Nancy Kennedy is a writer for our local Citrus County Chronicle. Every Saturday, she has a column in the religion section called Grace Notes.
I don’t know Nancy but I enjoy her columns. She seems sincere, devout and spiritually minded.
Last Saturday she addressed the topic of religious unity, inspired by her attendance at an ecumenical prayer breakfast where many denominations were represented.
“A common question people ask: If the Christian church is one body, why are there so many denominations?,” she wondered. Continue reading
Today Norma Jean and I are in the Memphis area where I’m beginning a meeting for the East Shelby Church in Collierville, Tennessee.
The Shepherds have asked me to preach lessons based on Ephesians 4 that speak to the issue of religious unity. We’ve entitled the series: “Christianity 101: Bible Basics for the 21st Century.”
Sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics. To the fundamentals. To the authoritative principles on which our faith is founded.
The story is told that the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi came into the training camp of the Green Bay Packers in the summer of 1961 taking nothing for granted. Continue reading
I don’t know when or who originated the term, “The Divided States of America,” but you’ve heard it. Seen it. And felt it.
The current political polarization is witnessed by the divide between Republicans and Democrats. Liberals and conservatives. Red states and blue states. Trumpers and Never-Trumpers. And religious and non-religious. Continue reading
J. Gordon Melton is an American author, theologian, and the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion. Currently, he’s the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History with the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he resides.
The author of more than 45 books, Melton is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of world religions, religious traditions in America, and his research into cults and extremely unusual religious groups. “It’s my little niche,” Melton said.
“In 1900 there were 330 different religious groups,” Melton observed. “Now, there are over 2,000, and I find every one of them incredibly interesting.” Here are a few of the more unusual. Continue reading
My friend and preaching colleague Ken Green recently shared this touching story on facebook.
It was the closing night of a summer VBS. The teacher of one of the classes had missed one night and hadn’t encountered a boy who had come that night and who was there that Friday. He only had one hand. It shook her a little and she began to be afraid that the others might make fun of him. But things went smoothly and she soon put the boy’s handicap out of her mind. Continue reading
The 18th century Englishman, John Spilsbury, was an engraver and mapmaker in London. He is also credited with being the inventor of the jigsaw puzzle.
In 1767 Spilsbury mounted a map on a piece of hard wood and carved around the borders of each country as a means to teach geography to children. Seeing the puzzle as a potential business opportunity he created puzzles based on 8 different themes–the World, Europe, Asia, Africa, America, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Continue reading
Sunday night, following the Cleveland Cavaliers improbable come back to win the NBA championship after being down 3-1, they revealed their secret motivation.
For the past 8 weeks this secret weapon had been concealed in a container they carried from game to game and kept in their locker room. It was a four-foot puzzle that formed the image of the Larry O’Brien championship Trophy. Continue reading
The story is told of a little child in an African village who got lost when he wandered off into the tall jungle grass. Family and tribe members stomped all day through the thick grass, frantically seeking the lost boy. The end of the day, however, he was not found.
The next day someone suggested every tribe member hold hands so they could comb through the grass without missing any area. Eventually they found the body of the child who had died during the cold night. Continue reading
“In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion liberty; in all things, charity.”
These words were drafted by Thomas Campbell in his Declaration and Address before the Christian Association of Washington in 1809. Campbell, a Presbyterian minister, migrated to America from Ireland in 1807. He came to this country believing the American frontier presented a new life and a new opportunity for Christianity. He sought to promote, as he put it, “simple evangelical Christianity, free from all mixture of human opinion and inventions of men.” Campbell was seen by many in his denomination as unorthodox. Continue reading
This story may be a legend. I’m not sure. But it’s told that a little child in an African village wandered off into the tall jungle grass and could not be found.
Family and tribe members stomped all day through the thick grass, frantically seeking the lost boy. The end of the day, however, he was not found. The next day someone suggested every tribe member hold hands so they could comb through the grass without missing any area. Eventually they found the body of the child who had died during the cold night.
With tears of anguished the mother cried out: “If only we would have held hands sooner.” Continue reading
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