Christian pilgrims ponder the words — taken from the prophet Isaiah — that Jesus spoke in a...

See Rock Cities: Indeed, these stones can talk

There’s an old rabbinic tale that goes something like this: When God sent out an angel with 10 bags of rocks to scatter over the earth at the time of creation, the angel dropped nine bags on Israel and the remaining one on the rest of the world. Rocks are everywhere...

Dig for a day

It’s not every day that novices get to dig up 2,200-year-old pottery pieces and bring history to light, but the 48 participants in Baptists Today’s Nurturing Faith Experience to Israel and the West Bank got that opportunity in November. Tel Maresha, part of Bet Guvrin...

Quotation Remarks

“It’s hip right now to have weird and artsy people at church. There are many churches that welcome these people as a way of being culturally relevant. I even heard about one mega-church in town putting photos of all the congregants’ tattoos on a wall inside the church...

Editorial — For good or bad: the witnessing dilemma

No one can argue with your “personal testimony.” It’s you telling what God has done in your life. That was some of the advice — or urging — that was part of my Christian upbringing that highly valued the notion of being faithful witnesses. To witness was to tell...

Nearly one-fourth of American families turn to church food pantries

In an online survey of 1,158 adults last year, 22 percent said they are in families who have received food from a church-run food pantry in the past. Among churchgoers, the percentage is 26 percent, while just 18 percent of those who never attend have gone to a church...

Court rejects atheists’ demand to end tax break for clergy housing

A federal court of appeals rejected a case brought by an atheist organization that would have declared tax-exempt clergy housing allowances — often a large chunk of a pastor’s compensation — unconstitutional. “This is a great victory for fair treatment of churches,”...

Evangelicals a mixed bag on Obama’s immigration move

WASHINGTON — While Republican leaders blast President Obama for taking executive action on immigration reform, some prominent evangelical leaders are welcoming the president’s plans to keep about 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported. Evangelicals are...

Guide for nonbelievers offers 10 commandments not written in stone

STANFORD, Calif. — An atheist, a humanist and an agnostic walk into a restaurant. The hostess says, “Table for one?” An old joke, yes, but its essence lies at the heart of Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-First Century, a new...

Teaming with Oprah

Pastor Rob Bell keeps pushing evangelical envelope Rob Bell was once the evangelical It Boy, the hipster pastor with the thick-rimmed glasses and the skinny jeans whose best-selling theology was captured in books with names such as Velvet Elvis and Sex God. By 2006,...

Baptists and the America Civil War

150 years ago | January 1865   Celebration, chagrin and defiance alternatively greet the dawning of the new year. For free black Baptists who until recently were slaves, the first day of the year is a time of great celebration. North and South alike, black...

Classifieds

Associate Minister for Music and Worship Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., is seeking a part-time minister of music and worship to plan and coordinate church music and worship for all ages, to include various music groups and styles. We are a moderate church...

In the Know

C. Welton Gaddy retired in December as president of the Interfaith Alliance. For 16 years, he commuted between Washington, D.C., and Monroe, La., most weeks. He will continue as pastor of Northminister Church, a Baptist congregation in Monroe. Jennifer Hawks is staff...

Remembering Isaac Backus and the importance of religious liberty

Guest Commentary By Leroy Seat The New England Puritan Isaac Backus was born in 1724 and died in 1806. As an outstanding advocate of religious freedom and the separation of church and state, he is well worth remembering and honoring 208 years later. Backus was the...

Lesson For February 1, 2015

Inspiring Deeds Psalm 111 with Tony W. Cartledge “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” Psalm 111:1 Do you know anyone who is perpetually cheerful, or who manages to make the best of...

Lesson for February 8, 2015

Missional Plans Mark 1:29-39 with Tony W. Cartledge “He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.” Mark 1:31 Do you ever behave in compulsive ways? Do you feel an obsessive need to work long hours, eat food...

Lesson for February 15, 2015

Mountaintop Moments Mark 9:2-8 with Tony W. Cartledge “Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’” Mark 9:7 If there have been any children around your house in the past 30 years, you are...

Lesson for February 22, 2015

Healthy Regret Psalm 25:1-10 with Tony W. Cartledge “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!” Psalm 25:7 Penitence. Contrition. Regret. Remorse. Sorrow. Self-reproach....

The acrobatics of congregational leading

Editor’s note: This article in the series “Transitions: Helping churches and church leaders in changing times” is provided in partnership with the Center for Healthy Churches (healthy-churches.org). The biggest entertainment event from my childhood was when my family...

Where Was Jesus? Historical evidence versus holy hype

In 2014, approximately 3.5 million tourists descended upon the small nation of Israel. Visitors from the United States comprised the largest percentage, while the Israeli economy received an $11.5 billion boost from tourism at large. The top five cities tourists visit...

Bethlehem: A not-so-little town of great challenges

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — It was an unlikely place for the Word to become flesh. And it seems even more so today. Yet this once-obscure village — with just the right genealogical connections — found itself in the spotlight (or starlight) of biblical history two millennia...

Are Jews better off outside Israel?

Author Alan Wolfe reconsiders the Diaspora Jews exclaim “Next Year in Jerusalem!” at the conclusion of the Passover seder, an acknowledgment that Israel is their spiritual home. But since the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem in 586 B.C., most Jews have lived outside of...

Modern Israel: Politics, peoples and prophecies

Quick! Name the most holy placein the world, and name the most tension-filled place in the world. Your response may very well be Israel, where Jerusalem, the self-proclaimed capital of the nation, is crowned with a temple area that is one of the holiest sites of all...

Pilgrimage: Images and reflections from Israel and the West Bank

“The tour opened up many thoughts and gave a sense of wonder to the places we visited… I do regret you could not guarantee that I would be able to uncover a piece of pottery in our archeological dig. [My wife] Jan found one, but I didn’t!” —Les Hill of Lexington, Ky.,...

The Lighter Side: Movies in English with subtitles in Spanish

Películas en Inglés con subtitulos en Español Carol and I have gone to see seven movies in the last five months — seven times our normal rate of movie-going — for several reasons: 1. The movie theater with 12 screens is two blocks from our home in Santiago. 2. The...

Simple questions made harder by being Baptist

Our daughter had an ethics class assignment on euthanasia. The teacher instructed students to interview two persons on the subject: a medical professional and someone with theological training. That first appeared to be a shortcut provided by having both resources...

Reblog: Will we ever be postwar?

A weekend at First Baptist Church of Manchester, Ga., provided an opportunity to revisit Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Little White House in Warm Springs. FDR was working on a speech promoting the formation of the United Nations and sitting for a portrait when he died...

Nurturing Faith: Texts and Themes for 2015

Season of Epiphany January 6-February 15 One Step More Jan. 6 – Matt. 2:1-12 “Meaningful Gifts” What wise folk do when knowledge is not enough Jan. 13 – Acts 19:1-7 “Powerful Hands” What the Spirit does when water is not enough Jan. 20 – 1 Samuel 3:1-20 “Listening...