How will you celebrate your 120th birthday?

Meredith Flynn —  August 13, 2013

Tuesday_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

A majority of Americans don’t want to be centenarians (plus 20 years), but they think their neighbors might, according to a new study by Pew Research. The survey of 2,012 American adults found 56% of them said they wouldn’t choose to undergo medical treatments in order to live to 120. But 68% expected most people would.

According to the survey, 69% of people place their ideal life span in the 79-100 range.

Pew also asked leaders from a variety of religious groups about their views on radical life extension. Jeffrey Riley, a professor at the Southern Baptist seminary in New Orleans, said evangelicals’ acceptance of life-extending technology and methods would depend on how those strategies are framed.

“If this was being advertised as never dying, I think a lot of people and the leadership of my church would be opposed,” Riley said in an article on Pew’s website. “However, if this was incremental and was seen as a way for people to continue flourishing, my church would more readily accept it.”

To read more about religious leaders’ responses and the study itself, go to

Other news:

Judge orders new name for baby “Messiah”
A judge in Tennessee has ordered the parents of 7-month-old Messiah DeShawn Martin to change his first name because, “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

According to, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew first met the parents when they appeared in her courtroom to argue over the child’s last name. Judge Ballew helped settle that dispute, but may find herself in the middle of another, as the baby’s mother plans to appeal her ruling. Christian Post reports more than 700 babies were named Messiah last year in the U.S., making it the 387th most popular baby name.

Read the full story at

Warren returns to pulpit after son’s death
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Ca., stood in his church’s pulpit July 27 for the first time in 16 weeks. Warren, the author of the bestseller “The Purpose Drive Life,” took a leave of absence after his son, Matthew, committed suicide in April following a long struggle with mental illness.

Warren received a standing ovation that Saturday evening, and thanked Saddleback staff, members, his family and local pastors who supported him. Then, with comments from his wife, Kay, he shared the first message in a series titled, “How to Get Through What You’re Going Through.”

Read writer John Evans’ full story on

Carmen Halsey to lead IBSA mobilization, WMU
Carmen Halsey will serve as the Illinois Baptist State Association’s new director of Missions Mobilization beginning this month. As part of the role, she also will give IBSA staff leadership to Illinois Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), and serve on the national WMU board along with Illinois WMU President Gail Miller.

Read more in the new issue of the Illinois Baptist, online now at

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.