Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.


In today's edition:

One Year Later: Tsunami Survivors Express Reserved Optimism of Future

The Christian Post


Nearly a year following one of the most destructive natural disasters in this century, survivors of the South Asia tsunami are expressing reserved optimism about the future. Along the coastline of Indonesia where the tsunami hit hardest, residents are still living in tents as they wait for the completion of their homes. Once-vibrant villages like Lampaseh Kota have shrunk from a pre-tsunami population of 5,000 to a current figure of 1,000 residents. However, Church World Service, which has been operating in Indonesia’s Aceh province for 24 years, reported that residents are trying to move forward and look to the future instead of holding onto painful memories. The global humanitarian agency has assisted the village in obtaining 15 fishing boats and building 91 houses in the last year. “[The sounds of hammers is] a harbinger of hope. Perhaps as houses go up, fear is eased some; a quiet sense of optimism – once almost unimaginable 11 months ago – is no longer in such short supply,” wrote CWS. A mother of three young children who is preparing to move into her house said having a home “calmed” her worries and fears a bit.


Religious Freedom for Christians in France Up in the Air



A Messianic Jewish leader believes the political winds in France could go either way when it comes to religious freedom for Christians. The Jewish evangelist thinks the tide has changed somewhat. Stephen Pacht spent 14 years in France serving as station chief for Jew for Jesus in Paris until his transfer to London this summer. Pacht says many Christians in France believe their religious freedom of speech is being curtailed by the government. "That remains to be seen," he says -- but notes hopefully that some in the government are sympathetic to Christians. "You can see the tensions within the French political system. You've got the more conservative part, which is in power at the moment." But Pacht says then there are those who are against Christians: "[Y]ou have the traditional, more socialist-leaning politicians who are opposed to Christians.” Pacht says Christians both within and outside of France need to pray that God will continue to open doors so that the gospel is preached "with confidence and assurance.


Love Homosexuals as Jesus Would, Ex-Gays Urge at Conference

Baptist Press


Chad Thompson, a self-proclaimed “ex-gay” and the author of Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would  told a workshop audience he decided to begin living as a heterosexual once he realized that his legitimate need for love and affection from a male was the source of his homosexual struggles. Thompson went on to tell how he helps others struggling with the same issues via his organization, Inqueery, through which he’s met many homosexuals who did not feel accepted at all by the church community, and he named three roadblocks that stand in the way of ministry to homosexuals: media, politics and research. “All three of these arenas perpetuate stereotypes of gay people as well as Christian people. So when someone from the evangelical world meets someone from the gay community, there is this tension because we’ve been lied to about each other.” Thompson acknowledged that Christians want to love homosexuals as Jesus would, but knowing how to show love begins with knowing how to communicate. “Many Christians like to use the phrase ‘hate the sin, love the sinner,’ but again, communication completely breaks down,” Thompson said. “Christians consider homosexuality a behavior, but homosexuals consider it an identity. If gay and lesbian folks consider their orientation an identity, is it really possible to ‘hate the sin’ without also hating the sinner? We must put aside this kind of language if we want our ministries to be a safe place for students to talk openly about their sexuality,” he said.


Jewish Leaders Meet on 'Christianization'



A summit of Jewish leaders meeting to ascertain whether the religious right plans to "Christianize" the nation drew about a dozen participants yesterday but no consensus was reached. The private breakfast meeting’s participants included Anti-Defamation League national Director Abraham Foxman; Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reformed Judaism; Nathan Diament of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; Marc Stern, the assistant executive director of the American Jewish Congress; Steven Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; John Ruskay of the UJA-Federation of New York and several staff. Mr. Foxman called the meeting after recently charging evangelical Christian groups with aiming to impose their faith on public policy. "He wanted to know if others felt his assessment was right," Mr. Diament said. "Some agreed and others were skeptical. I urged Mr. Foxman to sit down and speak with some of these [evangelical] leaders face-to-face because there are evangelicals who are more moderate and are happy to work in a cooperative fashion." The Jewish leaders agreed that "there are elements of the evangelical community that, if unchecked and the trends continue, raise disturbing issues for the Jewish community” because, “there's a tone deafness in [the evangelical] community about religious freedom."