Christian Piatt 02-28-2012
Image by Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock

Image by Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock

The world has never been short on doomsday prophets, intent on predicting the end of days. And it has reached fetishist proportions this year with the end of the Mayan calendar.

See, that’s why I never buy paper calendars. They always end, and I don’t want to be the one responsible for Armageddon.

But the Mayans and their Johnny-come-lately adherents aren’t the only ones. Harold Camping has predicted the end a few times, most of which haven’t worked out so well. But each time he adds a little footnote as to why he was a little off, but that the next prediction REALLY is the big one, so be ready.

I’m not entirely sure why we’re so obsessed with trying to know when everything will come to a grinding halt. Christians in particular have been warned by Jesus himself not to occupy our hearts and minds with such things. So how come we can’t seem to stop trying to figure it out?

Joshua Witchger 02-24-2012

A quick list of links to get your weekend off to a great start. First grade problems, Rev. Billy's latest display, Jon Stewart on GOP candidates, Ben & Jerry's new venture, Andrew Bird offers free music, and Kickstumblr.


the Web Editors 02-24-2012

More U.S. Kids Living In High-Poverty Areas: Study; Debunking Poverty Myths And Racial Stereotypes; How Does A Conservative Evangelical Become A Corporate Tool Supporting A System That Coerces Apple's Suppliers' Workers To Have Abortions? (OPINION); Gingrich Joins With Arizona Faith Leaders To Court Latinos; Why Are Young People Leaving Evangelical Christianity?

Joshua Witchger 02-22-2012

Education in urban ecology, children recreate a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, one goofy trip to the grocery store, art in the snow, Batman takes Toronto. Discover this and more in today's afternoon links round-up...  

the Web Editors 02-22-2012

Religion And Politics Don't Mix, Major Religious Groups Tell Presidential Candidates; 25 Percent Of Super PAC Money Coming From Just 5 Rich Donors; POLL: Men, Evangelicals Boost Santorum; Southern Baptist Leaders OK 'Great Commission'; Obama Budget: Grow Prisons and Keep Gitmo; The Failure Of Austerity Politics (OPINION); Atheist Alain de Botton Insists Society Needs Guidance From Religion; Access To Good, Healthy Food Should Be A Basic Human Right; Protesters To GOP Candidates: Don't DREAM Halfway.

the Web Editors 02-21-2012

The Problem With Rick Santorum’s Holy War; Rick Santorum: 'If Government Is Going To Get Smaller, Then People Have To Get Bigger'; G.O.P. Campaigns Grow More Dependent On ‘Super PAC’ Aid; The Real Defense Budget; EU To Vote On Oil Sands Pollution; Christians Should Not Be Political Pacifists, Says Megachurch Pastor; Latino Mormons Speaking Out Against Romney Over Immigration Issue; Training Afghani Imams To End Violence Against Women (OPINION); Franklin Graham: Obama May Secretly Be A Muslim, Santorum And Gingrich Are Definitely Christian.

Joshua Witchger 02-20-2012

Students protest cafetera food, the art of snowboarding in LED, one man a capella showtunes, spoof street artist Hanksy, and more! Plus, an Animal Extravaganza: Maddie the Coonhound travels the country, remarkable footage of some of the world's strangest creatures, and fashioning an animalistic hair style. All this and more ... inside the blog.

Jack Palmer 02-20-2012
Photo via Getty Images.

Photo via Getty Images.

Consciously or not, when we recognize the need to step away from social media, it is because we are questioning who is in control.

If our default is to ask life’s big questions on Twitter before we offer them in prayer, then someone other than God is in control. If we "Like" what someone is doing of Facebook before we recognize everything God is doing in our lives, maybe we need a social media time-out.

Lent is the right time to realign ourselves with the fact that God should be in control in our lives.

the Web Editors 02-20-2012

The Surprising Faith Of 8 American Presidents (OPINION); Santorum Questions Obama's 'World View,' Not Faith; Educating Two Generations (OPINION); The Inside Story On Climate Scientists Under Siege; Obama's 'Radical' Option For America's Nuclear Future; Pain Without GainFacing Death, A Top Pastor Rethinks What It Means To Be Christian; The End Of Church (OPINION).

Duane Shank 02-20-2012
Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Anthony Shadid files a report by moonlinght in Iraq, 2003. Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Late last Thursday evening, getting one final fix of news before going to bed, I saw it. Anthony Shadid, the New York Times correspondent and Beirut bureau chief, had died from an asthma attack while ending a clandestine reporting trip into Syria. He apparently suffered the attack in a reaction to horses being used by smugglers helping him and a photographer leave the country.

When you read the news as much as I do, you learn which bylines to look for if you want the most comprehensive and well-written coverage of a story. Mr. Shadid was one of those correspondents.

In a career that included stints with the Associated Press, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and The Times; Mr. Shadid covered one of the most dangerous parts of the world — the Middle East. He was shot in the West Bank in 2002, kidnapped and beaten in Libya in 2011. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, in 2004 and 2010, for his reporting on the Iraq war; and has been nominated by The Times for a 2012 prize.

Alessandro Speciale 02-20-2012
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. Photo by Getty Images.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York hugs an American journalist outside St. Peter's Basilica Saturday. Photo by Getty Images.

VATICAN CITY — On the eve of his elevation to cardinal, New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan said he would like to change the caricature of his city as a modern-day Gomorrah.

"New York seems to have an innate interest and respect for religion and I'm going to bring that up because I don't like that caricature that New York is some neo-Sodom and Gomorrah," Dolan told Reuters after celebrating Mass here on Friday (Feb. 17).

"I have found the New York community to be very religious and innately respectful of religion, interested in religion," he said.

Fan signs a poster for singer Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church, Ne

Fan signs a poster for singer Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, New Jersey. Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty

NEWARK, N.J. — With TV trucks and camera crews clogging the streets and thousands of fans hoping for a glimpse of the event, Whitney Houston's family has decided that no one but invited guests will get near her funeral on Saturday.

That means no procession, no video screens outside the New Hope Baptist Church for the noon service — and no fans who want to pay their respects.

City streets will be locked down for six square blocks around the church beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said.

Celebrities from Aretha Franklin (who is Houston's godmother) to the Rev. Jesse Jackson have been invited to the funeral. Others confirmed on the guest list, according to CNN, are Chaka Khan, BeBe and CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio "L.A." Reid, Ray J and Brandy.

No one without an invitation will get into the service for the 48-year-old singer who died Saturday in her Beverly Hills Hilton hotel room.

Christian Piatt 02-17-2012
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Fans show their support for Jeremy Lin during the game against the Timberwolves 2/11/12.By David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

No, he doesn't go down on one knee every time he nails a dunk or a perimeter shot. And as far as I know, he’s not building any hospitals in far-off countries. But the 23-year-old point guard for the New York Knicks suddenly finds himself in a spotlight familiar enough to Tebow that the pair should consider a face-to-face lunch to compare notes.

Like Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin “rode the pine” as a bench-warmer for years. Unlike the star quarterback, Lin was cut by two other NBA teams before landing a supporting role on the Knicks bench.

So why do we know about him all of a sudden? Although Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni would love to claim credit, he admits the only reason the American-born player of Taiwanese parents got his shot was because so many players ahead of him were injured.

Then, as if storing up his energy for months in anticipation of his big break, Lin lit up scoreboards, followed by sports talk shows and endorsement deals. Eleven days ago, he was a relative nobody. But it seems all it takes is leading your team to a six-game winning streak, posting 38 points against Kobe Bryant and snagging a buzzer-beater three-pointer against the Raptors to get the public’s attention.

So long Tebowmania; enter “Linsanity.”

Joshua Witchger 02-16-2012

Over the Rhine's husband/wife duo talks music and life together, old CDs are turned into remarkable animal sculptures, Chipotle takes new strides toward humane practices, a spark of fun in family pictures, restaurant serves edible balloons for dessert... and Disney's Lady and the Tramp is given new life. All this and more ... inside the blog.

Grammy-winning Gospel singer Marvin Winans. Image via Getty Images.

Grammy-winning Gospel singer Marvin Winans. Image via Getty Images.

NEWARK, N.J. — Grammy Award winner and longtime family friend Marvin Winans will deliver the eulogy for Whitney Houston during her funeral Saturday (Feb.  18) at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, the church pastor said Tuesday night.

Houston’s family rejected a public final farewell to the pop icon, choosing instead to hold a private, invitation-only funeral at New Hope, the singer’s childhood church, which seats about 1,500. The Rev. Joe A. Carter, pastor at New Hope Baptist Church, said he will officiate the service, scheduled to begin at noon. Houston was born in Newark and raised in nearby East Orange.

Winans, who also serves as the lead pastor at Detroit’s Perfecting Church, told the Detroit Free Press that he felt like he had lost a sibling when he learned the 48-year-old singer had died Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Houston’s mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, her cousin Dionne Warwick, and other family members gathered at Whigham Funeral Home in Newark well into the early morning hours Tuesday to shape plans for the service, funeral director Carolyn Whigham said.

Joshua Witchger 02-15-2012

A look at Poster Cred, the Seattle-based art project, Jesse Eisenberg shares his favorite memories of growing up with Jeremy Lin, "Food Rules," by Michael Pollan is born in stop animation, the new film from the writer of Slumdog Millionaire, and Allen Ginsberg vs. the Westminster Dog Show. All this and even more awesomeness... inside the blog.

the Web Editors 02-15-2012

You've Heard Of Evangelicals, But Who Are They?; Radical Solutions To Economic Inequality; Playing Fair In Love And Climate Change; Jeremy Lin Says Faith In God Triggered 'Lin-Sanity'; 800,000 Americans Tell Senate: Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline; 5 Things You Might Have Missed In Obama's Proposed 2013 Budget; 'Plug In Better': A Manifesto; Render Unto Caesar; Are You A Real Christian?; Hundreds Rally Against Alabama Immigration Law.

Aaron Taylor 02-15-2012
Mr. Bean (aka Rowan Atkinson). Image via Wylio,

Mr. Bean (aka Rowan Atkinson). Image via Wylio,

Allow me to share with you a list of characters I’ve been told that I look like. I got all of these when I was in elementary, junior high, and high school.

  • Screech
  • Mr. Bean
  • Ernie of Bert and
  • Boy George
  • The elf that wants to be a dentist from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Imagine being a 12-year-old boy and all of your classmates agree that you look like the nerd on Saved by the Bell. Not exactly a confidence booster when it comes time to ask a girl if she wants to — as I remember the phrase —“go out with you.”

But that was me. Scrawny. Brainy. Goofy. Religious. Socially-awkward. I sucked at sports, but could sing and act, which were gifts that no adolescent male wanted back then. These were the days before, High School Musical, American Idol, and Justin Bieber. Go figure.

the Web Editors 02-14-2012

Four Ways To Slice Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal (INFOGRAPHIC); Britain Being Overtaken By 'Militant Secularists', Says Baroness Warsi; Clinton: Poverty Helping Fuel Violence In Nigeria; How Much Do We Spend On The Nonworking Poor?; Making Good Citizenship Fun (OPINION); Has the President Lost His Obama Generation?; College Students Crowd CPAC; GOP Revives Pipeline Push In Highway Bill; 5 Lessons From The Rise Of The BRICs; Over 600,000 Messages Against Keystone XL Flood The Senate.

Joshua Witchger 02-14-2012

Taking a look at Valentines Day with clever recipes, cards, stories, and clothing items. Videos of love across language barriers. A couple of sentimental mixtapes. The greatest kisses in literature. And finally, nothing says romance like a tour of an NYC sweage plant.