So you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding? Five pieces of advice from the pros

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(RNS) — More than a third of young adults in the United States identify as non-religious. But many of them still want a wedding that is more personal or spiritual than a simple courthouse ceremony. Chances are increasingly likely if you attend the wedding of a couple under 30 years old, their officiant won’t be … Read more

Judge orders forfeiture of ancient tablet from Museum of the Bible

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(RNS) — A federal judge has ordered Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain whose president is Museum of the Bible founder Steve Green, to forfeit an ancient tablet bearing a rare fragment of the Epic of Gilgamesh.  The clay tablet, roughly the size of an iPhone, was originally brought to the United States by … Read more

‘The last time we had a communication shift this drastic was the printing press’

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Jeff Baker, 36, was an ordained minister in the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec for nearly a decade. He kept his queer identity a secret while he was working as a Baptist pastor. He left a year before the pandemic. In July 2020, he and his spouse founded their own online church, Chosen Family … Read more

‘They’re looking for a pastor on this journey’

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Paul Swearengin, 56, who goes by Pastor Paul on TikTok, said he doesn’t consider himself necessarily a deconstructionist, but he’s been roped into the fold. On the Wednesday after the presidential election in November 2020, Swearengin, a former evangelical pastor and lifelong Republican (his wife is a former Republican mayor of Fresno, California), made a … Read more

‘God isn’t surprised by our questions’

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ToryBae, 34, is a creator whose account has a toe in a variety of TikTok communities: sticker TikTok, adoption Tiktok, deconstruction TikTok. She finds deconstruction TikTok engaging because it’s educational. “There are so many people within the deconstruction TikTok community that are way more well-versed and so intelligent, so I have a lot to learn … Read more

‘I didn’t have anyone in my life who I could talk to about it’

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Jesseca Reddell, 32, left the Pentecostal church she grew up in about 10 years ago. As part of her departure, she began researching the belief system she had left behind.  “When I was in the church, I was very into apologetics,” said Reddell in a phone interview with Religion News Service. As she left the … Read more

‘One belief kind of fell after the other’

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Ricky Brock Jr., 34 , is the father of four children. He joined TikTok last fall to make “stupid videos” and slowly gathered a following of 500. In December 2020, he responded to another creator’s video explaining why he was no longer a devout Christian. In his video response, Brock explained how his theology degree … Read more

‘Not everyone loves me’

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Before he was Jesus with pink eyeshadow and a rainbow scarf, he was a political TikToker pushing out videos during the 2020 election. “People kept telling me, ‘You look just like Jesus, except you’re gay,” said TikTok creator JeGaysus. So he made a Halloween costume for “the King of Queens,” and thus, JeGaysus was born. … Read more

Dating as a Catholic: Sweet dream or not-so-beautiful nightmare?

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(RNS) — A social ritual that’s part Hallmark movie, part gantlet of humiliations, dating is a constant courtship with the unknown. So any enterprising young dater looking to alleviate some uncertainties from the process begins by eliminating variables. And religion can be a good place to start.  After all, nearly half of American adults believe … Read more

Global interfaith prayer service advocates for vaccine equity

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(RNS) — Faith leaders from across the globe and from numerous faith traditions gathered together on Tuesday (July 20) both on Zoom and with some 100 participants in person on the National Mall in Washington to urge President Joe Biden to share COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles and to advocate for equitable global distribution of vaccines.  “Unless the pandemic … Read more