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Archive for March, 2014

Religion News Items

March 19th, 2014 No comments

Menlo Park Presbyterian to leave PC(USA). Part of the reason was multisite. I’ve worshipped at one of their branch campuses and can’t imagine anything more ridiculous than the denomination sticking on this point.

Bill Gates’ family goes to Catholic Church. And some thoughts by Gates about poverty from the same Rolling Stones interview with Bill Gates:

The way we help the poor out today [is also a problem]. You have Section 8 housing, food stamps, fuel programs, very complex medical programs. It’s all high-overhead, capricious, not well-designed. Its ability to distinguish between somebody who has family that could take care of them versus someone who’s really out on their own is not very good, either. It’s a totally gameable system – not everybody games it, but lots of people do. Why aren’t the technocrats taking the poverty programs, looking at them as a whole, and then redesigning them? Well, they are afraid that if they do, their funding is going to be cut back, so they defend the thing that is absolutely horrific. Just look at low-cost housing and the various forms, the wait lists, things like that.

Some of the types of idolatry that can occur when Christians gather for worship.

How Viktor Frankl’s thoughts about a meaningful life inspired Donald Miller.

  1. Have a project you’re working on that requires your unique skills and abilities. And preferably a project that helps others.
  2. Share your experiences within the context of safe, loving relationships.
  3. Find a redemptive perspective on your suffering and challenges.

How to teach a new song to your congregation.

A preemptive church leadership conversation (about burnout).

Complaints about Presbyterians borrowing too much liturgy from Rome. (Here’s what Calvin used as a liturgy.)

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Religion News Items

March 10th, 2014 No comments

First, a nice quote from Pope Francis:

We cannot be resigned to these divisions as if they were merely an inevitable part of the historical experience of the Church. If Christians ignore the call to unity which comes to them from the Lord, they risk ignoring the Lord himself.

As a bonus, here’s a quote from Spurgeon:

There seems to me to have been twice as much done in some ages in defending the Bible as in expounding it, but if the whole of our strength shall henceforth go to the exposition and spreading of it, we may leave it pretty much to defend itself. I do not know whether you see that lion—it is very distinctly before my eyes; a number of persons advance to attack him, while a host of us would defend the grand old monarch, the British Lion, with all our strength. Many suggestions are made and much advice is offered. This weapon is recommended, and the other. Pardon me if I offer a quiet suggestion. Open the door and let the lion out; he will take care of himself. Why, they are gone! He no sooner goes forth in his strength than his assailants flee. The way to meet infidelity is to spread the Bible. The answer to every objection against the Bible is the Bible.

When I was leading small groups, I was discouraged from being “Mr. Goodwrench.” But where would Christian media be without lists of things to do?

7 killer lessons from Derwin Gray’s School of Ministry vision casting.

15 pointers for preachers. Nothing wrong with these, but it’s quite a checklist to run through every Sunday.

4 pillars of pastoral work. Nothing in there about visiting people in the hospital.

8 common money questions pastors ask.

This (paywalled and expensive) article appears to suggest the Justinian Plague was a contributor to the “Golden Age” of Islam. Huh. I’d never heard about the Justinian Plague, but the timing is right.

There’s a very affordable Hebrew Bible for Kindle.

Targeted Islamic outreach to Hispanics achieving results.

Red-letter Bibles aren’t something Kevin DeYoung likes. (I agree, although I try not to use abrasive words like “nonsense.” Still, without looking at Jesus’ actions, you’ll wonder what he meant by the things he said. Plus, Jesus himself said that thing about jots and tittles. And there’s what Paul said. And what Peter said. And what John said.)

Next, from the denomination that’s all about Discipline: church case dismissed against Ogletree. Ogletree, a retired UMC bishop, presided over the same-sex marriage of his son.

Also from the UMC, a proposal (?) to reopen the canon of Scripture. Well, what the author really wonders is whether to recognize the Apocrypha as having a sort of deuterocanonical status.

The PC(USA)’s Presbyterian Mission Agency is distancing itself from “Zionism Unsettled,” a publication of the PC(USA)’s Israel/Palestine Mission Network:

In 2004, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) formed the Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) to help move the church toward the goal of a just peace in Israel/Palestine. The independent group — which speaks to the church and not for the church — recently published a study guide, Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study. The guide is intended to prompt discussion on the ever-changing and tumultuous issue of Israel-Palestine. The IPMN booklet was neither paid for nor published by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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