Reforming the Vatican is a lot of work, so it’s no wonder Pope Francis has decided to spend his summer working in Rome instead of visiting the traditional papal summer house. But just because he isn’t going to enjoy Castel Gandolfo’s opulent seaside gardens—where popes and emperors have walked since the 1500s—doesn’t mean the beauty shouldn’t be shared. He’s ordered that the gardens (pictured below) now be opened to the public. Visitors can enjoy the historic terraces and expertly maintained gardens and farms each morning through guided tours ... Discuss
According to this report in the UK’s Daily Mail, 33 North Koreans are facing execution after working with South Korean Christian missionary Kim Jung-wook. They have been charged with attempting to overthrow the brutal government of dictator Kim Jong-un. According to the report, the North Koreans received money and resources to set up underground churches in the country, where actions as small as owning a Bible can lead to the death penalty. The missionary was imprisoned last year for his evangelistic work, and last week held a press conference apologizing for his “crimes” and requesting his release. In his televised “confession” (pictured below) he said, "I received money from the intelligence services and followed instructions from them, and arranged North Koreans to act as their spies. And I also set up an underground church in China, in Dandong, and got the members to talk and write, for me to collect details about the reality of life in North Korea, and I provided this to the intelligence services.” However, South Korea officials say that Kim Jung-wook was kidnapped and involuntarily brought to North Korea from China ... Discuss
People are always accusing churches of playing it safe and never thinking outside the box, but don't tell that to the people at the Kentucky Baptist Association, because they've happened upon a new way of wooing the unconverted and it's, well, it's different. They're holding an "outreach to rednecks" that's expected to draw a thousand people in which handguns, shotguns and long guns will be given away as door prizes. A flier says the goal is to "point people to Christ," and we can't tell if the pun is intentional or not.
It's all being promoted by ex-pastor and and former Outdoor Channel hunting host Chuck McCalister, who said "You have to know the hook that will attract people, and hunting is huge in Kentucky. So we get in there and burp and scratch and talk about the right to bear arms and that stuff" ... Discuss
It's been nearly a year since Saddleback Church pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren lost his son to suicide, and now he is calling the Church to begin to long road of clearing misconceptions about mental health and taking the plight of the suffering seriously. “I’m certainly not going to waste this pain,” Warren said. “One of the things I believe is that God never wastes a hurt and that oftentimes your greatest ministry comes out of your deepest pain. I remember writing in my journal that in God’s garden of grace, even broken trees bear fruit.”
To that end, Pastor Warren's church will host The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church on March 28, a day long event with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to raise awareness and spread information regarding the truth about mental illness and how the Church can positively get involved. Warren will preach his first sermon following his son's death on just the subject, saying “It’s amazing to me that any other organ in your body can break down and there’s no shame and stigma to it, but if your brain breaks down, you’re supposed to keep it a secret" … Discuss