The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week. Check back in every Friday to see the latest wrap up of religious news that made us think and reflect.
Rev’d up for God
ABC News reports on the Longriders Christian Motorcycle Club, a biker church where the only prerequisites to join in are a motorcycle and a belief in God. Boasting an array of superb photographs, the story delves into the history behind the club and speaks with numerous members about their faith and their unique way of approaching traditional Christian practices such as communion.
The stories behind Winton’s stories
Eureka Street explores author Tim Winton’s background and how his experiences with God, guns, Stanley Kubrick and the beach have shaped his life. Winton’s latest book of essays, The Boy Behind the Curtain, tackles everything from God to asylum seekers, class to the natural world, and has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “brilliant and provocative.”
Indiana zone and the cross crusade
CBN News reports on Bloomington, Indiana officials who will be renaming Good Friday to “spring holiday” in order to be more culturally sensitive and inclusive. Columbus Day will also be changed to “fall holiday” as many American progressives associate the discovery of America with the genocide of Native Americans.
Abortion absolution from Pope
CathNews highlights news of Pope Francis giving permanent permission to priests to grant absolution to those who procure an abortion. While the Pope was clear to maintain that “abortion is a grave sin” he did note “there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach”.
Hipster baby Jesus ready for Christmas
Feeling like 25 December needs a dose of iGadgets, moustaches and coffee? City Pages covers the Christmas miracle of a “hipster” nativity scene, complete with bowties, selfies, lattes and an organic cow eating gluten-free feed, available for purchase for US$130 plus US$99 shipping.
Pastor claims insecticide cures HIV and cancer
RT looks at a 24-year-old South African pastor who uses insect spray to “cure” people of cancer and HIV. While the global scientific and medical community does not currently subscribe to this method of medical treatment, the pastor insists he is “glorifying God” with his actions and that one “can use anything that you believe to heal people”. Hopeful followers receive a blast of insect spray to the eyes and other body parts but there has been severe condemnation for the practice by Freedom of Religion SA, which represents 88 major denominations and churches, declaring it “unlawful and illegal”.
Growth tied to Bible literalism
The Guardian reports on an academic study linking church growth to literal interpretations of the Bible. Although earlier studies in the USA and the UK concluded theology wasn’t largely responsible for declines in church attendance, this new Canadian study found 71 per cent of clergy from growing churches read the Bible daily and approximately two-thirds of congregations at growing churches were under the age of 60.
Christian sees Islamophobia as anti-Christ
Do you think this pastor is merely spinning generic platitudes or does he have a point? Please let us know in the comments.