This Easter weekend edition of "The 3" illuminates some trying times for Pope Benedict XVI in light of past controversies within the Catholic Church, recess appointments by the President of individuals who have brought concern among pro-life and pro-family leaders, and the celebration of Easter in a variety of ways by churches.
3 - Pope criticized by some, defended by noted Catholic leaders
Because of charges about his handing of child abuse allegations in the 1990's prior to his becoming pope, Pope Benedict XVI has received some strong criticism from some circles within the church, and in response, a number of church leaders are coming to the Pope's defense. In his traditional public appearances at the Vatican to commemorate Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the pontiff did not address the renewed allegations directly, but, according to The Christian Post, stressed how Jesus did not retaliate when he was reviled.
The Catholic Church has taken great steps to address the instances of sexual indiscretions within its ranks, and as recently as 2 weeks ago, the Pope was apologetic for the way the Church had handled scandals in its past. It is hoped that the moves taken to put sinful instances behind it would result in the church, Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise, being a safe place for its young people.
2 - Obama make recess appointments raising concern from pro-life, pro-family community
For months, Christian leaders have been watching the possibility of appointees by President Obama being installed into influential positions. 2 of those who have been most watched, were placed into office in so-called "recess appointments". One of those, lesbian activist Chai Feldblum, despite bi-partisan opposition resulting in her confirmation being stalled out, now moves into a high-ranking position with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She is noted as an author of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which could have harmful implications on faith-based organizations and their hiring practices.
The other controversial appointee is Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker is a proponent of "card check", which would force workers to vote publicly on whether or not to join a union. It is thought that the abolition of a secret ballot in this process could result in retaliatory action against those who vote against unionizing. Some of the larger unions have embraced a liberal social agenda, and the authorization of "card check" could enlarge their influence across the workplaces of America. CitizenLink has been following these nominees closely, and this is its latest report.
1 - Christians celebrate Easter in a variety of ways
With a recent Barna survey showing that less than half of Americans associate Easter with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I believe there is a greater responsibility of churches to be intentional with respect to inviting people into their houses of worship on Easter Sunday and share a strong salvation message.
Churches across America have been looking for ways to reach out in creative ways. Saddleback Church, pastored by Rick Warren, is having special services Saturday night and Sunday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The nationally-known pastor, in fact, is inviting pastors from across Southern California to come and be prayed for during their Saturday night service. Easter services will be headlined musically by not only Christian worship leader Kari Jobe and Marcos Witt, but also a special appearance by 3 pop superstars whose father is a pastor - the Jonas Brothers.
Another large church, Mars Hill Church in Seattle, pastored by Mark Driscoll, debuted a new film called, "Good Friday", depicting the suffering of Christ. A number of communities hosted Good Friday dramatizations of the walk of Christ to Calvary. A Florida church offered to reach out to its community by paying the light bills for needy people.
Then, you have the "over the top" Easter lure - giving away prizes to people for coming to church on Easter Sunday...can you believe it? Read more from The Christian Post.
May God create in his people a sense of urgency for the hearts of people to come to know our Savior and give us opportunities during this Easter season to testify to the risen Lord!
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