John Paul II beatification announcement expected - 1/13/2011 12:24 pm
Mourning in America - 1/9/2011 9:15 pm
Defender of religious freedom gunned down in Pakistan - 1/5/2011 8:26 am
"God in America" coming to PBS - 9/30/2010 9:40 pm
Rainn Wilson on faith - 9/15/2010 10:55 am
Glenn Beck's Lincoln Memorial rally - 8/31/2010 9:27 am
Anchor Park United Methodist Church reaches out - 8/27/2010 8:18 pm
Greek festival at Holy Transfiguration Church - 8/22/2010 8:56 pm
Posted: January 13, 2011 - 12:24 pm
The National Catholic Reporter is reporting that the Vatican may announce Pope John Paul II's beatification as soon as tomorrow.
Beatification is the final step before a person is canonized, in other words, becomes a saint. Beatification would allow the late pope to be called "blessed."
The beatification ceremony may take place as soon as April, to commemorate the six-year anniversary of John Paul II's death.
Posted: January 9, 2011 - 9:15 pm
I was on the treadmill Saturday morning when I looked up and saw Gabby Giffords’ face on two television screens. Then a third lit up with her image. That’s not right, I thought. I unplugged the earbuds from the iPod and clicked into the Alaska Club’s television system. There it was. Rep. Giffords, had been shot at a public event in Tucson. I lived in Tucson before moving to Anchorage in 2003, and I had followed Gabrielle Giffords’ career. She is my age, and I had admired her quick rise and centrist politics.
Posted: January 5, 2011 - 8:26 am
Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province in Pakistan, was killed by his own bodyguard Tuesday. His funeral was held today.
Posted: September 30, 2010 - 9:40 pm
PBS has produced a six-hour documentary called "God in America" that will be shown in October on KAKM. The documentary is a co-production between the superlative programs "American Experience" and "Frontline." The first hour is about the history of religion at the nation's founding. Then there are two hours about how religion colored both sides of the Civil War, leaving lasting scars on liberal and conservative people of faith.
Posted: September 15, 2010 - 10:55 am
Rainn Wilson, star of "The Office" is a committed Baha'i. He'll be speaking about it and the website he started to talk about faith and values called soulpancake.com at the Religion Newswriters Association meeting in Denver next week. You can hear him discuss his faith on Oprah last year here. Soulpancake.com is described as a place where you can "speak your mind, unload your questions, and figure out what it means to be human."
Posted: August 31, 2010 - 9:27 am
I could comment a lot about the Washington rally held on Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial. There are all kinds of ways to slice and dice the event, which drew an estimated 300,000 people.
Posted: August 27, 2010 - 8:18 pm
Anchor Park United Methodist Church is offering a couple of series of talks that look interesting. The first one is called "Singing Your Lifesong," and it is offered every Sunday starting Aug. 29 through Sept. 26.
The sermon series begins at 11 a.m. and is supposed to help attendees better understand what we are supposed to do and be.
Posted: August 22, 2010 - 8:56 pm
I stopped by the festival at Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church today, the last day of a three-day event that raises money for the church building. The congregation meets in what used to be a private home near the corner of Lake Otis Parkway and O'Malley Road. The parish is building a new church on the same grounds to accommodate its services, and the festival is a key fundraiser for the construction.
Posted: August 19, 2010 - 3:08 pm
President Barack Obama is on vacation for the next several days, and he could really use it. Last week, he weighed in on a proposed mosque and cultural center in Lower Manhattan near the site of the World Trade Centers that were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Posted: August 13, 2010 - 1:52 pm
The Huffington Post has recently expanded its religion section, and has many thoughtful articles that put faith into context. One of the highlights is regular feature that examines scripture or religious teaching more in depth. Today's post is about how Islam regards true piety.
Posted: July 14, 2010 - 12:01 pm
I ought to post now and then. The Anchorage Daily News print edition says nearly every Saturday that I'm writing a blog, though it's been six months since I last updated.
Truth be told, I don't have a ton of time to dedicate to the blog the way I'd like to, but I have one I thought I'd mention.
Posted: January 7, 2010 - 9:14 am
Today at 10 am. Phil Davis, a professional Christian Science practitioner, is delivering a talk via the web that you can tune into. It will also be available later as a recording on the same site.
Davis will seek to answer what is prayer in Christian Science and how it is different from faith healing. Davis is one of about 200 authorized Christian Science teachers in the world.
Posted: January 7, 2010 - 9:09 am
The New York Times is reporting that Mary Daly, the self-described "radical lesbian feminist" has died. Daly taught theology for many years at Boston College, and she was the first scholar I ever read that advocated a separatist position for women. She also wrote about how the Catholic Church has oppressed women for centuries in several books, especially "The Church and the Second Sex" and "Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation." I can't remember which one I was assigned to read in a college class on women and religion, but I remember being floored by it. It unnerved me to think about church history in its regard to women, but I was also unnerved to think her solution to a male-dominated world was for women to separate from it in the most radical way.
Posted: January 6, 2010 - 6:30 am
On Christmas Day I flew back to Anchorage after visiting family in the Lower 48. On the flight I sat next to a young man who indulged my toddler daughter with smiles even when she began to screech in the way only a 20-month-old can. We got to talking. Hamir is from Iran and is studying for a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering. He was on his way to Hawaii for vacation before returning to school and hunkering down for the next two years to get his degree.
We talked about Iran and the civil unrest after the June elections, which many Iranians believe were fraudulent. He said he hoped the country would become more democratic, that's what the people long for, he said. We talked about the history of the United States and Iran. We talked about Europe and its culture and people. He studied in the United Kingdom before coming to the U.S. so he could compare the two systems. All in all, he said, Americans are friendlier and more open-minded than the British. When we went our separate ways in Seattle, we bid each other well. We even joked that whiile he could tell me "Merry Christmas," I couldn't exactly wish him "Happy Ashura" the Shiite day of mourning that came two days later.
Posted: December 18, 2009 - 8:50 pm
I was going to assemble what I consider the top 10 religion and/or values books of 2009, but I could only come up with nine. I could have posted this list a couple of weeks ago, but I kept searching for that 10th. If you have a good suggestion, please send it my way. This list was compiled using Amazon for the list price. You can probably find these books for less from that site or elsewhere. I encourage you to support you local bookstore. These aren't numbered No. 1, No. 2, etc. So just take a look.
-The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures by Nicholas Wade
Posted: November 24, 2009 - 1:52 pm
You might want to check out the BBC podcasts on religion.I'd been listening sporadically to the BBC's religion news program for a few years, but it's available as a podcast now. You can find it on the site, plus other programs about religion, ethics and values.
This week's program has some insightful commentary about the Archbishop of Canterbury's meeting with Benedict XVI last week and whether Rowan Williams is an effective leader of the Angelican Church. It also delves into the history of the Hare Krishna in Britain.
Posted: November 8, 2009 - 8:29 pm
The first three videos on The New York Times Web site have some relationship to faith and values. The first is about Dutch Harbor and a pastor's attempt to make the defunct bar The Elbow Room into a shelter for people on hard times in the Unalaska fishing community. The other is about a guard's actions on the night the Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago. Finally, the last video of interest is about Fort Hood Muslims reacting to the news that fellow worshiper Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's killed 13 people on the Army base Thursday.
I'm going to let my mind hang on to the first two videos more than the last.
Posted: November 6, 2009 - 11:18 am
As I was wrapping stuff up for the day Thursday afternoon, a colleague said that he had already heard from a student that the Fort Hood shooting was to blame on Muslims. Well, it looks like it's to blame on one Muslim, according to news reports.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves about what this means about Islam or American Muslims, though it certainly sets back their full acceptance into U.S. society.
The Council on American-Muslim Relations (CAIR) issued a statement yesterday condemning the attack on Fort Hood soldiers.
Posted: October 30, 2009 - 8:29 am
I recently sat down with Sara Gavit at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at Tudor Road and Lake Otis Parkway. Gavit is a friend of a friend who is a member of St. Mary’s. I had heard her preach during my friend’s daughter’s baptism, and thought of her last summer when it seemed everyone in Anchorage was debating the gay rights ordinance. You see, Sara Gavit is the pastoral care minister at St. Mary’s and she’s also an out lesbian.
Since much of the debate was framed as one of devout Christians versus pagan or nonreligious gay people and their supporters, I thought now might be the time to visit with Gavit to talk with her about her faith, her wish to be an ordained Episcopal priest and how her sexuality fits in. Why now? Well, I’m hopeful that Anchorage is starting to heal from the polarizing debate over the proposed ordinance and Mayor Dan Sullivan’s veto. Besides, I’d been curious about how Gavit “heard the calling,” so to speak, to become a minister.
Posted: October 29, 2009 - 7:46 pm
Steven Waldman, who founded Beliefnet.com 10 years ago as a website devoted to all faith traditions, is stepping down as editor in chief. Waldman's site can be credited with helping launch "user-generated content" since it was users' message posts that started getting turned into articles. Waldman is also the author of "Founding Faith." The book is about how Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison and John Adams and their ideas about the role of religion and the state influenced the