Author Phyllis Tickle faces death just as she enjoyed life: ‘The dying is my next career’

LUCY, Tenn. (RNS) Over the past generation, no one has written more deeply and spoken more widely about the contours of American faith and spirituality than Phyllis Tickle. And now, at 81, she’s working on her final chapter: her own. On Jan. 2, the very day her husband, Sam, succumbed to a long and debilitating illness, […]

World Vision suspends operations in key South Sudan state over escalating violence

(RNS) Amid killings, rapes and abductions, the international evangelical humanitarian agency World Vision indefinitely suspended its operations in South Sudan’s Unity State over the escalating conflict. Multiple other aid agencies, including Doctors Without Borders, have taken similar action. On Wednesday (May 13), gunmen torched towns in some of the heaviest fighting in the 17-month-long conflict in […]

Christians lose ground, ‘nones’ soar in new portrait of US religion

WASHINGTON (RNS) The United States is a significantly less Christian country than it was seven years ago. That’s the top finding — one that will ricochet through American faith, culture and politics — in the Pew Research Center’s newest report, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” released Tuesday (May 12). This trend “is big, it’s broad and it’s everywhere,” […]

Liberia’s United Methodists keep ban on divorced clergy becoming Bishops

(RNS) In the United States, United Methodists are fighting about whether to allow clergy to marry gay couples. In Liberia, divorce is on the line. The United Methodist Church in Liberia recently voted to uphold a long-standing provision barring divorced clergy from running for the office of the bishop. The church’s leaders say the ban […]

Rev. Gil Caldwell, a ‘foot soldier’ for civil rights, turns his eye to LGBT rights

DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) The Rev. Gil Caldwell walked onto the campus of Duke Divinity School, leaning on a cane, alongside thousands of Duke alumni arriving for a reunion. But unlike the others, he wasn’t returning for a stroll down memory lane. He had come here for a glimpse of what might have been. Some 60 […]

Panel Offers Pastors Advice on Becoming ‘Ministers of Reconciliation’ in African-American Communities

ORLANDO, Fla. (RNS) Christian ministers should establish relationships with law enforcement, seek ways to become moral authorities in their communities and listen. Those were the top recommendations from experts at a panel sponsored by The Gospel Coalition on Tuesday (April 14) titled “Seeking Justice and Mercy From Ferguson to New York.” The popular ministry offered an alternative […]

Affirmation is Not a Civil Right, and It Cannot Be Coerced

WASHINGTON (RNS) The limiting of religious freedom is a perpetually contested question in American public life. Most recently, as states consider new laws and the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on same-sex marriage, gay rights supporters and traditionalist Christians appear to be on a collision course. To make matters worse, whenever disputes between gay […]

5 Things to Watch as the 2016 Campaign Gets Underway

(RNS) As presidential candidacies multiply and campaigning accelerates, we can expect much tawdriness to occur. These are difficult times in American democracy. Money will pour into negative campaigning and ideological posturing. Lies will become the norm. Every word will evoke counterattack, and facts will lose their currency. Barbed sound bites will be mistaken for wisdom. […]

‘Grace Notes’: The quiet unshakable faith of Hillary Clinton (COMMENTARY)

Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United Methodist Women’s Assembly 2014 WASHINGTON (RNS) Late on a Saturday night in 2012, I received word from my sister in Mississippi that my mamma had passed away. My home was silent as my wife and two boys slept upstairs. I was reading when the sad call came. I woke my […]

With Presbyterians in the Yes Column, Mainline Protestants Solidify Gay Marriage Support

(RNS) With the largest Presbyterian denomination’s official endorsement Tuesday (March 17), American mainline Protestants have solidified their support for gay marriage, leaving the largest mainline denomination — the United Methodist Church — outside the same-sex marriage fold. Methodists, with more than 7 million members, rejected same-sex marriage at their last national conference, in 2012. They are likely to revisit […]

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