News Round-Up: July 1
Jesus teaches forgiveness to the tragic face of Vietnam War
The searing black-and-white photograph of a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam War, became a defining symbol of that controversial conflict. Although that image of nine-year-old Kim Phuc is a reminder of the worst humans can do to each other, the person at the centre of that famous photo has learned to forgive.
Kim Phuc is 52 and has become a Christian. She works as an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, campaigning globally for peace. “When I look at the image I’m just amazed that I’m still alive,” Phuc said recently. As reported by The Gospel Herald Society, Phuc explained that the atrocities she experienced, combined with her Christian faith, allowed her to “do my best to help victims of war around the world… I am grateful for what happened to me because it made my faith strong and it made my body strong.”
Landmark marriage ruling in USA
Last Friday’s decision by the US Supreme Court, to legalise same-sex marriage across the entire nation, caused a digital tsunami of responses. Many major American Christian online outlets have provided summaries and suggestions of how Christians may proceed in such a changed landscape of official relationships.
Disgraced mega-pastor Driscoll addresses Hillsong conference
On Tuesday, a 30-minute pre-recorded interview with the former leader of Mars Hill churches was projected at the annual Hillsong Conference in Sydney. Hillsong founder Brian Houston conducted the interview with Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace, about the life of Mars Hill and the spectacular collapse last year of Driscoll’s ministry (amid accusations of bullying and domineering leadership).
Driscoll had been slated to speak at Hillsong’s conference but his slot was revoked, after an online petition and media reports attacked the decision to provide such a prominent platform to the disgraced pastor.
Followed by a standing ovation at the conference, the interview included candid admissions such as Driscoll realising he should have operated more on God’s schedule: “I made a lot of mistakes… and one of them was going too fast. There’s the Lord’s calling, but also the Lord’s timing.”
Christians in India attacked at prayer meeting
Violence against religious minorities continues in India, after a Christian pastor and several members of his Congregation were beaten this week by suspected Hindu nationalists.
According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India, the attack on a prayer meeting in Kerala (southwest India) was not a “major” incident. However, as the EFI told Christian Today news site, “the fact that something like this will keep on happening is a sign of ongoing violence against minorities”.
Between May 2014 and March this year, the EFI claims there have been 600 attacks upon Christians and Muslims in India. The majority of these alarming incidents involved Hindu nationalists targetting Muslims.
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