News Items of Interest to Apologists
and Counter-Cult Professionals
Religion Items In The News
Religion Items in the News - January 5 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 64)
NOTE: Unlike the edition posted to the AR-talk list, items in the archived newsletters will, time-permitting, link back to entries in Apologetics Index.
Religion Items in the News - January 5 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 64)
1 Ministry to deport Denver cult members (CC = Concerned Christians)
2 Israel Orders 11 U.S. Doomsday Suspects Out (CC)
3 14 members of Christian doomsday cult arrested (CC)
4 11 Deported In Millennium Plot (CC)
5 Relatives Seek News of Cult (CC)
6 Israel detains 8 adults of apocalyptic group (CC)
7 Relatives: Christian cult members still influenced by leaders (CC)
8 Denver cultists arrested in Israel (CC)
9 11 cult members ordered deported; 3 others appear before judge (CC)
10 Preparing for the false prophets
11 Millennialists prepare for Armageddon
12 Millennium fever is spawning apocalypse cults...
13 Millennium is actually old news
14 Y2K woman
15 Computer Bug Is Stuff of Prophecy to Fundamentalist Faithful
16 Why is 2000 a big deal for end-timers?
17 Waiting for Armageddon
18 Groups aim to convert world to Christianity (Cerullo)
19 Helnwein's Success in Court (Scientology)
20 New Age Church Leader To Retire (CUT)
21 Thousands Join Adventist Church as a Result of Net 98
22 Pastor finds hate paper at church (Christian Identity)
23 British Moslem voice starting to be heard
24 Body, Mind, Spirit Connection To Be Explored
25 Black Generation Xers take a broad look at religious experience
26 Five evangelists on deck to succeed Billy Graham
27 Berkeley's spiritual bookstore GAIA set to close
28 Jesus2000.com eyes IPO in 1999
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians The Interior Ministry yesterday issued deportation orders against 11 of the 14 members of the Denver-based apocalyptic Christian cult arrested Sunday night on suspicion of planning violent attacks in Jerusalem. Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court yesterday extended the remand of three men by 48 hours. All denied the allegations against them.
(...) As police continue to investigate the three main suspects, the others were given three days to appeal the deportation orders. Christian leaders in Israel said yesterday the police reports were inaccurate, and they are concerned about its effects on all Christian tourists. "Police only took them into custody this week because their 90-day visas have expired," said David Parsons, a media officer for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.
(...) Police would not confirm whether the timing of the arrests was connected to the visas expiration, but Police Insp.-Gen. Yehuda Wilk said yesterday that the cult did pose a threat. Wilk heads the task force preparing to deal with Christian cults for the millennium. It comprises members of the police, the Mossad, and the General Security Services, and began meeting several weeks ago. It has begun examining cartons of evidence taken from the houses it raided in Mevasseret and Motza. No explosives were found.
(...) Parsons, from the Christian Embassy, does not fault the Israeli government for arresting the 14 members. "I do think the government is fully justified in deporting them at this time. There is an underlying concern about the things Monte Kim Miller has said and the control he seems to exert over his followers, and I can't blame Israel for wanting to be rid of the threat they pose." But Parsons deplored the attempt to portray Christians in a bad light. TV reports of the arrests showed Christian pilgrims parading on the Via Dolorosa. "Our concern is for the attitude of Israelis towards the millions of peaceful Christian visitors coming here for the next 2-3 years. Israel has an opportunity to win many new friends."
Infoseek/Reuters, Jan 05, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians (...) Police brought three other alleged cult members before a magistrate in Petah Tikva, central Israel, asking that they be held for further questioning on suspicion of conspiring to commit "the most serious of crimes that harm state security."
(...) Police sources said the three men taken to court John Bayles, Eric Malesic, 36, and Terry Smith, 42 were being questioned on suspicion they had information about other members of Concerned Christians in and out of Israel.
(...) The arrests were the first since Israeli security authorities set up a task force last year to deal with possible violence by cults and messianic groups in the Holy Land as the turn of the millennium approaches. A police source said the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation provided information that helped lead to the arrests. A police spokesman said they had planned to carry out unspecified "extreme acts of violence" on Jerusalem's streets.
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians (...)"The arrests were carried out to protect certain sectors of the Israeli population and members of the cult themselves, who blindly follow" a leader who is now overseas, the police statement said. The cult's leader has been identified as Monte Kim Miller. He is said to have told his followers he would die in Jerusalem in December 1999 and be resurrected three days later.
(...) Police said the cult was financed by funds raised overseas, not necessarily in the US.
(...) Guesses as to the whereabouts of Miller and his followers range from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, to Toronto, to Libya.
(...) "The police will continue to work in every legal way possible to make possible freedom of religion and ritual in Jerusalem and in Israel, for all religions, in the year of the millennium" a statement by Yitzhaki said. "However, it will act firmly against the attempts of extreme groups to block access to Christians in the year 1999."
CBS, Jan. 4, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians (...) Police said cult leader Miller was not in Israel. Police would not release names of any of the suspects detained, and Israeli law prohibits publication of suspects' names until they appear in court.
Washington Post, Jan. 4, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians Worried relatives scoured news reports and worked bureaucratic channels Monday, hoping for information about family members who belong to a Denver-based doomsday cult raided by Israeli authorities.
(...) Relatives of cult members hoped the shock of the raids would "shake them loose" from Miller, Denver police officer Mark Roggeman said.
Rocky Mountain News, Jan. 4, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians (...) "I understand there may be more arrests" coming, Hal Mansfield, director of the Religious Movement Resource Center in Fort Collins, said. He didn't cite his source for that statement.
(...) "They won't release any names until the suspects are brought before a judge," said Gershom Gorenberg, who has covered the group as a senior editor and columnist for Jerusalem Report, a bimonthly news magazine, and as the Jerusalem representative of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University.
(...) Gorenberg several weeks ago identified two vacated apartments in Israel at a location not in Sunday's raid that had been leased to members of Concerned Christians. Those apartments, said Gorenberg, were leased in the names of Landaas, Bayles and Schmidt. Sources studying Concerned Christians have said the membership includes twins Kurt and Keith Landaas, who had relocated to Colorado from New Jersey; John Bayles, another native of New Jersey; plus Gary and Cheryl Schmidt and their two children of Yellow Jacket, a town in the southwestern corner of Colorado.
(...) Mark Roggeman, a Denver policeman who privately has studied the Concerned Christians, sees Sunday's development as a major blow to Miller's authority. "What this does is, this causes a little chaos in the minds of the members," Roggeman said. "They're unsure of what's happening. They've been told all these things by 'God's voice' (Miller). I think there is a very good chance, if he is totally in control and God speaks through him, they're asking themselves, 'What's going on?' I can see people defecting over this."
CNN, Jan. 4, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians Relatives of Christian cult members rounded up by Jerusalem police fear that even if their loved ones are deported they still wouldn't be able to break away from leader Monte Kim Miller. Beverly Stevens said Sunday her 23-year-old daughter, Corrine, is "so brainwashed. He's got such a control over her. Even if she gets out of Israel I don't know if she will come home."
Denver Post, Jan. 4, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians (...) Another expert, Hal Mansfield of the Religious Movement Resource Center in Fort Collins, said the threat of violence was not surprising given Miller's violent tendencies. Mansfield also compared Miller to Jones. "Jones did not start out as a kook. It was a slow progression," Mansfield said. "The problem here is Miller has become more isolated. He probably started believing in his own p.r. I think he's so far out there it's impossible to gauge what will happen now." Honsberger, who Miller threatened to kill after Honsberger published a report on the cult's activities, was also nonplussed by reports that the group lived in nice homes. Miller, who filed for bankruptcy in 1997, has "ripped off the IRS, credit card companies, he's ripped off so many people," Honsberger said.
San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 4, 1999
Note: About Concerned Christians (...) In the garden, there were four holes, each about 18 inches in diameter, which were dug by residents, neighbors said. Police had also searched the garden, but it was not clear what they were seeking.
(...) Mrs. Hanouni said she thought something was strange about the eight residents of the house. They kept their distance, they were home all the time, and they didn't seem to be one family as they claimed. But Hanouni said her suspicions were aroused last Friday, when she saw cult members dig up their garden. "They turned over all the plants, everything," Hanouni said.
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 1999
(...) Israeli authorities aren't renowned for advance planning, but the Israel Psychiatric Society's Jerusalem branch and the Israel Medical Association's scientific council last week had the prescience to hold a six-hour symposium on "Tourism and Psychopathology, Jerusalem Toward the Year 2000." It was only about two decades ago that psychiatrists formally named the Jerusalem Syndrome. Usually temporary but sometimes permanent, the condition affects religious pilgrims - mostly Christian, but occasionally Jews - who begin to exhibit strange behavior while touring holy sites, sometimes proclaiming that they are ancient religious figures sent on a mission. The phenomenon was identified in the 1930s by Dr. Heinz Herman, the father of Israeli psychiatry.
(...) Dr. Yair Barel, the Jerusalem district psychiatrist who for years served as director of the Kfar Shaul hospital, noted that over the past two decades, three types of Jerusalem Syndrome patients have been treated there.
(...) Prof. Richard Landes, an expert in medieval history at Boston University and director of its Center for Millennial Studies, wowed the participants with his predictions.
(...) Since there is a dispute about when the new millennium will actually arrive - in 2000 or 2001, Landes said that the pilgrims who come next year to find that "nothing" apocalyptic has occurred will become very anxious and explain it away by noting that the new millennium really is to start in 2001.
(...) The formation of "new Christian religious movements" as a result of the mass pilgrimages is also likely, and some apocalyptic Christians, he said, "will try to convert fellow Christians to their beliefs; some will want to reach Jews as well."
BBC, Jan. 4, 1999
(...) One policeman in Jerusalem was quoted as saying: "If the Messiah doesn't show up as expected, we fear some of the disappointed believers may take matters into their own hands to hasten along the end of time. Given all the problems we have here already, Israel can ill afford a Waco."
(...) Police fear that at least three US groups may be planning a repeat of recent incidents when 39 members of the Heaven's Gate group killed themselves with poison in California in the belief that the appearance of the Hale Bopp comet heralded the arrival of a UFO that was to rescue them from earth.
(...) The approach of the new millennium is also having an effect on non-religious groups. One US-based group, the UNAIRIUS Academy of Science in Southern California, believes that a giant spaceship will land somewhere in the Caribbean.
London Times, Jan 2, 1999
(...) The explosion of evangelical Protestantism throughout the Third World means tens of millions of Christians now believe, in a general sense, that the Battle of Armageddon lies just around the corner. More alarming than this, however, is the fact that a specific belief in apocalypse in or around the year 2000 seems to be spreading round the world like a virus. And despite its origins in the Anno Domini calendar, it is not confined to Christianity: it recognises no theological or national boundaries.
(...) Jerusalem is the worst possible stage on which to play out their fantasies. Up to ten million pilgrims are expected in the Holy City next year, fuelling paranoid suspicions in the Jewish and Muslim communities. Some radical Palestinians are even predicting the return of the Prophet Jesus to do battle with the forces of Satan.
(...) Scholars of religion were among the first people outside the computer industry to wake up to the crisis. Professor Richard Landes, director of the Centre for Millennial Studies at Boston University and one of America's most distinguished medieval historians, was immediately struck by Y2K's resemblance to an old-fashioned apocalyptic panic. "The computer professionals are like prophets announcing Doomsday," he says. "Only this time humans have set the date in ways far more relentless than God's timetable - and the time needed to become Y2K compliant makes last-minute repentance useless." Landes and the communications scholar, Professor Stephen O'Leary, set up the Centre three years ago to track the rise of apocalyptic belief. What neither could have foreseen was that the computer bug would become the carrier of millennium fever. Staff at the Centre now spend time on the Internet, watching as Y2K spawns new End-time fantasies and projects.
[...more...] An updated version of Damian Thompson's book The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium, is published by Vintage next week, price £6.99. Note: Damian Thompson is affiliated with Eileen Barker
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Source: Tilman Hausherr's Cult Apologist Faq - Section q.
Dallas Morning News, Jan. 2, 1999
(...) Folks are enamored by the fact were going from 1999 to 2000," says Dr. Tim Trammel, dean of the College of Christian Faith at Dallas Baptist University. "But we're really more than 2,000 years past the birth of Christ. The actual date of the millennium passed some years ago."
(...) All four experts say the chronological uncertainty should help us keep the otherworldly predictions for next year - doomsday, rapture and all the rest - in perspective.
(...) Father Pacwa says the Catholic Church is marking 2000 as a Jubilee year, as it does every 50 years. "Besides the year 2000 computer bug, we're not talking about any kind of apocalyptic event," he says. And in any case, he adds, "That's a management question, so it's not my department. God is management. I'm in sales."
Dallas Morning News, Jan. 2, 1999
(...) Mrs. Anderson, 44, believes that as the clock ticks into the new millennium, she'll see bread lines, bank runs, power failures and looting. And so she is helping other evangelical Christian mothers by operating a Web site - www.y2kwomen.com - that offers practical advice on such issues as storing food and water and making husbands pay attention to the issue. Having started the Web site in June as a hobby, Mrs. Anderson said she now speaks to church groups nationwide and answers "Dear Karen" queries around the clock in her chat room.
(...) Pat Robertson held a conference on the topic in October and now devotes a section of the Christian Broadcasting Network Web site to Y2K issues. Jerry Falwell sells a $28 video of "three timely messages" about Y2K from his Web site. Conservative Christian magazines are filled with advertisements for Y2K literature. One full-page ad features a book titled The Millennium Meltdown by Tulsa evangelist Grant R. Jeffrey, who writes, "This crisis may set the stage for the coming world government that was prophesied to arise in the last days."
(...) "For people who are always looking for the fingerprint of God, this is something major," said Brenda Brasher, who studies religion and American culture at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. "The technogeeks who knew this problem was coming were able to call very little attention to it. But when the Christians got hold of it and saw it as one of the signs of the end and started putting religious language to it, that's when we saw people start to move. That's when we saw government get serious and companies say, 'Whoa.' "
(...) Mrs. Anderson plans to turn to Shaunti Feldhahn, a 31-year-old former Federal Reserve financial analyst. Last June, Mrs. Feldhahn wrote a book titled Y2K: The Millennium Bug, which called Christians to respond to the problem. By September, Mrs. Feldhahn had created Joseph Project 2000, an organization that helps local churches deal with Y2K together. So far, she said, groups have begun in about 30 cities nationwide, and Mrs. Feldhahn said her organization fields 500 calls per day.
(...) That is what Mrs. Anderson hopes for. She believes that a Y2K-induced crisis would be good for churches and for Christians. "When people ask questions [about God] in the crisis," she said, "we can give our answers with a cup of clean water and some food. My church today is prepared with gospel tracts and visits, but I think we'll need practical stuff."
Star-Telegram, Jan. 2, 1999
(...) Some Christians, attuned to reading current events as biblical prophecies that the Apocalypse is near, have taken the warnings to heart and appear to be in gleeful panic. The parade is being led by such religious right notables as Pat Robertson, onetime Republican presidential contender and head of the Christian Broadcast Network. The network has a Web page on the Internet devoted to the Y2K problem. James Dobson of the Colorado-based Focus on the Family, who promoted the Christian Coalition on his extensive network of radio stations, is also issuing jeremiads. They are joined by others, such as Mark Andrews, a San Diego physician who says he gave up his practice and moved to a refuge in the Southwest -- he won't say just where to prepare for the worst. Andrews has been preaching in fundamentalist churches and appearing on a radio program called the "Prophecy Club."
Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 3, 1999
(...) And the Internet offers more than 100 popular millennial sites, including This Week in Bible Prophecy and End Times Links. They are looking past Jesus' own admonition that "no one knows the hour" and past the furrowed brows of many fellow Christians. By their reckoning of biblical clues, the time is soon. Many are in their camp. According to a 1997 Associated Press poll, nearly one of every four Christian U.S. adults an estimated 26.5 million people expects Jesus to arrive in his or her lifetime. An estimated 21.1 million are so sure of it that they feel an urgent need to convert friends and neighbors. This is generating sweeping evangelistic crusades.
The Irish Times, Jan. 2, 1999
(...)In an article for The Jerusalem Report magazine last February, the writer Gershom Gorenberg quoted the American evangelist Mike Evans, author of a recent book entitled Jerusalem Betrayed, predicting a terrible, final war at the dawn of the new millennium, preceding Jesus's return. Mr Gorenberg's piece also quoted the US televangelist John Hagee predicting that "the peace process will lead to the most devastating war Israel has ever known. After that war, the longed-for Messiah will come." The briefest of surfs on the Internet turns up sites highlighting the Texas-based "House of Yahweh" cult, an apparent doomsday group, inspired by an American former kibbutz worker named Jacob Hawkins, predicting an end-of-millennium, end-of-the-world scenario, as a consequence of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, that will kill off 80 per cent of the world's population.
(...) Among the most worrying aspects of the "Concerned Christians" episode are the facts that the Israeli authorities were warned several weeks in advance by police officials in Denver that the cultists were headed this way and given lists of names, that the Israeli police declared publicly that they would turn back Mr Miller and any of his disciples at the airport, and that the cultists nevertheless found their way into the country and have now gone to ground - last seen, according to Hebrew press reports, inside the Old City itself.
Orange County Register, Jan. 3, 1999
(...) The 7,000 people at the opening of the five-day Mission to the World 2000 conference have an ambitious goal: to convert everyone on Earth to Christianity by the end of 2000. That's nearly 6 billion people. As never before, groups across the Christian spectrum are proselytizing feverishly: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, mainline Protestant, evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic and independent ministries such as that of Morris Cerullo, who organized the conference.
[...more...] Note: One usenet poster writes:
Morris Cerullo made a false prophecy at 7:45 p.m. Saturday night when he declared that "all sickness would leave this arena tonight." People still were not healed and we witnessed people still limping out of the building. Additionally, he preached on money for 25 minutes and it worked! The buckets were full and the people ripped off.
Stuttgarter Nachrichten (Germany), Dec. 30, 1998. Translation: German Scientology News
According to a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court ["Bundesverfassungsgericht"] Gottfried Helnwein (50), the painter, may no longer be described as a "clergyman of Scientology." In a decision published Tuesday in Karlsruhe, the First Senate of the highest German Court granted the Constitutionally-based complaint of the Austrian living in Germany in regards to the general character law, and reversed a decision by the OLG Frankfurt [Superior State Court] of June 20, 1996. The civil court dismissed Helnweln's charge of negligence concerning the statements of a third party about his alleged connection to Scientology. Two associations, whose mission is the fight against sects, made statements in an open letter which included the following: "courted by media and politics, a promoter of a criminal association has advertised for Scientology in countless publications and, himself, is designated as a clergyman." To that Helnwein repeatedly stated that since 1972 he occupied himself with the writings and teachings of the organization, but was not a Scientologist, had not been trained as a clergyman, and had not performed any function of that type.
(...) Helnwein, who indisputably took Scientology courses in the 1970's, was introduced in magazine's and brochures owned by the sect as a Scientology activist and "clergyman" up until 1995 without him visibly defending himself. When Helnwein, in 1994, was in the running for some artistic work on the grounds of the former "Neue Bremm" concentration camp at Saarbruecken, the sect fighters publicly accused him of being a member, clergyman and "auditor" for the Scientologists, "promoter of a criminal association." The artist defended himself against that. He said he had left Scientology a long time ago. In one of the proceedings the Scientologists gave him documents that said he had not had any of the functions ascribed to him. In this case, the Superior State Court decided that freedom of opinion took precedence over character rights and the right to free practice of religion. Note: in a second article on this issue - Karlsruhe emphasizes the libel law decision in the dispute over Scientology accusation
Die Welt (Germany), Dec. 30, 1998
Translation: german Scientology News
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/g81230ae.htm - German Scientology News adds the following explanation: [Background for people who haven't followed the story: Gottfried Helnwein is a Scientologist artist who didn't like being called a Scientologist. So he sued everybody who said he was a Scientologist, and the cases are still floating around in the court system in Germany. However, in 1997, Peter Reichelt wrote a book called "HELNWEIN AND SCIENTOLOGY: Lies and Treason, an organization and its undercover service." In it, Mr. Reichelt clearly documented that Mr. Helnwein is not only a Scientologist, but also works as an independent Scientology operative. There are 489 pages of proof of this in his book, including photocopies of original documents.]
New York Times, Jan. 2, 1999
Elizabeth Clare Prophet has announced she will retire as spiritual leader of the Church Universal and Triumphant, a New Age sect headquartered on a sprawling ranch next to Yellowstone National Park.
Worldwide Faith News, Jan. 1, 1999
An anticipated 30-40,000 will join the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a result of the NeXt Millennium Evangelistic outreach programs of Net 98, according to latest Church estimates. While reports are still coming in, and Bible studies are continuing in many parts of the world. The best estimate is around the 30-40,000 figure, according to Brad Thorp, director of Adventist Global Communication Network (AGCN).
Spokane.net, Dec. 31, 1998
A Coeur d'Alene priest believes hate literature was left at his church this week because of an upcoming gathering decrying the Christian Identity movement. An essay written by Thomas Robb, national leader of the Ku Klux Klan, was left in the meeting hall of St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 501 Wallace Ave. The church is helping sponsor an interfaith forum Jan. 19 on Christian Identity, the theology that promotes white supremacy. The forum will be at St. Pius X Catholic Church on Haycraft Ave.
(...) The forum, which is titled "Heresy of Hatred," involves churches from throughout the region. The headline speaker has researched Christian Identity for four years for the Montana Council of Churches. One goal of the forum is to teach local clergy members and city leaders how Christian Identity members infiltrate churches.
Infoseek/Reuters, Jan. 2, 1999
(...) Britain's 1.75 million Moslems, now three percent of the population, have begun to assert themselves and demand action.Noted
(...) Moslems are classed as a religious rather than a racial or ethnic group, meaning British law does not grant them the same civil rights enjoyed by Sikhs and Jews, Sacranie said.
(...) Now Straw is launching a study into religious discrimination that may prompt new laws.
(...) "British Moslems first have to mobilise and organise themselves outside the political system," said Siddiqui, leader of the Moslem Parliament of Great Britain founded in 1992 to provide community leaders and prominent Moslems with a forum for debate. "Only then can we pack a punch." "A common national agenda is now emerging," he said. Some 250 Moslem groups are now under the banner of the Moslem Council of Britain and their November lunch with Straw symbolised a new confidence, Sacranie said.
Infoseek/Healthwire, Jan. 4, 1999
What is meant by complementary or alternative medicine? Does the mind or the spirit affect the body's healing process? What really works and why? These answers and more will be discussed by renowned specialists at a new event, "Healing: Prescriptions for Body, Mind and Spirit," an educational conference March 5 and 6 in Charleston, SC.
(...) Speakers include Dr. Harold G. Koenig, director of Duke University's Center for Religion/Spirituality and Health and author of "Is Religion Good for Your Health" and the new release, "The Healing Power of Faith"; Dr. Deforia Lane, a cancer survivor who published "Music as Medicine"; Dr. Francis McNutt, a former priest whose book, "Healing," was called a classic in 1974. Dr. J.J. Stark, medical director of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, will offer the medical practitioner's perspectives on holistic healing and alternative medicine, and Dr. Charles Sasser will introduce a patient and caregiver who demonstrate the healing power of narrating illness.
(...) The conference is presented by The Institute of Religion and Health, an inter-faith, non-profit organization dedicated to embracing faith and spirituality as an integral part of the healing arts for human wholeness of mind, body, spirit. For registration information, call 1-800-767-0669 or visit http://www.ktv-i.com/healingfaith. For information on accommodations in historic downtown Charleston, call the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-868-8118.
Post-Gazette, Jan. 1, 1999
(...) The duality of those experiences left Conley believing she was more a "child of God" than a follower of any one religion or denomination. Her revelation mirrors what may be a growing mood among many young black churchgoers in their teens and 20s. This Generation X, say some theologians and scholars, is a group prone to merging innovation and traditionalism in its search for spiritual connectedness.
(...) "Gen Xers," said Weems, "want heartfelt, even ecstatic religious experiences. And, they're not bound by denominations to get it."
(...) The traditional congregations are apparently losing out to churches, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of God in Christ and other Pentecostal groups, and to the nondenominational megachurches, which draw young people - black and white - with their contemporary music and broad mix of programs and activities.
(...) Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes' psycho-social-spiritual texts are bestsellers and Juanita Bynum, whose tapes and videos showcase a style full of Pentecostal emotionalism, has a broad following. Neither claims a denomination and both have huge ecumenical and crossover appeal.
Contra Costa Times, Jan. 3, 1999
(...) For the past 50 years, that role has been filled by the Rev. Billy Graham. But at the turn of the century, with Graham now 80, the question arises of who, if anyone, can take his place. The five most frequently mentioned evangelists who are drawing large crowds are Luis Palau, Franklin Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Greg Laurie and Bishop T.D. Jakes.
Contra Costa Times, Dec. 30, 1998
(...) The popular North Berkeley spiritual bookstore GAIA is closing its doors in February, with plans to relocate as an educational center in a couple of years. Citing a significant drop in sales in 1998, GAIA co-owner Patrice Wynee said running a small bookstore is no longer viable. Sales dropped 39 percent in November alone, Wynee said.
(...) Wynee said that she doesn't think the need for spiritual guidance or advice has declined but that people are turning more to classes and workshops than books. "I don't think people turn to books for spiritual development and growth as much as they turn to direct experience," she said.
CNet, Jan. 4, 1998
Jesus2000.com, a Web site launched last week, said it plans to make an initial public offering in the spring of 1999 after negotiating for a private placement to fund the site. The site, which calls itself "The Holy Land's largest shopping mall on the Internet," said its profits come from sales of religious articles such as olive wood crosses or mother-of-pearl rosary beads from Bethlehem.
(...) The site does not post banner advertisements like most sites, only reminders to "Be ready for the return of the Messiah!" It also does not charge for membership. The company said Jesus2000.com was set up with the advice of the Middle East Council of Churches, which represents a range of Christian denominations.
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