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Pope Francis delivered some strong words about hypocrisy at a recent mass. When discussing the scandal of “saying one thing and doing another,” he said:

So many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard — all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere — ‘But to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that: scandal.

The pope also called out Christians who try to earn their salvation through works and associating with groups that don’t actually do the things they say they are going to do.

He said there are people who say, “Here I am, Lord! … I went to Church, I was close to you, I belong to this association, I did this… Don’t you remember all the offerings I made?”

Adding that God’s reply would be, “Yes, I remember. The offerings, I remember them: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don’t know you.” Discuss

Pope Francis is extremely opposed to people checking Instagram and texting while sitting down for a meal with their family and friends. This week, while speaking to young people at a college, he used a dramatic analogy to warn about the death of face-to-face conversations. He said,

When we're at the table, when we are speaking to others on our telephones, it's the start of war because there is no dialogue.

He also encouraged people to be nicer to strangers, even in a culture where online interactions can quickly become hostile, saying,

We need to lower the tone a bit, speak less and listen more … dialogue which brings hearts closer together [is] a medicine against violence.

Solid advice. Discuss

Back in July, the South Carolina megachurch NewSpring Church announced that their pastor and founder Perry Noble had been fired. They told the congregation that he had made "unfortunate choices” and had been abusing alcohol. Perry went on to seek professional help and treatment.

But this weekend, for the first time in months, Perry returned to the pulpit to the preach a sermon—this time at Charlotte’s Elevation Church, the megachurch pastored by Steven Furtick.

In a recent Facebook video, Perry defended coming back so soon after the fall out:

Peter denied Christ, and 50 days later he preached the Gospel to Jerusalem. Paul, who was murdering Christians, comes to Christ and in Acts 9 immediately starts preaching the Gospel. If God has put something in your heart, don't sit around and wait for the approval of people who don't believe in you in the first place. You stay up too late, and you do what God called you to do.

Over the course of the last several months, Noble has posted on Facebook how his struggle not only effected his ministry, but also his marriage. He wrote:

Let me beg married couples...please don't cease fighting for your marriage by investing your time and attention into other things. Maybe it's not alcohol, maybe it's a hobby, or porn, or friendships...or even your kids. Take it from me - the temporary feeling of relief is not worth the long term pain of the consequences.

The YouTube channel “Pope Video,” which is “a global initiative of the Pope’s World Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) to spread the Holy Father’s monthly prayer intentions related to the challenges facing humanity, has released a new video that encourages Christians to pray for and care for refugees.

In the clip, the Pope says,

Don’t abandon them. Pray with me for those who are weighed down, especially the poor, refugees and marginalized, that they might find welcome and support in our communities.

Megachurch pastor Eddie Long as passed away according to a statement released to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and news outlets in Atlanta.

Bishop Long served as the Senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. The church says that Long had been suffering from “an aggressive form of cancer.” Long was 63 years old.

Discuss

The New Yorker has released a short documentary film (it’s about 13-minutes-long) that looks at the story of Rob Bell and the fallout following the release of his controversial book Love Wins.

The film looks at Bells’ ministry roots, the rise of his church and the controversy that unfolded following the release of the book that questioned conventional beliefs about heaven and hell.

No matter what you personally think of his theology, the film is a fascinating--and extremely emotional--look at Bell’s life, legacy and influence.

You can watch the film "Hell-Raiser" here. Discuss