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Recovery program leads to changed lives

December 31, 2009 --

By Northwest Baptist Convention
NW Baptist Newsletter

GOLD HILL, Ore. — As morning dawns over the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon, men rise early at “U” Turn for Christ.  Seemingly insurmountable struggles with addiction have led each of them to a small church in a quiet town to grasp for a more meaningful existence. recoveryThe daily routine is highly structured for the men when they first arrive at the place they will call home for at least two months. Some days the struggle to remain is minute by minute, with the pull of old habits still fresh.

It was to this place Kevin Darr returned after an 18-year government career in Southern California to begin the ministry with no guarantees in sight.

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Jesus seen on beer billboard ad in Corvallis

December 30, 2009 --

Oregon Faith Report News Notes

KEZI-TV did a story about a Corvallis Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ad on a billboard that features a man with resemblence to Jesus Christ.  Some local Oregonians see it as offensive and are asking for the billboard to be taken down.  Others residents see no relations at all to Jesus.  The ad was designed through an artistic self-entry campaign by the beer company.  See news video here.  What is your opinion?

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28 hour sermon breaks world record

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By Oregon Faith Report News Notes,

Mike Frazier, Senior Lighthouse Baptist Church in Orlando Canada preached for 28 hours in order to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest sermon.  The previous record was a lengthy 23 hours.  The sermon ran into two days beginning on Dec. 19th and ending on Dec. 20th. To see an interview with the verbose Pastor check out the  Orlando Sentinel Newspaper article here.

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Survey: Is Twilight Saga films too evil?

December 29, 2009 --

Oregon Faith Report viewers were asked about the Twilight Film Series (and other PG-13 vampire  films).  They were asked if they were too dark and evil spirited or innocent cinematic mythology or a little of both.

The results show strong opinion of acceptance of the films but still realizing that such movies carry elements that people see as more dark than they prefer or wish.

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Luis Palau son safe after Jamaica plane crash

December 28, 2009 --

Andrew Palau and Family Safe After Plane Crash in Kingston, Jamaica
By Luis Palau Ministries,

Andrew and Wendy Palau and their three children, Christopher, Jonathan and Sadie, were passengers on American Airlines Flight 331 that skidded off the runway and crashed in Kingston, Jamaica on Tuesday night, December 22. The Palaus were traveling to Jamaica for the Christmas holidays to visit Wendy’s Jamaican family.

The Palaus were among the 148 passengers and six crew members who miraculously survived the crash, escaping with minor injuries. The plane skidded across the runway in a blinding rainstorm before breaking apart into three sections just a few feet from the Caribbean Sea. The Palaus were seated behind an exit row and managed to escape the plane by jumping onto the wing and then onto the wet sand. The family lost all of their belongings and documents.

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2009 year in religion news

December 27, 2009 --

By Kevin Eckstrom

(RNS) When Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa last March, he made countless pleas on behalf of the poor and the war-weary. Yet the words that got the most attention were spoken on the papal plane when he said condoms are part of the problem, not the solution, to Africa’s HIV/AIDS pandemic.  And so it was in the year of religion in 2009, when well-intended gestures of goodwill and reconciliation erupted into firestorms of controversy. Even the best-laid plans, 2009 reminded us, often carry unforeseen consequences.

“People can have good motives toward a middle position and cooperation and all of that, but it just turns out to be extremely difficult to do because our divisions are so deep-seated,” said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. Many of the controversies revolved around a president and a pope, both of whom spark strong personal reactions.

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Study: Americans mix their faiths

December 26, 2009 --

By Pew forum on Religion and Public Life,

The religious beliefs and practices of Americans do not fit neatly into conventional categories. A new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that large numbers of Americans engage in multiple religious practices, mixing elements of diverse traditions. Many say they attend worship services of more than one faith or denomination — even when they are not traveling or going to special events like weddings and funerals. Many also blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects. And sizeable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups say they have experienced supernatural phenomena, such as being in touch with the dead or with ghosts.

One-third of Americans (35%) say they regularly (9%) or occasionally (26%) attend religious services at more than one place, and most of these (24% of the public overall) indicate that they sometimes attend religious services of a faith different from their own. Aside from when they are traveling and special events like weddings and funerals, three-in-ten Protestants attend services outside their own denomination, and one-fifth of Catholics say they sometimes attend non-Catholic services.

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A Christmas Message from Multnomah University

December 25, 2009 --

A Christmas Message from Multnomah University,

Christmas is a time for giving. It is also a season for reflecting on the gracious generosity God displayed in sending the gift of Jesus to a darkened world.

Generosity

One Christmas became memorable for me precisely because of a stranger’s simple, generous invitation.

In December of 1977, my wife Jani and I were living in Dallas, Texas, where I was in the middle of doctoral studies. Since Jani’s brother Albert was studying at the University of Guadalajara, we decided as a family to rendezvous in Mexico to celebrate Christmas south of the border. So, as soon as my last blue book exam was submitted, Mom and Dad Iguchi joined us in Dallas. Together we flew to Mexico City for a few days of sightseeing before winging to Guadalajara to spend Christmas with Albert.

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Miracles do happen. One child's story.

December 24, 2009 --

By Susan Cavendish
Holt International,

Eugene Oregon

We adopted Mindy through Holt from South Korea in 1987.  It was discovered shortly after that Mindy had a huge hole in her eardrum. Over the next months, her eardrum deteriorated until there was no eardrum in her left ear. She suffered frequent ear infections and febrile seizures, as well as had major speech delays.

We moved from Nebraska to New York and began seeing a new Ear Nose and Throat Doctor who Mindy adored. He told us about a surgery that Mindy would be able to have when she was 8 years old. Meanwhile, she would have to undergo surgeries to remove the cysts that formed deep in her ear canal. Mindy lived with pain in her ear most of the time, and we constantly prayed that something could be done.

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Local theologian gets USA Today blurb on Consumer Christmas

December 23, 2009 --

Oregon Faith Report note,

USA Today opinion writer and Associate Vice President of Public Affairs and Communication and Lewis and Clark College Tom Krattenmaker spoke on the commecialization of Christmas with his article entitled “You can’t buy the real gifts of Christmas” (link here).  Below is an excerpt.

Another Christian thinker troubled by today’s rampant consumerism is Paul Louis Metzger, a professor of theology at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Ore., and the author of a book on consumerism in church culture called Consuming Jesus. Despite the clear tension between materialism and Christian teaching, he believes that consumerist values have infected much of the church.

“Many thriving prosperity-gospel churches appear to have thoroughly embraced the American ideal of upward mobility and material well-being,” Metzger says. “It makes one wonder if these churches’ leaders think Jesus was a savvy entrepreneur on the rise, who would have become rich had his career not been cut short.”

Read the full article and discuss it »
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