In our first entry for 2017, the Journey team selects the stories that got us talking this week.
Christians must know these places not to go
Relevant reports on the Open Doors’ list of the 50 most dangerous places to be a Christian which states about 215 million Christians worldwide are facing a high level of persecution and in 35 of the 50 countries it is down to Islamic extremism.
North Korea, Somalia, Iran, Yemen and Pakistan all made the shameful top ten.
Charities act extinguishes status for Catch the Fire ministries
The Guardian covers news of controversial ministries Catch the Fire losing its charity status because of political affiliations with the Rise Up Australia political party. Catch the Fire is run by pastor Daniel Nalliah who is also leader of Rise Up Australia but under the 2013 Charities Act promoting or opposing a political party or candidate is a big no-no if you wish to retain charity status.
Nalliah, who is planning to fight the decision, says, “It’s a big blow to freedom of speech.”
Religious discrimination cools with new rules for Irish schools?
The National Secular Society focuses on news that Ireland is considering rules to stop Irish schools from requiring parents to baptise their children to gain a place. With 90 per cent of primary schools in Ireland controlled by the Catholic Church, the education minister Richard Bruton said that while religious parents’ wishes should be respected non-Christians should not be unfairly disadvantaged and that the baptism requirement was unfair.
Micallef moves from hell to heaven
The Guardian profiles comedian Shaun Micallef from the hit television series Mad as Hell who has a new season of his documentary Stairway to Heaven hitting screens this week. Micallef, who once considered priesthood in his youth, is using the series to tackle issues around faith, religion and the meaning of life.
A nugget of McCharity for Rome’s homeless
A newly opened McDonalds restaurant just steps from St Peter’s Square donated dozens of meals to the homeless, according to Yahoo! News. The fast-food joint has set up shop in a building owned by the Vatican which has not pleased everyone, but their latest gesture to a Rome charity should please Pope Francis who has made helping the poor a key part of his papacy. Pledging 1000 meals over the next six months, recipients have so far enjoyed a double cheeseburger, chopped apple and bottle of water.
Almighty God lends voice to TV series
World Religion News reports on the National Geographic Channel’s television show The Story of God which is narrated by iconic actor Morgan Freeman, who played the role of God in the Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty.
Now in its second series, The Story of God has tackled subjects such as heaven and hell, creation, miracles and the apocalypse.
Dream job on the cliff comes with a steep price
The Telegraph has found the dream job for someone looking to enjoy the hermit lifestyle: a caretaker is needed for a stunningly beautiful hermitage on a cliff in the Salzburg region. The ideal candidate should have a Christian outlook and be at peace with themselves.
But before you update your resumes be sure to check the fine print: the hermitage has no electricity, no running water and no Internet … and you won’t get paid.