The Rev. Christy Thomas: Repentance key to forgiveness of our sins

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The Bible tells us that as Christians, Jesus forgives us for our sins (our sins are erased), but then it also says we will answer for them when we get to heaven.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Mom’s apparent slight should be forgiven

Courtesy photo

Production makes a play for college students

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — The president of The Great Passion Play wants to attract more college students to the production near Eureka Springs.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Faith can change, develop as people age

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: In response to recent events in the world, particularly the bigotry and hate that have infected American politics, I have found myself quoting scripture and rereading the parables of Jesus in the context of problems we face as a nation.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Clergy should honor their ordination vows

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: If you believe it right and necessary for a woman to turn in her orders because she has violated part of her vows of ordination, how do you feel about a person active in the clergy engaging in a mutually consensual relationship, including sex?

DRC

Easter in the spotlight

Pastor Toby Slough preaches at Cross Timbers Community Church’s Easter services Sunday morning at the University of North Texas Coliseum.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Reflect on Good Friday to understand Easter

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have visited a number of churches in the last few years. Often I wonder during the services, “When are they going to pray?”

DRC

Doors to arena open for Easter

Loud cranes echoed as they maneuvered around the floor at the University of North Texas Coliseum this week setting up lighting, speaker rigs and staging equipment for what is slated to be one of the largest Easter gatherings in Denton.

AP

Pope Francis washes feet of Muslim migrants

CASTELNUOVO DI PORTO, Italy — Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu refugees Thursday and declared them all children of the same God, as he performed a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time of increased anti-Muslim sentiment following the Brussels attacks.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Aftermath of deals with devil on display

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I grew up in an “evangelical-fundamental” Christian home. My recollection is that this meant a high regard for Scripture and belief in the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

Director says movie was made on faith

Based on the novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice (who attended the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University), The Young Messiah is about Jesus as a 7-year-old boy. Director Cyrus Nowrasteh’s groundbreaking film is centered on the biblical story of God taking on flesh, portrayed as a child in the care of divinely chosen parents.

Child savior

Filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh’s pioneering The Young Messiah starts with a look into the life of 7-year-old Jesus and what his life as a child may have been like in biblical times. The screenplay, by the director and Betsy Giffen-Nowrasteh, is based on Anne Rice’s novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt but remains inspired by Scripture.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Help make way for others to enter heaven

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The Bible tells us that as Christians, Jesus forgives us for our sins (our sins are erased), but then it also says we will answer for them when we get to heaven.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Holy prayers differ due to text, tradition

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Why is the Catholic Lord’s Prayer different from the Protestant Lord’s Prayer?

AP

Cardinal admits failure to act on abuse allegations

ROME — A top Vatican official vowed Thursday to work to put an end to the rash of suicides in his Australian hometown over the church sex abuse scandal after meeting with victims and acknowledging that he failed to act on an abuse allegation decades ago.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Joining a church much like a marriage

Dear Readers: Last week, The Thoughtful Pastor promised to answer this question: “What are your recommendations on finding a good church?”

Mormon church relaxes stance on medical pot

SALT LAKE CITY — A plan to legalize the use of edible, vapor and topical marijuana products by those with chronic conditions cleared a key vote in Utah’s Senate on Thursday after the Mormon church relaxed some of its opposition to the measure.

Film review: An entertaining take on a converted Roman

Finally, a new perspective on the greatest story ever told.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Acts 29 churches beliefs questioned

Two questions today over similar issues:

AP

Georgia lawmakers pass ‘Pastor Protection Act’

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill explicitly stating that religious officials can refuse to perform gay marriages, their first significant action on a variety of proposals creating legal exemptions for same-sex marriage opponents.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Insight given into ‘graven images’ issue

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: In Exodus, God hands down the Ten Commandments. The second commandment forbids any graven images.

DRC

Church fights hunger abroad

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, the headquarters of local soup kitchen Our Daily Bread, set its sights abroad Sunday by assembling nutrition-heavy meals for starving families in northeastern Mexico.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Young people need calling that brings life

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Is there or should there be a push for an interfaith message transmitted via sophisticated communication media that counters the narrative Islamic State, or ISIS, is using to seduce young people?

DRC

Twice the fans for Year 2

The Denton Black Film Festival wrapped up Sunday with a passionate tribute to gospel music and attendance more than double last year’s.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Advice offered on Facebook interactions

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I’m torn between being reactive and being Christian and taking the “high road.”

DiCaprio greets pope in Italian

VATICAN CITY — Actor Leonardo DiCaprio brushed up his Italian to greet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, discussed their shared concern over the environment and gave the pontiff a check for his charitable works.

Rev. Christy Thomas: Trust in another vital to marrying again

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: How does one trust the institution of marriage after a failed one? The Thoughtful Pastor: Oh, this is a short question heavy with layers of hurt, disappointment, sadness and often despair. I am genuinely sorry. Every culture essentially reinvents marriage. It’s a fluid institution and ongoing experiment.

Religion Calendar

To tell us about your event or meeting, visit DentonRC.com and click on “Let Us Know” for our online forms; email to drc@dentonrc.com; fax to 940-566-6888; or mail to Religion Calendar, Denton Record-Chronicle, 314 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Show respect to help bridge differences

Dear Thoughful Pastor: How can conservative Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin support and show respect to their gay family members, co-workers and friends in ways that will not compromise their personal faith?

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Help, but don’t get in the way

Q: What motivates people to show up after disasters to do the rubber-necking thing? I call them “disaster tourists” because they cause huge congestion and keep the trained workers from doing what must be done.

AP

Organization aims to empower Muslim girls

When she was 16, Rana Abdelhamid was accosted on the streets of New York by a man who tried to pull off the head scarf she wears as a symbol of her commitment to her Muslim faith.

Rev. Christy Thomas: Tips offered to counter post-Christmas malaise

I wrote this last year, and thought it might be helpful advice again. The column runs on Christmas Day this year, so hold these thoughts until tomorrow — or later this afternoon.

Religion Calendar

Neighborhood carillon chimes songs of Advent

If you happen to be outside in Southridge or Forrestridge Estates on the hour, you’ll hear it. The soft chime of bells.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Insight shared on Jesus’ words on hypocrites

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have a question about praying in public and the Scripture verse from Matthew 6:5.

Religion Calendar

To tell us about your event or meeting, visit DentonRC.com and click on “Let Us Know” for our online forms; email to drc@dentonrc.com; fax to 940-566-6888; or mail to Religion Calendar, Denton Record-Chronicle, 314 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201.

AP

American Muslim women debate safety of hijab

NEW YORK — On the night of the California shootings, Asifa Quraishi-Landes sat on her couch, her face in her hands, and thought about what was ahead for her and other Muslim women who wear a scarf or veil in public.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Theology determines groups’ worldviews, actions

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have been wondering what it is about the Islamic religion that justifies the actions taken against innocent civilians? Certainly people have been making war on each other for as long as we have been called human.

neighborsgo

Group offers haven for abuse survivors

FLOWER MOUND — Flower Mound resident Michelle Robinson runs Shelter From the Storm, a support group for sexually abused and assaulted women. “We don’t claim this is a counseling group or to have all the answers,” she said. “But giving real-life examples of how we dealt with our abuse is beneficial to women.”

Muslim students to raise money for refugees

The Muslim Student Association is making efforts to raise funds for Syrian refugees who have become displaced during the domination of the Islamic State group.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Counter fears with God’s love

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: One thing is abundantly clear as I read my newsfeed on social media and the 24-hour news cycle: Much of the world is in fear.

AP

Southern churches losing grip

SYLACAUGA, Ala. — Prayers said and the closing hymn sung, tea-drinking churchgoers fill Marble City Grill for Sunday lunch. But hard on their heels comes the afternoon crowd: craft beer-drinking, NFL-watching football fans.

Kansas clergy group: Order violates religious liberty

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A coalition of Kansas clergy has submitted a petition to Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration asking the governor to rescind an executive order attempting to halt the relocation of Syrian refugees in the state.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Church can make difference by fighting for justice

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: How can “the church” as an institution address or correct social/economic injustices based on race, both within the church and in society? How can the church itself restructure to ensure “power sharing” among people of different ethnic background?

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Parents concerned about daughter’s drug problem

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Is it possible to force a person into rehab?

AP

Pope Africa plans unchanged, but bodyguard does extra check

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is going ahead with plans to visit the conflict-wracked Central African Republic, but his top bodyguard is doing an unusual, last-minute on-site survey to determine if security concerns require any changes to the itinerary, the Vatican said Thursday.

Men who tried to push Jewish man into divorce are sentenced

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Three New York men who tried to coerce a Jewish man into giving his wife a religious divorce were sentenced on Thursday.

AP

Pope unfazed by Vatican’s wild month

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is no stranger to drama, intrigue or scandal. But even by Vatican standards, this has been one hell of a month.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Christ can’t be taken out of Christmas

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: There are obviously bigger issues for Christians than whether or not Starbucks celebrates Christmas in any shape or form. Why are so many so upset; what is it that they are really asking for?