Weekly Roundup

March 14, 2014

Here are a few stories from this week that deserve notice:

* This week marked the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis to lead the Roman Catholic Church (thus my Ethics Daily article about Francis and Baptists). John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, penned a Washington Post column reflecting on Francis that offered a great assessment of how Francis has used potent symbolic acts to send powerful messages about Christian living:

Skeptics argue that Francis’s genius is his mastery of style and say they find little substantive change to celebrate. But in a sacramental religion, symbol is substance. When he washes the feet of a Muslim girl or calls a distressed unwed mother and offers to baptize her baby, those gestures teach more effectively than any fine print in the church’s catechism.
Amen! Francis recognizes that one cannot truly separate deeds and words.

* Evangelist Franklin Graham wrote a column for Decision magazine (a publication of Billy Graham Evangelistic Ministries) that praises Russian President Vladimir Putin. Graham wants President Barack Obama to act more like Putin. No, I am not making this up! His anger toward Obama and homosexuals has taken him to the point that he is praising a dictator who is at this very moment threatening to a war against another nation (and throwing people in prison who question him). Graham made the wrong decision!

* The Jefferson City News-Tribune ran a good article about a Missouri Faith Values advocacy effort at the state Capitol building. The piece includes some quotations from several faith leaders I know from my work at Churchnet, including Jim Hill (who is President of MFV and Executive Director of Churchnet) and Doyle Sager (Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Jefferson City and former President of Churchnet). Community advocacy should be part of our faith walk.