Facets of Faith: Snow finds place in Scripture

While in the middle of the Deep Freeze 2014, my husband was reading his nightly Psalms passage when he started laughing. Reading from the English Standard Version, one of his Psalms for the night was Psalm 147. Verses 16-18 say: “He gives snow like wool; he scatters … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: World Religion Day

Sunday is the 63rd World Religion Day. People in Baton Rouge can mark the day in several ways. The Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge has listed several activities under the header January Thaw: Melting Away Interfaith Misunderstanding and Cultivating Peace. First is the Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival, which … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Christmas Quiz

Christmas is named for Jesus, considered to be the Christ (or Messiah or Annointed) of Christianity. It is the remembrance of Jesus’ birth. If you want to refresh your memory about the story before or after taking the quiz, consider reading the Bible passages in this order to put the parts roughly in … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Veggie Tales and Empowered

'Soul Cry' is the CD by the Baton Rouge band Empowered.

When pulling out the classic Christmas programs, consider adding VeggieTales “Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas.” The Christmas show is part of VeggieTales 20th anniversary. While the plot summary sounds similar to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the story has enough of a fresh take to not duplicate the older show. … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Faith-based tech

Screengrab of the homepage for biblestudytools.com

At the end of October, I told of a survey that showed how entrenched technology is with young adults and their religious lives. I asked readers to contribute their favorite technology for religious purposes. And my first response came from a young adult. … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Young adults practice faith online

Advocate photo illustration-- In the past, a black leather Bible was a prized possesion. For young adults today though, inexpensive Bible apps on their smartphones overshadow the printed book for their Scripture reading.

Do young adults today practice faith and religion differently than previous generations at the same age? Research from the Barna Group says, “Yes.” A recent report by the Barna Group looked at “Millennials,” people age 18 to 29, a generation that grew up with easily accessible digital technology. … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Prayer beads

Advocate Staff Photo by Mark Saltz  Feb. 16, 2010 Trax #00020552a Confession  Barbara Williams demonstrates the Rosary as she waits her turn for confeesion  at Our Lady of Mercy as the Diocese of Baton Rouge is launching an intiative this Lenton season to encourage Catholics to come to confession -- especially those who have not participated in the sacrament in a while.

At noon Saturday, Catholics gathered at thousands of rallies across the region and nation to pray the Rosary, part of the 2013 Public Square Rosary Crusade. America Needs Fatima (americaneedsfatima.org/) promotes this annual event to ask God to solve problems we haven’t solved as humans. “He will hear our prayers, … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Special days mark end of Ramadan

AP file photo -- A Syrian vendor displays Damascene sweets in downtown Damascus in 2006. Sweets are a traditional staple during Eid al-Fitr.

The fast involves avoiding food during daylight. The opening days of the fast are often marked with community or family meals at sundown. However, two more special days are observed in Ramadan. Laylat al-Qadr Laylat al-Qadr, or the Night of Power or Decree, celebrates the Prophet Muhammad receiving the Quran through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad never … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Pepper sauce sales support Hope project

Advocate staff photo by LEILA PITCHFORD-ENGLISH -- At the annual state meeting on May 17, 2013, Kyle Kelley, associate coordinator of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship- La., promotes a hot sauce that helps fight poverty in northeast La., one of the poorest regions in the country. The national CBF organization has programs in the 10 poorest counties in the United States.

In 2001, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship began the Together for Hope project to help people in 20 of the nation’s poorest counties. The group’s website said, “The ministry is about establishing long-term relationships, listening, learning and walking alongside local leaders. The hope is that communities will be transformed as will the churches … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Readers say give to God first

In the April 13 Facets of Faith, I presented two views of how Christians in financial trouble should handle paying their tithes. One expert said to get out of debt first so that you can be more generous later. The other said that the tithe should always come first. I asked what our readers thought. … Continue reading →

‘The Bible’ heads to History Channel

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have created a television miniseries and realted books about the Bible. This is novel based on the series.

The History Channel will debut on Sunday a 10-hour, five-part miniseries called “The Bible.” The show starts at 7 p.m. and will run on Sundays for five weeks, ending on Easter. Each episode will have two or three stories from Scripture. Created and produced by husband and wife Mark Burnett … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Technology offers help for marking holy season

While Lent, which started Wednesday, is a very old religious practice, people are finding ways to use new technology to help in its observance. A site created by a group of friends from southeast Louisiana, http://www.whattogiveup.com, presents some traditional ways that people mark the season, such as giving up alcohol, television or something … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Feb. 2, 2013

As people in south Louisiana celebrate the Mardi Gras season, some in Japan will be marking an old festival in Shinto and Buddhist shrines on Friday. Hari-kuyo is a time for kimono-makers to lay to rest their year’s worth of old, broken and worn-out needles and pins. Hari is needle, and kuyou … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Jan. 19, 2013

Amy Ziettlow

Does divorce affect the religion of children, and if so, how much? The Institute for American Values explores the issue in “Does the Shape of Families Shape Faith?” a report released Wednesday. To download the full report and find other resources, visit http://www.centerformarriageandfamilies.org/. In the report’s summary, the authors say, … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Jan. 5, 2013

Advocate staff photo by LEILA PITCHFORD-ENGLISHDead coral leaves a stark contrast to the tropical plants around it in Hell in George Town, Grand Cayman.

Cruises can leave one traveling in interesting places, say Hell, for instance. This popular spot in Grand Cayman is a formation of dead coral that many tourists visit to send postcards to friends. It was one of several “religious” themed places I visited recently. … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Dec. 22, 2012

How did a bishop who lived in the late 200s through the mid-300s in what is modern Turkey become the jolly fat guy dressed in red we see each Christmas? In “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus,” Adam C. English (no relation to this columnist) tries to sort out the facts about … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Dec. 8, 2012

When Jews begin lighting menorahs Saturday night, The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel will join them. This traditional observance of Hanukkah involves a candelabrum with eight branches in a line and a separate branch holding a “helper” candle known as the Shamash. On the first evening of Hanukkah, one of … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Nov. 10, 2012

Associated Press photo by Channi AnandOn Tuesday, a potter in India carries earthen lamps at a workshop ahead of the Hindu festival Diwali, the festival of lights, which will be celebrated  Nov. 13. The lamps are part of the lights that decorate homes during the holiday.

As Christians enter their holiday season, so do other religions. Several religions mark their New Year or other beginnings this week. Diwali is a weeklong Hindu festival, tied to the new moon. It is a public holiday in India. Shop owners … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Oct. 27, 2012

Chad Gibbs wrote

LOVE THY RIVAL Chad Gibbs. Blue Moon Books. 237 pages. Alabama resident Chad Gibbs turned a season of visiting SEC football games into a book published in 2010. That book looked at how Christians balance their devotion to “God & Football.” … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Oct. 13, 2012

On Monday, Susan Smolinsky, of Baton Rouge, and five people from New Orleans will be among 2,000 people in Israel attending the Centennial Convention of Hadassah. Smolinksy said Hadassah was founded on Feb. 24, 1912, by Henrietta Szold, who had visited what was then the Palestine region of the Ottoman Empire. Horrified by … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Sept. 29, 2012

Sept. 21 was the 75th anniversary of “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkein. (And Sept. 22 is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.) For many, “The Hobbit” and its siblings in the Lord of the Rings trilogy represent the pinnacle of fantasy novels that have Christian overtones. However, several fantasy or science fiction … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Sept. 15, 2012

Backyard Miracles Book Launch @ Strands Cafe 12 American Women, 12 True Stories, 1 Miraculous God. Combine these ingredients and you have the making for a must-read that will capture your heart and make you believe in miracles again. Even better is the fact that ten of these authors are local to the Baton Rouge metro area and will be celebrating their book launch with a special event held downtown at Strands. The popular cafe will be opening just for the event on Friday, September 28th from 7pm to 9pm. Live acoustic music, book signings by the authors and a treat from the pastry bar sound like a great way to start the weekend. backyardmiracles.com

What happens when one starts keeping track of the miracles in life? For Sharon Holeman, of Baton Rouge, it turned into a book of notes. But rather than make the story about her, she gathered stories from friends to add to her collection. In all, 12 women, 10 of them … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Sept. 1, 2012

Cover of the Philippian Fragment  by Calvin Miller

Author, Baptist pastor and professor Calvin Miller died Aug. 19 at age 75. Miller, who was from Oklahoma, first gained notice as a writer in 1975 when “The Singer” was published. It would go on to sell more than a million copies. Miller published more than … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for Aug. 18, 2012

Visual communication through art in Christian churches dates almost to the church’s beginning. Often art was used in churches because most people couldn’t read, so religious stories were portrayed in pictures to make them memorable. In addition to education, the art serves to inspire, sometimes just from the beauty … Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for August 4, 2012

Worship Leader magazine named Baton Rouge one of its Top 20 Worship Destinations in the contiguous United States in its July/August 2012 issue. Based on “musical influence and contribution of original worship music to the church at large,” Bethany World Prayer Center is one of the churches recommended for people wanting to see … Continue reading →