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?


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.


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?

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Pastor fields questions on Jewish issues, heaven

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Why don’t people like the Jews?


Reform Jews approve transgender resolution

ORLANDO, Fla. — The largest movement of Judaism in the U.S. passed the most far-reaching resolution in support of transgender rights of any major religious organization, saying Thursday it’s a continuation of a tradition of inclusion in the Reform Jewish movement.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Be skeptical of promises of earthly riches

My family and I have broken free from the prosperity gospel church. I’m curious about (A) why so many people don’t see prosperity gospel for what it is, a money-making business? (B) how society or media is not making a bigger deal on prosperity gospel pastors misusing the Word of God to make money off of people that are in a vulnerable state of mind during service?

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Questions on Jesus’ death, salvation crop up

Two similar questions for the Thoughful Pastor today are from theologically deep thinkers.

Clerk: I am ‘soldier for Christ’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky clerk who found herself at the center of a heated national debate when she refused to license same-sex marriages described herself in an email as a “soldier for Christ.”

Religion events

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

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Clergy subjected to life’s challenges, too

We should have a “Treat the Pastor Like a Human Being Month.” What are your thoughts?

Film recounts team’s faith

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A new independent film recounts the faith and unity of a Birmingham high school football team in the years after integration and the movie’s co-director said he hopes its message resonates with current students and helps them realize the power of perseverance.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Prayer helps bring holy change to world

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: We have several examples of the power of prayer and the direct influence it can have on our lives and the lives of those around us.

Vatican defends synod reports

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican press office defended its reporting of a big meeting on family issues Thursday after a dispute arose over what Pope Francis told bishops behind closed doors about his hopes for a free and open debate.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: In an imperfect world, God weeps with us

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I am interested in your thoughts, or your take on God’s thoughts, about abortion. Many years ago I made the miserable and unhappy choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and while my reasons were very good, I have never been able to make peace with that decision.

Liberty Christian School

Briefly in religion

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Read Bible with respect, hope and love

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Because one objects to certain aspects of Scripture, how does or can one believe the whole word of God?


Pope souvenirs abound

NEW YORK — “WE SELL POPE DOLLS,” blared a sign held up by a 7-Eleven worker on 42nd Street in Manhattan, directing customers to a store down the block. There, on an outdoor stand, were six plushy, squeezable popes, nestled rather incongruously among individually wrapped croissants and chocolate chip muffins.

Religion events

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

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Power of prayer depends on perspective

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Do you believe in prayer? Does prayer work? If I pray for a friend with a disease and she dies anyway, did I just not pray hard enough?


Christian conservatives rally for religious awakening

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Hundreds of people cheered the husband of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during a rally of Christian conservatives Thursday outside the Tennessee Capitol.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: People perceive God in a variety of ways

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I consider myself a Christian and I am totally confused with some who seem to feel God commanded them to take on the world if the world does not see Christian values the way they do. Did God order us to work actively to attack others with slightly different ideas and tolerance levels than our own?

AP file photo

Pictures, tweets, video sure to capture pope’s U.S. visit

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis’ personality is more joyful than grumpy cat, his vestments undeniably white and gold — not blue or black — and you’ll never hear him say OMG or ermahgerd.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Screaming kids in church prompt questions

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: “What should my attitude be when there are babies and children screaming at the top of their lungs in church and the parents won’t take them out? How does a thoughtful pastor handle such a situation?”

AP file photo

Pope’s visit to U.S. presents major security challenges

NEW YORK — Those planning security for the New York City leg of the upcoming United States visit of Pope Francis have circled Sept. 25 on their calendars as the perfect storm.

Religion calendar

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

AP file photo

Minority of Catholics know pope’s climate views

NEW YORK — A new survey has found fewer than half of U.S. Roman Catholics said they knew of Pope Francis’ bombshell encyclical on curbing climate change — and only a fraction of those heard about it from the pulpit — in the month after he released the document with an unprecedented call for the church to take up his message.

Panel investigates Wyoming magistrate over gay marriages

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A state judicial panel is investigating a western Wyoming local magistrate who was quoted in a local newspaper saying she would not perform same-sex marriages.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Thomas to field readers’ questions on religion

In the last year, I’ve attended worship services in more than 50 places.

‘Popo’ Gonzalez to retire after 20 years as deacon

Emilio “Popo” Gonzalez, 79, is retiring from his position as deacon at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and will be honored during a bilingual Mass and public reception Sunday.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Seventh-day Adventist Church full of delight

Our visit begins with the warm greeting of “Welcome, sister!” and progresses to many wishing us a “Happy Sabbath.” My experience at last Saturday’s worship service at the Denton First Seventh-day Adventist Church spills over with delightful surprises.


Activists seeking more transparency in program

BOSTON — Muslim groups and civil rights activists across the nation on Thursday called for greater transparency in a program by President Barack Obama’s administration that’s aimed at countering homegrown terrorism.


Outdoor church expansion irks some Ponder residents

PONDER — Church expansions seldom raise concerns, but the one going up in Ponder isn’t your average sanctuary.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship offers openness

It’s like putting your arms around a square of air and saying, “Define it.” You know something is there, but it has no boundaries, no edges, no way to separate itself from the space around it.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Church humbly brings heaven to earth

The liturgy is confusing, unfamiliar, mostly chanted or sung without recognizable tunes and half in a foreign language. The overly incensed air produces an immediate headache.


Colorado nuns appeal birth control ruling to top court

DENVER — A group of Colorado nuns said Thursday they will go to the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a ruling that allows their employees to receive birth control from a third party under the Affordable Care Act, fueling a combustible argument about contraception and religion ahead of next year’s presidential election.


Gospel bearer

Linda Choi is a messenger. But she’s not the kind who wears flowing priestly robes or white collars lined in black. She resembles a military officer. She wears a black military-style skirt and jacket with red emblems symbolizing her rank as a Salvation Army officer on the collar.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Unity Spiritual Center offers music, prayer

On this past hot Sunday morning in July, I took in the delightful odor of a freshly mown grass parking lot at the Unity Spiritual Center of Denton in Krugerville. The peacefulness of the quiet neighborhood enfolds me as I walk to the building.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: First Christian Church service welcoming

“It was like going to my grandmother’s house in all the best ways.” Thus my companion described the gentle and welcoming 10:50 a.m. service this past Sunday at First Christian Church of Denton. We sensed hospitality, joy at our presence and a relaxed family atmosphere well-connected to the past.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: American democracy takes next correct step

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads this way: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


Sex offenders sue, cite religious objections law

INDIANAPOLIS — A lawsuit filed on behalf of two registered sex offenders cites Indiana’s new religious objections law in arguing they’ve been wrongly prohibited from worshipping at churches that have schools on the same property.

Courtesy photo

Youngster is a sure shot

Riley Milam began participating in archery in the third grade at Argyle Hilltop Elementary. This year, as a fifth-grader at Argyle Intermediate School, she competed in two different archery associations.Riley...

The Rev. Christy Thomas: St. James AME Church keeps doors open

“The doors of the church are still open.”

Fort Worth diocese schools get new associate superintendent

Bishop Michael F. Olson appointed Douglas Jones as the new associate superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

Doors still open

The message members of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church of Denton couldn’t have been clearer. “Oh Lord, the doors of the church are still open.”

The Rev. Christy Thomas: St. Andrew service nourishes the soul

On this past steamy Sunday morning, I worshipped at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in downtown Denton.

AP file photo

Pope Francis challenges world to clean up its act

VATICAN CITY — With a poet’s lyricism, a former chemist’s precision and a pontiff’s moral thunder, Pope Francis recast humanity’s relationship with nature in stark ethical terms, hoping to spur a warming, filthy world to clean up its act “before it’s too late.”