Top Religious News Stories in 2017


Top 20 Religious News Stories in 2017

1. Theodicy writ large in U.S. gun violence & hurricanes

2. 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses”

3. Sutherland Springs, Texas, First Baptist Church massacre

4. 270,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar for Bangladesh

5. Egyptian bombings: churches-44+ dead; mosque-305 dead

6. William Barber launches new “Poor People’s Campaign”

7. “The Boston Declaration” at fall mtg. of the AAR/SBL

8. Silence of Pres. Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Bd re: President’s equivocations about white supremacy, white nationalism, neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville

9. Evangelicals’ Nashville Statement anti-same-sex marriage

10. Rev. Anne Dyer elected first woman bishop of Episcopal Church of Scotland

11. Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray -first woman pres. of UU’s

12. Conservative bishops accuse Pope of heresy

13. Eugene Peterson’s support & retraction of support for same sex marriage

14. Community of Christ sells handwritten printer’s copy of the Book of Mormon to LDS church for $35 million

15. Supreme Court sides with Columbia’s Trinity Lutheran

16. Pope suggests new translation of Lord’s Prayer

17. Joel Osteen & Lakewood Church’s belated response to Harvey victims, but also open. for Jewish High Holy Days

18. Completion of Basilica of Nat. Shrine of Immac. Concep.

19. Conservative synagogues can welcome non-Jews

20. Saudi women allowed to drive;  Imam Adeel Zeb chosen as head of Nat. Ass. Of College & University Chaplains; Pres. Trump’s embattled travel ban re Muslim immigrants; Trump deems Jerusalem as capitol & new site for US Embassy
YJCMTSU (“You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up”): Pat Robertson claims Las Vegas massacre result of “profound disrespect of our president all across [U.S.];” uncovered documents reveal Anthony Levandowski, ex-Google engineer, established (2015) new religion, “Way of the Future,”, with ambition to develop an AI deity; evangel. support of Roy Moore’s candidacy for US Senate; Robert Jeffress, 1st Baptist (Dallas) pastor, declares satanic origins for Catholic Church

Notable Deaths– Sarah Frances Carr, one of the last members of the Shakers; Bishop Eddie Long (pastor New Birth MBC); Michael Novak (Catholic theologian); Richard Reinhold Niebuhr (theologian); Doug Coe (head of Nat. Prayer Breakfast, Intl. Fellowship [“the Fellowship,” “The Family”]); Robert Parham (founder of Bapt. Ctr. for Ethics); cult leader Tony Alamo; Chuck Berry; Brian Doyle; Robert D. Hales (Top  Mormon leader); Barbara Blaine (SNAP founder); Dennis Banks (AIM founder); disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law; Erica Garner
Top GKC Religious News Stories – 2017

(1) Church of the Resurrection UMC opens $75 million Leawood sanctuary

(2) Janet Cardiff: 40–Part Motet exhibit at Nelson-Atkins

(3) KC-St. Joseph Roman Catholic Diocese sells offices to McCownGordon

(4) Community of Christ sells handwritten printer’s copy of the Book of Mormon to LDS church for $35 million

(5) KCPT Flatland’s coverage of religious issues in KC

(6)    KC interfaith Vigil for Immigrants and Refugees @ Overland Park Christian Ch.

(7) Archbishop Naumann elected head of U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee

(8) Resurrection Downtown breaks ground (1st church to do so in downtown KCMO in 80 years)

(9) KCK Cath. archdiocese severs from Girl Scouts & urges end to cookie sales

(10) Conception Abbey settles sex abuse case of former monk for $415,000

Notable deaths– Laura Hockaday


Lists compiled for airing on “Religion on the Line”, KCMO-710AM/203.7 FM

December   2017

© 2017, Bob Hill, Michael Zedek, & Bill Scholl


Recently, I encountered an epiphany along Brush Creek. The epiphany came in the form of the creek’s frozen surface, a glistening glaze of reflections, frosts, and contorted shapes that had been trapped, not unlike mosquitoes in amber, just below the surface. There were beer bottles, wine bottles, a glove, someone’s phone bill (intentionally or unintentionally lost?), magazines, shoes, a plastic duck, a program from a local theater, a gray glove, a red ball, sticks of all descriptions and sizes, and numerous other items of detritus that would nearly blind you if your tried to see, really see, them all.
But most revealing of all were the cracks in the frozen surface. Cracks that were pencil-thin, cracks that were hairline-thin, cracks that ran jagged courses, and cracks that ran straight as a plumb line. Cracks that surely measured only centimeters long, and cracks that spanned the width of the entire creek. Millions upon millions of cracks, or more, scurrying every which way.
I had never really paid much attention to Brush Creek in winter, and maybe because it was a fresh encounter for me, or maybe because of the sheer luminosity of the experience, there was something clearly to be learned from this epiphany.
The epiphany was quite straightforward and simple: winter does not last forever, and Brush Creek has cracks to prove it. Even “in the midst of winter,” as Camus puts it more poetically, I discovered there was within the scheme of things “an invincible summer.”
Even in the midst of the cold, there are signs of the cold’s abating. Even in the midst of frozen winter, there were signs of the coming thaw. Even in the midst of circumstance where little life is revealed and time seems to be stuck at a standstill, life is driving toward warmth and growth and change. Even in the midst of that which is as still as stone and colder than anything imaginable, there is the promise of a melting of that which is frozen solid. Even in the midst of stuck-ness, there is the prospect of change. Even in the midst of seeming suspended animation, there is a forecast of forthcoming movement. Even in the midst of that which is fixated, there are signs that flux and flow will eventually have their day.
All of which gives me hope, especially during any new snowfalls and chilly temperatures. Despite the present frozen surfaces of what we encounter — literally and metaphorically — there are always good hopes provided by the cracks.
Let me know where the tundra is melting a bit for you, where the cracks are appearing for you, and let us share in some hope.
– Bob Hill