Church shuts down homophobic vandals in colourful style

The doors of Wedgewood Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, were dubbed with the words “F*gs Are Pedos” and a sign outside – which read “LGBT Equality” – was also covered in paint.

However, rather than let the hatred bother them, the congregation came together – holding a service focused on community, equality and acceptance.

Volunteers and church workers then proceeded to paint over the graffiti – in colourful rainbow paint.

A service sheet published on the church’s Facebook page showed the touching welcome to the event read.

“Welcome to you if you are female or male or some of each, gay or straight or some of each, black or brown or white or a mix of each, old or young or middle-aged, rich or broke or barely surviving or middle class, doubting or believing or some of each or one or the other depending on what is going on in your life or the world.

“Wedgwood Church is a community of curious and creative spiritual seekers, striving to learn and embody the way of Jesus and other religious leaders, striving to love and do justice for all people. Welcome!”


by Diyana Noory at Noisey

Zayn Malik accepts his award for Outstanding Achievement in Music during The Asian Awards 2015 / Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

When Zayn Malik left One Direction earlier this year, it changed the way people looked at the world’s biggest boy band: Longtime fans wanted to know the real story and demanded to know why Zayn couldn’t vocalize his problems. They wondered why his bandmates Harry, Louis, Liam, and Niall didn’t seem to react as negatively to the pressures of fame as Zayn did. The fanbase split into groups of people who support only Zayn, people who support all five boys, and people who strictly support “OT4,” or the boys who are still in One Direction. Meanwhile, the media was quick to turn crying fans into a spectacle or make mean-spirited and condescending jokes at Zayn’s expense. Whether laughed off or cried through, the departure was treated as just another insignificant chapter in the ongoing drama of boy bands. However Zayn Malik’s struggle with fame as a British-Pakistani Muslim is unique, and it’s one that’s resonated with me as both a devoted One Direction fan and a member of an Iraqi Muslim family who sees bits of myself reflected in Zayn.

Zayn is the first Muslim artist to reach such wild levels of global popularity, and, as such, his presence in the entertainment industry has set new precedents. Although he has not been particularly vocal about his faith, both people who celebrate his Muslim identity and those who reject it have tried to forge their own image of him as a spokesperson for Islam. His unique identity has inevitably shaped his reception and the discussion around him in ways that have not been the case for his former bandmates.

Asked about his religion in 2012, Zayn shared: “I believe that your religion should be between you and whoever your belief is in. I don’t think you should stick it in people’s faces.” Unfortunately the world has not allowed him to keep any aspect of his life private, and even his limited tweets about religion have attracted scrutiny and hatred, surely encouraging him to stay quiet. Small actions to educate his fanbase on social issues through a “#FreePalestine” tweet and a retweet in support of Peshawar were heavily dissected, with some media outlets suggesting Zayn was interested in these issues because he was more personally connected to them as a Muslim man—as if natural compassion played no role. Despite the hatred he faces for it, Zayn has publicly taken pride in his identity: In his recent Asian Award acceptance speech, he thanked his parents for making him Asian in addition to thanking God. On the Islamophobic comments targeted at him, Zayn stated: “I thought we had moved away from that and we’re living in the 21st century and people could accept people from different religions”.

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I feel like we could use a little cheering up this week, and it’s been a while since I posted a proposal video. Therefore, meet Trevor and Davis, active members of the First United Methodist Church of Austin in Texas who recently got engaged in front of the whole congregation. The response? A standing ovation. (via the Huffington Post)

I think INTJs with faith may approach it differently than others. I was raised in a heavily Catholic family. As an adult, I live my faith on my own terms. It’s more of an internal moral code that’s rather private and personal. I speak to Him mentally as peer as opposed to the cringe-inducing ‘I love thee O’ Exalted One’ stuff. I don’t attend church because I get bored. I acknowledge the contradictions, that God cannot be proven, but for some reason I still believe. I’ll find out when I die.
—  Submitted by anonymous

“It is interesting to note that what is considered evil in the Christian mythosphere is very often associated with fertility rites in the Hindu mythosphere. What is considered holy in the Christian mythosphere is associated with monasticism in the Hindu mythosphere. For example:

  • The white clothes that represent virginity and purity in the Christian mythosphere are associated with spirituality and otherworldliness in the Hindu mythosphere; are restricted to monks, priests, and widows; and do not form part of household rituals.
  • The goat, the symbol of virility that is sacrificed to the Hindu Goddess, is the symbol of the devil in the biblical worldview.
  • The yoginis of Hinduism, who are handmaidens of the Goddess and are wild erotic creatures, recall the witches’ coven of the Christian mythosphere.
  • The pentagram is the symbol of Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of wealth, and Shukra, guru of demons, and is associated with Venus, wealth, fertility, creativity, and erotic power in Hindu astrology, but is considered the mark of the devil in Christianity.
  • Kali, the manifestation of the Hindu Goddess who personifies nature’s wildness and its impersonal life-giving sexual processes and life-taking violent processes, is often described in Western literature as the “dark drinker of blood" and is associated with witchcraft.
  • The serpent, which is associated with earth’s fertility and occult wisdom in Hinduism, is considered a manifestation of the devil in biblical traditions.

These differences may have arisen because sexuality is considered a by-product of original sin in Christianity, while in Hinduism sex is an essential component of nature that needs to be disciplined by culture.”

– Devdutt Pattanaik, Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols, and Rituals from the Heart of the Subcontinent
Expert: 400 Church Leaders Will Resign This Sunday Because Names Surfaced in Ashley Madison Hack
The Ashley Madison hack will have a serious effect on churches. According to Ed Stetzer, as many as 400 pastors, deacons, elders and church staff members may resign this Sunday after their names surfaced on the list of users revealed in the Ashley Madison hack. In a post on his Christianity Today blog, The Exchange, Stetzer said the number is based on “conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada,” adding, “To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair.” Along with being a contributing editor for CT, author and professor, Stetzer is the executive director of LifeWay Research, and a well-regarded expert on church leadership. He is also the executive editor of the Christian leadership publication Facts & Trends. All that to say, Stetzer is well-informed, and his number is likely accurate. Former social conservative lobbyist and Christian reality TV star Josh Duggar and Christian vlogger Sam Rader recently released their own statements, acknowledging that they were both users of the site, which facilitates adultery.



Pop Artist. Provocateur. Catholic. Who was Andy Warhol? via Catholic News Agency

Chances are you’ve heard of the phrase “15 minutes of fame.” And you’ve probably seen the neon-colored canvases of Campbell soup cans or Marilyn Monroe’s face – even if you don’t know the artist behind them.

For those who’ve never studied Andy Warhol and his prolific body of work, they’ve still most likely encountered it in many of the pop icons of the late 20th Century.

But while Warhol may be known best for the his visionary depiction of fame and popular culture, his art can also be understood as iconic – in another, much more literal, way.

Why? Because he was an ardently practicing Byzantine Catholic, say those close to the artist and his work. In fact, they say, Warhol’s art is actually best understood through the lens of faith and iconography.  

However, these same voices warn that both the art world and Catholics alike have tended to oversimplify or ignore aspects of the man that, to this day, refuses to be categorized….

Read the full story.