Daily Archives: February 3, 2014

Passions in a Pastor’s Wake–Lafayette Ave. Presbyt. Church does not renew Interim's Contract

When Mr. [David] Dyson announced his retirement in 2011, a committee was formed to find someone to fill in during the arduous process ”” involving exhaustive surveys and self-examination ”” of finding a permanent pastor. The Session, 15 people elected by the congregation, chose Ms. Mason-Browne and gave her the standard contract for a one-year term. It was later renewed for a year.

Many saw parallels between the pastors. “Both have big personalities,” Joy Bell, a member since 1997, said. “Both are well read, well educated and demonstrate what Christianity should be about.”

But when her contract came up again at the end of 2013, the Session declined to renew it. With that, the number of black female pastors, like Ms. Mason-Browne, leading Presbyterian congregations in New York City dropped to five, though minorities are close to half of church members citywide. Nationally, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is 90 percent white.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Canon Ashey comments on recent events in the CofE

from here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

George Barna–Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?

Gospel tracts, sidewalk evangelism, street preachers with bullhorns””all of these things seem like evangelistic efforts of yesteryear. But if this seems true, where does that leave the state of evangelism today? Is faith-sharing a fading practice, or does it simply look different today? In all their innovative efforts to engage culture, have Christians left this ancient practice so integral to their faith behind?

Barna Group has charted evangelistic practices and attitudes for more than two decades, and the latest study sheds light on the gaps between evangelism in theory and practice, the social groups who are sharing their faith the most, and the surprising ways economics color one’s outreach efforts.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Soteriology, Theology

Brian Dodd–15 Practices Of Highly Encouraging Churches

Highly Encouraging Churches Give 2nd Chances ”“ In combat it is hard for the wounded to help the wounded. Encouraging churches remind you failure is not final. Encouraging churches remind you of the responsibility and consequences of your actions but also give you the confidence and courage needed to move forward and be a difference maker in the lives of others.

Highly Encouraging Churches Are Vulnerable ”“ As Christian leaders we are on a common journey. When leaders discuss life’s challenges, it encourages others because you are reminded you are not alone….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Amazon Plunges Into Christian Publishing With Waterfall Imprint

The online superstore Amazon got its start selling books ”” and it’s been getting into the publishing business as well, with imprints for genres like science fiction, romance and mystery.

Until now, though, it hasn’t had its fingers in one of the biggest slices of the publishing pie: Christian books. That changed this past week, with the introduction of the Waterfall Press imprint.

Win Bassett is a writer and a seminarian at the Yale Divinity School. He tells NPR’s Rachel Martin that Christian publishing is a $1.4 billion market, and many major publishers have Christian imprints. “So I guess Amazon thought that it’s about time they get in the game, too.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(BBC) The Bishop of Gloucester announces his retirement

The Bishop of Gloucester has announced he is to retire after almost a decade in the role.

The Right Reverend Michael Perham said he would go in November after more than ten “happy, stimulating and fruitful years” in the diocese.

Bishop Michael said the “time was right for him and his family” and that he would be “moving to Wells”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Slate) David Weigel–RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman, an Actor Who Made You Believe

The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman hurts like few recent celebrity passings I can think of. Well, like one of them: the death last summer of James Gandolfini. Both Hoffman and Gandolfini were fantastic actors, the sort of faces who’d make you say, “Hmm, maybe I’ll have to see that,” when they popped up in trailers. Both doted on their young children, and it stings to think about them right now.

But Gandolfini, for all his greatness, will forever be linked to one role. He spent eight years playing Tony Soprano, and that was after a couple years of typecasting as Italian-American Tough Guy No. 6. If you comb through social media today, you see movie fans tearing up over Hoffman and rarely focusing on any one role. The man could play psychopathic toughs (Mission Impossible III), frustrated artists (Synecdoche, New York), sociopathic intellectuals (The Master), gay intellectuals (Capote), gay spazes (Boogie Nights) slobs (Along Came Polly), and jerks (Hard Eight).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Archbishop Justin Welby in Rwanda: ”˜We must encourage vital work of reconciliation’

Arriving in Kigali [this past weekend], the capital of Rwanda, Archbishop Justin said: “It gives me great joy to visit Rwanda with my wife Caroline at the invitation of the Anglican Archbishop, Onesphore Rwaje. Rwanda is a country so important to the East African revival and the church continues courageously to hold the Gospel before its nation and the wider world.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Rwanda, Rwanda

(USA Today) Pete Carroll, Seahawks win Super Bowl XLIII with a style all their own

Peyton Manning and his high-octane Denver Broncos offense had never seen a defense quite like the Seattle Seahawks.

Then again, nobody in the NFL has seen a team quite like the Seahawks.

The new Super Bowl champions are feisty, led by a defense that embarrassed Manning and the Broncos. They’re fearless, smart enough to know they lacked the experience and pedigrees to pull this off and too young to care.

Mostly, though, they’re a whole lot of fun, something the NFL sorely needs after years of dour teams that treat games like negotiations over the debt ceiling. Yes, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, that was directed at you.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–A Living Wage Factory

DE SAM LAZARO: Joe Bozich founded the Knights Apparel company in 2001 and built it into the largest maker of licensed college sportswear. These shirts are made in a tiny corner of the Knights empire: a factory called Altagracia that pays people like Manuel Guzman a living wage. Unusual does not begin to describe the factory where Guzman works in the Dominican Republic, a Caribbean nation of nearly 10 million, where unemployment exceeds 15 percent. The factory atmosphere is relaxed, the music is loud.

MANUEL GUZMAN: (through translator) There is no pressure here to produce all the time. People come here to train us, lawyers have taught us our rights. Also, we have a union that protects us.

DE SAM LAZARO: Maritza Vargas is the union steward.

(to Vargas) Are the wages sufficient?


DE SAM LAZARO: Yes, she responded. Wages are based on the cost of living for a family of five, calculated by the country’s central bank and adjusted every year for inflation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who alone canst cast out the evil passions and desires of the soul: Come among us, we pray thee, and by thy mighty power subdue our spiritual enemies, and set us free from the tyranny of sin. We ask it in thy name and for thy glory.

— Henry Alford

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval. By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

–Hebrews 11:1-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks–Superbowl 2014 winners

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

[Dale Matson] The Pilling Report: The Continuing Fallout

Recommendation #13 states, in part, “The church needs to find ways of honoring and affirming those Christians who ”¦.in good conscience have entered partnerships with a firm intention of life-long fidelity.” Is this not a change in church doctrine?

The actual foundational reasons for the report are stated below.

“16. We believe that there can be circumstances where a priest, with the agreement of the relevant PCC, should be free to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service but should be under no obligation to do so. Some of us do not believe that this can be extended to same sex marriage. (Paragraphs120, 380”“3)”

“17. While the Church abides by its traditional teaching such public services would be of the nature of a pastoral accommodation and so the Church of England should not authorize a formal liturgy for use for this purpose. The House of Bishops should consider whether guidance should be issued. (Paragraphs 118, 384”“8, 391”“3)”
But doesn’t ”˜guidance’ become policy and policy lead to doctrine?

Does this sound familiar? “Resolved that bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same gender marriage civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church. “ (Excerpted from Resolution CO 56, TEC 76th General Convention, 2009)

Of course, assurances are given that “The recommendations do not propose any change in the church’s teaching on sexual conduct.” This is stated in the report from Archbishops Welby and Sentamu (28 November 2013). It is restated in the college of Bishops affirmative response to the Pilling Report (27 January 2014). Does this sound familiar also? Both Katharine Schori and Bonnie Anderson (head of house of deputies) said, “Nothing has changed” after the resolution passed in General Convention.

And all of this is repeatedly stated, with “”¦the guidance of the Holy Spirit”, “”¦reflecting upon the Scriptures.” and “”¦attempting to discern the mind of Christ.” So much of all these documents is boilerplate cobbled together to ”˜stay on message’.

The Pilling Report should have been research based outcome but it was outcome-based research. Did the person(s) who wrote the “Findings and recommendations” section actually review the preceding research section? The two are disconnected.

Did anyone doubt how things would turn out thus far? Does anyone doubt where this will end? Will there be a formal split between GAFCON and the CoE? It seems inevitable. Kyrie eleison

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

My Favorite Super Bowl ad for 2014: Budweiser’s “Puppy Love”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Media

(LA Times) Philip Seymour Hoffman dead: Possible heroin found near body, police say

Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said, adding that two glassine envelopes containing what police suspected to be heroin were found near his body.

Five empty glassine envelopes were found in the trash, police added.

The “Capote” actor, 46, was discovered by a business associate shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in his Greenwich Village apartment. Hoffman was found in his bathroom with a hypodermic needle stuck in his left arm, police said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Middle Age, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry