STEP UP Devotions for January 26-February 2

Digest and Links to Religious Subjects in the News for This Week

What should be the focus of the first 100 days of the Obama administration?


On the death of John Updike and his relevance as a writer on theological themes: and


According to a new Pew research report, African Americans surpass the rest of Americans in religiosity.


The Poe has reaffirmed his solidarity with Jews, specifically regarding the Holocaust.


Among the many items in the proposed economic stimulus bill, HR 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is a provision for funding of $100 million for grants to faith-based organization through the Compassion Capital Fund :


President Obama reaches out to Muslims:


President Obama signed an executive order called the "Mexico City policy," which reverses a ban on funding international groups that provide abortions.


Family Research Council president Tony Perkins says while religious conservatives are pleased by President Barack Obama's faith-based rhetoric and outreach, they have concerns about how his administration will deal with some of their core issues.


President Obama plans to tap Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal pastor and director of religious outreach for the campaign, to direct the office of faith-based initiatives, according to The New York Times. and and


Two notable critics have changed their minds on the controversial "local churches" movement that follow the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee.


Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter offered a blessing at the private prayer service for "Barack Hussein Obama" the morning of his inauguration, asking that those surrounding the President would place their hands on him. Read an interview with the pastor.


An interview with Rick and Kay Warren at Saddleback:


An interview with Shane Claiborne of "The Simple Way." In the young Evangelical world, Shane Claiborne is a rock star. He's infusing a new generation of Christians with hope and a sense of social service. It's this enthusiasm and his way of living in a monastic community that compelled us to ask for his perspective on the current economic crisis. He looks to the words of Jesus, describing them as fresh and an invitation, an opportunity, to hear them anew during these turbulent times.


Is Gaza a just war? A commentary by Rabbi Jack Moline.


Juvenile life without parole: Is it moral? There are over juveniles 2500 in the U.S. who have been so sentenced. and and and


Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, says many US Muslims are optimistic that President Barack Obama's administration will lead to a new climate of religious openness.


The Post-Neuhaus Future of Evangelicals and Catholics Together - an interview with Charles Colson on the life of Richard John Neuhaus:


The legacy of Father Damien of the Lepers:


Disney left the the wardrobe and now Fox has picked up the Narnia series. and


The Russian Orthodox Church is set to choose a new Patriarch. and


Some of the high-flying icons of the prosperity gospel—the belief that God rewards signs of faith with wealth, health, and happiness—have run into financial turbulence.


According to Ryan Bolger, "Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities." Christianity Today has identified "Five Streams of the Emerging Church."


Christianity Today interviews President Barack Obama:

This week, Obama also spoke to Beliefnet and CBN and preached at Atlanta's Ebenezer Church.