Weekly religion rail, with items on the pope's writing methods, a new faith-based on-demand TV service, getting to know Samuel Dyer, and more.

Pope Benedict XVI, whose writing hand is in a cast, is using a tape recorder to put down his thoughts and ideas, a Vatican spokesman said.

Benedict recently broke his right wrist in a fall, and is still learning how to live with the injury, according to wire reports.

The pope, who is at his vacation home in northern Italy, was largely expected to work on a new book about Jesus during his vacation. The Vatican spokesman said Benedict prefers to use a pen and paper for his writing, but is temporarily using the recorder.

On-demand TV focuses on faith-based films

People who subscribe to Cox Communications Digital Cable will be able to access a new video-on-demand service that specializes in faith-based, family-friendly movies.

Faith & Family Entertainment, a producer of Christian-themed movies and miniseries, is providing 20 films to the service, and plans to add faith-based series and mini-series in the future.

Faith & Family Entertainment focuses on wholesome, family-friendly entertainment, and has produced movies including themes such as faith, love, hope, redemption and family.

-- Christian Newswire

Survey Says

A survey conducted of megachurch pastors by the Leadership Network shows that the majority view themselves as teachers rather than traditional pastors.

The survey of more than 200 senior pastors at megachurches found that 81 percent of respondents viewed themselves as “preacher/teachers.” Fifty-one percent defined themselves as directional leaders, 33 percent as visionary, and 16 percent as a pastor.

Good Book?

“The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason” by the Dalai Lama; translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa

For nearly 2,000 years, Nagarjuna's teachings have occupied a central position in Mahayana Buddhism.

An essential part of the study and practice in the great Indian Buddhist monastic universities, these teachings were later incorporated into the Tibetan monastic programs that modeled their curricula on their Indian predecessors.

In “The Middle Way,” the Dalai Lama offers a brief, brilliant and complete presentation of the ultimate view of reality in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism.

The teachings are about the Buddhist view, yet the Dalai Lama presents them in a way that allows any interested reader to grasp this profound outlook on life.

Get to Know … Samuel Dyer

Samuel Dyer (1804–1843) was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China in the Congregationalist tradition, who worked among the Chinese in Malaysia.

In 1820, Dyer became a Christian and began teaching Sunday School at Thomas Wilson's Paddington Chapel in London.

Dyer and his wife left England on March 10, 1827, and arrived at Penang, in the Straits of Malacca, on Aug. 8, 1827. They settled in a Chinese sector of town and began studying the Min nan Dialect (Hokkien) spoken by the local population.

After he learned the language, Dyer, also a typographer, created a steel typeface of Chinese characters for printing to replace traditional wood blocks. He also began preaching in Chinese.

He grew committed to the production of Christian literature in Chinese, printing Bibles, tracts, and books with the moveable, metal-cast type with a controlled vocabulary that he developed.

The Word

Born again: The process by which a person repents of their sins and trusts Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Savior. Conservative Protestants believe that this is the only way that one can get to heaven. Some denominations do not require that a person repent first. – www.religioustolerance.org

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Macedonia

Macedonian Orthodox: 64.7 percent

Muslim: 33.3 percent

Other Christian: 0.37 percent

Other and unspecified: 1.63 percent

- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service