Survey: More Americans plan to pray than party for New Year's
December 31st, 2010
04:32 PM ET

Survey: More Americans plan to pray than party for New Year's

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

More Americans plan to pray than party Friday as they mark New Year's Eve, according to a recent survey.

Washington Post On Faith flags a Rasmussen Reports survey released Tuesday that found 42% of Americans will ring in 2011 with a drink, while just 21% plan to attend a New Year's Eve party.

But most Americans - 66% - said they will say a prayer on New Year's.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Polls • Prayer

December 31st, 2010
03:28 PM ET

Historic Georgia church fights foreclosure

By Matt Pearl, WXIA

The oldest African-American church in DeKalb County no longer has a church.

Flat Rock Community Church originated 150 years ago. Now, one of its fifth-generation members says, "we're in limbo."

In November, the church broke away from the United Methodist denomination over a dispute over their property. In December, dealing with a dwindling membership, the church could no longer afford its $6500 mortgage.

Read the full story on the historic church's foreclosure fight on WXIA's site.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Economy • Georgia • United States

December 30th, 2010
07:25 PM ET

New app takes users to Western Wall

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

The holiest site in Judaism is now open to virtual travelers, with the debut of an app allowing iPhone and iPad users to see Jerusalem's Western Wall 24/6 - every day but the Jewish Sabbath.

"We had to get with the times," said Joseph Loshinsky, president of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which oversaw the app's creation and which administers the Western Wall.

Loshinsky, who owns an iPhone and iPad, says he thought of the app as a way to help solve the problem of "thousands of years of people dreaming of Jerusalem but not being able to get there."


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Israel • Middle East

December 30th, 2010
06:47 PM ET

2010: The year in holy sightings

Cast your ballot for your favorite sighting in comments.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Jesus

December 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

My Take: When the fat girl got mad at God

Editor's Note: Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and author of Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food. Lysa blogs daily at www.lysaterkeurst.com. 

By Lysa TerKeurst, Special to CNN

Three years ago I was stuck in a rut of wishful thinking and excuses with my weight loss. At the beginning of each day I would say I wanted things to be different. I would vow in my heart to make things different. I would even make a plan to stop the snacks, increase the veggies, and say no to the desserts.

But then life would happen. And the excuses were so very plentiful. So, my resolve would melt away like butter on a hot yeast roll.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Food • God • Opinion

December 29th, 2010
02:36 PM ET

Letter from rabbis' wives urge Israeli girls to avoid dating Arabs

Israeli right-wing activists protest in Jerusalem on 23 December in support of a letter forbidding Jews from selling or renting property to non-Jews.

From Shira Medding, CNN

A letter from about 30 prominent rabbis' wives was causing a stir in Israel Wednesday because it urges Israeli girls not to date Arabs.

The open letter comes three weeks after the uproar caused by another letter, which was written by 50 state-appointed rabbis and told Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews.

The latest missive, which was published by some websites and news outlets, says Arab men act polite around Jewish girls and "act as if they really care about you," but it says that's a ruse. The men, it says, even change their Arab names to Hebrew forms like Yossi and Ami in order to get close to the girls.

Read the full story about the letter urging Israeli girls to avoid dating Arabs

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam • Israel • Judaism • Middle East

December 29th, 2010
05:00 AM ET

My Take: Hating the war, loving my husband

Editor's note: Leeana Tankersley is the author of "Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places," a spiritual memoir of the year she lived in the Middle East with her Navy SEAL husband. Follow Tankersley at www.gypsyink.com.

By Leeana Tankersley, Special to CNN

Unknowingly, I took a bullet to the gut when I married Steve, a shot right through me that has left me tender and - at times - doubled over.

No one ever told me that marrying a Navy SEAL would leave me so vulnerable. At first, the job seemed sexy and noble, being the wife of a clean-cut pirate with health insurance and a retirement. Who could resist his green eyes in that camouflage uniform?

And then we went to war.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Afghanistan • Belief • Christianity • Iraq • United States • Violence

Harry Potter was a good Christian?
December 28th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Harry Potter was a good Christian?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

In a new book out this month, author Danielle Tumminio asserts Harry Potter is good Christian. Tumminio argues Potter lives a life that lines up with Christian values.

“I see him best as a seeker in a world where Christianity is not the vocabulary. I see him best as a seeker trying to live a life of faith in the same way a Christian seeker tries to live a life grace,” Tumminio told CNN.

Tumminio said she wrote God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom, to explore the contention by conservative Christians that Harry Potter is akin to heresy.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Movies

December 27th, 2010
02:49 PM ET

Buried alive for six days, earthquake survivors reunite for first time

Editor's Note: This story comes to us from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  CNN's Moni Basu and Jim Spellman bring us this touching story of faith and survival.  CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi was part of the CNN team that helped transport Falone Maxi, the woman in this story, after she was pulled from the rubble and an emergency worker flagged down his team's pick up truck six days after the earthquake.

The arduous trip begins from a city on fire.

Falone Maxi steps into the white Nissan Patrol, a small back nylon bag and an Avis car rental map of Haiti in hand. She is determined to continue her journey with this important trip north, even amid the post-election turmoil in her homeland.

Almost a year after a devastating earthquake, angry Haitians are hurling tragedy's rubble into the streets, setting tires, buildings and campaign signs ablaze.

The political unrest delayed Maxi's trip by a day. But on this gloomy morning in December, the air thick with impending rain, she was up before daybreak to call the driver.

"Are we going today? What time will you pick me up?"

She awoke with the kind of nervous excitement that the wife of a soldier returning from war might feel. She has waited 11 long months to see Mica Joseph, the woman who now means more to her than her own sister.

She has not seen Joseph since that wretched January day when the earth under Haiti heaved violently and the lives of the two women, like those of millions of others, changed.

Read the full story here of how one woman's faith helped her survive being buried alive in Haiti.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

Pope's Christmas message urges peace in troubled lands
December 26th, 2010
10:39 AM ET

Pope's Christmas message urges peace in troubled lands

In his traditional Christmas message delivered Saturday to crowds braving winter's chill, Pope Benedict XVI urged peace in the Middle East and asked for God's comfort upon beleaguered Christian communities in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

The annual "To the City and the World address, known in Latin as "Urbi et Orbi," mentioned other global hot spots.

The pope wished for security in places overcome by conflict like Somalia, Sudan's Darfur region, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula and those nations like Haiti that are grappling with the consequences of disease and natural disaster.

"May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence," Benedict said in the speech delivered in 64 languages, from English and Latin to Maori and Maltese.

Read the full story of the Pope's Christmas message here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Mass • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.