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Friday’s religion wrap

The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week.     

Keep it strange if you want the change

The Christian Post reports on a new book by Michael Frost which claims that eccentric actions may be key to growing the church. Keep Christianity Weird is Frost’s take on rule-breaker movements and he sees pastors using unconventional methods in their ministry leading to the fostering of “greater creativity and innovation”. 

“Could it be that the church has closed its doors to the misfits and rebels and troublemakers?” writes Frost in the opening chapter. “Does the church make space for and foster the contributions of those who see things differently?” 

The Christian Post also includes an interview with Frost who discusses how Jesus was a “weirdo” and how institutionalised churches suppress eccentric creativity. 

Simon says pastor’s got talent, inspiring too

An inspirational pastor who moved America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell to tears is in the news at The Christian Post. Michael Ketterer is a father of six (five of whom are adopted from foster care) and a pastor at the Influence Church in Anaheim, but he has found a new level of fame after appearing on the popular reality TV show America’s Got Talent where he performed a rendition of James Bay’s “Us”. Judge Simon Cowell was moved to tears by Ketterer’s performance stating, “Michael, as a dad I can’t imagine what you’ve done. And the fact that you’re on this show and you really need this—I don’t know, you’re a really special guy. I don’t know, there’s something about you.”

Ketterer later appeared on the show and said, “My family is the reason I’m here. One of the things that happens, especially because my children came out of foster care, when you’re surviving, you can’t dream. And that has been one of the most rewarding things—providing them with a home and a safe environment where they are free to dream.”

Pew traces most Christian places

CBN News reports on the latest Pew Research into the world’s most committed Christian nations which found those living Africa, Latin America and the United States are the most committed. Christians in Africa and Latin America “pray more frequently, attend religious services routinely and hold religion in high esteem” compared to other nations, according to Pew, and the Christians in the United States are more committed to their faith than their western nation counterparts. 

Pew studied 84 nations and detected a “broad pattern of Christianity’s march southward from wealthy countries to developing ones”. 

The full report can be read here

Back to school after Supreme court rules 

El Pais reports on the reinstatement of a religion teacher in Spain who had her contract renewal refused by the Catholic Church after it was discovered she married a divorced man. Two years after a Supreme Court ruling in her favour, Resurreccion Galera is back at work teaching but it has been a long journey to get her job back. 
In 2001, the Diocese of Almeria did not renew Galera’s contract after discovering she had married a divorced man, despite her previous seven years working at the Ferrer Guardia Elementary School. Fifteen years later the Supreme Court ordered the Education Ministry, the region’s education department and the Diocese of Almeria to reinstate her and pay back wages. Although the Diocese appealed twice to prevent Galera returning to work it has recently stated it respects the court decision. 

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