FACETS OF FAITH: June 4, 2016, Ramadan

Lebanese workers raise a crescent decoration that reads,

Each year, the Council on American-Islamic relations issues a news release on the upcoming holiday Ramadan, which starts at sundown Monday, June 6, this year. Visit the group’s website cair.org to learn more about Islam and Ramadan. Here are some of the questions and answers from the release: How did the fast during Ramadan … Continue reading →

Celebrating a founder of the Baptists

While much of the religious world readies to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, an anniversary of a later “reformation” isn’t being heralded as loud. 2016 marks 400 years since the death of Thomas Helwys, one of the founders of the Baptist denomination. Helwys was an English country gentleman and lawyer. Helwys … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Each new translation delivers Bible to millions

In the U.S., it seems a new English Bible translation or format comes out every year, and many people own multiple Bibles. So it can seem incomprehensible that there are language groups that don’t even have one Bible translated for its people. An update from Bible-Gateway.com and United Bible Societies (UnitedBibleSocieties.org) proclaiming 50 new translations finished … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Special services put emphasis on mercy

Last spring, Pope Francis announced that 2016 would be a jubilee year, or holy year. This Extraordinary Jubilee Year for the Church is being hailed as a “Holy Year of Mercy.” It began Dec. 8, the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second Vatican Council, and will end Nov. 20, the Feast of Christ the … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: World Religion Day and interfaith goals

In 1950, the United States leadership of the Bahai religion declared the third Sunday of January as World Religion Day. While the Bahai don’t lead the activities on a national level anymore, the day continues to make its mark, being observed by many churches and organizations. Most people find some common ground when they study other … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Zondervan, NIV issue study edition

Photo provided by Zondervan -- Cover of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible.

Over the past few years, the New International Version of the Bible has done much updating of its text. And 2015 is the translation’s 50th anniversary. As part of that celebration, the NIV Zondervan Study Bible has been recently released. Many features in the new study Bible are ones that have long been … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Sounding the call to enter Holy Days

The Jewish High Holy Days start Sunday evening with the beginning of Rosh Hashana and end with Yom Kippur, which begins at sunset on Sept. 22. A Facets of Faith column from 2004 concentrated on the shofar, the ancient instrument that is a prominent visual and aural symbol of the ceremonies. Here’s a look at some … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Christmas gifts that appeal worldwide

This time of year, many area residents gear up for a Christmas project: the annual collection of shoeboxes filled with gifts for children around the world. Many churches gather Operation Christmas Child boxes from members. Those boxes then go to Florida Boulevard Baptist Church, which acts as a collection point for the region and loads the … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Animals of the Bible

In this week’s Pray section, a story tells of families from New Jersey who will sleep in buildings at the Philadelphia Zoo as a cost-cutting measure on a trip to hear Pope Francis. The zoo buildings house insects and birds. Will any of those critters they are sharing quarters … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Recalling the church fathers

. ‚ÄčAs we celebrate our fathers, we also talk about fathers of things, such as George Washington being the father of the United States.

In Christianity, there are church fathers, which the American Heritage Dictionary says are “any of the authoritative early writers in the Christian church who formulated doctrines and codified religious observances.”

This encompasses a large number … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for June 6, 2015

Pope Francis is publishing an encyclical, or letter, about the environment later this year. While it won’t carry the weight of church law, this type of letter to the bishops carries much authority in theological debates. And this one is already triggering debates. So, what should you consider when preparing to read the pope’s … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Passover; Crowder concerts

Photo provided by CMA Promotions -- David Crowder is returning to South Louisiana with his band Crowder and its Neon Steeple tour. Crowder will play in Lafayette and New Orleans in April.

Passover begins at sundown on Friday, April 3. This holiday is when Jews celebrate leaving slavery in Egypt. Its name is from the story in Exodus where God had the children of Israel mark their homes with the blood of a lamb. These homes were passed over when God passed through Egypt killing … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Roman Curia runs the Vatican

A story in today’s EatPrayLive section refers to the Roman Curia, or papal bureaucracy, and the work that Pope Francis is doing to change what is often thought to be a source of problems for the church. But what is the Curia? The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion says it is “The agency of the pontifical government … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: NIV issues Bible app for anniversary

Many people are turning to Bible apps for the convenience of carrying the book on their phones or tablets. Many translations are available; however, the popular New International Version was hard to come by. That recently changed. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the NIV, publisher … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Christmas music

For many people, the Christmas season is about music. This is true in my household. Our eclectic Christmas albums range from Handel’s “Messiah” to Dr. Demento. There are a few albums I return to when I want a dose of the Bible Christmas story with my music. Here are some … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: What about hell?

What do you think of hell? Is it a real place — perhaps a fiery pit or lake? Are there levels of hell? Is it eternal separation from God? Is purgatory real? Can one work his or her way from hell to heaven? All of these views can be found … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Jesus’ tomb sacred site

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Inside the Holy Sepulchre in the walled city of Jerusalem.

Editor’s note: In May, Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, met in Jerusalem with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “first among equals” among the various patriarchs of 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians. Advocate photographer Bill Feig was there. This is the first in an occasional series of photos from Feig’s journey. … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Plug in to summer meetings

Church camp is a special memory for many. As adults, denominational or group meetings can be a way to participate in a similar event. These meetings can be regional, state, national or even international. Activities can include prayer times; social meetings divided by geography, age groups or special interests; activities for children; ministry opportunities; … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for May 24, 2014

Today is Aldersgate Day in the Methodist Church. Its beginnings came 275 years ago in 1738 when John Wesley had what he called his “conversion,” an event that would ultimately lead him to start the Methodist church. While Wesley was a Christian, he reached a low point in … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for April 26, 2014

As the world looks toward the canonization of former Popes John Paul II and John XXIII, some may wondered what it takes to be named a saint. Some even trip over the definition of saint. The first definition most reference works give for saint is “a holy person.” … Continue reading →