By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

Steve Green, president of arts and crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby (www.hobbylobby.com), has been named the 2013 recipient of the John M. Templeton Biblical Values Award by the National Steve Green, president of Hobby LobbyBible Association (www.nationalbible.org). The organization will recognize Green’s accomplishment at the annual NBA awards luncheon in New York City on April 15 at the Union League Club.

“I am honored to receive the award,” Green said during an interview with Inside The Pew. “I am humbled to join the ranks of other leaders who are committed to the Bible to guide their spiritual and religious beliefs as well as their business.”

The award is named after John M. Templeton, who successfully integrated work and his Christian faith. By using his investing talents to help ordinary people and practicing biblical values in the work world, Templeton serves as a model to all business executives of faith.

“The honor goes to a nationally recognized business leader who exhibits values the Bible promotes, takes the Bible into the marketplace, and lives it, said Richard Glickstein, president of the New York-based organization.

“Matthew 6:33 says to seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Steve Green exemplifies that in the market place. In business, it is difficult to choose biblical values over the money. With Green and his entire family, it is God first, the company second. They live that out every day.”

Founder in the early 1970s and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., Hobby Lobby has 525 arts and crafts retail stores with more than 20,000 employees in the U.S. The decision to close stores on Sundays cost the company more than $100 million in product sales each year. The decision to pay all new employees at least 80 percent more than the minimum wage is a further reflection of the company’s values. Hobby Lobby also offers biblically based spiritual and financial counseling to its employees.

“The guidelines that are given to us in Scripture. We believe they are God given. As our Creator, He knows what works best. Sometimes it is counterintuitive we think to be the most successful we have to be open longer hours, but the guideline the Scripture says to take a day of rest, Green said.

“As we apply the principles the scripture the Bible gives us, we believe this is what is best for the business. Not that we won’t have challenges or struggles and operate the business according to biblical principles that we will find the most success in our lives and in business by doing that.”

Nearly half of Hobby Lobby’s annual profits are donated according to Biblical principles and for the promotion and reading of the Bible itself. These donations have allowed Hobby Lobby to acquire one of the world’s largest private collections of Bibles and Biblical artifacts, a collection that will be housed in a 50,000-square foot Bible museum opening in Washington, D.C., in the near future. Green has been at the forefront of this project since its beginning in 2009.

NBA will also make a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit charity designated by Green that has biblical values.

Glickstein said the NBA was founded 71 years ago during World War II by a group of American business leaders. The mission of the organization is to encourage individuals to read the Bible. Early in the existence of the NBA, the members were asked by NBC radio to read the Bible over the station’s coverage of the Japanese’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Tonya Andris contributed to this report.

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (ANS) — If you are fan of American TV dramas, you will immediately recognize veteran Hollywood actor, Corbin Bernsen, for his role as divorceCorbinBernsen attorney Arnold Becker on the NBC drama series days on L.A. Law, and also for his role as the retired cop Henry Spencer on USA Network’s comedy-drama series Psych. You may have also seen him as Roger Dorn in the films Major League (film), and Major League II. He has also appeared regularly on other shows, including General Hospital and Cuts.

In fact, he has appeared on over 50 magazine covers and earned both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, hosted Saturday Night Live, and appeared on Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show.

Bernsen was born in North Hollywood, California, the son of Harry Bernsen, Jr., a Hollywood producer, and veteran soap actress Jeanne Cooper, who plays Catherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1972. Bernsen is also a “double Bruin,” having received both a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA in Playwriting from UCLA.

But there is another side to the tough exterior of this Hollywood fixture, and that is his faith-filled film, Rust, which is about a minister who walks away from God, a journey which takes him back to this hometown where an incredible tragedy has rocked the small population and landed his childhood friend in a mental hospital.

Rust is a 2010 drama written and directed by Bernsen, in which he played Jimmy Moore and was released direct-to-video on Oct. 5, 2010. The film takes place in a Canadian town. The film is about how a midlife crisis of faith rocks his life’s calling, and former minister Jimmy Moore. But can he get to the bottom of this mysterious fire that has shocked the population and clear his boyhood friend Travis?

It is unique story of friendship and calling, and Rust (http://rustmovie.com) may well be Corbin Bernsen’s most personal project to date. Funded by and set in the real-life Canadian town of Kipling, Saskatchewan (and featuring local citizens in prominent roles), Rust was inspired by the spiritual journey that Corbin has been traveling since his father’s death in 2008.

So knowing this, it was hardly surprising to find Corbin Bernsen on the Red Carpet at the 21st annual Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards and Report to the Entertainment Industry held on Feb. 15, that attracted many celebrities to the occasion the Universal Hilton Hotel, a skip and a hop from the heart of Hollywood, aka “The Movie Capital of the World.”

So, as I talked with him, I first of all asked him why he was at the event, and he replied, “I’m presenting an award for a performance that has as faith influence in it, but I’m here because also because I’ve supported the Movieguide® Awards and Dr. Ted Baehr [its founder] and everything he’s done for thirty years to influence Hollywood. This kind of [family-friendly] film making — which is part of storytelling — can be not only good for business. It is not only good for people, but good for business.”

I then asked Bernsen, who has been married to British actress Amanda Pays since 1988 (they have four sons), if he felt that Hollywood had played a role in all the violence we have seen recently in the United States.

“Well,” he began, “I think we’re definitely culpable to some degree. However, it’s like anything in life and that is that you can’t put your finger on just one thing. For instance, was it an AR-15 weapon that’s out there that somebody [was said] to have used. Is that what really killed a child? No, that isn’t; it was an individual who had fallen from humanity. However, in that way, yeah, video games and movies have had an influence.

“I’m not a Pollyanna guy,” he continued. “I’ve been in them and I’ve produced them and I support them. But there’s also a place where you draw a line with who sees what. A lot of that comes down to parenting; to controls; and how old somebody can be to do something. But any kid, in including my 14 year old, can get his hand on stuff and that’s just crazy.

“When I was a kid, we used to play ‘army’ and take a stick and turn it into a gun. So there’s a part of human nature wanting to be a bit cavemen, battling it out for the cave and for food and that’s not going to escape us.

“But all these things are there and I’m not saying they have to go away, but they have to be controlled by parenting and tempered with allowing some light into a life as well.”

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Jerry Mathers will always be remembered as the loveable “Beaver” Cleaver from the immensely popular TV show, “Leave It To Beaver,” but the actor recently said in an interview that Hollywood needs to create more family-centered programming.

“I think it’s very important that we still have movies that families can go to see like I did when I was a kid on Saturday mornings,” Mathers told ASSIST Ministries founderJerry Mathers Dan Wooding.  “We should be able to let our kids go to the movies and not really wonder what they’re going to be seeing. It is something that I think our kids deserve.”

Mathers showed his support for attended the 15th annual MOVIEGUIDE Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry in Hollywood on Feb. 15.

The actor told Wooding, “Adults should be able to see whatever they want to see, but I believe that there should also be some programming that you can take your children to and not walk away and go, ‘Ooh, I wish I hadn’t seen that’, especially when they’re young.”

The Sioux City, Iowa, native played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, a suburban boy who always seemed to find himself in trouble. Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont, both deceased, played Beaver’s parents, June and Ward, and Tony Dow played Beaver’s older brother, Wally.

Clockwise from left, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, Hugh Beaumont, and Jerry Mathers

Wooding said in his article, when the series was not renewed at the beginning of the 1963-64 season and many of the series stars wanted to move on to other projects, Mathers entered Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and from there he served in the Air Force National Guard (1967-1969). He was mistakenly reported as killed in action during the Vietnam War, but all of his duties were stateside. After leaving military service he attended and graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 1973 with a BA in philosophy.

Mathers said family-friendly TV and movies are a niche market that needs to be filled with people with great ideas that need to be supported. Therefore, parents can take their children to see the movies and not end up disappointed.

Learn more about Mathers at www.jerrymathers.com and MOVIEGUIDE at www.movieguide.org.

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) — The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is considering comprehensive tax reforms that will directly affect charitable giving – including

Ruth Thomas

Ruth Thomas

“limiting the tax rate against which contributions may be deducted; a dollar cap on total itemized deductions; [and] a floor below which contributions may not be deducted.”

The restrictions could be devastating for charities like SAT-7 (http://sat7usa.org), which broadcasts Christian satellite television to over 15 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as our ministry, ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) – www.assistnews.net.

On Feb. 14, Ruth Thomas, VP for Finance and Administration at SAT-7 USA, testified at a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, D.C. She discussed the far-reaching importance of charitable deductions, as well as the integrity and efficiency with which non-profits like SAT-7 operate.

“Non-profits have struggled since 2008 because of the Recession. To hamstring the public’s generosity at this point would severely impact the good work of thousands of non-profits to change the law in such a way that limits the ability of non-profits to do good with well-established efficiency and effectiveness will mean that needs will go unmet, or must be addressed by more government spending, with less efficiency,” she told committee members.

Thomas manages the SAT-7 USA office in Easton, Md. She has been with the organization for 10 years. As a non-profit finance officer, Ruth works with the President, Board of Directors and International CFO to maintain a high level of transparency and accountability to SAT-7’s donor base. She ensures that the internal workings of accounting, marketing and development operations at SAT-7 are functioning properly.

SAT-7 has achieved a 4-star rating with Charity Navigator© for the past three years, has had BBB© accreditation since 2011, and is a member in good standing with ECFA® since 1999.

“Please join us in praying for the wisdom and discernment of the House Ways and Means Committee members, as they consider possible reforms for charitable giving tax laws,” said a spokesperson for SAT-7 USA.

To read more about the hearing, please go to: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=318995

By Dennis Daily
Special to ASSIST News Service

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (ANS) — As a journalist who was raised in a Catholic home and went through 12 years in Catholic schools — and, like many Catholic boys,

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

thought he wanted to be a priest at one time – I am watching closely the events that are happening in the wake of the resignation of the Pope.

I awakened to the headline, “Pope Benedict XVI to resign, citing age and waning energy.” For there it was in black-and-white in the Washington Post, “Citing failing strength of ‘mind and body,’ Pope Benedict XVI stunned his closest aides and more than 1 billion Catholics by resigning on Monday, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years and ending the tenure of a formidable theologian who preached a gospel of conservative faith to a fast-changing world.

“Keeping with his reputation as a traditionalist, Pope Benedict delivered his resignation – effective Feb. 28 – in Latin, to a private church body in Vatican City. ‘I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,’ he said. ‘For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter.'”

On hearing this news, I was startled for several reasons:

First of all, since this is only the second time in 2,000 years that a Pope has called it quits, I realized instantly that this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Actually, it’s a once-in-many-lifetimes kind of thing.

From a pure journalistic standpoint, this was QUITE a story.

Secondly, I began to realize all the things that must be going on in the Vatican to prepare for the election of a new Pope.

I’m fortunate, when I was in high school, a nearly ordained priest came to the parish and he taught religion to us. You have to remember that most Catholic kids, and others who go to religion-sponsored schools, have to attend a religion class every day. No Sunday school for us Catholic kids.

The young priest assigned to my high school would eventually, in later years, go on to teach at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that this youthful priest was a real rebel — a fire-brand.

He had spent his seminary time at Collegium Canisianum, located in beautiful Innsbruck, Austria.

It’s funny, after all these years, I can still remember his mailing address there, when he went back for a while as part of a project: Tschurtschenthalerstrasse 7. I guess had his school been on White Street of Alps Boulevard I would have never remembered its address.

Actually, Kress was more than a fire-brand. Some in the parish thought he was a radical. His sermons were full of questions and doubt that troubled many of the older members of the parish.

One week, after wondering aloud from the pulpit if there really HAD been a “Great Flood” and if the “Noah Story” were just a great parable, my own grandmother went to the pastor, Kress’s boss, asking that he be sent to some other parish.

Part of his reasoning about the existence of a Great Flood was based on similar stories in myriad other cultures. He seemed to be more excited about relaying the liberal Catholic thought in which he was immersed during his time in Innsbruck, than delivering a traditional sermon that would warm the hearts of the congregation.

But, that was Father Kress.

The reason he enters the story here, is that during those years in Austria, Kress had worked among many members of the Catholic Church there who were helping to prepare for the Second Vatican Council … that great assembling of religious leaders of all stripes, from around the world. It had been called lovable Pope John XXIII.

Kress’s seminary years were spent during an intense period of debate within the church. The conflict, of course, centered on whether the liberalization of the Church was indeed necessary.

John Paul XXIII had used an Italian word to describe what he wanted to do at the council; that word was “aggiornamento,” or “updating.” But the then roly-poly Pope who, while a bishop, had saved the lives of countless Jews who would have been swept up in the Holocaust, wanted more than an updating. He told media that he wanted to “open the windows and let some fresh air into the church.”

Liberals in the church in Europe were thrilled at the Pope’s announced intentions. They were even happier when John XXIII invited observers to the council from every known religion in the world.

Conservatives were worried that the Church would make a decidedly leftward shift. The church had already begun to look more catholic (with a small “c”) and more universal in John XXIII’s time; he had increased the number of bishops and cardinals from Third World countries and worked for the canonization of saints from lesser-known areas of the world.

So, we students in the 1960s, during the Vatican Council, were given a running play-by-play of what was going on in the halls of the Vatican by someone who had been in the thick of planning for the multi-year re-examination of the status of Catholicism.

We would watch news reports and Father Kress would point to the TV screen and say: “Oh, look, there’s Cardinal Konig,” or, “There’s Cardinal Frings.”

Kress had worked with these men, especially with Frings. The cardinal, who was from the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, had graduated from the Canisianum and maintained close ties with the school.

Frings, at the time, was one of the closest of confidants of another priest from the region, a teacher and writer who, at the time, was perceived to be on the liberal bandwagon.

That priest was Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, today’s Pope.

Frings and Ratzinger and two other liberal thinkers, Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx, were Fr. Kress’s heroes.

Shortly before the first session of the council opened, Frings had given a speech in Genoa, about the First Vatican Council. It called in 1868 by Pope Pius IX, ostensibly to deal with a quickly changing world in the height of the Industrial Revolution.

Frings looked at the impact of that first council and wondered if Pope John XXIII was simply re-opening an old concept, putting a modern-day “aggiornamento” spin on it.

When the Pope was informed about Frings’ speech, he summoned the clergyman to the Vatican. The session was not negative, as Frings had feared. John XXIII actually liked the speech. Frings thanked him. He didn’t tell the Pope that the speech had been written by his friend, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

After leaving high school, and those five-day-a-week sessions with Fr. Kress, and the daily play-by-play of what was happening in Rome, my thoughts of the Second Vatican Council faded.

Occasionally, I would have dinner with Fr. Kress, during the time that both he and I lived in Washington, DC.

I remember one evening when he wondered what had happened to all the fire-brand liberals of the European church over the years. He told me that many of them had “converted” to the conservative cause. One of them was the man who would one day become the first German-born Pope in a long time … and who would startle the world by resigning.

There will be a lot of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” over why Ratzinger is leaving his post. As a close adviser to the late Pope John-Paul II, the current Pope saw his predecessor grow weaker and weaker and shakier and shakier, while still trying to minister to his flock.

I am sure that Pope Benedict didn’t want to be that kind of Pope.

It will be interesting for all of us, though, to see what kind of role a former Pope will play in society. The last time anyone had a chance to witness that was 77 years before Columbus first sailed to the New World.

 

Dennis Daily is a lifelong journalist and radio news anchor and programmer. He spent 20-years with UPI (United Press International). During most of his tenure there he worked for the now-defunct UPI Radio Network. During several of those years he served as the network’s Religion Editor. He previously worked as a national spokesman for the USDA in Washington, was a Congressional Press Secretary, all-news anchor and producer for “The Larry King Show.” Long associated with religious programming, Daily returned to his hometown in southern Indiana for 26 consecutive years to anchor and produce five hours from four churches on Christmas Eve. For several of those years the broadcast was relayed around the world via Armed Forces Radio. After his two decades with UPI he went back into local radio in California’s San Joaquin Valley. He now lives in Palm Springs, Calif., where he is semi-retired. He continues to do freelance radio work, voicing daily reports on various topics. Dennis also produces the Religion & Ethic s Minute based on the stories of the ASSIST News Service. He can be contacted by e-mail at: newscaster@earthlinknet.