Christianity, Chess, and the Queen of Katwe

Phiona Mutesi, the prodigy featured in a new Disney film, was one of hundreds of children who learned to play at the Christian academy.

CHR Comment: Robert Katende’s Sports Outreach project in Uganda is bearing remarkable fruit, a Christian mission that uses sports and chess to improve the lives of the poor in Uganda. The article also mentions the warlord run Lord’s Resistance Army that has used violence in the name of Christianity. These examples illustrate the opportunities and difficulties of living out one’s faith in Uganda at this time.

Source: Uganda’s ‘Queen of Katwe’ got her start at this slum chess school – The Washington Post

Poland Abortion Bill Withdrawn

Poland’s deputy prime minister says proposals for a near-total ban on abortion which sparked protests across the country will not go through.

CHR Comment: The article describes the bill as sponsored by the Catholic Church but also mentions the role of an “anti-abortion citizens’ initiative” that gathered 450,000 signatures. Likely the bill is being withdrawn before a vote as the legislators realize the votes are not present for passage. Given the large number of Poles who have expressed concern about abortion, we are likely to see a redraft of the bill, which would garner more support.

Source: Poland abortion: Deputy PM backs away from ban – BBC News

Pope, Anglican Leader Celebrate 50 Years of Dialogue

Pope Francis is pushing through with an unusually high-powered month of outreach to other Christians, celebrating 50 years of Catholic dialogue with the Anglican Church in between important visits to Orthodox and Lutheran leaders.

CHR Comment: As some denominations have relaxed their standards for doctrine and practice, making them more ecumenical in tone, they have also distanced themselves from other churches since they have adopted doctrines and practices that collide with long held Christian teaching. With one hand they reach out to others while withdrawing the other. As a consequence, the ecumenical movement has had limited success in its goal of broader unity.

Source: Pope, Anglican leader celebrate 50 years of dialogue – The Washington Post

Vice Presidential Candidates Have Faith-Filled Lives

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence – both raised Catholic, one now born-again Christian – see religious faith as central to their public service.

CHR Comment: The article describes the faith and faith-driven activities of the vice presidential candidates contrasting one as focused on “thou shalt not” and the other as focused on “thou must.” One wonders whether a reporter with greater empathy might have been found for this article. I have noticed numerous Facebook comments from persons expressing interest in having these candidates as the presidential candidates instead of the current candidates.

Source: In vice presidential debate, two portraits of faith-filled lives –

Chinese Pastor Yang Hua

A jailed church leader in China has been tortured by authorities to extort a confession and is now suffering from serious diseases, his lawyers claim.

CHR Comment: Pastor Yang Hua, leader of a house church, remains in detention since December. He reports suffering torture, having been arrested under the charge of releasing state secrets.

Source: Chinese Church Pastor ‘Tortured’ In Prison Now Suffering From Serious Diseases | Christian News on Christian Today

Divide over Abortion in Poland

Some businesses in Poland close for the day as thousands of women go on strike to protest against proposals for a total ban on abortion.

CHR Comment: Roman Catholic views are currently very influential in Poland. As the conservative Polish political movement raises the issue of banning abortion, some women in Poland are protesting. The article lists European countries that presently have tighter restrictions on abortion than does Poland.

Source: Black Monday: Polish women strike against abortion ban – BBC News

Puritan Preacher Elkanah Wales

CHR Comment: Elkanah Wales (1588-1669) of Pudsey was a faithful pastor and preacher who was ousted from service during the Great Ejection of 1662 when several thousand ministers were forced out of the Church of England. Pastor Wales continued to preach and teach house to house and was arrested for his activities. He died at 80 years old. His farewell sermon was published under the title Mount Ebal levell’d or redemption from the curse. The links below are to essays exploring his work. His book is available over Google Books at the third link below.

On a personal note, Elkanah Wales was apparently an ancestor on my mother’s side of the family.

Source: Elkanah Wales of Pudsey (1)

Elkanah Wales of Pudsey, Part 2

Mount Ebal Levell’d

Could Evangelical Christians Soon Be Running Brazil?

Evangelical Christians are expected to influence big advances in local elections in Brazil this weekend.

CHR Comment: The growth of Evangelical churches in Brazil and changes to campaign finance laws have combined to give Evangelical voters and the candidates they support increased influence. For example, a pastor is running for mayor of Rio de Janeiro. This could be interesting as Brazil struggles to deal with corruption problems in its politics.

Source: Could Evangelical Christians Soon Be Running Brazil? | Christian News on Christian Today