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Religion Today Summaries - May 9, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 9, 2008

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

  • Samaritan’s Purse Mobilizes Team from Six Countries to Aid Survivors of Myanmar Cyclone
  • Americans Fine with Christians in Politics
  • Reaffirmation, Reformation and Repositioning at Heart of 'Evangelical Manifesto'
  • Water Missions International Prepares Water Purification Systems in Myanmar

Samaritan’s Purse Mobilizes Team from Six Countries to Aid Survivors of Myanmar Cyclone

In what is being described as possibly the world’s deadliest storm of the 21st century, Cyclone Nargis swept through Myanmar affecting what the United Nations estimates to be 1 million people. ASSIST News Service reports that North Carolina-based international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has staff members on the ground in Rangoon. Two of these relief workers are water and sanitation experts. In addition to the staff already in Myanmar, Samaritan's Purse is assembling an emergency team from six countries to respond as soon as the government opens the borders to relief agencies. The team includes experts in food, agriculture, and livestock. Heavy flooding and rains continue to displace people, increasing the number of survivors that need immediate shelter and clean water. Many of the survivors reside in Myanmar's poorest provinces where most families live on less than a dollar a day. It is expected that food will be a long-term problem because vast rice-growing areas - a main source of food sustenance - were destroyed.

Americans Fine with Christians in Politics

Despite what many in the mainstream media say, a majority of Americans, and an even larger majority of religiously affiliated citizens, don't believe that Christians are too involved in politics, a new poll shows. Baptist Press reports that 52 percent of Americans surveyed disagreed with the statement, "I am concerned that at times Christians are too involved in politics," according to a survey conducted through a joint project of LifeWay Research and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research in Nashville, said that when it comes to sharing the Gospel and also being engaged with public policy, Christians can do both. "[I]t is... both/and not either/or," he said. "You cannot stand for justice and be told you cannot speak of Jesus, nor can you love God and His word and not care for unborn children, the abused, and social justice." The findings challenge the assertion of secularists who say that Americans' religious beliefs should be purely a private matter and should be somehow segregated from weighty discussions of social issues and public policy.

Reaffirmation, Reformation and Repositioning at Heart of 'Evangelical Manifesto'

According to a release from A. Larry Ross Communications, “An Evangelical Manifesto” was unveiled Wednesday during a press conference at the National Press Club, calling for reaffirmation of identity, reformation of behavior and repositioning in public life among Evangelicals. “This is not a rebranding or a relabeling issue,” said Dr. Os Guinness, author and member of the Manifesto’s drafting committee. “’Evangelical’ is not a bad brand; the trouble is, we have a bad reality.” Such dynamics prompted a group of theologians and Christian leaders to spend three years carefully drafting the Manifesto in an effort to reclaim the definition of what it means to be an Evangelical. In recent years, the term has often been used politically, culturally, socially – and even as a marketing demographic. Recognizing that many people outside the movement now doubt that 'Evangelical' is ever positive, and many inside now wonder whether the term any longer serves a useful purpose, they aimed to draft a document that reclaims the term and the calling for both the culture and community of faith.

Water Missions International Prepares Water Purification Systems in Myanmar

ASSIST News Service reports that help for the survivors of Cyclone Nargis is on the way from Water Missions International (WMI). WMI is preparing 44 water purification systems for immediate deployment to aid survivors of last Saturday's deadly cyclone in Myanmar. The 44 Living Water(TM) Treatment Systems (LWTS(TM)) have been requested from other organizations around the United States who are working to get relief to the people of Myanmar. World Vision has requested 20 water systems, Operation Blessing has requested up to 12, and Samaritan's Purse has asked for 12 water systems to be ready for transport Friday, May 9. In addition to these initial 44 systems, Water Missions International is equipped to assemble another 19 water systems in case further requests are received. Each water system treats up to ten gallons of water per minute, approximately 10,000 gallons per day, and supports communities of up to 3,000 people. "With a response of this magnitude, Water Missions International could incur costs nearing $1 million," explains Danya Jordan, WMI's VP of Development. "To save lives we must act quickly, and to act quickly, we desperately need funding. We encourage everyone to act now." Visit them at www.watermissions.org.