Roundup: Drinking and Christians, El Paso prayer vigil, sisters’ memory, global reunion and more
Our end-of-the-week review of important and/or simply interesting headlines from…
This week marks the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — sometimes called “the storm of the century.”
Over the years, I’ve traveled to New Orleans multiple times to report on Charles and Angela Marsalis’ journey during — and after — Katrina. As regular Christian Chronicle readers no doubt recall, the faithful Christians survived the hurricane by escaping to their church’s balcony. Later, they planted a new congregation in the storm-battered city.
For anyone interested in reading about the family’s experience from then to now, I’ve pulled together all my features into a single, hopefully compelling narrative, “Big Mission in the Big Easy.”
I’d be honored if you’d check it out.
• Hope for a single-mother family: For Biatriz Larez, times were tough. Then she heard about a program that helps women like her. Along the way, she has pursued a degree, improved her credit score — and given her life to Jesus. I report that story from Portales, N.M., along with a related sidebar on New Mexico Christian Children’s Home caring for the children of Liberian civil war refugees.
• In new memoir, Randy Travis goes ‘diggin’ up bones’: The country star, who was baptized in a Church of Christ, reflects on his spiritual highs and soul-wrenching lows. Read my column on Travis’ new memoir. One reader commented that she had never heard Travis’ award-winning “Three Wooden Crosses” until reading this piece. It really is an amazing song.
• They lost faith in church, not salvation: In a South American metropolis, a missionary couple serves those who have slipped through the cracks. The globe-trotting Erik Tryggestad reports from Lima, Peru.
• 7-year-old admits setting Louisiana church fire: The Associated Press reports that a Sunday afternoon fire at a Church of Christ in Vivian, La., was intentionally set by a boy who won’t be criminally charged because of his age. My friend John Dobbs shared the story link.
• North Alabama churches gather donations to help after Hurricane Dorian: “The Crisis Response Team at Decatur Church of Christ is monitoring the east coast,” reports WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Ala. “They plan to head out next week, after Hurricane Dorian makes landfall.”
• Society of Professional Journalists chapters at Lipscomb, Harding up for awards: The SPJ chapters at two universities associated with Churches of Christ — Harding in Searcy, Ark., and Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn. — are Campus Program of the Year finalists. From a fellow journalist, congrats to both!
• Clergy abuse victims take new route to challenge Catholic Church in court: This story by Wall Street Journal religion writer Ian Lovett may interest Chronicle readers who followed a case involving a Church of Christ minister whose criminal convictions were vacated because of the statute of limitations.
• Baby food, bassinets and talk of salvation: New York Times religion writer Elizabeth Dias goes inside an evangelical pregnancy center. “The director used to attend anti-abortion protests,” the Times reports. “Now she tries to help pregnant women and new mothers find jobs, emotional support or a place to shower.”
• Is it OK to pray for President Trump’s defeat?: Along the same lines, is it OK to pray for the defeat of the Democratic presidential challengers? GetReligion’s Richard Ostling offers nuanced answers to these questions.
In my student days at Oklahoma Christian University, I’ll admit that I sometimes missed daily chapel too often. But that was nearly 30 years ago. So I was surprised — and amused — when I got an email from Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould, Ark., this week telling me I had three chapel absences this semester.
“I’m pretty sure I’ve missed more than that :-),” I replied.
“Don’t know how I got you mixed up with one of our students,” Art Smith, Crowley’s Ridge’s dean of students, emailed back. “Sorry about that — really enjoy the Christian Chronicle!”
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