The annual arts and culture festival “South by Southwest” will feature the premiere of the documentary “Join or Die.” It traces the career of Harvard University sociologist Robert Putnam and his teaching that social capital is a vital element of a healthy democracy.  His thoughts were summarized and explained in his influential book, Bowling Alone published in 2000. It traces the decline of participation in community groups (including churches).

Popular Bible teacher Beth Moore is publishing a book with the title All My Knotted-Up Life: A Memoir.  In it, she describes her childhood in a dysfunctional home, her lifelong commitment to Southern Baptists, and her break with the denomination over issues of treatment of women.  She also details her search for a new home, landing in an Anglican Church in her hometown of Houston.

Representatives in the Delaware House are considering a bill to require ministers to report to authorities information about child abuse, even if the ministers obtain that information through otherwise confidential conversations, like confession. Other states such as Vermont and Washington, are considering such legislation.  Advocates say exempting ministers from reporting allows abuse to continue. Religious leaders, especially Catholic, push back contending such requirements violate church rules and could result in excommunication of priests. Most states require ministers to report but many carve out exceptions for information learned in confidential conversations like confessionals.

The board of the Washington Elementary School District, the largest in the state, serving more than 25,000 students in 33 schools, unanimously voted to terminate its relationship with Arizona Christian University. For 11 years, the school system has used university students as student teachers. The district’s five-member board said their decision was based on the university’s “strong” anti-LGBTQ stance. Three members of the school board are gay.  The university has filed suit in federal court claiming discrimination based on religion.

Ft. Lauderdale
The long running congregational turmoil at First Baptist Church came to a head this past weekend when pastor James Welsh resigned. He had served for four years. Beginning prior to his tenure, the once influential megachurch had declined as people left or were disfellowshipped.  Only 161 people were in the sanctuary this past Sunday. Last week, the church received word that its finances were under scrutiny by the the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
Published On: March 15th, 2023 / Categories: MH News /

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