An anti-nuke nun, 84, tells judge even a life sentence "would be an honor." The honorable idea of "religious freedom" could be a shield for discrimination or even dangerous. All that and more at today's roundup.
with eyes wide open...a reading list for Presbyterians & more...
Curated by Jim Collie
Science for Seminarians - The American Association for the Advancement of Science is supporting the study of science in seminaries for future ministers. Lucky Severson reports on the debate that has set off: some say understanding science should help create more effective ministers. Others fear that learning how scientists see the world might weaken faith.
Helping India’s Slum Dwellers Find Dignity - In the teeming slums of Mumbai (Bombay) in India, a caring man has founded an organization called Slum Dwellers International to help the very poor demand and get better treatment from the government bureaucracy. Fred de Sam Lazaro reports that perhaps the thing most coveted by the slum families is a private toilet, and the key to putting pressure on indifferent bureaucrats is the organizing of the slums’ women.
Remembering Thomas Merton - If the Trappist monk and prolific writer had lived long enough he would have celebrated his 100th birthday on Januray 31st. Judy Valente recalls Merton’s gift for encouraging not just monks but everyone in their spiritual practices and their discovery of the presence of God.
"In Jesus, we see a trickster figure, one who respects the beliefs and traditions of real people, yet also questions them, challenges them and subverts them for the sake of political and religious transformation," says post-modern theologian Peter Rollins.
The newspaper published by the Presbyterian Lay Committee, The Layman, ceased printing at the end of 2014, but the PLC will continue to provide information and resources online and plans to increase its social media presence.
The shift, which came as part of a strategic planning process, includes “refocusing on the priesthood of all believers,” said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, committee president, with “the desire to help laypeople live out the Christian faith in every aspect of their life, especially in their work.”
More than 90,000 people received the final print edition. The newspaper, a prominent conservative voice in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), had no subscribers or advertisers. Donations from individuals and congregations are its sole source of income.
The committee will continue to send print material to its 10,000 donors.
Word of the Audit Committee’s findings regarding the 2013 Youth Triennium was made public Jan. 27 in a news release, following a series of closed-door committee discussions. That’s become a standard way for denominational officials to release controversial information in recent months.
Also posted was a comment from Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, responding to the Audit Committee report. That comment states that it “seeks to provide a preliminary description” of work begun, particularly by the Evangelism and Church Growth ministry area and the PC(USA)’s youth ministries office, to address financial and compliance issues. According to the comment, in March 2014 directed the PC(USA)’s internal audit department to investigate the $287,213 net loss for the 2013 triennium. That began the process. This comment also states that a more detailed response will be provided by March 31, 2015.
Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World launched its 2015 Offering of Letters: Feed Our Children campaign today, urging Congress to strengthen national child nutrition programs when the law governing them comes up for reauthorization this year. “One in five children in the United States lives at risk of hunger,” said Christine Melendez Ashley, senior domestic …
Most Americans say it was okay to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but various demographic groups were less likely to approve. A high-profile alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants issues a sweeping manifesto against gay marriage. A Muslim cleric says selfies are sinful.
Presidents of PC(USA) seminaries craft a response to an Open Letter to Presidents and Deans of Theological Schools in the United States from the African American Presidents and Deans in Theological Education.
A Response from the Seminary Presidents of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
January 26, 2015
The letter to which the PCUSA seminaries have responded may be found here; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alton-b-pollard-iii-phd/an-open-letter-to-preside_19_b_6492328.html
Patti was 6 years old when she first heard the sound of a gun—6 years old when she first saw a man killed. Later, when her father was taken away to be brutally tortured, she and her family knew it was time to escape. They came to the U.S.
Rosa, already a mother, was older than Patti when she first crossed the U.S. border. Local authorities pulled her over in a traffic stop and threatened to take away her two small boys, ages 4 and 7.
At the same time, Allison Harington, a Presbyterian pastor and mother, watches as families she knows and loves, families like Patti’s and Rosa’s, are torn apart by the immigration policies of her government. From her house window, she smiles as her kids play with their kids—until they’re snatched away.
Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C., and Presbyterian World Mission are working with local partners to provide quality teachers for children at Maleng-Agok Primary School in South Sudan.
Hudson has a long history of mission. In 2000, the congregation re-established one of the missionary primary schools that was bombed during the second civil war in South Sudan. They worked to provide education, food and services to as many as 1,300 children.
Barclay Poling, a member of Hudson’s mission committee, says things were going well until the volatile political situation made it impossible to keep the school open. Some of the local volunteers were unable to honor their commitments, and it became increasingly difficult to wire money to keep the school operating. “We nearly gave up,” he says. “Going it alone was no longer an option. The idea that we could simply restore a primary school in a village like Maleng-Agok and then hope for the best seemed very naive.”
At its November 18th meeting, National Capital Presbytery sold three significant pieces of church property. In the current PC(USA) climate, it wasn’t an
unusual action. The sale of a piece of prime church property and the closing of a congregation are increasingly frequent events in the lives of many of our presbyteries. However, to focus obsessively on what has died is to miss what is living. Over the next few months, The Presbyterian Outlook will highlight the ministries of several PC(USA) congregations located in urban, suburban and small town settings. The Presbyterian Outlook does so in an attempt to bring to light the work of thriving, vital congregations around the country.
We denounce the death threats were received on January 11, 2015 by three of the pastoral leaders in the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia and by the communities and leaders that we have been blessed to walk alongside in the ministry of accompaniment for the last ten years.
When National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant arrived at a shooting range in Medley, Florida for annual weapons qualifications training in December, she was expecting a typical military exercise. But as she readied for target practice, she noticed several bullet-hole-ridden mug shots of young black men hanging near the range, left behind by the North Miami Beach Police snipers who had just finished using the facilities. That alone was enough to frustrate Deant, but she suddenly came to an even more horrifying realization: one of the pictures was of her brother.