Religion Today Summaries - May 26, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 26, 2006

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

  • Downsized Promise Keepers Now More Targeted, Mature
  • Christian, Jewish Women Promote Biblical Women's Rights
  • Azusa East Celebration Opens in Baltimore
  • Obscene Depictions of Jesus in Oregon University Paper Cause Stir

Downsized Promise Keepers Now More Targeted, Mature

Promise Keepers 2006 begins June 2-3 in Fort Lauderdale and spans 17 conferences before concluding in Los Angeles on October 20-21. AgapePress reports that PK says it hopes to reach more than 170,000 men across America with this year's theme: "Unleashed -- Releasing the Raw Power of Your Heart." Promise Keepers president Thomas Fortson says the goal of this year's conferences is to unleash a man to serve God in every aspect of his life. The goal is true to PK's original objectives even though, says Fortson, the organization has changed since the days when it packed football stadiums. "I think we're more mature. I think with time comes wisdom, and I think we don't have to be the big splash anymore. I think we're more targeted. But I think when you look at the condition of men, there's no question that there's a need for Promise Keepers." According to a PK press release, the ministry has "retooled" its conference format to help men do three things: discover their potential, find a pathway to optimize that potential, and move in that direction with a few other like-minded friends.

Christian, Jewish Women Promote Biblical Women's Rights

CNSNews reports that American Christians are teaming up with Israeli parliamentarians to advance the status of women worldwide by stressing Judeo-Christian values. The project is part of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC), which was established in 2004 to promote Jewish-Christian relations. Those relations have strengthened considerably during more than five years of violent Palestinian uprising. Evangelical Christians have proved to be some of Israel's most faithful allies during the last few years, advocating on behalf of Israel and boosting tourism to the country. At a meeting at the Knesset on Tuesday, the KCAC launched an International Women's Council, which will be chaired by American Evangelist Kay Arthur. Arthur said the group's mission is three-fold: to advance the status of women on the basis of Judeo-Christian values; to establish communication and cooperation between women of all backgrounds and ethnicities; and to make Jerusalem the focal point for change and "the spread of biblical values around the world."

Azusa East Celebration Opens in Baltimore

Thousands of Christians have gathered in Baltimore to celebrate the last 100 years of Pentecostalism’s history and growth, according to a story in The Christian Post. The Azusa East Centennial Celebration opened Wednesday at the Baltimore Convention Center with a power service and historical symposium on the fastest-growing family in Christianity. Azusa East is a counterpart to the larger, international Azusa Street Centennial that was held last month in Los Angeles. While the two events were organized and hosted by separate groups, they commemorate the same event - the Azusa Street revival of April 1906 that is widely recognized as the foundation of modern-day Pentecostalism. According to organizers, the purpose of the event is to “provide Pentecostals who are unable to attend the Azusa Celebration in Los Angeles another opportunity to celebrate the centennial.” It also places a distinct focus on the role of black Pentecostals in shaping the movement.

Obscene Depictions of Jesus in Oregon University Paper Cause Stir

Baptist Press reports that students and church leaders are speaking out against graphic depictions of Jesus as a homosexual that were carried in a University of Oregon student publication in response to the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a Dutch newspaper earlier this year. One of the published drawings portrays a naked caricature of Jesus hanging on the cross in sexual arousal, and the other shows a caricature of Jesus kissing another man, both sexually aroused. William Donahue, president of the Catholic League, called the entire March issue of The Insurgent “one of the most obscene assaults on Christianity I have ever seen. The pictures are only one small part.” Dave Frohnmayer, university president, said in a letter to the editor of the university's daily paper that he was powerless to monitor The Insurgent. A group of 91 students filed a grievance, accusing the newspaper of publishing material that was “discriminatory, knowingly false, slanderous and egregious,” but the grievance was rejected by the Associated Students of the University of Oregon. Donahue asked, “Are we to believe that if during Black History Month, The Insurgent showed a naked graphic of the Rev. Martin Luther King kissing another man, both sporting erections, the same rationale would appear in a grievance filed by black students?”