Wednesday, 04 February 2015 18:06

Top 10 Topics of 2014

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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For a number of years on The Meeting House on Faith Radio and here in this column, I have recapped what I have viewed as the top 10 stories of relevance to the Christian community from the previous year.  So, now, I present to you my “Top 10 Topics of 2014.” 

10 – Demise of large, multi-site church sends strong message

The end of 2014 meant the end of the network of churches known as Mars Hill Church.  Pastor Mark Driscoll had faced criticism for some time regarding his style of preaching and leadership, and during the year, more allegations concerning the church and its pastor were leveled.  Driscoll announced his resignation in October.

 

 

9 – Religious freedom challenged in the corporate setting

Throughout the year, the ability to exercise one’s faith in the conduct of his or her business came under increased opposition.  Across the country, people in a variety of professions dealing with marriage faced punishments of various forms because they did not wish to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. A resort in New York state was fined.  A photographer in New Mexico did not receive relief from the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Benham Brothers found that their proposed HGTV show was cancelled, presumably due to their outspoken Christian faith. 

 

 

8 – Islamic State brings increased threats to Christians

The rise of ISIS, or Islamic State, presented a real challenge to political leaders around the world, and their extermination of Christians in Iraq was especially troubling.  For example, the city of Mosul, with its rich Christian history, was a city whose Christian influence was under siege.

 

 

7 – Sudanese woman facing death penalty is released

Sudanese woman Meriam Ibrahim faced the death penalty and refused to renounce her Christian faith when pressured.  Eventually, international concern resulted in Meriam’s release and relocation to the United States.

 

 

6 – Houston passes gay- and transgender-friendly ordinance, pastors’ communication subpoenaed

The city council in Houston, Texas, passed a so-called equal rights ordinance, which provided special rights for homosexual and transgendered individuals.  Apparently, citizens had gathered enough signatures in a petition drive to place the ordinance on a ballot for a vote, but Houston’s lesbian mayor disagreed.  As the city prepared to go to court, the mayor issued subpoenas to five local pastors for various forms of communication, setting off expressions of concern.  The mayor eventually withdrew the subpoenas.

 

 

5 – Biblically-based movies bring strong box office presence

There was great anticipation going into 2014 about movies either based on Biblical stories or presenting a faith-based perspective.  Three films released during the year are now in the top seven in the Christian genre, according to Box Office Mojo: Heaven is for Real (5), God’s Not Dead (6), and Son of God (7). 

 

 

4 – Supreme Court sides with Hobby Lobby, Conestoga in contraceptive mandate case

The government mandate that employers provide, in their health care plans, free contraception and drugs that could cause abortion came under scrutiny before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The high court ruled that closely-held (e.g. family-owned), for-profit corporations, such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, did not have to comply.

 

 

3 – Health care workers contract Ebola, Christians address concerns

The spread of Ebola became a worldwide health concern during 2014.  Two Christian health care workers, one with Samaritan’s Purse, the other with SIM (Serving in Mission), whose organizations are attempting to battle the deadly virus in Africa, were brought home for treatment after contracting Ebola. 

 

 

2 – Ferguson conflict brings opportunity to discuss racial issues

The shooting death of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, by a police officer set off riots in that suburb of St. Louis and provoked a national conversation on matters of race.  Churches in the Ferguson area became directly involved in trying to provide peace and understanding.  When a grand jury did not indict the Ferguson officer, unrest spread across the country, giving Christians the opportunity to promote racial reconciliation.

 

 

1 – Marriage amendments fall, Supreme Court appearance more likely

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, it opened the door for judges to begin taking aim at state marriage amendments.  Across the country, individual judges and several circuit appeals courts ruled such amendments were unconstitutional, but the high court decided not to take up any of the cases.  After that, a Federal appeals court upheld the constitutionality of state amendments in its circuit, which could open the door to the Supreme Court looking at the issue in 2015.

There was quite a variety of stories and issues potentially impacting the Christian community in 2014.  It is important that we stay informed about these and other issues and seek to respond Biblically.

 

 

 

Last modified on Friday, 13 February 2015 18:07
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