I ran across a few stories this week that aren’t especially about Christmas, but caught my eye nonetheless.

An e-mail from David George, who heads the WMU Foundation, announced that someone has donated half of a house to the Woman’s Missionary Union. The other half of the 2,100 sq. ft. house, valued at $299,000 and located on the Palma Sola Bay near Bradenton, Florida, goes to the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Obviously, the two organizations are working together to sell the house and split the proceeds. So, if you’ve been thinking about investing in a retirement home in Florida, here’s a chance to buy a house and help out two good causes at the same time.

 A story in Raleigh’s News & Observer included a photo of Allison Warden, who has had her Subaru wrapped in signs declaring that Jesus will return on May 21, 2011. Apparently, the folks at “Family Radio” have convinced her that they’ve pieced together enough supposed timelines from the Books of Genesis, Daniel and Revelation to be confident that the rapture is coming soon, 7,000 years to the day after Noah closed the door to the ark. Funny thing, she doesn’t look like a fanatical end-times believer. Go figure.

A third story that caught my eye was Newsweek magazine’s incredibly obtuse inclusion of Melissa Rogers as a one of the “Faces of the Christian Right.” Rogers, who directs the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University School of Divinity when she’s not in Washington, D.C. working as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is former legal counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, and a tireless advocate for the separation of church and state. Given that the religious right is committed to melding the two, it makes no sense at all to include Rogers as a “face” of the Christian right, as several people observe in this ABP article. The Newsweek list also included Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a strong proponent of social justice who leans strongly to the left in both religion and politics. Why would either of these folks be included as representatives of the religious right? One could argue that they’re both significant voices in current debate regarding religious and political issues, but neither of them belong on the right, and the headline writers at Newsweek obviously have a lot to learn about religion and politics.

What’s the most curious story you’ve run across this Christmas season? You never know what you’ll run across …

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