• Faithful debate

    Karin Laub & Sam McNeil

    Associated Press


    AL-MAGHTAS, Jordan - For years, Christian pilgrims have waded into the Jordan River from both its eastern and western banks to connect with a core event of their faith — the baptism of Jesus. The parallel

  • Grace Notes: Return of shame

    When I was a kid, we used to sing the taunt, “Shame, shame, everybody knows your name!”
    I don’t remember who taught it to us, but we took great delight in singing it to anyone we wanted to shame and humiliate.
    I was a horrible child. I’m still horrible, but I clean up nicely and mostly refrain from pointing out people’s sin to their face in public.
    Still, what is it about us humans that we love to shame others?
    As I write this, the shame target of the current news cycle is Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed, skinned and beheaded 13-year-old Cecil, Zimbabwe’s celebrity lion.

  • Open hearts, open worship

    Pancakes, pizza and praise.

    Coffee, croissants and communion.

    Bordeaux and Bible.

    Welcome to church, 2015. 

  • Grace Notes: Run toward grace

    You may not know the name Tullian Tchividjian, but you’ve heard of his grandfather, Billy Graham.

    Tullian is the former pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale. He resigned last month after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with someone other than his wife.

  • Plea to the pontiff

    Rachel Zoll 

    AP Religion Writer

    NEW YORK - Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for molestation victims urged Pope Francis this week to use the new Vatican tribunal he formed on negligent bishops to investigate the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, who has long been accused of sheltering abusive priests.

  • Grace Notes: Answers to those questions gargoyles ask

    The other day I got a letter from a Mark Gould of Southampton, New Jersey.
    He had just finished reading my book “Prayers God Always Answers” and he had some questions for me. He said, “I do like to question authors, more kindly now than in the past — once a gargoyle, not always one.”
    That intrigued me, that he described himself as a former gargoyle. (For those unfamiliar with gargoyles, they’re creepy, scary, mythological creatures that you can find on some really old buildings. They’re used to divert water and sometimes water spits out of their mouths.)

  • All in the family: Pair serve together as co-pastors

    BUSHNELL - In 2009, Theresa Vokey found herself wondering about the direction of her life. 

    She worked at Crystal River High School as an aide in the special education department, surrounded by kids, whom she loved. 

  • Grace Notes: How far will our love go?

    Years ago, my granddaughter Caroline couldn’t be trusted to not make a run for it in a crowd.

    As a toddler, she was notorious for breaking loose from my daughter’s grasp and taking off running. She was also fearless and overly friendly when it came to approaching strangers and, if given the chance, would follow anyone anywhere, especially if offered candy or a puppy or a sip of Diet Coke.

  • Clarifying connections

    In approaching a clearing where the canopy was thinner, giant stalks of sugarcane swayed in the breeze. Fong spotted the heads of a long line of elephants off in the distance, their giant ears flapping in the wind. And as she looked up at the sky, a family of pterodactyls soared overhead. Fong breathed a deep sigh of satisfaction. — excerpt from “Early Earth: Coming Out of Darkness” by B.A. Norman (WestBow Press) 


  • Grace Notes: Face truth about lying: We’re all guilty

    I don’t know about you, but I hate being lied to.

    A few weeks ago we drove to Tampa, which is about 70 miles from where we live. That same day, we needed to go to Port Charlotte, which is south of Tampa.

    How far south, you ask?

    Well, according to the “distance between two cities” online calculator I used, Port Charlotte is 70 miles south of Tampa.

    Except the calculator lied.