Pastor and theologian John Piper is set to return Jan. 8-9 to the pulpit of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis after taking an eight-month leave of absence so he could focus on his marriage and rooting out what he called "character flaws." Kenny Stokes, Bethlehem's former downtown campus pastor, has served in Piper's stead since May 1.
Haitian authorities arrested U.S. aid worker Paul Waggoner Dec. 12 on kidnapping allegations in a case that centers on whether a 15-month-old boy died or was kidnapped following the nation's devastating earthquake last year. Waggoner and others connected with his humanitarian Materials Management Relief Corps maintain that the gravely ill child died at the hospital in February and the father declined to take the body before it was cremated. But the father's claims that the baby was alive when he last saw him have sparked an investigation that could have broad implications for volunteers working in the disaster-ravaged nation.
A military jury sentenced Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin to six months in prison and dismissal from the Army after he refused to obey deployment orders because he questioned whether President Obama is a natural-born citizen and therefore eligible to be president. The 18-year veteran flight surgeon, who was two years shy of retirement and earning his military pension, admitted during his trial that despite his concerns he was wrong to disobey his Army orders.
Larry King, 77, signed off Dec. 16 after 25 years behind the interview desk of his Larry King Live CNN show. His career-which began in radio before moving to television-spanned some 50,000 interviews. America's Got Talent judge and British journalist Piers Morgan, 45, will fill King's slot with a new show debuting in January.
Forbes named mega-church pastor Rick Warren to its list of the year's 20 most influential Twitter celebrities. The list, which is based on an individual's klout (or social media influence) score, included President Obama and the Dalai Lama and placed pop star Justin Bieber in the top spot.
Former Cleveland Indians pitcher and Hall of Famer Bob Feller, nicknamed Rapid Robert for his legendary fastball clocked at nearly 100 mph, died Dec. 15 at age 92. Feller was only 17 when he debuted with the Indians in 1936, making him the youngest player to pitch in a major league game. At the height of his career, Feller missed almost four seasons to serve in the Navy during World War II, but he later returned to the diamond and pitched the Indians into the 1948 World Series.
Blake Edwards, one of Hollywood's most successful writers and directors, died on Dec. 15 at age 88. Though often depressed in his personal life, Edwards was known for making (often crude) comedies like Victor/Victoria, 10, and the Pink Panther films. "I developed a kind of eye," he once said, "for scenes that made me laugh to take the pain away."