GateHouse briefs for Faith & Values for Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012


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Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2012, 1:00 am
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Chinese cult members arrested for Doomsday rumors

According to CNN and Xinhua news agency, members of a group known as the "Almighty God" cult were arrested in China in the provinces of Qinghai and Fujian. Almost 100 members of the group, which requires members to surrender all property when joining, were taken into custody for disseminating information about what they believed was the impending Dec. 21 apocalypse.

Members of the cult went door-to-door and made announcements in public areas that the Mayan prophecy was true, the sun would not shine and electricity would not work on Dec. 21 and that only they could save people's lives. Chinese police also seized banners, books, discs and printing presses from the group.

Dec. 21 was the last day on the Mayan calendar, spanning over 5,000 years and called the "Great Cycle." There were many theories about the reason it was the last day listed, from it being the end of the world to the beginning of a new cycle to no significance at all.

Survey: Confidence in church at all-time low

According to Gallup, the number of Americans who have "a great deal or quite a lot" of confidence in "the church or organized religion" is at an all time low at 44 percent, with Protestant Christians expressing more confidence than Catholics. This has been consistent for 2002 through 2012, and is believed to have started in reaction to the priest abuse scandals and cover-ups in the Catholic church in 2002.

Good Book?

New York Times-bestselling author Anne Lamott writes about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life.

Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott's funny and perceptive writing about her own faith through decades of trial and error. And in her new book, "Help, Thanks, Wow," she has coalesced everything she knows about prayer to these fundamentals.

It is these three prayers - asking for assistance from a higher power, appreciating what we have that is good, and feeling awe at the world around us - that can get us through the day and can show us the way forward. In "Help, Thanks, Wow," Lamott recounts how she came to these insights, explains what they mean to her and how they have helped, and explores how others have embraced these same ideas.

Insightful and honest as only Anne Lamott can be, "Help, Thanks, Wow" is the everyday faith book that new Lamott readers will love and longtime Lamott fans will treasure."
-- Amazon.com

Quote of the Week

"I prayed for 20 years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." - Frederick Douglass

The Word

Meta-atheist: Someone who, deep down, doesn't believe in God, though that person might not even consciously realize it. - religionstylebook.com

Religion Around the World

The religious makeup of Christmas Island, according to CIA World Factbook:
36 percent: Buddhist
25 percent: Muslim
18 percent: Christian
21 percent: Other



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  Today is Sunday, April 20, the 110th day of 2014. There are 255 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The attention of contractors is called to proposals for building a magazine. The building is to be erected on the south side of the island, above the railroad, nearly opposite Sinnit's ice houses.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Ladies patent leather tip shoes were selling for $3 at the M & K store, and men's spring overcoats were advertised at $7.50.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Fred Feuchter, of Davenport, was elected president of the Tri-City Post Office Clerks club, and Joe Goldsmith, of Rock Island, was named secretary treasurer.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Mass vaccination of more than 1,600 employed of the Rock Island Arsenal has been ordered by Col. Norman Ramsey after a 13-year-old daughter of the Arsenal manager became ill with smallpox.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The 1964 Scout-O-Rama of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts closed a two-day session last evening at the Rock Island Armory with 5,000 paid attendance.
1989 -- 25 years ago: "From the horse and buggy days ... to this" said Mercer County Sheriff Marvin Thirtyacre, waving his hand to indicate the sheriff's department facilities at the new $1.5 million Mercer County Jail in Aledo.




(More History)