Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 2, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 2, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Shopkeeper Talks to Burglar about Jesus, Avoids Robbery
  • Evangelical Body: Cancel 'Burn a Quran' Day
  • Study Finds Strong Amish Growth, Western Migration
  • Fla. Megachurch Readies Oil Spill Kids for Back to School

Shopkeeper Talks to Burglar about Jesus, Avoids Robbery

The Miami Herald reports that a shopkeeper near Miami recently prevented a robbery not by calling the police, but by telling the would-be robber about Jesus Christ. Nayara Goncalves, 20, was alone in the cell phone store when a man wearing a dark cap and jacket walked into the store. He pulled out a BB gun apologetically and said he needed $300 to keep from being evicted. "I'm not scared," replies Goncalves, a devout Christian. Surveillance video shows her calmly walking back to her cash register, telling the man, "You can do whatever you want, but I'm just going to talk to you about Jesus, my God, before you leave." The man pauses, and says, "God bless you for that." After a few minutes, during which Goncalves told the robber about her church, the man left without the money. "I haven't seen anything like this in 14 years," said Broward County Sheriffs' spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright. "She really seemed to have no fear."

Evangelical Body: Cancel 'Burn a Quran' Day

The Christian Post reports that the largest evangelical body in the U.S. has joined the outcry again a Florida church's "International Burn A Quran Day." The National Association of Evangelicals said the book burning would "exacerbate tensions" between the religions. "It sounds like the proposed Quran burning is rooted in revenge," said NAE President Leith Anderson, in a statement. "Yet the Bible says that Christians should ‘make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else' (I Thessalonians 5:15)." Dove World Outreach Center, a non-denominational church in Gainesville, Fla., currently plans to burn the books on September 11. Senior Pastor Dr. Terry Jones explained, "We only did it because we felt there needed to be an outcry against Islam, because Islam is presenting itself as a religion of peace."

Study Finds Strong Amish Growth, Western Migration

Religion News Service reports that the population of North American Amish has increased by nearly 10 percent in the past two years, causing many communities to turn westward in search of new land. Conducted by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa., the new study found that Amish communities in the U.S. have more than doubled in the past 10 years. The current annual increase hovers at about 5 percent, meaning the population doubles approximately every 16 years. The largest increases were in New York (19 percent), Minnesota (9 percent) and Missouri (8 percent). The total Amish population in the U.S. is around 250,000, the study said. With a rise in population, however, comes a need for fertile farmland, which can often be expensive. This push for land has encouraged Amish communities to look as far west as Colorado and South Dakota.

Fla. Megachurch Readies Oil Spill Kids for Back to School

The Christian Post reports that a Florida megachurch is continuing its efforts to help people affected by the Gulf oil spill as the school year approaches. Northland, A Church Distributed, based in Longwood, Fla., is collecting 1,000 backpacks with school supplies for kids in Houma, La. Terri Goulette, who lives in Houma and worships with Northland each weekend via interactive webstream, came up with the idea while recalling that Northland holds an annual school drive. "They were expecting a plentiful season this year, but just two weeks before the fishing season opened, the oil spill happened," Goulette explained. "It has been very hard riding down the bayous and seeing all the shrimp boats and oyster boats just lined up when they should be harvesting seafood." The church is also collecting backpacks for homeless children in central Florida. The church collected about 2,000 backpacks, according to Robert Andrescik, the church's director of public relations.