RNB QuickLinks: a compendium of blurbs and links to, for the most part, religion-related stories you may have missed — be it on purpose or otherwise.
Note: Today’s edition is devoted entirely to what we call “The Church Around The Corner.” You know what we mean… the one that’s just slightly, er, different from what we are use to…
Most of the text is quoted verbatim. Links to the original items are included. Our comments are in purple.
For those who need disclaimers: we consider the items posted below as offbeat, unusual, and/or just plain funny. Our sense of humor may differ from yours, but you don’t have to let us know about it. No religious adherents were hurt in the making of this feature — and no offense is intended.
Virgin Mary make-over
French parishioners have turned to world-famous fashion designers in the hope of giving their church’s centuries-old statue of the Virgin Mary a modern-day makeover.
Prince at your door
Religious rocker Prince, who became a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001, goes house-to-house to preach about the faith. He told USA TODAY that he is often chased through the streets by his fans, as he tries to convert them to the Bible.
Dutch Christian naturists forced to cancel naked mass
A church service for Dutch Christian naturists has been cancelled this weekend after hostile reactions from other, more conventional, worshippers. … The Dutch naturist Christians, part of a global movement, held their first service in June, when a clothed priest presided over a nude congregation of 80 people in Zeewolde, a town in the Flevoland region of the Netherlands.
Muslim hate-speech cleric Omar Bakri’s daughter is a pole-dancer
As the daughter of firebrand cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, Yasmin Fostok might be expected to share his fanatical beliefs. But the radical Muslim’s daughter has ditched his extreme interpretation of Islam – as well as most of her clothing. The busty blonde has been revealed as a topless, tattooed pole dancer. … Perhaps predictably Bakri, now exiled to Lebanon, dismissed the news as a ‘ fabrication’ and described it as an attack on him and Islam. ‘The more you put pressure on me, the stronger I become. Islam will conquer Britain,’ he said. … Bakri’s protests he knew nothing about his daughter’s new lifestyle were undermined by claims he personally paid for her to have a breast enlargement operation.
The world’s fastest-growing religion
Entry in The Dallas Morning News’ Religion Blog: “Least plausible ‘fastest growing religion’ claim I’ve ever seen: Wicca like a rocket.”
Religion News Blog says:
Lots of religions and pseudo-religions make this claim:
• Google this: fastest-growing religion
• CounterCultSearch this: fastest-growing religion
• YouTube this: fastest-growing religion
• Flickr this: fastest-growing religion
• Yahoo this: fastest-growing religion
Pastor wipes off sweat with panties
A pastor [in Kenya] caused a stir when he removed a woman’s panties from his pocket and used it to wipe sweat from his face in the middle of a sermon. Apparently the man of the cloth thought he was wiping out a handkerchief to clear his forehead of sweat as he preached under a blazing sun. The incident, which occurred during a lunch hour sermon at a popular open-air church in Kisii town, confounded worshippers who were later seen discussing their pastor in groups. It later emerged that the pastor, who is married with one child, had spent the previous night with a member of his congregation after lying to his wife that he was attending nightlong prayers popularly known as kesha in the town and would, therefore, be away from home.
Church encourages texting during sermons
The spotlight shone on the Rev. Mike Schreiner on a recent Sunday as he preached about who goes to heaven and how earthly relationships will translate in the hereafter. Off to Schreiner’s right, the steady glow of dozens of cell phones lit up the section where the teens of Morning Star Church sat listening to the sermon, thumbs furiously working little keyboards. High above the 700-seat sanctuary, Amie Haskins, 27, the director of worship, sat in the church’s control booth receiving their text messages on the church’s cell phone. She … typed [them] into a computer that was connected to Schreiner’s laptop next to him. During Schreiner’s 30-minute sermon, Haskins received 35 questions. … Schreiner answered just three of them, but the church’s embrace of texting — this was the third week of its experiment — has already improved the dialogue, according to Schreiner, and energized many of Morning Star’s younger members.
Mayor ‘just curious’ if Obama is antichrist
Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk says he was “just curious” when he forwarded a chain e-mail suggesting Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is the biblical antichrist. “I was just curious if there was any validity to it,” Funderburk said in a telephone interview. “I was trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up.” Funderburk apparently sent the e-mail from his business account at Gastonia Sheet Metal where he works as a business agent. The e-mail, which has circulated in the last six months since Obama secured the Democratic nomination, claims the biblical book of Revelation says the antichrist will be in his 40s and of Muslim ancestry. There is no such scripture. And Obama is not a Muslim. But that hasn’t stopped the e-mail.
Man tries to smuggle cocaine inside the Virgin Mary
Four hollowed-out wooden plaques of the Virgin Mary filled with cocaine were seized at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized about five pounds of cocaine after they stopped Victor Hugo Mireles-Andrade, 23, a U.S. citizen from Chicago. The drugs have a street value of almost $147,000.
Publisher puts ‘NIV’ Bible in Americans’ handwriting
Once only the elite, the educated and the holy had the privilege of inscribing the words of the Bible, verse by verse. Now Americans coast to coast will have a chance to hand-copy a verse of Scripture to appear in a special edition of the New International Version of the Bible, known as the NIV. To mark the 30th anniversary of the NIV, which has sold 300 million copies worldwide, publisher Zondervan launches a campaign today to create the unique edition, which will include its 31,173 verses, each handwritten by a different person. A huge blue RV with the logo “BibleAcrossAmerica.com” splashed on its side and “Inspiration at every turn” on its back takes off on a five-month journey bringing “writing stations” to 90 stops in 44 states at churches, landmarks and popular settings such as NASCAR races.