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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 15, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 15, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • U.S. Ties for Fifth in Global Giving, Report Finds
  • Indonesian President Orders Arrest of Christians' Attackers
  • Piper Still Working on Soul, Family during Leave
  • Baptist World Hunger Funds Aids Haiti, Pakistan Relief Efforts

U.S. Ties for Fifth in Global Giving, Report Finds

The U.S. tied with Switzerland for fifth place in a "world giving index" by the British-based Charities Aid Foundation that measured charitable behavior across the globe. According to Religion News Service, the ranking in the "World Giving Index 2010" was based on the U.S.'s showing in three categories -- 60 percent of Americans gave to an organization; 39 percent volunteered for a group; and 65 percent were willing to aid a stranger. Australia and New Zealand were ranked as the most charitable countries, followed by Ireland and Canada. Burundi and Madagascar tied for last place. The report was based on data from Gallup's World Poll, taken in 153 countries and representing about 95 percent of the global population. Donating and volunteering could include places of worship as well as community organizations and political groups.

Indonesian President Orders Arrest of Christians' Attackers

Voice of America reports that Indonesia's president has ordered police to find and arrest the men who attacked two Christians on their way to a Sunday morning service. Critics have previously accused President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of turning a blind eye to religious violence. Sunday's attack, in which one person was stabbed in the stomach and one was struck in the head with a wooden board, followed months of tense relations between members of the Batak Christian Protestant Church and Islamic fundamentalist groups in the Jakarta suburb of Bekasi. Bekasi police chief Imam Sugianto says 500 hundred officers have been assigned to prevent violence at the services. The president, who publicly urged President Barack Obama to stop a potential Quran-burning in Florida, says those responsible for the attack will be held accountable.

Piper Still Working on Soul, Family during Leave

Pastor and author John Piper temporarily broke his silence this week to update supporters about his first-ever leave of absence, according to The Christian Post. "[W]e continue to probe the roots of our most characteristic sins with a view to confessing them and repenting and seeking God's transforming power through prayer and Bible-saturated counsel," he said of himself and his wife, Noel, in a brief update Sunday. Piper temporarily stepped back from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis in May to address "ongoing character flaws." Along with spending extended time in prayer and Scripture, the couple is spending "much more time than usual" talking with each other and connecting with their wider family. On the vocational front, Piper said, "[W]e are finding that we do love Jesus more than we love serving Jesus. And we really love serving Jesus, especially at Bethlehem, and are eagerly looking forward to being back."

Baptist World Hunger Funds Aids Haiti, Pakistan Relief Efforts

Relief workers are able to give hope to thousands of desperate families in Haiti and Pakistan because Southern Baptists have given generously to their World Hunger Fund, the executive director of a Southern Baptist relief and development organization said Sept. 13. "The magnitude of these disasters staggers the imagination," said Jeff Palmer, who leads Baptist Global Response. "So far we have allocated $2.35 million to these two disasters and, at least in Pakistan, the need far outstrips the resources we have available." In Haiti, an estimated 3 million people were affected by January's massive earthquake, with five times that many people still struggling in Pakistan following weeks of flooding in August. According to Baptist Press, Palmer said the disaster in Pakistan has seriously taxed the organization. "We are praying God will move in the hearts of His people to give generously to the World Hunger Fund -- not only so we can meet the needs in Pakistan, but also so the fund will not be depleted to the point that we can't respond to new disasters."