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Religion Today Summaries - March 14, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 14, 2005

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

  • The Passion Recut Opened In About A Thousand Theaters This Past Weekend
  • Promise Keepers Spurs 'Grass-Roots' Men's Ministries Growth in Churches
  • Led by City Attorney, SD Council Members Vote to Dismantle Historical Cross
  • India: Christians Persecuted by Hindu Extremists

The Passion Recut Opened In About A Thousand Theaters This Past Weekend
Agape Press

The Passion Recut opened in about a thousand theaters this past weekend in what Mel Gibson describes as an attempt to cater to people who were reluctant to see the R-rated version of The Passion of the Christ because of the bloody scenes.  The actor-director told Associated Press that he has removed about six minutes of the most graphic material from the crucifixion scene. On March 11, Gibson appeared in an exclusive interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club" to discuss the revised version, and to speak about the pain caused from the personal attacks against him and his family surrounding last year's release of The Passion, which was one of the year's biggest money-makers. This recut version is unrated, making some theater owners reluctant to show it because it is unrated -- and possibly because it is already available on DVD.

Promise Keepers Spurs 'Grass-Roots' Men's Ministries Growth in Churches
Charisma News Service

Promise Keepers' national profile has waned, but the evangelical organization has spurred the proliferation of men's ministries based in churches nationwide. That's the observation of The Washington Post in a recent lengthy report with the headline, "Grass-Roots Men's Ministries Growing." "Where did all the men go that were on the Mall that day in 1997?" asked Marty Granger, who helped organize a Promise Keepers (PK) event in 1995 at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C. "They essentially went back to their local churches and began to ask the right question: 'What now?'" Drawing 600,000 men for a six-hour revival meeting that was one of the country's largest-ever religious rallies, the Mall event, called "Stand in the Gap: A Sacred Assembly of Men", marked the height of PK's prominence. Since then, the Denver-based group has weathered financial problems, emerging as a leaner, lower-profile organization. But the model it provided for men's ministry has endured. PK was also a catalyst for the National Coalition of Men's Ministries, an association of nearly 100 groups devoted to making churches "relevant to men," coalition spokesman Brett Clemmer said. Officials at PK, which has reached about 5.6 million men in more than 14 years of ministry, say that helping churches develop men's ministries was always part of the movement's work and remains a priority. (www.charismanews.com)

Led by City Attorney, SD Council Members Vote to Dismantle Historical Cross
James L. Lambert, Agape Press

Even though the U.S. government desired that a San Diego landmark remain where it has stood for more than 50 years, city fathers in this sprawling Southern California city have determined they would rather see the Mt. Soledad cross dismantled and moved. Litigation involving the Mt. Soledad site dates back to 1989 when a local atheist brought suit, saying the location of the cross offended him. In December 2004, three prominent area Congressmen persuaded the leadership in the U.S. House to attach an amendment to a bill that named the Mt. Soledad cross a national veterans memorial. President Bush signed the bill into law just before Christmas. San Diego's newly elected city attorney, Michael Aguirre, issued a memorandum to Mayor Dick Murphy and all City Council members detailing his reasons why the cross should be dismantled and removed from its present site in La Jolla.  Led by a motion offered by City Councilman Scott Peters, the council voted by a 5-3 margin that the city should agree with Aguirre's opinion and proceed to dismantle the cross. Despite a last-minute effort by Christians from four San Diego churches, the council relied on Aguirre's legal opinion. The council vote likely means the Cross will be dismantled in the next 90 days.

India: Christians Persecuted by Hindu Extremists
Christian Aid Mission

The federal government of India is trying to spread the message of tolerance and unity espoused by Gandhi years ago, recalling Indians to their heritage of freedom. Yet, in some cases, opposition to Christ is entrenched in people's mindsets. A ministry leader writes Christian Aid that one of the students in his Bible school, a young believer from Karnataka state, cannot tell her Hindu parents she is attending Bible college or, she says, they will kill her. Another leader writes of a woman in the North Indian state Uttar Pradesh who led her husband to the Lord and, as a result, was chased from her village by her in-laws. When she, her husband and children tried to take up residence in another village, they were chased from there as well. The leader writes that he knows of 27 couples who have been forced from their homes by angry Hindu neighbors. Please pray for believers in those parts of India where Hindu extremists are active, that they would stand strong in the face of persecution and continue to be lights for Christ. Pray that the national government's efforts to foster an environment of peace would be fruitful.