Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 13, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 13, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Gay Bishop Gets Role at Obama Inauguration Event
  • Gideons Mark 100 Years of Giving out the Bible
  • Recession Causes NAMB to Enact Slowdown
  • Faith-Based Movie 'Not Easily Broken' Makes $5.6M Debut

Gay Bishop Gets Role at Obama Inauguration Event

Reuters news service reports that Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson has been invited to deliver the invocation at an inaugural event for President-elect Barack Obama on Sunday. The openly gay bishop of New Hampshire represents much of the controversy surrounding the Episcopal schism last fall. Obama received sharp criticism from gay rights activists when he chose megachurch pastor Rick Warren, who does not support same-sex marriage, to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Nonetheless, Robinson said his invitation did not stem from the Warren controversy. "But this will certainly not go unnoticed in the gay and lesbian community," he said. "It's important for the people to feel represented."

Gideons Mark 100 Years of Giving out the Bible

USA Today reports that Gideons International is celebrating its 100th anniversary and the placement of almost 1.5 billion Gideon Scriptures worldwide since the 1908. "This is not a church-sponsored, clergy-led effort," said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group for evangelical churches and organizations. "It's individuals that go around and distribute Bibles. It's an astonishing accomplishment." The group, comprised of evangelical business and professional men, hopes to step up its U.S. distribution of Scriptures in celebration. "We always work in the present and look to the future. We're a very low-profile organization. That's been our underlining philosophy. For us, we look to be around another 100 years," said Gideons executive director Jerry Burden.

Recession Causes NAMB to Enact Slowdown

Baptist Press reports that the North American Mission Board president has asked NAMB team leaders to trim their already approved budgets for 2009. In remarks to staff members Jan. 8, NAMB President Geoff Hammond asked team leaders to trim 10 percent and proceed with caution. However, Hammond said funds committed to God's Plan for Sharing (GPS), the denomination-wide evangelism emphasis, would not be affected. Carlos Ferrer, NAMB's chief financial officer, said in comments to Baptist Press, "In light of continuing economic trends, the North American Mission Board leadership believes good stewardship requires that we be proactive in planning for potential changes in revenue during 2009." He also said," While there is no hiring freeze, it is appropriate to fill vacancies wisely."

Faith-Based Movie 'Not Easily Broken' Makes $5.6M Debut

Christian Post reports that yet another faith-based movie about marriage is scoring big in the box office. "Not Easily Broken," based on the novel by megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes, opened at number 9 and grossed $5.6 million. Like the successful "Fireproof," another Christian film dealing with struggling marriages, "Not Easily Broken" had a relatively limited opening -- just 724 theaters nationwide. The movie focuses on the relationship between Dave and Clarice Johnson, a couple whose career frustrations and aspirations have driven a wedge in their marriage. “[I]t encourages people to fight through those struggles and to persevere and that our marital relationships are certainly worth fighting for," said Jakes, the senior pastor of 30,000-member The Potters House in Dallas, according to Charisma magazine.