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Thursday, June 14, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
BOSTON, MA - St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Boston has recently remodeled its entrance. That alone is not newsworthy. However, the reason for the construction project seems a bit surprising.
Father Samuel Anderson, Vicar of St. Luke's, told Religion Roundtable, "Our denomination has been straying from the scriptures for some time now. We have openly gay bishops here in the USA. What will be next? Our church decided to go back to the bible."
What the folks at St. Luke's found amazed them. Anderson stated, "Jesus gave us many commands that we simply were not following. Scripture is clear that we must obey to prove that we are saved. We decided to start with the front door of our church."
The construction effort is founded on the church's new mission statement. It is based on Luke 13:24 which says, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."
"In light of verse 24," said Vicar Anderson, "we knew we had to redesign our front door. After all, how could anyone enter through a 'narrow door' when our door was so wide? We certainly did not want to be a stumbling block to others."
As you can see in the above picture, St. Luke's has not only narrowed the entrance, but has also shortened it. What's the purpose in this?
Vicar Anderson again, "We also want to avoid pride at all costs. Proverbs 29:23 tells us, 'One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.' We want to encourage this. Our short and narrow door now serves two functions: we obey the command to enter through the narrow door, and we bow before the Lord as we enter to worship."
So far the only complaints within the church have come from several folks who are gravitationally challenged (fat). Eli Weight told RR, "I really want to go to church, but I just can't get through the front door anymore. Last week, we tried to grease the sides of the door, but it just didn't work. Some folks at St. Luke's have told me this means I have lost my salvation. Now I just don't know what to do!"
When asked about Mr. Weight, the Vicar reassured us, "We will soon be starting a Jenny Craig program at the church. At the beginning of the class, the participants will be allowed to enter through the truck service entrance at the back of the building."
Friday, June 8, 2007
TAMPA, FL - "The youth of America are starting a new revolution in church!" stated Zack Bell, formerly a member of the Coastal Community Church youth group.
Religion Roundtable has learned from its sources that a large number of youth in the central Florida region have joined together to form a new denomination. Zack Bell, spokesman for the youth said to reporters, "Our new denomination is named Youth Church in America (YCA). The denomination is open to anyone in middle and high school. Our purpose is to reach the youth of this country. Traditional churches, with lots of old folks, do not focus enough energy on youth. That is our goal and purpose."
Jenny Smyth, a 14-year-old member of the new denomination told us, "My parents aren't really sure what to think of all this. They want me to go to the same church with them, but they also want what is best for me. They know I need to be with other kids my age so I can fit in and be normal."
We at Religion Roundtable were a bit skeptical. We asked Mr. Bell several questions such as , "What do you believe? What will you do? Where will you be meeting? Where will the funding come from? What happens to the kids who graduate from high school?"
Bell responded, "We don't have all the answers right now. We do know this: we love Jesus! We are going to use lots of music and fun activities to reach youth. We will put a premium on advertising and pizza parties"
RR asked one final question, "Who will the elders be?"
Bell said, "There are always some kids who had to repeat first grade. Because of that, they are 19-years-old. Since they are the oldest we have, they will be the elders."
Several church leaders have spoken out against the YCA. Joel Osteen, for one, said, "This just doesn't seem right to me. It doesn't sound very biblical."
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
QUEENS, NEW YORK - In what is believed to be a first, a baby within the Orthodox Church
In America has rejected infant baptism.
This past Sunday was supposed to be a joyous occasion at St. Timothy's Cathedral in Queens. Joseph and Ruth Worchewicz were looking forward to the baptism of their infant son, Michael. Everything was going according to plan as they handed their baby over to Priest David Polashowski.
The Orthodox Church fully immerses its infants because, they say, the Greek word baptidzo means "I immerse." Desiring to be consistent with the bible, the Orthodox Church puts its infants completely under water in a brass tub. They reject the sprinkling of the Catholic Church.
As Priest Polashowski lowered young Michael into the tub, an amazing thing happened. As can be seen clearly in the picture above, Michael reached out his right hand and grabbed the edge of the basin. As the priest tried to push Michael down into the basin, the infant seemed to grab on even tighter.
Religion Roundtable has learned that at that point the priest seemed dumbfounded. Not knowing what to do, he placed his hand over the baby's face (see the picture above) and shoved downward. This was more than Mr. Worchewicz could handle. He reportedly jumped into the middle of the situation to grab his baby son. While doing this, Mr. Worchewicz knocked the priest to the floor.
It is difficult to determine exactly what happened next; we have no pictures of it. Conflicting reports indicate that either Mr. Worchewicz or Priest Polashowski threw the first punch. After that, as they say, "the game was on." The large contingent of the Worchewicz family battled with the church leaders for 7 to 10 minutes. Many punches were thrown, few actually landed, and many icons were destroyed.
Neither the family nor the cathedral would comment on the incident.
However, Baptists were happy to jump into the fray. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, "This is what can happen when infants are baptized. Some of these young ones somehow know deep down that it is wrong. They sense that they need to repent and believe before they are baptized. This young infant in Queens found a way to fight back."
There is no word yet as to what baby Michael might do if his parents attempt to have him circumcised.
Monday, June 4, 2007
ROME, ITALY - During a special mass at the Vatican on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI informed the world that the Roman Catholic Church has declared a second trinity.
Pope Benedict said, "The Catholic Church aims to meet the needs of the current world. We believe that the 1 billion Catholics need a trinity they can relate to. The original trinity seems very far off an incomprehensible to many of the young within our flock. They want to be able to understand the gods they are worshiping."
The Pope went on to reassure everyone that the existence of the second trinity in no way endangers the first trinity. "Don't worry. The Father, Son, and Spirit still exist."
So, the big question at St. Peter's Basilica was: Who makes up the new trinity? Pope Benedict quickly answered. "The Cardinals and I looked back over church history and chose the three people we thought were most deserving of this honor. Some who almost made the cut were St. Peter, St. Paul, Pope Gregory the Great, Mother Theresa, and John F. Kennedy. However, we believe that the three we chose are the most appropriate based on what they have done for Catholics all around the world."
The three members of the new trinity are Mary (the Mother Goddess), John-Paul II (the Pope), and Mel Gibson (the actor). Older members of the Catholic faith are reportedly pleased with the choices of Mary and John-Paul II. However, the selection of Gibson has raised some eyebrows - after all, he is still alive.
In responding to this criticism, Pope Benedict said, "Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ has done more for the Catholic faith than anything else since the Council of Trent. Our young believers have demanded someone they can relate to. We believe Mel's resume and looks will bring even more people into the faith."
The Vatican will soon be releasing a list of approved movies it is encouraging believers to watch. These include The Passion, Braveheart, The Patriot, and What Women Want. However, the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon films were not included because, according to Pope Benedict, "They just stink."
Saturday, June 2, 2007
NASHVILLE, TN - The McDonald's restaurant in Riverton, TN has had a "fast" trip into bankruptcy. According to the McDonald's Corporation, their franchise in this suburb of Nashville recently went belly-up due to a rare turn of events.
Ronald Roth, owner of the Riverton McDonald's, blames Riverton Baptist Church, "It's all their fault. If not for their decision to boycott our restaurant, things would be going along fine. While they were eating here, we turned a nice profit. Since they stopped, we can't meet the bills. It just ain't fair."
What exactly is going on here? We at Religion Roundtable went to the senior pastor of Riverton Baptist to find out. Pastor James (Jimmy) Black was kind enough to sit down with us. According to Pastor Black, "This all began about two months ago. Our church had just completed building a new worship center. We went into a bit of debt ($850,000) in order to finance the building. We ran out of Sunday School space, and needed somewhere for our bored youth to meet. What else were we to do?"
Black continued, "We really needed God to answer our prayer as to how to pay for this building. As a church, we had tried fasting before but it just has never really worked out. Last year we tried to get the folks to give up fast food in order to pray for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. People weren't willing to do it. However, this year when they could see what they would be paying off, they rose to the occasion."
Riverton Baptist decided to really sacrifice this time. They knew that a complete fast for even a few days was an impossibility. In fact, due to last year's failure, the guess was that even asking the body to refrain from fast food in general would lead straight to disaster. Although difficult, one option appealed to most (62%) of the church - they would give up McDonald's for three months. The results have been astounding.
Riverton Baptist has collected the money they would normally have spent at McDonald's and put it toward the new building. As of this past Sunday, the near 1 million dollar debt was completely paid off. "What a blessing from God this is!" said Pastor Black. "When you are willing to sacrifice and be right in the center of God's will, He delivers!"
Ronald Roth does not see things in quite the same manner as does Pastor Black. "Those Baptists have put quite a few people out of work. They are so selfish to think about themselves rather that the good folk of this town who now won't have McD's to sup at. It just goes to show that Christians do a lot more harm than good. Those terrorists!"
It is clear that most of the Riverton townspeople are divided over this issue. Nancy Harris, who attends the local Church of God, said, "There's no way I'm fasting now. I need my Cracker Barrel!"
Friday, June 1, 2007
SAVANNAH, GA - John Beatty, pastor of Woodbine Presbyterian Church (PC-USA) is taking heat from many sides for what he refers to as "an innocent remark."
During last Sunday's morning worship service, Beatty, in speaking from Ephesians chapter 2, referred to the gospel as "a really good idea." What he thought would be an innocent remark has brought about a firestorm of criticism.
Some of the older, more conservative members of Woodbine Presbyterian want Beatty to leave town. Arnold Davis, a seventy year member of the church, told Religion Roundtable, "The bible makes it clear that the gospel is much more than a good idea. As far as I can tell, it is the only way to heaven."
Younger, more open-minded members of the church are disgusted with Pastor Beatty for even bringing up the gospel. Chad Hatcher, a relatively new member of the congregation, told us, "Why even bring it (the gospel) up? We all know that the key is simply having faith. What your specific faith is doesn't matter, but you must believe in something. How long will it be before we can all be tolerant of each other's faiths?" Hatcher went on to say that it was time for Beatty to go.
A church meeting is scheduled for this coming Wednesday night. Beatty faces a tough challenge if he desires to remain at the church. As far as we can tell, almost no one wants him to stay. According to Beatty, "I guess I shouldn't have ever brought up the gospel. It's not like I said it was the only way to heaven. I just wanted to make a point that, to me, the gospel makes sense and seems like a good idea."
No one ever asked what God thinks of the gospel.
The church is reportedly looking forward to getting past this ugly incident so they can get back to their primary focus: missions.