GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Not so stingy, guys

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As a superdirectory, the National Council of Churches has a lot going for it — but it could have more if it gave away more.

The homepage has a good selection of religion news, analysis and other helpful information. A recent edition included an article on a mainline Protestant leader’s selection to preach at the National Prayer Service after Barack Obama’s inauguration as president.

Other links tell of the NCC’s work in opposing human trafficking, as well as fighting the widespread abuse of women in the Congo. Other reports look at dangers of Christian Zionism and Islamic extremism. Still another has NCC’s Rev. Michael Kinnamon joining Jewish and Muslim leaders in praying for peace

Many of those concerns get an ongoing look in EcuLink, a crisp, good-looking quarterly newsletter with more than 150,000 readers. Leave your mailing address and get it free.

Also click the link for Worldwide Faith News, a clearinghouse for denominational press releases and other documents. You can get them all e-mailed to you daily, but it’s probably best to read them online — unless you don’t mind several per day.

So what’s the problem with the site? Well, one is the link for the New Revised Standard Version , the NCC’s elegant, accurate translation of the Bible. When you open it, do you get the Bible? Nope, just some sales talk and a price list. Other translators actually post Bible texts online — such as the International Bible Society, with its New International Version.

Slightly better is the council’s Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. It offers sample pages from the upcoming 2008 edition, plus the latest stats for the member denominations. It also has a directory of denominational Web sites, plus general sites like Ecunet and Adherents.com. For more, you’ll have to buy the book.

All told, the NCC’s resources offer many uses: sermon fodder, small-group topics, candidates for special appeals, subjects for personal prayers. But it could have been as generous as other such sites.

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Written by Jim Davis

February 21, 2009 at 6:23 am

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