Thursday's News & Ideas

  • Hard-working pastors
  • Clash in Nigeria
  • Red pews, blue pulpits
  • Faith and doubt
  • Resolution help
  • Thomas the Tank Engine

Pastors' work hours tallied in new surveyBaptist Press:  Protestant pastors working long hours, with mainliners spending more time in meetings and less on sermon prep than evangelicals. A clash of civilizations in NigeriaSpiegel:  Almost nowhere else in the world does the rivalry between religions lead to bloody conflict as often as in Nigeria, home of the would-be underwear bomber.The Guardian:  Africa's apocalyptic moodRed pew, blue pulpitLouisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, faith blog: Donkeys are often preaching to elephants in Presbyterian churches, a denominational survey says.It is only human for doubt to test our faith in GodMelbourne Australia Herald-Sun: Why doesn't God reveal himself so obviously that no one could doubt his existence?Internet resources to help keep your resolutions Associated Baptist Press: Ken Satterfield has a list of internet resources to help you keep your New Year's resolutions.

The Spark

Why the grumpy vicar who created Thomas the Tank Engine ended up HATING himTo many people, the world of Thomas the Tank engine may seem unfashionable. But youngsters love the hierarchy of the railways, because that's how they see the world, Nicholas Jones writes in the London Daily Mail. The big engines are like older boys on the playground, while smaller ones such as Thomas are the younger children. But what about the man behind the tank engine, Reverend W.V. Awdry? His is a poignant story: an innocent, financially naive man who cared only about entertaining children and who earned little money from the books.