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Teaching the Bible in prison, a Protestant Catholic church + more

Saturday 17 October 2015

Here’s our pick of interesting links to smarten-up your weekend:

The Bible is wack: In prisons across America, a new education initiative is seeing the Bible being taught to inmates. In this Atlantic essay, Jerome Copulsky explores why teaching the Bible to prisoners is valuable. Here’s an excerpt:

“So how did the reading go this week?” I ask, as I erase a mathematics equation leftover from a previous class from the blackboard.
One of my students, Sekwan Merritt, jumps right in. “This Bible,” he says, shaking his head in a kind of circle as he speaks.
“Yes? You were saying? This Bible?” I say.
“It’s just wack,” he responds.
When he offers up his reaction to the reading, I press him for more.
“Wack?” I say. “What do you mean by that?”
“Oh, yeah.” The others signal their agreement with laughter. It’s a good sign.
“Tell me about it.”
“It’s like, it’s like a book about Mafia, man,” he continues.
I can feel the grin creeping across my face. And I’m sure that they can notice it. I can see where this is going—and it’s going perfectly.
“Okay,” I say. “Explain it to me.”

Is the Pope Catholic? This article from Christianity Today suggests that under Pope Francis’ leadership, the Catholic Church is looking more, well, Protestant. That’s especially true when it comes to prayer and the Bible. “It is not for putting on a shelf, but rather to have it at hand,” Francis said of the Bible last year. “It is for reading it often, every day, either individually or in groups, husband and wife, parents and children; maybe at night, especially on Sundays. That way, the family can move forward with the light and the power of the Word of God!” Read more, here.

Christians face extinction in Middle East: More and more Christians are fleeing violence and persecution in the Middle East, leading one aid organisation to suggest that Christianity may face extinction in Iraq in the next five years. Read the news stories here and here, and the report, here.

But not in Sydney: In the face of all the talk about how Australia is becoming less religious, this report by McCrindle says, “Sydney is Australia’s most religious capital city with the lowest proportion of residents stating ‘no religion’ (17.6%), while Hobart (29.4%) and Canberra (28.9%) have the highest proportion of populations not identifying with any religion.” Read more, here.

Metal or the Bible? Can you tell the difference between heavy metal lyrics and Bible verses? Take this Buzzfeed quiz, and test yourself!

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