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10 Extraordinary Appearances of Jesus In Food

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It’s said that God works in mysterious ways, and perhaps his only son does, too. After all, Jesus seems to have made appearances in a host of unusual places, including windows, kitchen countertops, clouds, the fur of animals, and – as demonstrated below – food. It’s still debated as to whether these occurrences are miraculous, coincidental or simply a case of people reading too much into the shapes and scorch marks that appear in their snacks. Whatever your perspective, though, here are ten strange supposed appearances of Jesus in food items.

10. Chapati

10. Chapati

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In 2002 Bangalore local and ardent Catholic Shella Anthony made a chapati for her daughter, who rejected it for being burnt. However, when Anthony took a closer look at the burn mark, she realized that she’d baked no ordinary flatbread, as on its surface was what appeared to be an image of Jesus. Parish priest George Jacob concurred with her suspicions and branded the chapati a miracle. The holy food was then placed in glass casing at the city’s Renewal Retreat Center, to which almost 20,000 Christian pilgrims – but also Hindus and Muslims – came to encounter it. “We believe in miracles,” Jacob told the BBC. “Devotees are feeling blessed on witnessing it.” One doubtful journalist even admitted to a change of opinion, saying, “After a couple of visits, I experienced a different feeling.” Some, however, were less certain about the blessed bread, reportedly dubbing the display “anti-Christian.”

9. Pizza

9. Pizza

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Posh Pizza in Brisbane, Australia had the honor of a supposed Jesus sighting back in 2011, although the medium in which Christ apparently chose to reveal himself was somewhat out of the ordinary: none other than a three-cheese pizza. Still, according to the store, the extraordinary meal brings good luck; on the pizza’s eBay auction they wrote, “After discovering it, the owner of the store parked in a loading zone and didn’t get a parking ticket.” It was eventually sold for AU$153 ($143), and all money raised went to charity. However, some were skeptical about whether the pizza was a miracle. Patrick McArdle, the director of the Institute for Catholic Identity and Mission at the Australian Catholic University, said that the Catholic Church tended to acknowledge exclusively “medical miracles,” since they can be assessed via scientific method. He added, “You have to understand we can’t apply that kind of rigor to a piece of cheese.”

8. Marmite

8. Marmite

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In 2009 one woman from Rhondda, South Wales came face-to-face with what has been dubbed “the Marmite messiah” while she was making some toast for her youngest son. Upon opening a jar of the yeast extract spread, mother-of-three Claire Allen was immediately taken aback by what she saw to be the visage of Jesus peering back at her. The sighting was confirmed by her eldest boys, who apparently thought it resembled “the images of Jesus you see in paintings and on stained glass windows.” It wasn’t the first time that Allen had seen a vision of Christ in an everyday object, either; as she revealed to the Daily Mail, “I often see Jesus’ face in a lot of things I do. And there are a few times I can think of when I’ve seen the face of Jesus in a window… But he’s never appeared in my food before.”

7. Tortilla

7. Tortilla

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Appearances of Jesus in food items are far from a recent phenomenon. In 1977 Maria Rubio from New Mexico noticed that a tortilla she was using to make a burrito seemed to feature an image of Christ. What’s more, the apparently miraculous snack soon had its own shrine, which within two years had been visited by more than 35,000 people. Then on Ash Wednesday 2012 the Son of God appeared to pop up again in the same U.S. state – once more on a tortilla. However this time the discoverer, Albuquerque local David Sandoval, had a much more modern way of spreading the word about his edible artifact: he posted a picture of it on Facebook, where comments and “likes” started rolling in. Sandoval also told local station KOAT-TV of both his and his mother’s reaction to the tortilla, saying, “I passed it to my mom and the same response came from her, ‘Oh my God.’”

6. Naan Bread

6. Naan Bread

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In 2009 English plumber David Howlett was out for a meal with his wife at an Indian restaurant in Surrey when he spotted what he perceived to be a detailed image of Jesus in his naan bread. According to The Daily Telegraph, Howlett said, “My wife and I were about to tuck into our food when I spotted Jesus looking right back at me. Needless to say I chose not to take a bite, and photograph it instead.” The timing of the incident also spooked him, “given how close we were to Christmas Day.” Asad Khan, the owner of the restaurant, Indian Dining, explained that there had been nothing different about the preparation of this particular holy bread compared to that of others made in the establishment. However, he joked, “Perhaps my chef has a direct line to the man upstairs.”

5. Pierogi

5. Pierogi

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Toledo, Ohio woman Donna Lee was blessed with a whole heap of cash for her remarkable discovery after she sold one divine dumpling to online casino GoldenPalace.com. In Easter 2005 Lee was cooking some pierogi when, upon finding an apparent image of Jesus on one of the dough dumplings, she placed the unusual food item into her freezer. She thought no more of it, however – until her sister and brother-in-law encouraged her to put it on eBay. The pierogi received over 44,000 hits before finally selling for $1,775 that August. At the time, Lee said her windfall would be donated in part to the local hospice where her late mother resided during her final years. Highest bidder GoldenPalace.com added it to their collection of unusual items, which also includes a cheese sandwich carrying the image of the Virgin Mary and a pregnancy test purportedly once owned by Britney Spears.

4. Taco

4. Taco

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In August 2012 one man in Texas got quite a surprise while eating his first meal of the day. Ernesto Garza was tucking into his regular breakfast taco at La Amistad Adult Daycare in Beeville when, upon investigating the food, he discerned what seemed to be a face looking back at him. After Garza had gazed in disbelief at the image for five minutes, a flabbergasted friend confirmed what the 80-year-old suspected: the face appeared to be that of Jesus. At the time, Angie Rodriguez, the director of the daycare facility, said of the unusual vision, “I consider it a blessing because it’s unique.” Rodriguez had been experiencing tough times and revealed that she had asked God for some sign; the next morning, it came in the form of Garza’s taco. As for the holy foodstuff itself, Garza put it in a fridge for safekeeping.

3. Potato Chip

image of Jesus

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Around Memorial Day weekend in 2005, Rosalie Lawson was watching TV and at the same time eating a bag of Lay’s when she lifted out a potato chip apparently featuring Christ’s face. The St. Petersburg, Florida woman immediately notified her husband, and then the media, regarding her surprising find. Some have chalked up the discovery of familiar faces in everyday objects to a phenomenon known as pareidolia. Pareidolia encourages the beholder to interpret an image (or sound) as something significant, when it is likely to be just a random pattern – not a sign or anything caused, say, by a divine presence. Nonetheless, members of Lawson’s church were similarly astonished by the likeness. And interestingly it wasn’t the first time that something peculiar had been found in Lawson’s family’s snack foods: her brother had stumbled upon a potato chip shaped like a heart one Valentine’s Day.

2. Cheese Toast

2. Cheese Toast

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Linda Lowe’s friends are reportedly divided on whether or not the apparent image of Jesus found in her piece of cheese toast has an element of the divine. The sacred snack was prepared by Lowe’s boyfriend Dupree Gilbert at his home on Lake Bowen, South Carolina just prior to Christmas 2008, and Gilbert admits that he “didn’t do anything special” that may have led to the vision. “I wouldn’t ever want to say I think it’s divine or anything about it is magical,” Lowe said. “It’s just an image. But when I do look at it, it does make me feel tearful. That there is a Jesus and he is real.” And perhaps just in case the slice of bread does have some spiritual significance, Lowe placed it in a plastic container with a paper plate on top of it for safekeeping.

1. Fish Stick

1. Fish Stick

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In 2003 Fred Whan from Kingston, Ontario burnt a fish stick as he was cooking it. After seeing that its surface was charred with what appeared to be an image of Jesus, Whan put the fish stick in the freezer to keep it preserved. Then the following year – perhaps inspired by the tasty $28,000 sale of a grilled cheese sandwich apparently bearing the face of the Virgin Mary – he announced his intention to auction the fish stick on eBay. It’s unknown whether Whan sold the fishy artifact for a similar sum. What is certain, though, is that other foodstuffs featuring religious icons have also sold for a song on the auction website; for example, a Funyun ring in the shape of Mary and the baby Jesus raked in $609 in 2005.

Does Religion Matter in Marriage?

Religion-&-Marriage

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The U.S. is a significantly religious country in terms of how many people believe in God and give a religious affiliation – which should mean that marriage is an important part of life to most people, whether they marry once, many times or never. Unfortunately, some marriages do not last happily ever after, as witnessed by increased divorce rates in the past 40-plus years.

Divorce has been around since before the founding of the United States of America. However, divorce laws are dictated by each state, so some states have historically limited the conditions for divorce. It wasn’t until 1970 that the divorce process in the USA arguably got easier, when California started allowing no-fault divorces and other states eventually did the same.

Religion, Marriage, Divorce: The Numbers

While Americans as a wholly mostly consider themselves religious, divorce rates have increased regardless. Here are some stats on marriage, divorce, and religion.
Note: Because of federal laws, the US Census Bureau does not have mandatory questions on religious affiliations. As such, there is no 100% comprehensive report of religious affiliation for US citizens and residents and thus no complete study of the populace on the inter-significance of religion and marriage. However, there have been other surveys with varying sample sizes conducted specifically to determine religious affiliation and any connection to marriage and divorce. The stats listed below are from these various surveys.

Religion in the USA

PewResearch reported on a study of 35,556 Americans (18 or older) conducted by PSRAI (Princeton Survey Research Associates International) in 2007 (published 2008), entitled the “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” providing the following summary:

  • 92% of adults surveyed believed in God.
  • 63% of those surveyed said they believed that Scripture is the word of God.
  • 78.4% of those surveyed indicated they were Christian. This breaks down further to 51.3% of those surveyed being some denomination of Protestant, 26.3% Catholic, 1.7% Mormon, 0.7% Jehovah’s Witness, 0.6% Orthodox, 0.3% “Other Christian.”
  • Approximately 4.7% of adults surveyed indicated they were of other religions, with 1.7% Jewish, 0.7% Buddhist, 0.6% Muslim, 0.4% Hindu, less than 0.3% “Other world religions,” and 1.2% “Other faiths” (which includes Unitarians).
  • 16.1% of those surveyed said they were unaffiliated, but 12.1% indicated “Nothing in particular” (which breaks down to 6.3% Secular unaffiliated, 5.8% Religious unaffiliated). As well, there were 1.6% Atheist and 2.4% Agnostic.
  • 0.8% of those surveyed refused to answer or indicated they didn’t know their religious affiliation.
  • Paradoxically, 21% of self-described atheists said “they believe in God or a universal spirit”. For self-described agnostics, this figure was 55%. Author Steven Waldman explains that this conflicting info is because “… Atheism has become a cultural designation, rather than a theological statement. Some are likely declaring themselves atheists as a statement of hostility to organized religion, rather than to God.”

ARDA (the Association of Religion Data Archives, thearda.com) statistics for 2010 give a less comprehensive religious demographic breakdown for the USA:

  • 80.08% Christian (all affiliations)
  • 13.50% Agnostic (possibly includes Atheist)
  • 1.65% Jewish
  • 1.32% Muslim
  • 1.27% Buddhist
  • 2.18% Other

Marriage in the USA

U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2010 show the following marriage demographic summary:

  • There were approximately 60.4M (60,384,000) married couples (with or without children).
  • 66.4% of U.S. households were family households, which breaks down further into roughly (errors due to rounding): 20.2% Married couples with children; 28.2 Married couples without children; 9.6% Single parents with children; 8.5% Other family. This is a steady decline from 1940: 90.0% in 1940, 85.1% in 1960, 73.7% in 1980, 68.1% in 2000.
  • 33.6% of U.S. households are “Nonfamily Households,” consisting of “One person” or “Other nonfamily” homes — an increase from 1940’s 10.0%. (15.1% in 1960, 26.4% in 1980, 31.9% in 2000.)
  • The percentage of married households to total households fell from about 53.6% in 2000 to 48.4% in 2010. For 1990: 55.2%, 1980: 60.9%, 1960: 74.8%, 1940: 76.3%.
  • 5.4M households had interracial or interethnic married-couple households in the U.S. in 2010. This represents 9.5% of all married-couple households — an increase from the 7.4% figure recorded in the 2000 Census.
  • The Census Bureau has 64 different combinations for describing interracial or interethnic couples. Of these combinations, 7 groups made up 94% of all interracial / interethnic couples. (More details on these definitions can be found at http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2010/briefs/cph-t-4.html)
  • The largest of these groups represents 2.02M (2,020,825) interracial/ interethnic couples categorized as “Non-Hispanic White/Hispanic (any race)” — with the top 5 counties represented by the states AZ (1 county), NM (3 counties) and CO (1 county).

Divorce in the USA

Here are some figures on divorce in the United States.

  • In 1970, California became the first U.S. state to offer no-fault divorce, thanks to a bill signed in 1969 by then Governor Ronald Reagan — who divorced his first wife, Jane Wyman — signed into law. Reagan claimed later that his signing the bill was a political mistake, but most other states followed suit.
  • New York state did not have no-fault divorce until Aug 2010.
  • The national divorce rate in 1980 (22.6 divorces per 1,0000 married women) was nearly 2.5 times the 1960 rate (9.2 divorces per 1,000 married women) — an increase of 145.65%.
  • Approximately 20% of couples married in 1950 ended up divorced — affecting about 11% of children born to married parents in the 1950s.
  • Approximately 50% of couples married in 1970 ended up divorced — affecting about 50% of children born to married parents in the 1970s.
  • Sociologist Paul Amato estimated that divorce affects children in multiple ways, including causing them to have to repeat grades, getting suspended, being delinquent, getting therapy, and attempting suicide. Amato feels that if family stability now was about the same as in 1960, there would be as much as 70,000 fewer suicide attempts yearly by children of divorced parents — as well a significant reductions in the above issues. (Amato’s findings are contested by others who feel the problems exhibited in children stem from pre-divorce events, not necessarily divorce itself.)
  • 61% of 1,600-person membership of AAML (American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers) said that they have seen increases in “gray divorce” (over-50 couples married long-term), according to an online poll conducted in 2013.
  • About 1 in 4 people who got divorced in 2009 were 50 or older, compared to about 1 in 10 people in 1990 — according to a 2012 Bowling Green State University study based partly on U.S. Census Bureau data (2009 American Community Survey; 1990 U.S. Vital Statistics Report).
  • Over 600K people 50 or older got divorced in 2009, according to the same Bowling Green State University study.
  • Couples in Red-states (predominantly Republican) are 27% more likely to get-divorced than blue-state (predominantly Democrat) couples. This is possibly due to younger median ages for marriage in Red-states — a factor that increaes the risk of divorce.
  • On average, a person is 40% more likely to get divorced if their parents did; 91% more likely if their parents remarried (to other people).
  • Couples who argue about money apparently have a 30% greater chance ending up divorced than couples who argue less.

Common Reasons for Divorces

According to an NFI (National Fatherhood Initiative) survey of divorced American couples, the most common reasons for their divorce include the following:

  • 73% — Lack of commitment. In addition, 35% of men and 21% of women indicated they should have “worked harder in the marriage.” This is sometimes characterized by selfishness and/or lack of communication by one or both parties.
  • 56% — Too much arguing.
  • 55% — Infidelity.
  • 46% — Married too young.
  • 45% — Unrealistic expectations.
  • 44% — Inequality within the marriage, such as balance of responsibility.
  • 41% — Not prepared for marital responsibilities.
  • 29% — Domestic abuse and violence.

In the UK, “unreasonable behavior” is currently cited in 47% of divorce cases, a jump from 28% in the 1970s. On the flipside, infidelity dropped from 28% of cases in the 1970s to 15% in current day.

Additional reasons cited worldwide include addictions, midlife crisis and workaholism. Some of the more unusual divorce reasons worldwide include: snoring, talking too much, too small a penis. In Israel, one man divorced his wife for bringing home 550 cats.

Divorce and Religion

As per a 2008 Barna Group report studying 3,792 adults:

  • 78% of American adults have been married at least once.
  • At least 33% of Americans (18 or older) who got married have also gotten divorced.
  • 84% of born-again Christians get married.
  • 74% of non-Christian Americans get married.
  • 65% of atheist and agnostic Americans get married.

On divorce, the Barna study shows the following divorce rates for various faiths (based on numbers of people who had been married, not in terms of general adult populace):

  • 38% for non-Christian faiths, collectively.
  • 33% for non-evangelical born again Christians.
  • 30% for atheists and agnostics, collectively.
  • 28% divorce rate for Catholics.
  • 26% for evangelical Christians.

Notes: The Barna Group study defines their category terms. See the “About the Research” summary article for more details [https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released].
It should be noted that the Barna Group study is several years old and may be outdated. A Sep 2013 article citing a CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University) 2007 study compares GSS (General Social Survey) data for 2012, highlighting the following divorce / religion findings:

  • 11M is the approximate number of U.S. Catholics who are divorced (CARA).
  • 28-32% is the approximate divorce rate for U.S. Catholics, depending on which study you look at. The CARA study shows a rate of 32%, while a GSS study quoted by CARA shows 28%. By the newer GSS data, U.S. Catholics have the lowest or one of the lowest divorce rates. (Note: Catholics
  • 27% of Catholics married to other Catholics get divorced (CARA), compared to almost 50% for Catholics married to non-Catholics.
  • 2.12M (2,118,000) marriages were performed in the U.S. 2011. Of those, nearly 164K (163,775) marriages were in Catholic churches — 7.7% of all marriages in 2011, which is a decline from past years. (Catholics make up approximately a quarter of the U.S. population.)
  • The rate of Catholic marriage annulments 2011 was 1 in every 6.5 marriages — compared to 1 in every 4 for 1990. The decline rate of annulments is said to possibly be due to fewer marriages conducted in Catholic churches.
  • 49% of the Catholic Church’s worldwide annulments in 2011 were from the USA. By comparison, Poland was second at only 6.4%, followed by Brazil (5.6%) and Italy (5.1%).

A national study by Norval D. Glenn and Elizabeth Marquardt, as referenced in a 2013 report from the Institute of American Values, shows: Divorce of parents is likely to have a negative effect on the children and whether or not the latter practice their faith.

  • 2/3 of people from intact families (parents stayed married) “say they are very or fairly religious.” Only about half of children of divorced parents say the same.
  • 1/3 of people from intact families attend religious services on a mostly weekly basis, compared to about 1/4 of people from divorced families.

5 Unusual Marriage and Divorce Facts From Around the World

  1. Herbert and Zelymyra Fisher of North Carolina, were married just over 86.75 years (86 years, 9 months, 16 days) when Herbert passed away on Feb 27, 2011. Their marriage stands as the longest in Guinness World Records.
  2. 101 is the number of times Lauren and David Blair from Tennessee have exchanged their wedding vows as of Nov 11, 2011, according to Guinness. The last vow renewal took place in an UPS store in Nashville. Their 100th marriage vows renewal was in Hawaii. Each marriage ceremony has been in a different place.
  3. Linda Wolfe holds the world record for the most times married: 23, which includes being married to the same man 3 times. Her last marriage was in 2003 to Glynn Wolfe, the world’s most married man (29 times). Glynn died in 2004.
  4. An Italian couple (he 99, she 96) were reported in 2011 to be getting divorced after 77 years. Reason: he discovered some old letters of hers from the 1940s, and she confirmed she had an affair. Previously, the oldest couple to get divorced, according to Guinness, was Bertie and Jessie Wood. Married 36 years, they divorced at 98 years old – with no official reason given.
  5. Russia is considering a divorce tax increase of nearly 7500%, from 400 rubles (about US$13) to 30K rubles (about US$941).

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References

Information for this article was collected from the following pages and web sites:

  1. http://www.aaml.org/about-the-academy/press/aaml-in-the-news/divorce/gray-divorces-rising-more-baby-boomers-opt-end-marr
  2. http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/dl.php?name=SOFSF
  3. https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released
  4. http://blog.beliefnet.com/stevenwaldman/2008/06/juiciest-religious-factoids.html
  5. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/catholics-continue-to-have-lowest-divorce-rates-report-finds/
  6. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0059.pdf
  7. http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/marriage/data/census/InterracialMarriages_PAA2013_FINAL.pdf
  8. http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/marriage/data/census/PAA_2013_3713.pdf
  9. http://cnsnews.com/news/article/less-50-us-households-now-led-married-couples-says-census-bureau
  10. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2013/09/24/russians-consider-boosting-divorce-tax-citing-moral-and-demographic-decline/
  11. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-1/longest-marriage-/
  12. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/15/divorce-reasons_n_3763023.html
  13. http://living.msn.com/love-relationships/the-8-most-common-reasons-for-divorce
  14. http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-evolution-of-divorce
  15. http://nineteensixty-four.blogspot.com/2013/09/divorce-still-less-likely-among.html
  16. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/us/26marry.html?_r=0
  17. http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2012/us-household-change.aspx
  18. http://religions.pewforum.org/reports
  19. http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-key-findings.pdf
  20. http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report2religious-landscape-study-chapter-1.pdf
  21. http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf
  22. http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report2-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf
  23. http://www.salon.com/2013/11/01/atheist_marriages_may_last_longer_than_christian_ones_partner/
  24. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8982958/99-year-old-divorces-wife-after-he-discovered-1940s-affair.html
  25. http://www.thearda.com/internationalData/countries/Country_234_1.asp
  26. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/05/19/15-ways-to-predict-divorce.html
  27. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/sep/20/divorce-adultery-bad-behaviour
  28. http://www.timesofisrael.com/couple-divorces-over-550-house-cats/
  29. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203753704577255230471480276

Divine Revenue

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It all begins with God’s word:

6 billion copies: estimated total sales of the Bible
There are 6,800 + languages in the world; the complete Bible has been translated into 438 languages. Some portions of the scripture have been translated into 2,454 languages.

Contrary to popular belief, modern inspirational fiction did not begin with Janette Oke or even Frank Peretti.

1678: John Bunyan wrote the influential Pilgrim’s Progress.
1852: The most potent work challenging American slavery was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
1880: An overtly Christian novel, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur was published, and later made into an Oscar-winning movie.
1897: Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps reached huge audiences.

Sales of modern-day Christian products (books, recordings, movies, shirts) through all distribution channels are valued at more than $4.63 billion.

The icons of inspirational writing:

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe sold 85 million copies; The Chronicles of Narnia series of 7 books has sold 120 million (and counting)
Fact: C.S. Lewis kept famous literary company. Was close friends with J. R. R. Tolkein. Tolkein and Lewis were part of an Oxford literary group called the Inklings, who encouraged the writing of fantasy.
Influenced: Pope John Paul II said that Lewis’ The Four Loves was one of his favorite books. Another fan? J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame.
Curious fact: Lewis died Nov. 22, 1963, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated

Billy Graham (1918- ): 31 books have sold more than 12 million copies
Fact: about Graham: How to Be Born Again” (1977) had the largest first printing in publishing history with 800,000 copies; “Angels: God’s Secret Agents” (1975) sold one million copies within 90 days; and “The Jesus Generation” (1971) sold 200,000 copies in the first two weeks.Influenced: Spiritual advisor to every American president since Dwight Eisenhower

Fact: The 94-year-old Graham has preached the Gospel to nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories around the globe, not counting those he’s reached through television.

Jeanette Oke (1935- ), often referred to as the founder of women’s romantic inspirational fiction.
Fact: Has written 70 books, sold more than 22 million copies. Her first book, “Love Comes Softly,” sold a million copies, spawned a series of books and a series of TV movies based on the books. Best known for: The Love Comes Softly series Influenced: Everyone from Beverly Lewis (Amish fiction) to a slew of other modern Christian fiction writers, see below.

From the icons came: A second generation of superstar religious writers, including:

Frank Peretti: Has been called America’s hottest Christian writer. 15 million copies sold of his books. Best known for his novels “This Present Darkness”(1986), and “The Oath”(1995).
Beverly Lewis: author of more than 100 books for children, youth and adults; more than 1 million copies sold. Fact: Created a new genre: Amish romance fiction. Best known for: The Redemption of Sarah Cain, The Shunning. The Shunning sold more than 125,000 copies in its first year and has since been made into both a stage musical and a Hallmark Movie Channel feature. It also launched a new genre, and there are at least 39 women and men now regularly writing Amish fiction.
Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Left Behind series about the “end days” told in 16 books, 85 million sold. Fact: Timothy F. LaHaye is an American conservative evangelical Christian minister
Watchman Nee: 1 million copies of “The Normal Christian Life” sold.
Fact: Widely hailed as a top classic, the “Normal Christian Life” shows from the Bible what the “normal,” or healthy, Christian life looks like, and how it’s possible to live such a normal life in Christ today. Nee was a Christian teacher that worked in China in the first portion of the 20th century. He published many Christian books. Ultimately with the rise of Communism Nee faced persecution and spent his last 20 years in prison.
Francine Rivers: Has written more than 40 books over the last 30 years. Books have sold more than 3.5 million copies.

…and these writers gave rise to: a new wave of modern, mega-selling inspirational writers
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 32 million copies
FACT: Founder and Senior Pastor at Saddleback Church, the 8th largest in the USA. Best known for his best selling books,“The Purpose Driven Church,” the biggest selling Christian book of all time The Purpose Driven Life
Joel Osteen, more than 20 million books sold
Osteen preached his first sermon Jan. 17, 1999. Now he is the Pastor of Lakewood Church, which according to Church Growth Today is America’s largest and fastest growing church.
250,000: The number of weekly visits to JoelOsteen.com
10 million: How many U.S. households see the TV broadcast each week
2 million: The number of audio and video podcast downloads each week
23: The number of languages Osteen’s books have been translated into
5: The number of books Osteen has written, all No. 1 national bestsellers
1.4 million: The number of Twitter followers @joelosteen
10 million: How many copies Osteen’s books have sold worldwide
Max Lucado, 75 books, 65 million sold Fact: He is Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and has been called “America’s Pastor.”
William P. Young, The Shack 18 million Fact: Paul Young was working three jobs outside Portland, Ore., when he decided to write a Christian tale of redemption for friends and family. He went down to an Office Depot and printed off 15 copies of the story he called The Shack.
Philip Yancey: 14 million books sold. The American Christian author won “Christian Book of the Year” award in ’96 for “The Jesus I Never Knew” and again in ’98 for “What’s So Amazing About Grace.”
James Dobson: 16 million books sold. Founder and former CEO of “Focus On The Family” ministry and foundation. He has written some popular books like “Bringing Up Boys”, “Bringing Up Girls”, and “The Strong Willed Child.” Dobson is a central figure in conservative Christianity. His radio and TV broadcasts are heard or seen by 28 million people a week
Sarah Young: A missionary who primarily writes devotional works. Some of her titles include “Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life”, “Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence”, and “Jesus Calling: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional.” Jesus Calling has sold more than 3 million copies.
Rob Bell: Former mega-Church pastor (and rebel priest who dresses in black), whose first four books have sold nearly a million copies. Best known for “Velvet Elvis” and “Love Wins.”
Andrew Greeley: Roman Catholic priest, Father Greeley wrote more than 120 books, fiction and non-fiction.

The new generation of fiction writers

Ted Dekker: Edgy fiction and science fiction books have sold more than 5 million copies.
The top “bonnet” (Amish) book authors (the literary daughters of Beverly Lewis):
Wanda Brunstetter
Amy Clipston
Beth Weisman
Susan Woods Fisher
Cindy Windsmall
Kathleen Fuller
Karen Kingsbury

And then we have Christian comics:
Graphic novels: Babylon, the story of Daniel strikingly captured by Kingstone Comics.
The Action Bible

Sources:

http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/8490/into-how-many-languages-has-the-bible-been-translated

http://www.salon.com/2012/09/01/amish_fiction_put_a_bonnet_on_it/

www.nytimes.com/books/97/07/06/reviews/graham-bestseller.html‎

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/authors/janette-oke/932

http://www.epm.org/resources/2012/Nov/7/quality-christian-novels-oxymoron/

http://www.faithandentertainment.com/best-christian-authors-20-great-christian-writers/#ixzz2ZJKAh4Ex

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/01/166026305/cross-roads-a-writing-career-built-on-faith

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/31/us/andrew-m-greeley-outspoken-priest-dies-at-85.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

www.bookreporter.com [for Ted Dekker]

http://www.titletrakk.com/author-interviews/francine-rivers-interview.htm

Top Masters of Divinity (M.Div)

The Masters of Divinity is the first professional degree of the pastoral profession in North America. It is the most common academic degree in seminaries and divinity schools. In many Christian denominations and in some other religions the degree is the standard prerequisite for ordination to the priesthood or pastorship or other appointment, ordination or licensing to professional ministry. At accredited seminaries in the United States this degree requires between 72 and 106 credit hours of study (72 being the minimum determined by academic accrediting agencies and 106 being on the upper end of certain schools that wish to ensure a broader study of the related disciplines).

The M.Div. is a significantly more extensive program than most taught (as opposed to research-based) master’s degrees. In the United States the degree usually consists on average of 90 semester hours, as opposed to the usual 36 or 48. Ordination in most mainline Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church thus requires seven or eight years of education past high school: the first four in undergraduate studies leading to a bachelor’s degree (which may or may not be in a related field) and then three or four years of seminary or divinity school education leading to the M.Div.

There are a number of criteria I have evaluated including: (1) orthodoxy and support for graduate students who want to think with the Church, (2) intellectual rigor, (3) commitment to students, and (4) financial aid.

Traditional Seminaries

Duke Divinity School

As the spiritual center of a great research university, Duke Divinity School is the embodiment of Duke University’s motto: Eruditio et Religio — Knowledge and Faith. Founded in 1926 as the first of the university’s graduate professional schools, the Divinity School attracts students from across the nation and around the world. One of 13 seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church, the school has from its beginnings been ecumenical in aspiration, teaching, and practice. With many diverse theological perspectives represented here, students find common ground through immersion in Scripture and the church’s tradition for addressing the challenges of faith in contemporary contexts.

Duke Divinity School has established itself as the leading United Methodist Church theological institution.

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Notre Dame University

The Department of Theology and the Graduate School of the University of Notre Dame have offered a professional program in theological and ministerial studies since September 1968. Today, Notre Dame’s Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program is one of the premier ministry preparation programs in North America.

Notre Dame is THE premier Catholic Seminary in the United States, and one of the best in the world. Notre Dame has a high quality of education that set’s itself apart in terms of quality of education and standards.

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Boston College

The three-year Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree provides a strong theological and practical foundation to those preparing for the ordained priesthood or for full-time lay ecclesial ministry in the Catholic Church. It accomplishes this goal through an integrated core curriculum designed to ensure appropriate academic, ministerial, and spiritual formation. Since leadership in ministry today requires collaboration between women and men, religious and secular, ordained and lay, the M.Div. program at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (STM) promotes collaborative learning as an appropriate means of preparing for ministry in all its forms. Building upon the previous theological and pastoral experience of the student, the program fosters the desire for lifelong learning and development in and through ministry.

Boston College has established itself as one of the leading Catholic Seminaries in the United States. Their low student to teacher ratio, and high quality of education sets them apart from other seminaries. And their long standing tradition has helped make them one of the best in the US.

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Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Trinity tells new students every semester that TEDS is “pan-evangelical”—we embrace all evangelicals, of every variation. Our unity in the gospel makes possible a commitment to a broad evangelicalism that welcomes voices from various denominational and theological traditions. We believe “evangelical” ought to be defined first and foremost in theological terms (rather than socio-political or cultural terms), which is why we emphasize gospel-centeredness and the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

Because of it’s evangelical background Trinity has established itself as the leading Evangelical Divinity Program in the Nation. Seeding many graduates to evangelical churches through the country.

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Online Seminaries

Liberty University

At Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary students have the opportunity to pursue the following degrees: M.A., M.A.R., M.Div., and Th.M., D. Min., and Ph.D. Degrees are focused on individual calling, with students given the skills needed to excel in multiple fields. LBTS students have the opportunity to study under some of the world’s leading evangelical professors, and resident students experience life at the world’s largest evangelical Christian University. While not required in all programs, students are also given various internship opportunities.

Liberty has established itself as one of the leading Online Seminaries in the nation, and it has a high standard of education, and excellence in teaching. While it is a Southern Baptist Seminary many other faith backgrounds have attended Liberty.

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Grand Canyon University

While Grand Doesn’t offer a M.Div it has a variety of other graduate programs to prepare you for ministry including.
M.A. in Christian Studies: Christian Leadership
M.A. in Christian Studies: Pastoral Ministry
M.A. in Christian Studies: Urban Ministry
M.A. in Christian Studies: Youth Ministry

Grand Canyon has established itself as a Christian University that also prepares people for the working world and we are seeing more and more people who are become “Pastors” at the workplace, and in their own communities doing alternative ministry. I believe that is why Grand Canyon is succeeding in raising up lay ministry through these programs.

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The Extroverted Church

extroverted-church (1)

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What it means to be an Introvert in American Churches

The extroverted Christian
Plays guitar or sings at worship
The first to greet newcomers
Last to leave after coffee hour

[1] The extroverted church
Unceasing activity
Extroverted evangelism
Extroverted evangelism is often off-putting for introverts.

So where does the introverted Christian come in??…
Introversion is different from shyness. Whereas shyness involves a social phobia many times,
Introversion simply involves different ways of solving problems and a lower ability to

First off…
Introverts [6] 30% of populace
Extroverts[6] 30% of populace
Preference for privacy
Preference for hunches, visionary ability
Preference for hard facts over feelings
Preference for open-endedness, casual approach to life
Preference for groups, companionship
Preference for concrete data when making decisions
Reliance on feelings in decision making
Preference for closure, focus on clear objectives
With a whole range in between. 30% of populace

Many American Protestant churches support a culture of the most noticeable Christian as the model Christian.
A model Christian should not equal the most noticeable Christian.

Spiritual strengths of introverts:
One on one of small group mentors
Servant-hood,
Helping one person at a time
Creating deep and lasting bonds with a small group
Greater chance of deep introspection about their faith
Humility: Introverts see flaws in what they say, and carefully craft their words, leading to humble speakers and thinkers.

Introvert behavior is not pathological. Introversion is a naturally occurring neurological configuration with its own strengths and weaknesses. [2]

So what should Churches do?
Ways to make introverts feel at home

With 30% of people being potentially turned off by the extroverted Church, Churches are turning their backs on 105 million folks, in the US alone!

Develop programs in small groups.
Allow people to slip into the sanctuary anonymously.
Introverts have a lower threshold for stimuli.
Make room for predictable acts.
A large “greeting committee” can send introverts running
Leave room for silent prayers.
Moments of reflection.
Liturgy
Ritual
Contemplation
Quiet
Non-theatrical sermons
Avoid turbulence and background “white noise” as in chants, alter calls, etc.
Avoid singling out an introvert in the crowd
Or as they approach the alter.
Asking for a spontaneous prayer out loud

“The evangelical culture ties together faithfulness with extroversion… The emphasis is on community, on participating in more and more programs and events, on meeting more and more people. It’s a constant tension for many introverts that their not living that out. And in a religious world, there’s more at stake when you feel that tension. It doesn’t feel like ‘I’m not doing as well as I’d like.’ It feels like ‘God isn’t pleased with me.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet

[citations]

[1] http://firstfire.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/introverted-christians-an-oxymoron-pt-2/
[2] http://www.celebritytypes.com/blog/2011/04/the-scientific-evidence-for-introversion/
–personality traits of introverts and extroverts
[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/01/30/quiet-revolution-of-the-50-percentintroverts-susan-cain/
[4] http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/302696/
—pg 5 about business and introverts
[5] http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/162431-how-to-handle-introverts-inyour-ministry.html
–tips for dealing with introverts
[6] Briggs Meyer scale: http://beaconstreetusa.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/MBScale.jpg
[7] http://inadequateimages.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-top-5-things-introverts-dread-aboutchurch-andor-church-camp/



The Extroverted Church

Top Small Christian Colleges

All of these small Christian Colleges have around 1000 to 1500 total students enrolled making them ideal for a graduate of homeschooling who doesn’t want to be overwhelmed by large enrollments and class sizes. There are a number of reasons that a small Christian College is ideal. Class sizes, access to professors, and teaching assistants as well as internship opportunities in local churches and non profits. These small Christian Colleges are the top schools based on editorial choice and have been vetted by a number of sources.

Westmont College

Westmont College, founded in 1937, is an interdenominational Christian liberal arts college in Santa Barbara, California.It got it’s start when it was founded as a missionaries institute by the owner of the Kerr Mason Jar company in 1937. The school was renamed because of it’s location at West Moreland and Vermont in Los Angeles. It later moved to Santa Barbara and has established itself as a leader in Christian studies.

Berea College

Berea College is a liberal arts work college in Berea, in the U.S. state of Kentucky, founded in 1855. Berea College is distinctive among post-secondary institutions for providing free education to students and for having been the first college in the Southern United States to be coeducational and racially integrated. Students who enroll at this college in Kentucky work on campus or with partner organizations and then are able to study for free. It’s small enrollment makes Berea feel like a huge family.

Gordon College

Gordon College is a liberal arts college located on the former Princemere estate in Wenham, Massachusetts, United States, northeast of Beverly. Founded by Baptist minister A. J. Gordon as a missionary training institute, the predominantly undergraduate college is largely Christian. It’s small size and small town based in the Northeast gives it a close knit feel. It’s President is Pulitzer prize winner D. Michael Lindsay.

College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian liberal-arts college, with its campus at Point Lookout near Branson and Hollister, Missouri, United States. It is 40 miles south of Springfield on a 1,000-acre campus, overlooking Lake Taneycomo.

Goshen College

Goshen College, is a private Mennonite liberal arts college in Goshen, Indiana, in the United States. Goshen College was founded in 1894 as the Elkhart Institute, and is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA

The 7 Most Dangerous Religious Sects EVER


A “cult” is generally regarded as a religious group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding population considers to be outside the mainstream or potentially dangerous. Cults usually expect complete devotion of your time and money. As for me I’ve been involved in cults and I’m not a huge fan of the label. But in some cases it really applies.

I’ve compiled 7 of the most dangerous religious sects for for you to learn something. And realize we live in a unique world. Religion as a whole shouldn’t be about control, it should be about setting mankind free.

Without further adieu.

People’s Temple

Peoples Temple was a religious organization founded in 1955 by Jim Jones. By the mid-1970s it included over a dozen locations in California including its headquarters in San Francisco. It is best known for the events of November 18, 1978, in Guyana, in which 920 people died at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project aka Jonestown and nearby airstrip at Port Kaituma, and Georgetown in an organized mass suicide/killing.

The mass suicide and killings at Jonestown resulted in the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural non-accidental disaster prior to the events of September 11, 2001. Casualties at the airstrip included, among others, Congressman Leo Ryan.

Aum Shinryoko

Aum Shinrikyo (currently known as Aleph) is a Japanese cult listed as a terrorist organization by several countries. The group was founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984. The group gained international notoriety in 1995, when it carried out the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

The name “Aum Shinrikyo” derives from the Sanskrit syllable Aum, which represents the universe, followed by Shinrikyo written in kanji, roughly meaning “religion of Truth”. In English “Aum Shinrikyo” is usually translated as “Supreme Truth”. In January 2000, the organization changed its name to Aleph in reference to the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, Hebrew alphabet and Phoenician alphabets. It changed its logo as well.

In 1995, the group claimed they had over 9,000 members in Japan, and as many as 40,000 worldwide. Police consider the existing groups Aleph and Hikari no Wa to be branches of the “dangerous religion”

Heaven’s Gate


Heaven’s Gate was an American UFO religion doomsday cult based in San Diego, California, founded in the early 1970s and led by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1927–1985).On March 26, 1997, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had committed mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following the Comet Hale–Bopp, which was then at its brightest.

Branch Davidian

The Branch Davidians (also known as “The Branch”) are a religious group that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (“Davidians”), a reform movement that began as an offshoot from the Seventh-day Adventist Church (“Adventists”) around 1930. The majority of those who accepted the reform message had been disfellowshipped (removed from membership) from the Seventh-day Adventist Church because of aberrant teachings. The Branch Davidians have many theological beliefs in common with Messianic Judaism.

From its inception in 1930, the reform movement believed themselves to be living in a time when Bible prophecies of a final divine judgment were coming to pass as a prelude to Christ’s second coming. The name “Branch Davidian” is most widely known for the Waco Siege of 1993 on their property (known as the Mount Carmel Center) near Waco, Texas. The 51-day siege, by the ATF, FBI, and Texas National Guard, resulted in the deaths of the Branch Davidians’ leader, David Koresh, as well as 82 other Branch Davidian men, women, and children, and four ATF agents.

David Koresh and the Branch Davidians were never found guilty of crimes. And it remains one of the most controversials events in modern American history. Regardless because of the events that unfolded this disaster made the Branch Davidians one of the most dangerous cults ever.

Church of Euthansia

According to the church’s website, it is “a non-profit educational foundation devoted to restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth.” The Church uses sermons, music, culture jamming, publicity stunts and direct action to highlight Earth’s unsustainable population. The Church is notorious for its conflicts with Pro-life Christian activists.

According to the church’s website, the one commandment is “Thou shalt not procreate”. The Church further asserts four principal pillars: suicide, abortion, cannibalism of the already dead, and sodomy (“any sexual act not intended for procreation”). The church stresses population reduction by voluntary means only. Therefore murder and involuntary sterilization are strictly forbidden by church doctrine.

Solar Temple

The Order of the Solar Temple also known as Ordre du Temple Solaire (OTS) in French, and the International Chivalric Organization of the Solar Tradition or simply as The Solar Temple is a secret society based upon the existence and ideals of the Knights Templar. OTS was started by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret in 1984 in Geneva as l’Ordre International Chevaleresque de Tradition Solaire (OICTS) and renamed Ordre du Temple Solaire.

In October 1994 Tony Dutoit’s infant son (Emmanuel Dutoit), aged three months, was killed at the group’s centre in Morin Heights, Quebec. The baby had been stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stake. It is believed that Di Mambro ordered the murder, because he identified the baby as the Anti-Christ described in the Bible. He believed that the Anti-Christ was born into the order to prevent Di Mambro from succeeding in his spiritual aim.

A few days later, Di Mambro and twelve followers performed a ritual Last Supper. A few days after that, apparent mass suicides and murders were conducted at Cheiry and Salvan, two villages in Western Switzerland, and at Morin Heights — 15 inner circle members committed suicide with poison, 30 were killed by bullets or smothering, and 8 others were killed by other causes. In Switzerland, many of the victims were found in a secret underground chapel lined with mirrors and other items of Templar symbolism. The bodies were dressed in the order’s ceremonial robes and were in a circle, feet together, heads outward, most with plastic bags tied over their heads; they had each been shot in the head. It is believed that the plastic bags were a symbol of the ecological disaster that would befall the human race after the OTS members moved on to Sirius. It is also believed that these bags were used as part of the OTS rituals, and that members would have voluntarily worn them without being placed under duress. There was also evidence that many of the victims in Switzerland were drugged before they were shot. Other victims were found in three ski chalets; several dead children were lying together. The tragedy was discovered when officers rushed to the sites to fight the fires which had been ignited by remote-control devices. Farewell letters left by the believers stated that they believed they were leaving to escape the “hypocrisies and oppression of this world.”

A mayor, a journalist, a civil servant and a sales manager were found among the dead in Switzerland. Records seized by the Quebec police showed that some members had personally donated over $CAD1 million to the group’s leader Joseph Di Mambro. There was also another attempted mass suicide of the remaining members which was thwarted in the late 1990s.All the suicide/murders and attempts occurred around the dates of the equinoxes and solstices in some relation to the beliefs of the group.

Another massacre related to the OTS took place during the night between the 15 and 16 December 1995. On 23 December 1995, 16 bodies were discovered in a star-formation in the Vercors region in France. It was found later that two of them shot the others and then committed suicide by firearm and immolation.

On the morning of 23 March 1997, five members of the OTS took their own lives in Saint-Casimir, Quebec. A small house exploded into flames, leaving behind five charred bodies for the police to pull from the rubble. Three teenagers aged 13, 14 and 16, the children of one of the couples that died in the fire, were discovered in a shed behind the house, alive but heavily drugged.

Michael Tabachnik, an internationally renowned Swiss musician and conductor, was arrested as a leader of the Solar Temple in the late 1990s. He was indicted for “participation in a criminal organization,” and murder. He came to trial in Grenoble, France during the spring of 2001 and was acquitted. French prosecutors appealed against the verdict and an appellate court ordered a second trial beginning October 24, 2006. He was again cleared less than two months later on December 20.

Children of God

The Children of God began in Southern California in the late l960s, founded by self-styled guru and pedophile, the late David Berg. The CoG believe themselves to be God’s elect, offering redemption only to those who join them and adhere to their strict codes. One of Berg’s edicts was the “Law of Love”, which allowed adult males to have sex with anyone they wanted, including children – Berg called this “sharing”, and anyone who wasn’t willing to “share” was accused of not loving God enough. Girls from the age of 10 were used in recruitment, offering prospective cult members sex in a practice called “flirty fishing”. This group is known for pedophilia and extreme abuse of children.

Top Presbyterian Colleges

For countless students, it’s time to start thinking about where to continue their education. One option
that’s worth looking into are Presbyterian colleges. Most of these are small, private schools that offer a
good liberal arts education. Most of these colleges are coeducational with undergraduate students.

Classes at Presbyterian colleges are small and taught by professors; graduate assistants can’t handle
any classes. This means that there’s more student participation in the classroom and professors have
more time for each student’s needs. Presbyterian colleges put a strong emphasis on learning, service
to community, teaching and healthy, personal relationships. Students of all ages and from different
cultures and faiths are all welcome in Presbyterian colleges.

Presbyterian College

Presbyterian College is one of the best liberal arts schools in the US. Established in 1880, this
private school is located in Clinton, South Carolina, about 30 minutes from Greenville and
Spartanburg. The school is associated with the Presbyterian Church USA. Students from all over
the country come to Presbyterian College. Average class size is around 14 and there’s a 13:1
student/teacher ratio. The school offers students 34 majors and 47 minors to choose from.
The school is continuous in its quest for excellence and expansion by opening more colleges
and garnering more awards. A recent addition to the college is the School of Pharmacy which
opened in 2010. Presbyterian College also has the distinction of being the only American
college to be awarded the right to open a Confucius Institute from the Chinese government.
Presbyterian College also gives their students numerous opportunities to study abroad via
internships or student research. The school’s philosophy of excellence in both faith and reason,
along with its focus on honor and community, has created a student body that’s very active in
projects around the city and the state.

Austin College

Austin College is a small, private liberal arts college in Sherman, Texas, 60 miles north of Dallas.
The college is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA and is also known as the oldest
college in Texas. It was founded in 1849 and as such, is recognized by the State Historical Survey
Committee. Austin College is famous for its excellent liberal arts curriculum and offers more
than 40 majors. The school is also known for its 5-year Austin Teacher program and its Mentor
Program where a faculty member is assigned to a student. All students are also required to
finish a January Term every year. During this time, students just enroll in one course that they’ll
study on or off campus. Austin College is proud of fostering an educational climate where all
ideas are openly and respectfully discussed.

College of Idaho

The College of Idaho is a small, private liberal arts college located in Caldwell, Idaho. The idea
for this college was first conceptualized in 1884 when a commission was formed with the
purpose of researching the possibility of creating a Presbyterian school in Idaho. The idea
was well received and the college was founded in 1891. As a premier liberal arts college, the
College of Idaho educates its students in the skills necessary to thrive and succeed in today’s
fast changing, contrary and technology-driven world. The school offers excellent training in the
various disciplines of liberal arts – the fine arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences and
social sciences. The College of Idaho is also known for its PEAK program, which was inspired
by the mountain peaks the region is famous for. PEAK is an acronym for “Professional, Ethical,
Articulate, and Knowledgeable,” the program encourages students to be open-minded and
to study a wide range of disciplines as way to strengthen their foundation and prepare for
unexpected changes they might encounter in their professional life. Under this program,
students design their own course program by combining major and minor courses that they
believe will prepare them for their careers.

St. Andrews University

Initially known as St. Andrews Presbyterian College, this private liberal arts college is located
in Laurinburg, North Carolina. The university was the result of a merger between the Flora
MacDonald College of Red Springs and the Presbyterian Junior College. It was called St. Andrews
Presbyterian College from 1960 to 2011 when the name was changed to St. Andrews University.
The college also became a branch of Webber International University that same year. This
small university is renowned for providing affordable, quality education and offers students a
Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. The school also has a
Creative Writing program. The university also offers students a non-traditional way to pursue
degrees in Business Administration, Elementary Education, Equine Business Management and a
Teacher Certification program through online or traditional classes or a combination of the two.
Students of St. Andrews University are known to be masters of critical thinking, a skill which is
honed in the classroom and through the guidance of their professors.

Top Baptist Colleges

Conventional wisdom states that a college degree increases one’s chances of landing a good job. The
slumping economy might make one wary about going down this road, but it has been proven that the
sacrifices you make while pursuing your degree will pay off in the end.

There are several good reasons why college prepares you for a lucrative career and a good life. College
teaches you discipline, it builds creative thinking, it molds you into becoming a responsible citizen and it
teaches you about yourself. A good Baptist college will help you develop all of these.

Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Baptist university that also has the distinction of being the oldest
university in Texas. The university sits on 1,000 acres near the banks of the Brazos River which
is between Austin and the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex. Baylor University is also known as an
excellent research university with good Business, Law and Pre-Med undergraduate programs.
The school’s very active in research and Baylor has established strong ties with the city and
other companies to allow its students and professors to hone their research skills. Baylor
University has worked with the city of Waco in conducting research for the Center for Reservoir
and Aquatic Systems Research while students can intern at the Baylor Lariat. The school is very
serious with providing excellent education so the number of students is limited, with a 16:1 ratio
between student and faculty. This approach has worked well for Baylor University which has
numerous Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars and Truman Scholars.

Samford University

Samford University is a private university affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention and
located in Homewood, Alabama. It was originally known as Howard College and includes the
Brock School of Business, Cumberland School of Law, Howard College of Arts and Sciences, the
McWhorter School of Pharmacy and the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education. Samford
University was established in 1841 and has remained loyal to its Christian roots. This popular
Baptist college consistently lures students and professors from different faith and cultures. The
school has 26 undergraduate, graduate and masteral degree programs and around 135 majors
and minors in eight disciplines – arts, arts and sciences, business, education, nursing, pharmacy,
law and divinity. Samford graduates consistently get top scores on the country’s certification
and board examinations. The school is accessible from anywhere in America. Aside from its
academic achievements, the school is also famous for its beautiful campus set at the feet of the
Great Smokey Mountain.

Ouachita Baptist University

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) is a private, liberal arts educational institution established in
1886 and situated in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, about 65 miles southwest of Little Rock. Its distinct name is taken from the Ouachita River which bounds the school’s eastern campus. The school is affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and has eight colleges – the Chesley and Elizabeth Pruet School of Christian Studies, the Frank D. Hickingbotham School of Business, the J.D Patterson School of Natural Sciences, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, the School of Fine Arts, the School of Humanities, the Michael D. Huckabee School of Education and the W.H.
Sutton School of Social Sciences. There are also several good programs, like the Carl Goodson Honors Program, that encourages students to take on more academic challenges. OBU also takes great pains in ensuring the mental, social and emotional health of its students. The school has the Academic Enrichment Center that helps students through a combination of counseling and tutoring.

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University is a private educational institution located in Campbellsville, at the
heart of Taylor County, Kentucky. Originally known as the Russell Creek Academy, this Baptist
affiliated school welcomes students of all denominations and cultures. Campbellsville University
offers its students numerous bachelor and master degrees with complementing extracurricular
activities that focuses on a Christian life and service to the community. The university aims to
educate and train its students to become well-rounded, respectable individuals. It emphasizes
integrity, fellowship and personal growth fostered in a caring environment.

Shorter University

Shorter University is a private liberal arts learning institution in Rome, Georgia. It was
established in 1873 and is historically affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention. The small
university follows a semester-based academic schedule and usually has around 3,500 students
enrolled in the undergraduate and graduate programs offered in its seven colleges. Shorter
University has distance learning offices in Duluth and Riverdale that offers graduate programs.
The school also runs the off-campus School of Nursing and the Robert H. Ledbetter College
of Business. Shorter University focuses on a personalized education in a decidedly Christian
environment. During their time in Shorter, students are challenged to reach their ultimate
potential and to meet the challenges and responsibilities of being leaders in their churches,
communities and professions.

Top Catholic Colleges in California

Academic excellence is one thing that Catholic colleges are known for. Most are challenging intellectual
centers where students can pursue a wide sphere of discipline and hone attitudes that will keep them in
good stead throughout their life. Research has shown that studying in a Catholic college can have good
effects on students, both academically and personally. This positivity is said to be due to three traits that
are the keys to Catholic education – the belief in the freedom to instill ethical principles in the students,
the desire to promote justice and create opportunities for every man and the ability to live a values-
oriented life in modern society.

Some of the top Catholic colleges in the country can be found in California. The atmosphere and cultural
mix of the region have contributed in fostering the environment these colleges are aiming for. Here are
the top Catholic colleges to consider if you want to study in California.

Thomas Aquinas College

The college is known for its distinct liberal arts education. Since the college looks at liberal
education in its totality, Thomas Aquinas College has no majors, specializations or electives.
There are also no textbooks or lectures. Instead, students study the greatest books of Western
civilization and discuss them in small classes. These are supplemented by tutorials, lab work and
seminars. This approach obviously works well for the college as it always gets top ranking among
America’s liberal art colleges.

Santa Clara University

A Jesuit and Catholic university, Santa Clara is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning
and aims to educate and prepare students for a life of leadership and service. Its campus
is located in sunny Silicon Valley and boasts of 106-acres of beautifully landscaped gardens
and more than 50 buildings. The school offers courses in Arts and Sciences, Business and
Engineering. The Leavey School of Business and the Jesuit School of Theology are some of its
graduate programs. The school has a long and distinguished list of alumni and has been ranked
number 2 in the 2013 list of Best Colleges (West Region).

University of San Diego

The USD is a renowned private and Roman Catholic research university in San Diego, California.
The campus stands on 180 acres of land overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Renowned for its
beautiful, Renaissance-inspired buildings, the university is made up of six schools- the
College of Arts and Sciences, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, the School of Business
Administration, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences and
the School of Nursing and Health Science. The university is dedicated to Catholic values and
academic excellence and aims to give the best liberal arts education to students of all faiths.

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University is a private co-ed Catholic school following Jesuit and Marymount
ways. The university is located in Los Angeles, California and is a member of the Association of
Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The 100 year old school aims to educate ambitious students
who want to lead lives with purpose and meaning. It encourages the promotion of justice, faith-
based service and the education of the person as a whole. Students who want to attend Loyola
Marymount the option to choose from 60 major and 54 minor undergraduate degrees plus 36
masters programs.

St. Mary’s College

This is a private learning institution that was established in 1863. Shaped by liberal arts
teachings and Catholic and LaSallian ways, the college works on a 4-1-4 schedule that allows
students to travel, work on personal change and development, explore new ideas and lifestyle
and do volunteer work during the January term. As a premier liberal arts school, St. Mary’s
is committed to critical thinking, reflection, personal growth and global awareness. Students
can choose from 30 degrees in the fields of arts, business, education, humanities, sciences
and social sciences. Classes and labs range from small to average to encourage discussion and
debates. St. Mary’s sits on a 420-acre campus located 20 miles east of San Francisco. The school
is surrounded by sweet-smelling pines and majestic redwoods. It boasts of beautiful villa-style
architecture and a new state of the art science building.

Dominican University of California

The Dominican University of California is an independent, private university located 12 miles
north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Founded in 1890, it’s one of oldest universities in California.
Dominicans value community, reflection, service and study and is dedicated to teaching and
preparing students to be leaders who are ethically and socially responsible. The school is known
for its Senior Thesis and the Honors Program. The former is an intensive research project that
every student has to undergo while the latter provides enrichment chances for academically
advanced students. The university has four groups of schools, Arts, Business and Leadership,
Education and Counseling Psychology, Health and Natural Sciences and Humanities and Social
Sciences. The Dominican University of California is currently ranked at number 36 in the Best
Colleges is Regional Universities.