home
RSS
Joel Osteen takes on his critics
Is Joel Osteen underestimated? One religious scholar says yes.
October 7th, 2011
12:26 PM ET

Joel Osteen takes on his critics

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - He peddles “gospel lite," a watered-down Christianity that mixes prosperity with piety.

That's how critics have described Joel Osteen's message. The televangelist may be the pastor of the largest church in America, but he still doesn't get respect in many parts of the religious community.

Osteen, a college dropout who never attended seminary, has built a huge international audience with inspirational messages that blend positive thinking and personal transformation. But is he preaching "gospel lite" messages devoid of any mention of sin and hard choices?

Osteen rejects that charge with the same honey-toned voice and unflappability he displays in the pulpit at Lakewood Church in Houston. There's no hint of defensiveness.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Faith • Pastors

Kelly Preston: Scientology got me through my son's death
Kelly Preston has found a formula for staying grounded: Scientology.
August 18th, 2011
02:05 PM ET

Kelly Preston: Scientology got me through my son's death

By Stephen M. Silverman, PEOPLE.com

(PEOPLE.com) - While her husband, accomplished pilot John Travolta, may fly through the air with the greatest of ease, Kelly Preston apparently has found a formula for staying grounded.

Asked how she coped with the death of 16-year-old son Jett from a fatal seizure in 2009, Preston, 48, tells Health magazine for its September issue: "To be honest, [it was] the Scientology Center. I don't know if I would have made it through without it."

She adds about life's lessons she's learned, "Don't sweat the small things. Love your kids like it could be the last moment."

Mother to daughter Ella Bleu, 11, and son Benjamin, born last November, Preston says: "I've always wanted to be a mother, ever since I was 11."

Read the full story here.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Celebrity • Scientology

Bernice King, MLK's daughter, leaves Eddie Long's church
The Rev. Bernice King shares the pulpit with Bishop Eddie Long at New Birth Missionary Church in this file photo.
May 31st, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Bernice King, MLK's daughter, leaves Eddie Long's church

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The Rev. Bernice King, daughter of the legendary civil rights leader, is leaving an Atlanta megachurch that’s been rocked by a sex scandal involving its preacher.

King’s announcement came a week after Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church, settled out of court with four young men who filed lawsuits against him last year claiming he coerced them into sexual relationships.

King said her announcement had nothing to do with Long’s legal battles. She said Tuesday she was “tremendously blessed” by Long’s ministry but that now she’s going start her own.

“I’m going to launch a ministry. I’m not calling it a church right now,” King said during an interview with Atlanta radio station Praise 102.5. “What God is showing me doesn’t look like what people are accustomed to.”

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Pastors

Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors
Parishioners often build a firewall around a pastor hit by scandal, a Christian author says. But when does loyalty turn unhealthy?
May 27th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The streets that were once choked with traffic are now bare. The church's sprawling parking lot is half full. Inside the stylish sanctuary, ushers sway to choir music in front of empty seats.

On a typical Sunday morning, New Birth Missionary Church in suburban Atlanta would be hopping. But on a recent Sunday, the sprawling church complex looked half-deserted and the mood seemed flat.

Six months after a sex scandal involving New Birth's senior pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, became public, the megachurch no longer packs them in. Yet there are loyalists, like C.D. Dixon, who have not joined the exodus.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Pastors

Bishop Eddie Long settles with accusers
Bishop Eddie Long is the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Georgia.
May 26th, 2011
05:37 PM ET

Bishop Eddie Long settles with accusers

By John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta-based megachurch leader, has reached an out-of-court settlement with four young men who accused him of sexual coercion, representatives for both sides said Thursday.

B.J. Bernstein, the attorney representing the men, said in a statement that the lawsuits against Long and his church have “been resolved.”

Bernstein's two-paragraph statement said that neither she nor the accusers would talk about the lawsuits “now or in the future.”

Art Franklin, a Long spokesman, said Thursday that the pastor settled because it “is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel.”

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Pastors

Did you encounter Pope John Paul II?
A placard showing the late Pope John Paul II holding a baby is displayed on a lamp post in Rome for the beatification.
April 29th, 2011
03:43 PM ET

Did you encounter Pope John Paul II?

Pope John Paul II is said to have been seen in person by more people than any other figure on Earth. He was pope from his election in 1978 to his death in 2005 and traveled to all corners of the globe to meet people where they lived.

John Paul II will be beatified in Rome on Sunday, the last step before sainthood.

Did you ever see John Paul II in Rome or did he come to your hometown? What was it like to meet the pope? Share your comments with us below.

And you can also share photos and videos through CNN's iReport.

Your stories and images could be included in the beatification coverage on CNN’s Belief Blog.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Europe • Italy • Pope John Paul II

My Take: A concerned evangelical's open letter to Charlie Sheen
March 25th, 2011
09:23 AM ET

My Take: A concerned evangelical's open letter to Charlie Sheen

Editor's Note: Margaret Feinberg is an international speaker and author of "Scouting the Divine" and "The Organic God." Follow her on Twitter.

By Margaret Feinberg, Special to CNN

Dear Charlie,

As one of your 3 million Twitter followers, I’ve given you the ability to speak into my life in 140 characters or less, so I figure the least I can do is return the favor (with a few extra characters). You’ve been on quite a ride: setting a new Twitterlicious record for bagging the most followers in 24 hours, reducing "Two and a Half Men" to reruns on Monday nights, and displaying behavior that defies any sense of rational behavior (even among warlocks).

“Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour selling out in just 18 minutes, Brooke Mueller dropping the restraining order, and a big wet kiss from Jimmy Kimmel may make you feel like a #winner, but as a well-meaning fan, I’m asking you to put away the Tiger Blood T-shirts and pull back from the Hollywood media blitz long enough to consider the following:

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Celebrity • Christianity • Opinion

Exploring Elizabeth Taylor's Jewish conversion
Elizabeth Taylor in Beverly Hills, California, in 2007.
March 24th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Exploring Elizabeth Taylor's Jewish conversion

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

In early April 1959, Time magazine reported that “the most famous and perhaps the most beautiful baby born last week was a Jewish girl named Elisheba Rachel Taylor.”

Explaining that a convert to Judaism is considered "a newborn child," the article recounted the conversion of 27-year-old actress Elizabeth Taylor to the faith. Her newly acquired Hebrew name, used in ceremonies accompanying life cycle events, combined the Hebrew version of Elizabeth with her biblical heroine, Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.

Raised a Christian Scientist, Taylor’s decision wasn’t sudden. She first thought about converting when she married movie producer Mike Todd, her third husband, who’d been born Avrom Goldbogen and was the grandson of a Polish rabbi, Time reported.

But the theory that Todd - or that her soon-to-be next Jewish husband Eddie Fisher - provided the impetus for her conversion was one she disputed. FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Celebrity • Culture & Science • Judaism • Movies • Uncategorized

February 28th, 2011
08:27 AM ET

Fate vs. free will in 'The Adjustment Bureau'

The new movie "The Adjustment Bureau" with Matt Damon aks whether our lives are pre-determined or if we have free will.

CNN's Fredricka Whitfield speaks with the film's screenwriter and a pastor in this week's installment of Faces of Faith.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Celebrity • Christianity • Movies • TV-CNN Newsroom • United States

Spirituality at the Oscars: What the nominations mean
"Toy Story 3" captured the hearts of movie goers and is nominated for a best film Academy Award.
February 24th, 2011
09:40 AM ET

Spirituality at the Oscars: What the nominations mean

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

None of the movies nominated for a best film Academy Award this year have been labeled “religious,” but many have deeply spiritual overtones.

Even “Toy Story 3?” Yes, even that wildly popular animated film manages to sneak in a message about faith and friendship.

“It’s kind of an unusual year - almost  all of the top films have relatively little explicit religious dimensions to them,” said Brent Plate, a writer who teaches religious studies at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. “But these films are asking the same questions that religions ask: Where did we come from, how did we get here, where are we going and who are we?”

The film industry is among the contemporary “secular” institutions that have taken on a religious function, says Christopher Deacy in his book “Faith in Film.” As a result, he argues, “movies do raise vital questions about the spiritual landscape and normative values of society today.”

This season’s crop of Oscar nominees, which will vie  for top honors on Sunday, could very well be used to bolster that theory. They explore themes that many contain elements of spirituality.

FULL POST

- Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

Filed under: Celebrity • Culture & Science • Movies

« newer posts    older posts »
Advertisement
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.

Advertisement
Advertisement