RELIGION BRIEFING

RELIGION BRIEFING

Saturday, October 25, 2008

EXORCISING THE 'DEVIL'

Tampa Bay Rays Change Name and Luck

Devil be gone!

For 10 years, they were a losing baseball team with a fiendish nickname: the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Then the club exorcised the "Devil" from its name, and suddenly Tampa Bay is in the World Series.

The Rays won the pennant less than a year after they put the Devil behind them, and some Tampa pastors would like to think that's the reason why.

Rev. Wayne Newman of Bay Life Assembly of God says the Rays' turnaround may be God's way of saying, "If you get the devil out, you're liable to go somewhere." Rev. Tom Atchison of New Life Pentecostal Church of God says that at the very least, the name change has allowed more Christians to root for the team.

-- Associated Press

JESUS'S CRUCIFIXION

Authors Say Church Emphasis Was Wrong

A new book by a pair of Protestant scholars turns upside down the history of the church's view of Jesus's crucifixion and its stress on the importance of suffering. The authors attempt to show that for the first thousand years of its existence, the Christian church placed much more emphasis on the resurrection and paradise than the crucifixion.

Before the 11th century, authors Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker found, Christian imagery portrayed Jesus alive -- teaching and healing and living in this world -- and never stressed that Jesus's suffering on the cross was necessary for the salvation of humanity.

In their book, "Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire," the authors tackle what they consider the subversion of the Christian message -- exemplified by the ninth-century Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, who instituted the death penalty for conquered people who refused to convert. By reemphasizing early Christians' focus on paradise, on the kingdom of God on Earth, the authors are convinced that they are reclaiming authentic "traditional" Christianity.

-- Religion News Service


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