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Religion Today Summaries, May 16, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, May 16, 2003

Religion Today Summaries -- Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In Today's Edition:

  • Baptist Leaders Affirm Missionaries in Developing and Developed Nations
  • Irish Boy Scouts, Separated Along Religious Lines, Agree to Merge
  • Worshipping at the Altar of Yoda
  • Religion Bestsellers


Baptist Leaders Affirm Missionaries in Developing and Developed Nations
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service


(RNS) International Baptist leaders meeting recently in England called for new viewpoints on missions that encourage people from the developing world as well as developed nations to spread the gospel. "We recognize that models of mission used in the past will not be wholly adequate for the new era that has dawned with the startling speed of modern technology," reads a statement adopted during the Summit on Baptist Mission in the 21st Century. "Notions of sending and receiving are unhelpful if we assume that it is the role of some simply to send and others simply to receive." During the meeting of leaders from 60 countries, BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz also proposed an "international Baptist mission agency" that would support Baptist missionaries in the developing world who wish to do missionary work beyond their own borders but do not have the necessary financial resources. The statement adopted by Baptist leaders, titled "Call to Mission," discussed the "spectacular growth" of churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as the "major challenge of a post-Christian culture in large parts of Europe and North America."


Irish Boy Scouts, Separated Along Religious Lines, Agree to Merge
Robert Nowell, Religion News Service


(RNS) Despite misgivings expressed by the country's Roman Catholic bishops, Ireland's two separate Boy Scout organizations -- one historically Catholic, one historically Protestant -- have voted to merge. Scouting Ireland (SAI) was started in 1908 as the Dublin City Boy Scouts, becoming the Irish Free State Scout Council in 1921. It was perceived as having a predominantly Protestant membership, and in response the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CSI) was set up in 1927. It has always operated under the auspices of the Catholic bishops. The two organizations have long had a close working relationship, formalized in 1965 by the formation of the Federation of Irish Scout Associations. Formal negotiations about a merger began in May 1998. The chief Scouts of the two organizations welcomed the votes as "the foundation for a new century of scouting for all young people in Ireland regardless of race, color or creed." In a letter to the national secretary of the Catholic Scouts, Bishop John Magee of Cloyne said that the bishops had discussed the merger proposal at their spring meeting in March, at which they "articulated serious misgivings."


Worshipping at the Altar of Yoda

Religion News Service


(RNS) May the force be with you. An astonishing 20,000 Canadians declared themselves followers of the religion of Jedi, the guardians of peace and justice in the "Star Wars" movies, Statistics Canada reported May 13 in its final installment of data culled from the 2001 census. Observers agree that declaring Jedi as a faith was a way for many Canadians to thumb their nose at what they felt was an intrusive or inappropriate question. "My religion is my issue, not the government's," said Denis Dion, a 44-year-old produce manager from just outside Vancouver who circulated an e-mail urging anyone who wanted to have fun with Canada's census to identify his or her religion as Jedi. Canadian Press reports the Jedi gag is the latest in a global census trend that has left some statisticians red-faced as the number of Jedis has eclipsed some centuries-old religions. In the United Kingdom, for example, there are more Jedis than Jews. Nearly 400,000 people identified themselves as Jedi in the 2001 census. Only 260,000 said they were Jewish. Just last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that more than 70,000 people named Jedi as their faith.


Religion Bestsellers

Religion News Service


(Editor's note: This list is compiled by Publishers Weekly magazine from data received from general independent bookstores, chain stores and wholesalers within the month of April. Copyright 2003 Publishers Weekly. Distributed by Religion News Service.)




1. The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. (Northfield/Moody, $12.99)
2. The Remnant, by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins. (Tyndale, $14.99)
3. The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian. (Harvest House, $9.99)
4. Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. (Harper San Francisco, $10)
5. The Power of a Praying Woman, by Stormie Omartian. (Harvest House, $9.99)
6. The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. (Zondervan, $12.99)
7. The Power of a Praying Husband, by Stormie Omartian. (Harvest House, $9.99)
8. Islam: A Short History, by Karen Armstrong. (Modern Library, $10.95)
9. Left Behind, by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins. (Tyndale, $14.99)
10. Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott. (Doubleday/Anchor, $13)