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My favorite religion quotes of 2013

by Carla Hinton Modified: January 4, 2014 at 9:05 am •  Published: January 4, 2014

Here are some of my favorite quotes from my 2013 religion stories.

Some folks simply have a way with words while others just know how to put it all out there in blunt fashion.

Whichever it was, these were the quotes that stood out to me for lots of different reasons:



“I thought it was a prank.”–  the Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, (pictured) archbishop of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese, said when asked in February what he first thought of the surprising news that Pope Benedict XVI had resigned.

In 1963 when I came, we were right in the midst of the Civil Rights struggle. How do you preach during a tumultuous time?” — The Rev. J.A. Reed, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, said in a February story about the celebration of his 50th year as pastor of his northeast Oklahoma City church.

“In America, private citizens can work alongside our government organizations to impact people’s lives. We don’t pick and choose. We just say if you need help, we’re going to help you.” — Sam Porter, director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, said in June story about his Baptist team members and other faith-based organizations helping victims of the May tornados. 

“His middle name is Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’ I think it was perfect for the situation.” – Shayla Taylor, saind in a June story. Taylor, a tornado victim who was in labor at Moore Hospital when the facility was hit by the May 20 tornado, was describing her newborn son. 

“I was asking the right question in the airport that day. The question was, could we be at that moment in history where, if we could just leverage or develop the right technology, we could really change or transform how this generation engages in the Bible? Could we be at one of those Gutenberg-type moments?” — Bobby Gruenewald, pastor-innovation leader, said in a story about the church’s YouVersion Bible app reaching the 100 million downloads mark in July.    

“She was well-spoken, happy and put together and then she drops the ‘A word,’ and everybody is like ‘Wow!’” — Red McCall, president of Oklahoma Atheists, saind in a July story describing fellow atheist Melissa Vitsmun, a Moore tornado victim who told a CNN reporter that she was an atheist during a broadcast segment. 

“One of our deacons said if we don’t open our facility to one of these schools, that would be a worse tragedy than the tornado.” – The Rev. Mike Booth, senior pastor of Emmaus Baptist Church, said in an August story to describe the church’s decision to agree to house Briarwood Elementary School for the 2013-14 school year after the May 20 tornado damaged the school building.

“I think we’ve really reached a pivotal point. We can’t just hold onto it and hope they will adopt it (local interfaith efforts). The new generation is not going to do interfaith like the older generation, and I think Eboo Patel has figured it out.” — Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relationships, said in an August story about interfaith advocate and author Eboo Patel.

“I don’t know, but maybe I was destined to come to this side of my life. I didn’t think of it as a disability. I thought, OK, this is a challenge.” — Maj. Devender Pal Singh, a Sikh and amputee marathon runner called the “Indian Blade Runner.” He visited Oklahoma to work with the hanger Clinic during the summer and was interviewed for a story published in August.

“I am in the hot seat.” – Imad Enchassi, imam and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said in a September story about American imams, including themselves, who found themselves trying to maintain peace at mosques as some Muslims clashed over their different opinions about the Syrian conflict.

“It’s not that we don’t know who these fathers are. It’s almost like you are keeping their daddies from them, because they know that you know where their dads are. They know he was at somebody’s barbecue somewhere. They know he’s sleeping somewhere.” — Steve Perry, author, motivational speaker and prep school principal, said in an August story about a conference for fatherless boys held by Union Baptist Church at Fairview Baptist Church. Perry was encouraging the audience members, for the children’s sake, to confront the men in their lives who have not been responsible fathers.

“I’m looking forward to hearing the kaleidoscope of sound.” — Jose Luis Hernandez-Estrada, executive director of the El Sistema Oklahoma youth orchestra, a ministry of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in partnership with Oklahoma City University and the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Hernandez-Estrada made his comments in September as students tired out different instruments.

“I felt like the second tornado hit me when I realized that I was not going to get my new house.” –Tornado victim Kristina Miller said in a September story about a refurbished mobile home that was given to her by the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief. Miller had been promised a new home by another group but it never materialized.

“There is a tradition, a theology of interfaith cooperation, in a sense that partnering with people who are different from us is not just a civic good — it is a sacred good.” – Interfaith advocate and author Eboo Patel said in a story based on an interview and his speech at Oklahoma City University in October.
“I knew nothing about apple trees, and I don’t particularly like apples, so this was definitely God’s idea.” — Sharon Allen of Piedmont, founder of Apples for Africa, said in a November story.
“We’re just appalled. I mean, this thing is just over the top.” — the Rev. Steve Kern, senior pastor of Olivet Baptist Church, said in a November story about he and several other pastors planning to host a prayer vigil outside the Civic Center Music Hall on the second night of Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s production of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” a biblical satire featuring homosexual characters.

“Have they considered Christ’s words in Matthew 6:5? Christ never spoke against homosexuals, but he did condemn praying on street corners for the purpose of being seen.” – Rachel Irick, Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s artistic director, said in a November story about Christian pastors planning a prayer vigil outside the Civic Center as a way to show their opposition to the theater company’s production of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.”

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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