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Issue Date: 2008-03-13
Volume: 187
Number: 6


Jake Westbrook: sinkerball pitcher, steadfast saint

Cleveland Indians right-hander Jake Westbrook has a menacing sinkerball that has earned him a spot in the pitching rotation of the Cleveland Indians, the baseball team with perhaps the best starting pitching in the American League.
Congress considers workplace freedom bill - again

Congress is again considering a bill to protect religious expression in the workplace, but the bill, which has been bandied about for a decade or more, continues to draw steep opposition from business interests.
Christian rock pioneer Larry Norman dies at 60

Christian rock lost one of its pioneers when Larry Norman, 60, died of heart failure Feb. 24 at his home in Salem, Ore.
McIntyre Baptist Church undaunted by destructive fire

Sonia Barfield, who works for the Wilkinson County News, was asleep at home in the early morning hours of Feb. 28 when she heard some rather startling news on her scanner. The scanner was sounding the alarm that McIntyre Baptist Church, Barfield’s very own, was engulfed in flames.
Church network seeks broader cooperation

A diverse group of evangelical pastors and laity, including several Southern Baptists, have announced the formation of a new Antioch Network of Churches to cooperate in fulfilling the Great Commission without requiring conformity on “secondary” doctrinal matters.
Wilberforce documentary airing on PBS

One year after the movie “Amazing Grace” reintroduced America to William Wilberforce, a new documentary about the famous Christian abolitionist seeks to shed more light on the British man whose fight against slavery inspired Abraham Lincoln and countless other people of faith throughout the world.
Former Atlanta pastor is new Montana executive director
Fred Hewett’s background stretches from the corporate world to cleaning cobwebs out of the baptistery in revitalizing an urban Atlanta church. Now his resume includes being named executive director for the Montana Southern Baptist Convention.
IMB worker dies from bus mishap injuries
Linda Lipscomb, an International Mission Board worker known for her ability to bridge cultural divides, died Feb. 14 in Bangkok, Thailand, from complications following a bus accident. She was 63.
Study: 1 in 100 Americans behind bars
Numbers reflect an increasing need for prison ministry, say leaders

More than one in every 100 American adults are in jail or prison, according to a recent study by the Pew Center for the States, which also found that about half of released inmates return to jail or prison within three years.
Study: Americans fluid in their religious affiliation

If you’re Buddhist in the United States, you’re most likely a white convert who lives in the American West.
Ill & injured truckers get TransAlive's aid
At a Wyoming truck stop, Louisiana trucker Charles Worcester was 1,600 miles from home when crisis struck: He had emergency colon cancer surgery. After nearly dying of complications from the surgery, he was transferred to Salt Lake City. Such was the long-distance, three-month ordeal for Worcester and, back in Louisiana, his wife Charlene.
Asian pastors meet in Duluth

Nearly 80 staff from Georgia Baptists’ Asian congregations gathered at the Missions and Ministry Center March 6-7 to explore avenues of mutual ministry.
Baptists can 'adopt' NAMB missionaries
“Come on mission with us,” says Stone Mountain missionary

If one out of eight of Southern Baptists’ 43,000-plus churches would “adopt” a North American Mission Board missionary, all 5,000 of NAMB’s missionaries in the United States and Canada would receive much more prayer, encouragement, and support.
Discovery linked to O.T. person
A 2,500-year-old stone seal unearthed during a Jerusalem archeological dig in early January isn’t tied to the obscure Old Testament family initially thought.
Georgia native testifies to impact of packages to soldiers
He is the only American in a remote mountain outpost in Afghanistan. He may go without a shower for a month. He hikes and fights everyday. But a simple piece of mail – a LifeBox – lifted the tired warrior’s spirit beyond measure.
Despite state's native beauty, Aikens worry about lostness of Vermont

When Dewey and Kathie Aiken survey the landscape of Vermont, they see much more than the beautiful red and yellow leaves of autumn, the traditional maple syrup-making in March, and 150-year-old churches with white steeples piercing the blue skies of summer.
Churches don't have to stay quiet during political season

This is proving to be a very active political cycle in our state and nation. Many questions have been directed to me concerning the political activity of churches and their leaders.
Anne Rice explores Jesus' public ministry in novel

Don’t ask Anne Rice about “The Da Vinci Code” unless you want an earful.
Artists present an uncensored view of Mormon history

Like many religious institutions, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) has commissioned countless works of art to educate believers and non-believers about its history and doctrines.
Study confirms parents are spiritual leaders for their teens
When it comes to attending church, praying, and reading the Bible, the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Truett-McConnell professors release books on marriage, theology
Students and peers joined others at the LifeWay Christian Bookstore in Buford near the Mall of Georgia Jan. 26 to observe the recently-published works of Christian Studies professors John Tarwater and Larry McDonald.
Faith films still not flooding the big screen

At the Academy Awards Feb. 24, the nominees for Best Picture portrayed some complex moral dilemmas: A pregnant teen figuring out what to do; a lawyer in an ethical crisis; a Western saga overwhelmed by evil; a romance doomed by lies; a clash between an oil man and a greedy evangelist.
SBC president challenges Baptists to help rebuild Union after tornado

Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page called for Southern Baptist churches to give generously to Union University as the campus seeks to recover from more than $40 million in damages sustained in a Feb. 5 tornado.
National Football League OKs churches' airing Super Bowl on big screens

he National Football League will now allow churches to air live showings of the Super Bowl on a screen of any size, reversing a previous ban on widescreen televisions.

Georgia Newsbriefs

Lisa Dudley joins Index staff
Lisa Dudley has joined The Christian Index as receptionist and administrative assistant to Editor Gerald Harris.
Newest historical display goes up in Lee County
Lee County has joined three other South Georgia seats of government where an historical display – including the Ten Commandments – has taken up residence in the county courthouse. At least nine other displays are now posted statewide in courthouses or related government buildings.
Nursing degree on the way at Shorter College
Leaders at Shorter College have begun the steps to offering students a degree in nursing, courses beginning in the fall of 2010.

Baptist News Summary

Mohler bows out of SBC president race
Southern Seminary president and SBC presidential candidate Al Mohler has withdrawn from the race due to upcoming colon surgery.
Hometown couples among 113 commissioned by NAMB
For Chris Barnes and wife Susan, the Feb. 24 North American Mission Board missionary commissioning service at Taylors First Baptist Church in South Carolina held very special meaning. Taylors, pastored by Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page, is the Barnes’ home church and Chris served as an associational church planter in nearby Greenville.
Southern Baptists are 6.7 percent of population according to national survey
Southern Baptists make up nearly 7 percent of the United States adult population, according to a new Pew study that also shows evangelicals outnumbering mainline church members and Catholics.
Century-old papers from professor added to Southern Seminary library
Several folders of original material authored by John A. Broadus more than 100 years ago have been added to the archives of Southern Seminary.
Post-Castro generations to suffer, Baptist Hispanic leader says
The challenges that Christians face in Cuba likely will continue following the stepping down of Fidel Castro, a Baptist Hispanic leader said Feb. 21.
Baptists help drought-stricken farmers with hay lift effort
Disaster relief volunteers have added drought relief to their ministry in Tennessee.
VBS drew 1 in 16 elementary age kids
Vacation Bible School is huge. How huge? Almost 1 in 16 children ages 5-12 in America was enrolled in a Southern Baptist VBS, according to figures from 2006.
Online registration opens for '08 SBC annual meeting
Registration has opened for churches to register messengers online for the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 10-11 annual meeting in Indianapolis.

Religious Newsbriefs

Lost bird helps raise funds for English church
A tiny bird blown across the Atlantic Ocean from America on winters winds is helping raise funds to repair the roof of an ancient church in the tiny English village where it landed.
Egyptian court allows Muslims to convert
Egypt’s Supreme Civil Court has permitted 12 Coptic Christians who had converted to Islam to revert to their original faith.
Mayor says God will stay in mission statement
The mayor of this small city in western Michigan said the City Commission will continue to “strive to serve God,” despite an atheist group’s demand that the phrase be removed from the city’s mission statement.
Bishops to speak at black gay convention
Nearly 1,000 African-American men, women, and youth, both gay and straight-identified, are expected to gather in Baltimore April 24-26 for a three-day event geared towards bridging the gap between the black gay and black straight communities.

People and Places

Property milestones
Ministerial Moves

Cooperative Program Stories

From homeless to homebuilder, focused on a smooth horizon

Life was pretty good for Paul Matson. He was a senior in high school, a good student who was eligible for the HOPE scholarship, making plans to attend nearby Augusta State University. Then, sometime around the Christmas holidays, his mother told him she was moving.

Bible Study

Living 3:16 - Alive with Power

Ephesians 1:18-21; 2:4-9; 3:16-21
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, March 23
Living 3:16 - With Passion for Jesus

Revelation 1:9-13, 17-18; 3:14-22
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Mar. 30


The Open Door

For me, the most glorious day of worship in the year is Easter. On this very special Lord’s Day we remember with joy that the Lord Jesus did not remain in the grave. He came out alive demonstrating His power over sin and death.
Moving beyond the Feb. 5 Union tornado

C.S. Lewis in “The Problem of Pain” says that God often uses the experiences of suffering as a megaphone to awaken us. Suffering and pain, Lewis said, are often the essential means by which God brings about dependence, fortitude, patience, and forgiveness in His children, while also arousing acts of mercy and compassion.
Principles of 'tough love' lead to healthy relationships
Will denominations survive, thrive, or take a dive?

The value of denominations in America is being scrutinized, analyzed, and evaluated today. Many denominational churches are in trouble due to a loss of influence, declining offerings, an aging church membership, and a failure to attract younger people.


Disney boycott was wrong

Disney World has been a place of family fun for over 35 years. Our family has enjoyed many vacations there and now my husband and I have the joy of taking our grandchildren and their parents. We stand in line with people of diverse cultures, religions, economics, and languages.