Posted in Christian Chronicle

Young man with autism has a heart for homeless

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Young man with autism has a heart for homeless (reporting from Camarillo, Calif.): California church member overcomes fears as he leads ministry that serves the needy.

By Bobby Ross Jr.  | The Christian Chronicle

CAMARILLO, Calif. — A few miles from the Camarillo Church of Christ, a man with a backpack and a bicycle squats at a busy intersection.

Chris Kibbe, who describes himself as between jobs and homeless, holds a cardboard sign.

“Spare a little kindness,” the handwritten message begs. “God bless.”

Not long ago, many members of the Camarillo church — which meets in a palm-tree-shaded building just off the Ventura Freeway — might have averted their eyes and driven right past Kibbe.

But now — thanks to a packet ministry started by Luke McAllister, a 20-year-old church member with autism — the congregation is equipped and eager to help.

“It’s easy to become blind to things,” preacher Alan Beard said. “But in the same way that if you have a watering can, you look for flowers to water — if you have a packet, you look for someone who’s thirsty or needs a quick meal or a couple of dollars.”

“Luke’s Packet Ministry” offers snacks, cash — and hope — to downtrodden souls.

This story appears in the September 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Posted in Christian Chronicle

Amid massive biker rally, Bible camp thrives

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Amid massive biker rally, Bible camp thrives (reporting from Deadwood, S.D.): Deep in the Black Hills National Forest, Christians from the Dakotas and beyond renew ties and enjoy fellowship.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

DEADWOOD, S.D. — Revving engines of Harleys, Yamahas and Kawasakis are the first clue you’re getting close to Black Hills Bible Camp.

For a half-century, the youth and family camp has brought together members of Churches of Christ during the same week as the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

“It’s a little piece of heaven,” said Dustri Brown, 33, who met her future husband, Lance, at the Bible camp when she was 9 and he was 8. “You’re singing and praising God. The worldly things don’t matter. It’s the joy of being together with fellow Christians.”

Each August, the motorcycle rally attracts an estimated 500,000 people to the southwestern region of South Dakota — and thousands of bikers cruise U.S. Highway 385 near the turnoff for the camp.

About 15 minutes south of Deadwood — around the time you see a green sign that says Mount Rushmore is 39 miles away — you reach a gravel road shrouded by yellow pines that stretch 80 to 100 feet high.

Four miles of bumpy twists and turns inside the Black Hills National Forest lead you past an outdoor swimming hole, over a little bridge and — finally — to the kitchen, the chapel and the wooden cabins that serve as the weeklong home for nearly 200 Christians from the Dakotas and nine other states.

From the campers, you hear conflicting stories about why Black Hills Bible Camp always coincides with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

This story appears in the September 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Posted in Web extras: The Ross News

A walkoff win for the Rangers — and other fun at Globe Life Park

Ballgame! #WalkItOff #Rangers #NeverEverQuit

A photo posted by Bobby Ross Jr. (@bobbyrossjr) on

By Bobby Ross Jr.

I love nothing more than cheering for my favorite team — the Texas Rangers.

My sons — Brady and Keaton — and I enjoyed three games at Globe Life Park in Arlington last week. We got to see two wins, including a walkoff hit-by-pitch in extra innings.

See a few more photos below.

Continue reading “A walkoff win for the Rangers — and other fun at Globe Life Park”

Posted in Web extras: The Ross News

On a reporting trip to the Dakotas, I found Faith — and reached a major career goal

On my first trip to South Dakota, I found Faith.

A photo posted by Bobby Ross Jr. (@bobbyrossjr) on

By Bobby Ross Jr.

Over the weekend, I traveled to the Dakotas on assignment for The Christian Chronicle.

With my trip to South Dakota and North Dakota, I reached a major career goal: reporting from all 50 states.

See a few more photos — including my visit to Mount Rushmore — below.

Continue reading “On a reporting trip to the Dakotas, I found Faith — and reached a major career goal”

Posted in Web extras: The Ross News

Angels and an ocean view: Scenes from Southern California reporting trip

My view as I leave for church this morning. #GodIsAlive

A photo posted by Bobby Ross Jr. (@bobbyrossjr) on

 

By Bobby Ross Jr.

I spent the weekend on a reporting trip to Southern California.

As you can see,  I had a tremendous view at Pepperdine University in Malibu, where I stayed.

See a few more photos below.
Continue reading “Angels and an ocean view: Scenes from Southern California reporting trip”

Posted in GetReligion

GetReligion: August 2016

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Links to posts by Bobby Ross Jr.

Khizr Khan calls Donald Trump a ‘black soul’: Is there a spiritual connotation? Published Aug. 1.

Was I too easy on Religion News Service for covering Democratic convention but not GOP one? Published Aug. 2.

In era of Donald Trump, is it true Muslim scholars are no longer split on ethics of voting? Published Aug. 3.

Prosperity gospel vs. social gospel: What religion means to Trump, Clinton & Co. Published Aug. 4.

BYU, the Big 12 and the LGBT attack on the university’s honor code: what’s really at issue. Published Aug. 10.

A man with her father’s heart walks bride down the aisle — where’s the faith in this story? Published Aug. 11.

Citizen Trump in Orlando, the Sequel: So WHO were the evangelicals in the room? Published Aug. 12.

Husband and wife of 63 years die 20 minutes apart — and the religious details are beautiful. Published Aug. 12.

About that Pew survey on politics and the pulpit: So what makes an issue POLITICAL? Published Aug. 15.

Homeless ministry on wheels: a compelling take on ‘least of these’ in wealthy Silicon Valley. Published Aug. 16.

Where’s the beef? Report on Texas attorney’s controversial prayers missing crucial details. Published Aug. 17.

Anti-Muslim hate crime targets a … Lebanese Christian? That sad murder case in Tulsa. Published Aug. 18.

Battling cancer, major-league coach puts faith into action — but what exactly does that mean? Published Aug. 22.

Posted in Christian Chronicle

After devastating fire, St. Louis church refuses to lose hope

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After devastating fire, St. Louis church refuses to lose hope (reporting from St. Louis): Missouri congregation that ‘lost everything’ keeps letting its light shine as it seeks God’s guidance — and funding.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

ST. LOUIS — A fire destroyed the leased storefront facility where the St. Louis Metropolitan Church of Christ met for more than a decade.

But amid the charred debris, an imprint of a cross remained on a wall — a symbol of hope.

“God let us know he’s still in control,” member Tywana Thomas said.

The church — which has 23 people on its roll — has clung to that assurance since the Jan. 27 fire. The blaze ignited when the building’s owner fell asleep while cooking.

Total losses — all uninsured — totaled $30,000 for a congregation already struggling financially, minister Christopher Mitchell said.

“I’m still grieving,” member Angelina Petty said. “We lost everything. We didn’t lose our faith, but we lost every physical thing.”

This story appears in the August 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.