Archives For Economy

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Families looking for a break from the holiday hustle and bustle might escape to movie theaters for two faith-themed films, one out now and the other set for a Christmas Day release.

“The Life of Pi,” [PG] is about a shipwrecked Indian boy left with only one friend – a similarly shipwrecked tiger. Critic Phil Boatwright calls it “the most visually stunning film of the year,” and also commends the film’s director, Ang Lee, for making a movie that deals with faith. The movie “doesn’t promote one religion over another,” Boatwright said. “It does, however, what so few films do: It suggests that we become aware of spiritual matters and rely on our faith when the conundrums of the day overwhelm.”

Overwhelming circumstances are also the subject of another, perhaps more clearly Christian, story set for cinemas on Christmas Day. The highly anticipated movie musical “Les Miserables” has A-list stars and a trailer that’s already gotten serious buzz. And the story is a classic redemptive tale: Jean Valjean steals a loaf of bread to feed his family, spends several heart-hardening years in prison, gets out, and spends the rest of his life trying to live up to the kindness shown him by a forgiving minister.

“Les Miserables” is rated PG-13 for grown-up themes and some language, and is likely unsuitable for younger kids. But for adults who choose to see it, the themes of forgiveness, generosity and sacrifice will likely spark many conversations this Christmas season.

Your turn: What movies are you excited to see this Christmas?

Other news:

Economy could make adoption harder for some
From Baptist Press | With Congress embroiled in debate over the so-called fiscal cliff, many in the adoption community are concerned the adoption tax credit set to expire at year’s end could be forgotten, even though immediate action is needed. The tax credit that provided last year a maximum of $13,360 to each adoptive family has helped countless low- and middle-income families afford the costly endeavor. Read more.

How honest is your job?
From Gallup.com | Nurses have the highest ethical standards of any profession, according to Americans surveyed in Gallup’s annual study on the honesty and ethics of various vocations. 85% percent of those surveyed ranked nurses as “high” or “very high” on the ethics scale. “Clergy” ranked 8th on the list, with 52%; journalists were ranked highly by 24% of respondents; and car salespeople were last on the list, with 8%. Full list.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

When Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Ca., announced his church will not host a forum featuring presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, he cited uncivil political discourse as a main reason why.

“The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today’s campaign,” Warren told The Orange County Register.

Saddleback Church hosted a 2008 Civil Forum with then-candidate Obama and Sen. John McCain, and Warren had announced his hopes to have a similar meeting this year, although no officials plans had been made. In a Q&A posted on the church’s website, Warren called the current campaign climate “the exact opposite” of the purpose of the church’s Civil Forums.

Much of the negative talk is in the political advertising that will inundate American households – those with a TV, at least – from now until the November 6 election.

“I haven’t watched any of the debates, but I’m struck by the negative, accusatory campaign commercials that I’m hearing about,” said Curt Starner, pastor of Erven Avenue Baptist Church in Streator, Ill. “They say to me that the attitude of the writers is, ‘He can’t win on his record, so let’s destroy his opponent’s reputation and character. Maybe he can win that way.’”

While it’s clear the country is in for its share of negative campaigning in the months to come, Warren and Saddleback Church are shifting their focus to religious freedom, an issue he said is “more significant and has far greater implications for America’s future.” The church will host a Civil Forum on the topic in September. Read more about the event, and Warren’s response to the political climate at saddleback.com/blogs/newsandviews.

Other news:

Huckabee joins Missouri Baptists in support of embattled Akin
The Christian Post reports former Arkansas Governor and prominent conservative pundit Mike Huckabee participated in a conference call with hundreds of Baptist pastors August 24 in support of Todd Akin, the U.S. Senate candidate currently under fire for his controversial remarks about rape. (Speaking against abortion in cases of rape, Akin said medical science supports that contraception is rare in that context because women’s bodies can prevent such pregnancies. He has since backed away from that claim). The conference call was convened by Don Hinkle, who edits the Missouri Baptist Convention’s newspaper The Pathway.

John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, was also on the call. Politico.com quoted him as saying, “One of the things we have to remind ourselves of and remind our people of is that Congressman Akin represents the mainstream of our values. He is the mainstream of our values.” Read more at politico.com.

Slow economy continues to weigh on pastors
Giving in their churches may have stabilized, but nearly two-thirds of pastors say the economy is still negatively impacting their churches, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research. That’s the bad news, but the good news includes fewer churches with declines in giving, and fewer falling below budget. Get the full survey results at LifeWay.com.

‘American Bible Challenge’ a success for Game Show Network
Nearly two million viewers tuned in for the debut of “The American Bible Challenge” on the Game Show Network on August 23, according to the marketing website broadcastingcable.com. The game show, which asks Bible trivia questions of three teams playing for charity, drew 1.7 million viewers, the network’s largest ratings to date. For more on the show, go to ChristianPost.com, or tune in Thursdays at 7 p.m. (CT).

Women report more ‘modern’ struggles than ‘traditional’ sins
An extensive study by Barna Research on the state of the Christian woman found more women report to struggling with flaws like disorganization and inefficiency than more “traditional” sins like envy and lust. Half of the women surveyed admitted disorganization is a struggle, making it the most frequently reported problem, followed by inefficiency (42%), anger (36%), selfishness (25%), excessive arguing (19%), arrogance (16%), envy (13%) and lust (8%). Read more findings at barna.org.