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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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 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: 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 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: 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.