Behind the headlines: As winter storm cripples Texas power grid, people of faith rally to help

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Texans like to brag that they live in “a whole other country.”

I don’t suppose, though, that whoever came up with that slogan had Siberia in mind.

As a severe winter storm crippled the state’s energy grid this week, my parents were among 4 million residents who lost electricity. Mom and Dad endured a really chilly night before going to stay at my sister’s house for a few days.

Heroes (think “Mattress Mack”) and villains (#FlyingTed) have emerged, while people of faith — as they tend to do during disasters — rally to help.

Here at Religion Unplugged, Jillian Cheney tells the inspiring story of a church that partnered with a Jeep club to rescue snowed-in families.

Houses of worship losing power themselves hampered some efforts to provide reliable sanctuary, but “leaders are doing all they can to connect and comfort their communities,” Christianity Today’s Kate Shellnutt reports.

Churches and other faith groups teamed up to help open an emergency warming center for the homeless at a Dallas convention center, Religion News Service’s Bob Smietana notes.

Catholic churches in San Antonio and Fort Worth opened their doors, according to the Catholic News Agency’s Jonah McKeown.

Among others mobilizing to help: Southern Baptists, Churches of Christ and Episcopalians.

Power Up: The Week’s Best Reads

1. A congregation of avatars: A few pastors minister “to the wild universe of virtual reality, or VR for short,” this fascinating feature by World magazine’s Juliana Chan Erikson explains.

“Churches that meet in virtual reality allow users, represented by digital characters known as ‘avatars,’ to walk through ‘worlds’ designed to look like churches,” Erikson writes. “Avatars can sit in a pew, listen to a preacher, and talk with each other afterward — all without the need for masks, social distancing, or Zoom.”

2. The Christian prophets who say Trump is coming again: Last month, veteran religion writer Julia Duin wrote a viral piece for Religion Unplugged about charismatics at war with each other over failed prophecies of a Trump victory in the 2020 election.

Her latest story — this time for Politico — delves deeper into that subject.

A related must read: New York Times religion writer Ruth Graham’s front-page coverage from last Friday on what happens when Christian prophets are wrong.

CONTINUE READING: “As Storm Cripples Texas’ Energy Grid, People Of Faith Rally To Help,” by Bobby Ross, Jr., at Religion Unplugged.

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