The Super Bowl featured two commercials purchased by a Christian foundation as part of a national evangelism and public relations campaign known as He Gets Us. The two commercials costs $20 to air during the game, the most watched television show of the year. The funding came through a donor-designated non-profit called The Signatry, a favorite giving mechanism of wealthy conservative religious people (such as David Green of Hobby Lobby). The ads have generated a great deal of conversation, pro and con.
Students (and others) at Asbury University in central Kentucky followed up a regular Wednesday chapel service (on February 8) with an on-going prayer and praise gathering that has not recessed. The religious fervor has drawn thousands of others from places near and far. The event mirrors a similar revival that developed in the same building—Hughes Auditorium—in 1970 and likewise lasted for days. In both cases (and in other similar events), the spiritual intensity of music, prayer, praise, and silence—all unplanned and unprogrammed—has ignited similar religious expressions on other campuses. (This is a good first hand account from a reliable off-campus observer.)
The Lilly Endowment has announced another round of grantees in their Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative. Recipients include the Library of Congress, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History. So far, the Endowment has contributed a total of $84 million to the initiative. Said Lilly Vice President Chris Coble, “Our hope is that these efforts will promote greater knowledge about and respect for people of diverse religious traditions.”
A large network of Black religious leaders in the United States organized under the name AND—which normally is portrayed with the ampersand (&)—has launched a video series on the Black Church in the United States. It follows (and is a response to) a similar series on PBS last year hosted by Henry Louis Gates, titled “The Black Church: This is our Story, This is Our Song.” This new series is titled “How I Got Over” and includes commentary on the seven Black denominations (three Methodist, four Baptist, and one Pentecostal). The series will air on YouTube.
Hendersonville and Louisville
Providence Baptist Church of Hendersonville NC (where Dr. Dwight A. Moody serves as pastor) adopted without dissent a wide-ranging policy of inclusion in all matters of church life, including ordination, marriage, and church leadership. The policy covers such categories as gender, marriage, race, social standing, and sexual orientation. And in Louisville KY, Rev. Carl H Kuhl III has been announced as the new Executive Pastor of Southeast Christian Church. In this capacity, Kuhl will oversee all church ministries and all satellite congregations. For the last 13 years, Kuhl has served as founder and pastor of Mosaic Church in Columbia MD. He is the nephew of Meetinghouse host Dr. Dwight A. Moody.