• The Name of God

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s government on Thursday won the right to appeal a court ruling that allowed the country’s non-     Muslim minority to use the word “Allah” to refer to God.

    Appeal hearings are scheduled to start Sept. 10 to resolve the politically sensitive dispute that triggered attacks on Malaysian churches and other places of worship more than three years ago.

  • Following God's call into retirement

    INVERNESS — Twenty years ago when the Rev. Craig Davies first came to Inverness, his children were in middle and high school — and his hair wasn’t gray.

    Twenty years ago, First Presbyterian Church in Inverness was building its new facilities on Washington Avenue, off State Road 44 and across from Big Lake Henderson.

  • Thanks for the dinner invitation!

    When I was a brand new, theologically ignorant Christian, I learned about a coming dinner party that I was invited to.

    I was in a Sunday school class and raised my hand to say my mouth was watering just thinking about chomping into a plateful of roasted leg of lamb with tiny red potatoes and onion marmalade.

    The Sunday school teacher looked at me, horrified.

  • Jewish wisdom and sayings

    (For Carol: A doggone good friend.)

  • GRACE NOTES 08/10/13: 'Thou shalt not catfish' isn't a fishing edict

    Have you heard of catfishing? Several years ago, a young guy named Nev Schulman fell in love with a woman he “met” on Facebook. She was beautiful, a musician.

    Megan sent Nev photos of herself and MP3s of her songs. They talked on the phone — and he was smitten. So, of course he wanted to meet her.

    However, when he traveled from New York to Michigan to finally meet her, he discovered that Megan was really Angela, Megan’s stepmother.

  • New pastor takes the pulpit at FUMC Inverness

    INVERNESS — When the Rev. Sarah Campbell first came to First United Methodist Church in Inverness to begin her job as the church’s new pastor, she was somewhat of a novelty and a surprise to the congregation.

    “Before I came there was a rumor going around that I was only 22,” she says.

    Plus, there was a buzz about her being the church’s first “lady pastor” in its 130-year history.

  • Finding a state of grace while on vacation

    Last week I took a trip to California, where I’m from.

    I met my sister, daughter and granddaughter in San Francisco, where we stayed with my 92-year-old aunt.

    One thing about San Francisco — the hills are steep. On my trip we climbed one of the steepest hills, up Hyde Street. At one point I didn’t think I could make it. My sister told me to walk backwards, that it was easier that way. So, I did. I turned around and trudged up the hill, looking at where I had been.

  • Congregants beat the heat at "splash bash"

    CITRUS HILLS — Casual, contemporary, come as you are.

    A year ago, Cornerstone Baptist Church in Inverness created a second campus in the Citrus Hills area, which has now become the Church at the Hills, led by campus pastor Darrell Reneau.

    Last week the church had a “splash bash” outreach at a neighborhood park, which drew five new families to the church.

  • GRACE NOTES 07/27/2013: Of course I'm right

    Years ago I wrote a book about idols, which is just another word for sin.

    An idol is whatever you turn to first — a person, possession, position, relationship, substance, belief or experience — for comfort, security, identity, meaning, etc. Basically, anything other than God.

    As I wrote the book, I got halfway through it and decided I was tired of being smacked upside the head with my own idolatry. 

  • Caught in the middle

    Associated Press

    JERUSALEM — The Israeli soldier was walking home on a busy Jerusalem street when suddenly a car stopped next to him, and men inside spat upon him and hurled insults, trash and water bottles. When the assailants stepped out, he was fearful enough to call the police who swiftly arrived to rescue him.