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February 18th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Facing death, a top pastor rethinks what it means to be Christian

Editor's Note: The short film accompanying this story, called "My Garden," comes from EdsStory.com. CNN.com is premiering the latest installment in the "Ed's Story" series.

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Ed Dobson is not afraid of dying. It’s the getting there that really scares him.

A former pastor, onetime Christian Right operative and an icon among religious leaders, Dobson has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. When he was diagnosed, doctors gave him 3 to 5 years to live.

That was 11 years ago.

“I am a tad happy to be talking to you right now,” joked Dobson, whose voice has deteriorated since his preaching days, in a phone interview. Speaking with him feels like being exposed to a brief moment of clarity. He speaks slowly, but with an understated confidence and authority.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Death • Faith Now • United States

February 18th, 2012
05:38 PM ET

My Take: Houston funeral brings world inside black church

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Whitney Houston gave a lot of gifts to the world. She gave us the best rendition ever of "The Star-Spangled Banner." She gave us “I Will Always Love You.”

But Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where as a girl she sang in the choir, she gave us a church service — a chance for people of all races to see what church looks like inside the community that gave Houston (and us) her voice.

“There are more stars here than the Grammys,” said Houston’s music director, Rickey Minor, and the service did feature pop star Stevie Wonder and music mogul Clive Davis, among others. But so much of popular music started in the black church, and today the black church talked back.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

In other words, this was an unapologetically Christian service, replete with references to salvation and “amazing grace,” where even the pop stars were transformed into gospel singers. People crossed themselves. They raised their hands to heaven. And the congregation kept shouting back: “Yes!” and “That’s it!” and “Praise the Lord!”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Death • Entertainment • Faith • Houses of worship • Inspiration • My Take • Uncategorized

Pope appoints 22 new cardinals
Pope Benedict XVI arrives for the Consistory where he will appoint 22 new cardinals on February 18, 2012.
February 18th, 2012
10:51 AM ET

Pope appoints 22 new cardinals

By the CNN Wire Staff

Rome (CNN) - Pope Benedict appointed 22 new cardinals at the Vatican on Saturday, with his choices for the lofty role likely to influence who will be appointed as the next pontiff.

The Vatican named the new cardinals last month, but they were officially inducted by the pontiff in a special ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica.

Among those to be elevated to the College of Cardinals are New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, cementing his standing as the top Catholic in the United States, and Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore.

Others include Archbishop Thomas Collins, from Toronto, as well as the Bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong Hon, and Major Archbishop George Alencherry from India

Senior clerics from Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania and Brazil are also represented, as well as several from Italy.

The College of Cardinals was established in 1150. Its main role is to advise the current Pope and pick his successor.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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