'Star of wonder' still leaves astronomers wondering about its origin_122004

Posted: 12/17/04
Some astronomers suggest the Magi observed a series of astrological portents, each of which has been individually suggested as the Star of Bethlehem.

'Star of wonder' still leaves
astronomers wondering about its origin

By Margie Wylie

Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS)--In Matthew's Gospel, it's the apparition that heralds the birth of Jesus. Today, it features in Christmas trappings from tree toppers to carols to cards. No children's Nativity play is complete without its tinfoil likeness above the storied stable.


Council told new approaches could resolve stem-cell dilemma_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

Council told new approaches could resolve stem-cell dilemma

By Kathi Wolfe

Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS)--A Stanford University biology professor and two Columbia University physicians told a presidential advisory council new approaches could resolve the thorny ethical problems swirling around embryonic stem cell research.


Texas Tidbits_122004

Posted: 12/17/04
East Texas Baptist University sophomore Ashley Landreth of Paradise performs during “Christmas in Marshall: A Concert of the Season,” held at the Marshall Civic Center. ETBU joined the full choral and instrumental forces of the music department in presenting the concert, co-sponsored by the Marshall Regional Arts Council and attended by about 1,200 area residents and tourists visiting the city’s “Wonderland of Lights.”

Texas Tidbits

Dallas pastor on national broadcast. George Mason, pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, will be the featured preacher for three episodes of a national television and radio program. Mason will preach on the "Day 1" program Jan. 16, Feb. 13 and March 27. A television version of "Day 1" is broadcast Sunday mornings on the Hallmark Channel's "America at Worship" series. Formerly known as "The Protestant Hour," the program is produced by the Episcopal Media Center and features preachers from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. Mason's church is affiliated with CBF. His first sermon on the program is about identifying and preparing young people for vocations in the church.

BUA offers language immersion classes. The Center for Cultural and Language Studies at Baptist University of the Americas will host a weeklong Spanish language and culture immersion course Feb. 8-12. The course features a mixture of classroom instruction and conversational interaction with BUA students from Latin America. Other experiences include attending a Spanish prayer service at an area Baptist church and field trips to cultural attractions. Cost for the class is $200, which includes expenses except housing. Texas Baptists are eligible for a $100 scholarship provided through the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions. For a class application or more information, contact Mary Ranjel at BUA by calling (210) 924-4338 ext. 202 or (800) 721-1396 or e-mailing

BGCT names Internet developer. Jason Hilliard of Duncanville has been hired as Internet developer for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Hilliard, 25, had been manager of the academic computing lab at Dallas Baptist University since December 2001. As BGCT Internet developer, Hilliard will develop web templates, pages and applications. He is a member of Faith Baptist Church in Duncanville.


TOGETHER: Find a place for Jesus in your life_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

Find a place for Jesus in your life

"The birth of Jesus is the sunrise of the Bible," Henry Van Dyke said. What a powerful insight. All that came before Jesus was like the reflected light of the moon. God's activity in creation and in the hopes and aspirations of the prophets, though full of beauty, wonder and anticipation, could never match the full glory of the "Light of the world." The inspired songs of the psalmists and the longings of the prophets looked forward to the Messiah as flowers awaken at dawn and turn toward the rising sun.

Consider how Herod missed the joy of Christmas because his heart was filled with fear and jealousy. He refused to let Jesus bring to him the gift of a new life. With implacable hatred, his sin-soaked mind set in motion a plot to kill the boy babies of Bethlehem. Herod was a corrupt, selfish, evil man. How different his life would have been if he had actually made his way to where the child was, turned his face toward him and worshipped.

Consider how the innkeeper missed out on Christmas because he could think of nothing better to do than send Jesus to the cattle stall. You ask, "What else could he have done?" His inn was full. He could have offered his own room. What gentleman would send an expectant mother to the barn when there was a bed he could have given up?

Executive Director
BGCT Executive Board

ANALYSIS: Torture and terrorism_122004

Posted: 12/17/04

ANALYSIS: Torture and terrorism

By David Anderson

Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS)--President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to succeed John Ashcroft as attorney general almost certainly will raises issues about the relevance--or irrelevance--of ethical constraints against torture when a nation is engaged in a war on terrorism.

Care to comment? Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , our editor. Maximum length for publication is 250 words.

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