See also Part 1 Year in Review
Editor’s Note: (Listed in order of date posted from January 2016 – December 2016)
2016 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 2 – TOP 10 OUT-OF-HOUSE NEWS STORIES
Christianity Today: More than half of evangelical pastors say Pope Francis is their brother in Christ.
More than one-third say they value the pope’s view on theology, and 3 in 10 say he has improved their view of the Catholic Church.
Those are among the findings of a new study of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors, released this week from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
Overall, the survey found that many Protestant pastors have taken a liking to Pope Francis.
Yoga Alliance: The newly released 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that the number of US yoga practitioners has increased to more than 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012, while annual practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories rose to $16 billion, up from $10 billion over the past four years.
Fortune Magazine: In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld, which breaks out the category from the alternative health care sector. But even that doesn’t count the revenue from the nearly 1000 mindfulness apps now available, according to Sensor Tower (top app Headspace recently raised $30 million and has been downloaded 6 million times), or the burgeoning category of wearable gadgets designed to help people Zen out (the popular Muse connected headband measures brain activity during meditation for $299).
The UK Guardian: . . . A group of Christians, Muslims and Jews is trying to crowdsource funds to build a place where they can all worship: Berlin’s “House of One” is aiming to become the world’s first building to combine a church, a synagogue and a mosque under one roof.
Washington Post: On campuses across America, the Thought Police have a new tool: Bias Response Teams, administrators who crack down on classroom insensitivity.
More than 100 US colleges have set up BRTs. The newshounds at Heat Street last week dug up a taste of how it works.
A professor at the University of Northern Colorado got visited by the school’s Bias Response Team — for imploring his students to think about opposing viewpoints.
Associated Press: The leaders of the world’s Orthodox Christian churches ended a historic gathering on the Greek island of Crete on Sunday hoping to repeat the meeting within a decade, despite a boycott by the Russian church—the most populous in a religion of some 300 million people — and three other churches.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I led prayers attended by the 10 Orthodox church leaders who attended to mark the end of the weeklong Holy and Great Council — the first of its kind in more than 1,200 years.
Christian News Network: Ten more states have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its requirement that school districts allow male students who identify as female and vice versa to use the restroom that correlates with their “gender identity.”
Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming now join the list of states that are challenging directives from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued in May.
NBC News: Israel has accused a manager working for U.S.-headquartered Christian charity World Vision of funneling millions of dollars to Islamist militant group Hamas. Mohammad El Halabi, was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing the border into Gaza, World Vision said in a statement. He was charged by Israeli authorities on Thursday. He had run the organization’s Gaza operations since 2010.
Jerusalem Post: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the US, passed two Israel-related resolutions earlier this month at its triennial assembly in New Orleans. One resolution established an “investment screen” that will recommend where Lutherans should invest their money with regard to Israel and the Palestinians. The other urged a cutoff of US aid to Israel unless Israel meets a series of conditions, and calls for the immediate US recognition of “the state of Palestine.” . . . David Brog, of Christians United for Israel, said in a statement that the resolutions “blame Israel and only Israel for the conflict in the Middle East.
Associated Press: Pope Francis urged Lutherans to set aside doctrinal differences Thursday and work with Catholics to care for the poor, the sick and refugees as he laid out his vision for greater communion before his visit to Sweden later this month.
Francis greeted about 1,000 Lutherans who were visiting the Vatican on an ecumenical pilgrimage. They had arrived in Rome from Germany, where Martin Luther famously sparked the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 theses to a church door to challenge the abuses of the Catholic Church.
Francis will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation with his Oct. 31-Nov. 1 visit to Sweden, where he will participate in an ecumenical service with the Lutheran World Federation.