Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Giuliani Gives First Public Address to Clergy at Conference, Addresses Possible Presidential Run
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani challenged Christian leaders representing every state and 20 countries on "How to Lead in Tough Times" at the Global Pastors Network conference, held Jan. 25-27 in Orlando. "The principles of leadership apply universally," Giuliani said, "whether in business, government, a sports team - or a church. It is wonderful to see you improving yourselves in a way to make your ministries more effective. It is a miracle what you do." Using personal anecdotes from the aftermath of 9-11, Mayor Giuliani outlined six principles for effective leadership - the most important of which is "to have strong beliefs." Giuliani explained that the two beliefs that got him through the crisis were his belief in God, and the belief that people who live in freedom have more strength than those who live under oppression. "That is the story of the Old Testament," he said. In a Q & A session that followed, Giuliani was asked if he intends to run for president. He smiled and replied, "Only God knows… I'll know better in a year whether I can fully commit to that process." When told that this group of pastors would be praying for him, the former mayor said, "I appreciate you. I can't tell you from my heart how much I appreciate what you are doing - saving people, telling them about Jesus Christ and bringing them to God."
Institute on Religion and Democracy Comments on 'Book of Daniel' Cancellation
Responding to public controversy and a dearth of interested stations and sponsors, NBC has announced that it will cancel its new weekly drama "The Book of Daniel." Played by Aidan Quinn, the title character was an Episcopal priest with a tumultuous family and church life beset by a multitude of sins. Periodically in the program, Jesus appears to the priest to dispense non-judgmental comments. Some conservative Christians boycotted the program because they saw it as blasphemous against Christianity. But the IRD's Mark Tooley noted: "'The Book of Daniel' wasn't really about orthodox Christianity at all. It was about a peculiar form of liberal religion that is almost completely disconnected from the biblical Jesus. This new religion, popular in leading circles of the Episcopal Church and other formerly 'mainline' denominations, is all about boasting of one's limitless 'tolerance' for all kinds of beliefs and behaviors. The NBC program took that attitude to its logical, if ridiculous, conclusion, [and]… seemed determined to fulfill every conceivable negative stereotype about wealthy, liberal Episcopalians. But the most curious thing is that the program's producers apparently intended its depiction of moral confusion as a compliment to the Episcopal Church. And some Episcopal leaders evidently took it as a compliment. That fact tells you more about the state of the denomination than all the dubious stereotypes portrayed on the program… Like the declining Episcopal Church as a whole, it turned out to be a failure."
Leaders Urge Church to Support Urban Youth
Two million people in New York City, or 25 percent of the population there, are under age 18, yet they are unnoticed and trapped in education and economic systems that have failed. According to a story in the Christian Post, urban youth ministry leader Jeremy Del Rio led pastors to pray for these urban youth at the recent Pastors’ Prayer Summit. Sponsored by Concerts of Prayer Greater New York, the Jan. 23-25 conference, held in Mt. Bethel, PA, was the region’s largest annual gathering of pastors. “I represent a generation of leaders who are desperate that the hearts of the fathers would turn back to their sons and their sons to their fathers,” said Del Rio, who serves with New York-based Generation Xcel. The prayer meeting’s topics included: lack of relationships, sexual identity crisis, HIV/AIDS, broken homes and gangs, and the suppression of younger congregants' desire to minister. 60 percent of elementary schools kids in NYC can’t read at grade level, and almost 65 percent can't perform math at grade level. “They're graduating ill-equipped to live, and that's an injustice when 12 billion dollars are spent educating them,” said Del Rio, who believes the Church should not just criticize and take Christians out of the school system, but empower the youth to engage and restore the structure from within. Jesus lived and worked in the ghettos, Del Rio noted, and was able to identify with at-risk kids.
D.C. Journalists to Discuss Christianity in Today's News
When Christianity and journalism intersect, do both institutions emerge losers? A panel of Washington journalists who cover faith-related stories will discuss this question Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 7 to 8 p.m., in the first session of a four-part "Faith and Media" speaker series hosted by the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington. In a panel discussion and Q & A session, leading Washington journalists will talk about the challenges and opportunities of covering Christians and Christianity -- whether in stories focused on religion or as part of traditionally "secular" stories. They will share insights, on how Christian sources can be effective and responsible when being quoted about matters of faith -- and how journalists can report on faith more accurately and fairly. Speakers will also give practical suggestions for anyone wanting to incorporate faith themes into media messages. Jody Hassett, former religion producer for ABC News, will moderate.