• A string of prayers

    On May 3, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI announced a “new springtime” for the Catholic prayer ritual known as the Rosary.

    He said, “It is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and his Mother.”

    Centuries earlier, St. Dominic prayed to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary instructed him to “preach the Rosary as an antidote to heresy and sin,” according to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

  • Terry Mattingly, On Religion, 4/10/10

    Hollywood bean counters have started calling them “God films.”

    The typical faith-based indie has a tiny budget and most of the actors are amateurs or second stringers from television. It doesn’t take much money to promote one because churches are eager to hold pre-release screenings that fire up clergy and volunteers to spread the word — on foot and online.

  • Family focus

    For Matt Blackmon, his focus is family — his own wife and sons, as well as the church family he leads at Red Level Baptist Church.

    Starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, he begins a six-week “To Save A Family” sermon series, a take-off of the movie “To Save A Life.”

    The movie centers on high school superstar Jake Taylor and his childhood best friend, Roger Dawson, whom Jake blows off once they get to high school.

  • GRACE NOTES 5/01/2010: Does God punish those he loves?

    The other day I told a pastor friend about the time God put me in Time Out.

    I had gone to speak at a church women’s event, and at the time I thought I was the second coming of Beth Moore, a superstar Bible teacher with an almost cult-like following.

    I went expecting that, after the event, I’d be hoisted onto people’s shoulders and carried through the streets to shouts of “Hooray for Nancy!”

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 04/17/2010: Why we need the state of Israel

    Much has been written about the state of Israel lately, some good, some bad. As with other countries of the world, the media likes to play up certain aspects and leave some of the others in the dark. As Israel begins to celebrate its 62nd year of statehood on April 19th, I would like to propose a few reasons, not in any particular order, explaining why having a state of Israel is so important for not only Jews, but for the world at large.

  • GRACE NOTES 04/24/2010: Healing the 'father wound'

    A dear friend recently lost his father and another friend commented that the “father thing” is huge, no matter the relationship.

    Those with good fathers mourn the goodness of the relationship and the sweet memories of good days gone by.

    Those with fathers who caused pain and turmoil in the family by their presence (or by their absence or indifference) mourn the relationship that never was but might have been.

    The father thing, indeed, is huge.

  • GRACE NOTES 04/17/2010: There's no app for that

    My niece, Jennifer, has an iPhone. Last week, she and her husband, Marc, my sister, Peggy, and I (and Jennifer’s iPhone with all its cool applications — “apps”) went to Baja, Mexico, to visit my parents, who live on a beach on the Sea of Cortez.

    Want to know the name of a song on the radio? Jen’s phone has an app for that. Want to know the Spanish word for just about anything? She’s got an app for that.

  • Mission of Mercy

    It’s a Friday morning, March 5, and the seven-person team from Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church gathering at the Tampa airport is anxious to begin a journey into the unknown.

    Each member checks two luggage bags that were filled to the brim with donated medical supplies. With a stonewall grip on my passport, I found my way to my seat to practice a few Creole phrases until we reached south Florida.

  • Shalom, y'all!

    NATCHEZ, Miss. — As the sun inched below the horizon in this Mississippi River town, people arrived alone or in small groups and walked up the steps of Temple B’nai Israel on Shabbat.

    Only about a dozen Jewish residents remain in Natchez, a city of about 16,400 best known for its elaborate plantation homes. As younger generations moved away, the congregation hasn’t had its own full-time rabbi since 1976.

  • Nancy Kennedy, Grace Notes, 4/10/10

    Editor’s note: Nancy Kennedy is on a beach in Mexico, enjoying spring break with her sister and her parents. This is a column that ran in June 2002.

    I once knew a woman who called herself a “Shameless Hussey.”

    Her last name is Hussey, but she preferred being called “Shameless.” She called herself a “Brazen Hussey” the time she stripped on “The Phil Donahue Show” in 1993. A self-confessed thrift store queen, she had been invited as part of a how-to-be-frugal show.