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Posts Tagged ‘miscellany’

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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Religion News

November 5th, 2013 No comments

Here, without comment, other than the names I give them, are some interesting stories in the news:

Why did Westside Presbyterian Church of Englewood shut down?

Why “In Christ Alone” isn’t in the new PC(USA) hymnal.

A huge Presbyterian church in Dallas voted overwhelmingly to leave the PC(USA) and join the ECO. Why? Read and wonder.

Did mainline churches lead or follow the culture?

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Tab Sweep

August 14th, 2012 No comments

As you might guess from the scarcity of blog entries here lately, I’m a net consumer (not a net producer) of internet content. Here are some links to things I’ve read this last while.

Hero boy, 4, dies after saving 3-year old girl in pool. Heart-breaking.

Card swipes in church make giving easier. Why yes, I’d imagine they do. The story is sort of unfocused, but worth a few minutes to read.

One big player is a service called ParishPay, which works with many Catholic churches and a few synagogues to help sign up worshipers to pay via credit or debit card or automatic payment from their bank accounts. Nearly 1,000 institutions have joined the service, and it claims a 20 to 30 percent increase in giving by individuals who enroll.

Miss. church blocks black couple’s wedding. Appalling.

Wilson said he had been attending the church for about a month and his now wife had been attending for more than a year. His wife’s father also attended the church, and her uncle was custodian at the church.

Are Lavalier Microphones Dead? No. Watch late-night TV. Well, okay, but what about in church?

I wish every church said what this church says in their bulletin.
This is a little old, but worth reading.

Giving Vacation Bible School an update for the 21st Century.

This month, his brainchild drew nearly 10,500 children between kindergarten and fifth grade, and every one attended free of charge. Two-thirds of them do not even belong to Second Baptist, and somewhere between one-third and half come from single-parent homes, a particular target of Mr. Young’s ministry. After the Bible school session ended, each child’s parent received a hand-delivered thank-you letter, homemade cookie and invitation to church.

Defining Religious Liberty Down. Ross Douthat sees a troubling trend exactly where I did … maybe he’s smarter than I sometimes think he is.

You can see this confusion at work in the Obama White House’s own Department of Health and Human Services, which created a religious exemption to its mandate requiring employers to pay for contraception, sterilization and the days-after pill that covers only churches, and treats religious hospitals, schools and charities as purely secular operations.

Haunted demographics: Cells and church towers. As is typical of Get Religion, this article points out all the things that would have made an interesting story better.

These churches are earning, readers are told, about $1,000 a month — per carrier. That’s not a lot of money, but, if you read carefully, it’s clear that these churches — the ones with the prime locations — tend to need the money. … The story never addresses the membership trends in these flocks.

What kind of disciples are we making/ Stay PC(USA).

We don’t want to make disciples like the prodigal younger brother, nor the unloving older brother. So if you are staying in the PC(USA), you have to clearly explain to your people that we are not staying to tolerate heresy, but in love for our siblings who seem to be wandering astray—and to make disciples who stand in community even through disagreement.

A Hungry World Population? Oh Well, Let Them Eat Ethanol! The problem with “think globally, act locally” is that it’s hard to do the first part but really easy to do the second part.

Despite the wailings of Paul Ehrlich and his tiresome compatriots, there were no great famines because of some fantasy “limits to growth” that were forecast to soon to be breached. Instead, corn yields continued their steady climb. A good year now yields around 160 bushels.

In defense of eating at Chick-Fil-A.

Where’s the beef? What the Chick-fil-A boss really said.

A Formula for Cutting Health Costs? Alaska’s native-owned Southcentral Foundation in a New York Times editorial.

In the Aftermath of a Massacre: the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program responds to gun violence. Sigh.

This attack, along with the mass shooting earlier this week in Tuscaloosa, AL in which a military style assault weapon was used, reawakens us as a church, a nation, and as people of faith to the immense and ongoing epidemic of gun violence in our country.

Methodists in Northeast Approve Pro-Gay Resolution.

A Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church has approved a pro-gay resolution denouncing the denomination’s Book of Discipline’s opposition to homosexuality.

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