December 12th marks the beginning of the 2017 Hanukkah celebration. This holiday marks a holy celebration in the Jewish community of the rededication of the Second Temple. It is also a time for children to create dreidels and menorahs in arts and crafts class (fond memories). To mark the start of this celebration, I decided to take a look at the Jewish population in America.
October 31st, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 These to the the Catholic Church door in his town, beginning what we now call the reformation; the great split of the Catholic Church in Europe. Ok, actually the whole nailing to the door thing has been dramatized a bit, but the point is this is the date that is used to mark the beginning of the reformation.
Joel Osteen has been on television stations and in bookstores for years as the “smiling preacher.” Osteen has built and empire through a method of Gospel that does not focus on condemnation or hate; a direct contrast with Christian Right leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Osteen’s message has attacked huge audiences over the the last several years. His Lakewood Church has over 43,000 seats filled each week and his Television program is broadcast nationwide. Osteen has strong appeal to many religious Americans because of his happy attitude, less focus on culture war issues, and his promise that God takes care of those who believe.