Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 22, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 22, 2008

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

  • Church to Rescue of Riot Victims
  • Gay Jesus Play Angers Australian Church Leaders
  • American Idol Virgin Fires Back
  • 'Rethink' Human Connection, Say Secular Leaders to Christians

Church to Rescue of Riot Victims

ASSIST News Service reports that much of the Kibera slum in Nairobi stands burnt out as shell-shocked residents mill around, desperately seeking food supplies and shelter. In the middle of the mayhem, two New Zealand missionaries are holding the fort. Margaret and Robin Aim have been running a mission station in the area for the New Zealand Assemblies of God for some years. Robin said the crisis has left 300,000 people displaced and much of the country affected. The Christian non-governmental organizations and churches have formed an alliance, the National Alliance of Churches, to co-ordinate action to bring practical help to the people. “In Nairobi the NAC and we have been co-ordinating the food program, targeting the women and orphans in the slums,” Robin said. “We have enlisted church volunteers to identify needy families and give them a card token which will allow them to collect food, cooking utensils, clothing and blankets from distribution points. This has proved very effective.”

Gay Jesus Play Angers Australian Church Leaders

According to Reuters-India, a controversial play that depicts Jesus being seduced by Judas and conducting a gay marriage for two apostles has been condemned by church leaders ahead of its opening in Sydney. The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, expressed his outrage at the plot of "Corpus Christi" on Sunday, calling the play "historical nonsense. It is deliberately, not innocently, offensive and they're obviously having a laugh about it," he told the Sun-Herald newspaper. "I wouldn't want to go and see it. Life's too short." Set to open on February 7 as part of Sydney's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, "Corpus Christi" depicts Jesus and his followers as gay, and ends with Jesus being crucified.

American Idol Virgin Fires Back

According to, at the Dallas auditions for the 2008 season of "American Idol" last Wednesday, Bruce Dickson discovered that his singing wasn't the only thing that got a no vote from the judges and an editor at When the 19-year-old from Bastrop, Texas, was asked to share something about himself, he said he'd never kissed a girl. "What?" Randy Jackson asked. "On purpose?" "On purpose," Dickson said. "I want to save everything for that one special woman. On my wedding day, that will be my first kiss." Jackson's advice to Dickson after the judges sent him packing: "Go kiss some girls." Host Ryan Seacrest himself ended the segment featuring Dickson with these words: "Maybe next year he'll come back less a boy and more a man." Dickson fired back in an interview with Cybercast News Service. "A real man would rather wait than just do whatever with whoever," he said. Sarah Preston, writer and editor with, questioned Dickson's sex appeal. "I'm not belittling Bruce's Christian beliefs, but I do think being in tune with one's own sexuality goes a long way in being confident with yourself," Preston said. Jason Burtt, national director of Silver Ring Thing, said he admires Dickson for taking such a public stand. "What we are all about is supporting kids like Bruce," Burtt said.

'Rethink' Human Connection, Say Secular Leaders to Christians

The Christian Post reports that a first-of-a-kind conference combining global secular and Christian leaders heard a common message from many of its non-religious speakers – do not lose human connection due to technology. The advice given at the Rethink Conference at the Crystal Cathedral last week can be a bit of a surprise coming from influential leaders who profit from mass communication technology. Rethink executive director Bill Dallas recalled, “Larry King was amazing in just helping us understand that although technology is certainly useful and important, we sometimes lose connection points.” Prior to the conference taking place, it had come under criticism for inviting secular speakers to advise Christians on how to improve their ministry. Rethink organizers had adamantly defended the conference as seeking to help people “rethink” the methods in communicating the Word of God, not the Gospel message. Dallas said if speakers were not directly delivering a faith message, then they were sharing about technology and how that could help or harm the message.