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Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 30, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 30, 2007

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

  • Baptist Missions Agency Responds to Misspending Allegations
  • Enhanced Technology Offers Ministries New Volunteer Management Tools
  • Pope again Decries Rupture between Faith and Reason
  • Child Evangelism Fellowship Settles Equal Access Case

Baptist Missions Agency Responds to Misspending Allegations

"During the spring of 2006, an article in the Georgia Christian Index raised a number of questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of the North American Mission Board," a NAMB statement reads. "In response to these concerns, the Chairman of NAMB’s Board of Trustees appointed a task force to assess the claims... Similarly, an internal audit was conducted by Capin Crouse related to policy issues within the executive offices at NAMB. Both groups published reports including policy recommendations designed to provide increased accountability... In October, 2006, our Board of Trustees adopted these new policy recommendations and created a new trustee committee tasked with oversight... Recently, Mary Kinney Branson, a former NAMB employee, published a book entitled Spending God’s Money" [See related summary]. "In this book, she recounts personal events from her time at... NAMB. While some of the issues she discusses in the book were examined [by]... the Trustee Task Force, other issues she discusses are based on her personal experiences, her personal opinion, or hearsay. [NAMB] will not comment on internal issues described in the book which are outside the scope of the work of the Trustee Task Force... because many of the claims made by the author cannot be substantiated or represent only one side of the story. We regret that... the author called into question the character of many current and former employees; people who were not given the opportunity to respond to her charges. Regardless, those events are now in the past, and NAMB is now pressing on into the future. NAMB and its trustees stand behind the report of the Task Force and the policies which have been adopted as a result... The January 4, 2007 issue of the Georgia Christian Index provides a helpful overview of the current status of ministry at NAMB during this season of transition."

Enhanced Technology Offers Ministries New Volunteer Management Tools

AgapePress reports that ACS Technologies, a company that provides information management technology for churches, religious schools and ministries, is announcing the availability of newly enhanced resources to help faith-based entities organize and run their volunteer programs. Thanks to recent innovations to its Access ACS software, the entire volunteer process has been streamlined to give church and lay leaders of organizations and their members the ability to set up volunteer positions, search for places to serve, and sign up online. The enhanced software now allows users, based on their security level, to do such things as create volunteer positions and assign to them the attributes and qualifications required; put a link on a church or organization website that lists volunteer openings; allow members and attendees to select those attributes/qualifications that describe themselves, or list volunteer openings and let people search for those that interest them.

Pope again Decries Rupture between Faith and Reason

Catholic News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI, speaking to one of his favorite themes, said the rupture between faith and reason has produced a type of "schizophrenia" in modern culture. The pope made the remarks during the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, who is known for articulating a harmonious vision of faith and reason more than 700 years ago. Today, however, the faith-reason relationship looms as a serious challenge for the dominant Western culture, the Pope said. The progress made by science has been accompanied by a tendency to consider as true only that which can be experimentally proven, leading to a limit on human reason and "a terrible schizophrenia... in which rationalism and materialism live together, as do hyper-technology and unbridled instinct." The cure, the Pope said, is a rediscovery of the "perfect revelation" that is Christ.

Child Evangelism Fellowship Settles Equal Access Case

With the assistance of the pro-family law firm Liberty Counsel, an after-school Christian club for children known as the Good News Club has gained equal access to school facilities in one Pennsylvania public school district, AgapePress reports. When officials with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), the Christian group that sponsors the Good News Clubs, asked administrators in Clinton County public schools for permission to hold meetings earlier this year, they were told they would have to pay a fee to use school facilities. Other groups, however, were not charged a usage fee for the same access. Officials with CEF contacted Liberty Counsel, a law firm that specializes in defending the civil liberties and First Amendment freedoms of religious individuals and groups. Attorneys with the pro-family legal group sent a letter to Clinton County school administrators informing them of the district's constitutional violations. Liberty Counsel senior litigation counsel Mary McAlister says school officials quickly changed their minds after receiving the letter. McAlester adds: with all the guidance and instruction provided by Good News Clubs, she feels public school officials should be inviting the Christian clubs on campus.