CULTURE DIGEST: Chris Tomlin 'most prolific songwriter' in U.S. now, exec says
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Worship leader Chris Tomlin "is the most prolific songwriter in the United States now, in this past decade," a Christian music executive said in a CNN feature highlighting the differences between Tomlin and secular stars.
Howard Rachinski, CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), the company that tracks what music is used in churches around the world, said last year churches used 128 songs Tomlin wrote or co-wrote.
According to CNN.com March 9, CCLI estimates that every Sunday in the United States, between 60,000 and 120,000 churches are singing Tomlin's worship songs.
The article identified Tomlin, who leads worship for Passion conferences and helped pack the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with college students in January, as the "undisputed king of worship music."
But CNN noted the secret to Tomlin's success: "The stage, the lights, the band aren't about him. As lively as his shows are, the point is not to get you inside the doors. The point is to get you singing in church."
Churches across the spectrum -- black, white, Asian, large, small -- connect with Tomlin's songs, the article said. His goal, he told CNN, is to write songs that communicate what people would like to say to God.
Tomlin, 40, grew up learning country music in Texas, he said, and he didn't give any thought to a career writing worship music. But in college, as he starting writing worship songs, he was invited to lead Christian conferences with 10,000 students, CNN reported.
"I was just writing songs for the church and from there they just started taking off," Tomlin, now the worship pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, said.
Unlike mainstream musical celebrities, Tomlin isn't driven by money or his own fame, the article said.
"I feel like I have a responsibility, that God has given me a gift to write songs for His church that people listen to and that people are coming to expect now," he said. "... The difference to me in the music is that I ask that God's presence be on it and that people, when they sing these songs, sense that God does something."
Tomlin added that when he's on stage, it's not about him. In fact, he prefers to step back from the microphone and listen to God's people praising Him in unison.
"It's about a greater name than my name," Tomlin told CNN. "My name is on the ticket, but this is about a greater name."
BAPTIST CONGRESSMEN RANK HIGH ON CONSERVATIVE GROUP'S LIST -- More than half of the 41 Southern Baptists in the U.S. Congress are ranked in the top categories of conservative voters by the American Conservative Union.
The 2012 ACU Ratings of Congress list 24 Southern Baptists, including six who voted 100 percent of the time for the conservative position on what the ACU considers key legislation. The ACU released its rankings in February and has published the list the past 42 years.
Members of Congress are judged based on their voting in areas the ACU considers the nation's founding principles, including constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, a strong national defense and traditional American values.
Designated Defenders of Liberty are those whom the ACU judged chose the conservative position on all key legislation. Southern Baptists so ranked are Republican Representatives John Fleming of Louisiana's 4th District and a member of First Baptist Church in Minden; Jeff Duncan of South Carolina's 3rd District and a member of First Baptist Church in Clinton; Trey Gowdy, South Carolina's 4th District and member of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg; Mike Conaway, Texas' 11th District and member of First Baptist Church, Midland; Randy Neugebauer, Texas' 19th District and member of First Baptist Church, Lubbock; and Bill Flores, Texas' 17th District and member of Central Baptist Church, Bryan.
Designated ACU Conservatives are Congress members who voted the conservative position on at least 80 percent of legislation, falling short of 100 percent.
Southern Baptists so ranked are U.S. Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and U.S. Representatives Spencer Bachus of Alabama's 6th District; Trent Franks of Arizona's 2nd District; Tim Griffin, Arkansas' 2nd District; Steve Southerland, Florida's 2nd District; Daniel Webster, Florida's 10th District; Austin Scott, Georgia's 8th District; and Paul Broun, Georgia's 10th District.
Completing the list of Southern Baptist ACU Conservatives are Tom Graves, Georgia's 14th District; Marlin Stutzman, Indiana's 3rd District; Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi's 1st District; Gregg Harper, Mississippi's 3rd District; Sam Graves, Missouri's 6th District; Steve Pearce, New Mexico's 2nd District; James Lankford, Oklahoma's 5th District; Louis Gohmert, Texas' 1st District and Randy Forbes, Virginia's 4th District.
ANOTHER ABORTION-RELATED DEATH OCCURS IN MD. -- Another woman who underwent an abortion in Maryland has died, this time resulting in suspension of the lethal procedures at the clinic involved.
The unidentified woman suffered cardiac arrest and died at a Baltimore clinic, state health officials said in a March 8 letter to legislators, The Baltimore Sun reported. A defibrillator at the clinic, Associates in OB/GYN Care, did not function, and the doctor who performed the abortion was not certified to perform CPR, according to the letter.
The news came only a month after a 29-year-old New York woman died reportedly following a third-trimester abortion at another Maryland clinic. Jennifer Morbelli of New Rochelle, N.Y., died at a Rockville, Md., hospital Feb. 7, days after beginning the lengthy abortion method at a clinic in Germantown, Md., according to reports. Her unborn daughter was reportedly 33 weeks into gestation when she died.
LeRoy Carhart, reportedly one of only four third-trimester abortion doctors in the United States, performed the procedure at Germantown Reproductive Health Services, according to pro-life organizations. Carhart performs abortions not only in Maryland but also at clinics in Indianapolis and Bellevue, Neb., pro-life blogger Jill Stanek reported.
The Maryland Board of Physicians is conducting a preliminary investigation of Carhart but has taken no action against the clinic or him so far.
The state suspended surgical abortions not only at the Baltimore clinic involved in the unidentified woman's death but two other clinics, The Sun reported. The other two clinics are located at Landover, Md., and Silver Spring, Md. Associates in OB/GYN Care owns all three clinics.
Seventeen members of Maryland's House of Delegates questioned in a Feb. 28 letter whether the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was adequately enforcing new rules issued last year for the licensing of abortion clinics.
The operation of some of the clinics reminds him of "back-alley abortions," Del. Nicholaus Kipke, a Republican who was the lead signer of the letter, told The Sun. "Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, I think everyone should agree if abortion is going to be allowed, it should be safe...."
S.D. STRENGTHENS 72-HOUR WAITING PERIOD FOR ABORTION -- South Dakota has strengthened its law requiring a three-day waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, signed into law March 8 a bill clarifying weekends and holidays do not count in the 72-hour wait required by a 2011 law, National Right to Life (NRL) News Today reported. The three-day wait is mandated after a woman meets with an abortion doctor. The 2011 law also requires the mother to consult with a pregnancy care center before undergoing an abortion.
"In giving pregnant [women] more time to consider all of the information provided by the state and all of the alternatives to abortion, we protect South Dakotans from biased counseling and misinformation from abortion providers," said Valerie Johnson of South Dakota Right to Life, NRL News Today reported.
A legal challenge by Planned Parenthood has prevented the law's section requiring counseling by a pregnancy care center from going into effect, according to the report.
MORE THAN 7,000 UNBORN BABIES SPARED SINCE 40 DAYS' DEBUT -- More than 7,000 unborn children have been spared from abortion during 40 Days of Life campaigns, the ministry reported March 11.
The semi-annual outreaches -- which focus on peaceful, pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics -- began as a nationwide effort in 2007. Since the latest campaign began Feb. 13, the 40 Days staff has received reports of 360 babies saved as of March 13.
Volunteers in the latest effort are participating at 261 locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Poland, Spain and, for the first time, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa and Wales.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Erin Roach and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).