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God & GOP * Pope on Piety * Freud & Faith: Wednesday's Roundup - Religion News Service

God & GOP * Pope on Piety * Freud & Faith: Wednesday's Roundup - Religion News Service | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
It's alliteration Wednesday, as you can tell by the headline, so make the most of your morning by reading the religion roundup and the latest from Mississippi's faith-driven senate primary. Plus the ups and downs of that Rocky Mountain high, and why the Redskins are lobbying the UCC ...
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from the curator: Welcome! There are almost two years worth of searchable materials at THINKING PRESBYTERIAN. We collect news from and about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - and issues it is concerned about. The odd shaped funnel like symbol in the upper right hand of the page opens a search function which will take you pretty quickly to articles collected here about your subject. Drop me a note if you have questions.

~ Jim

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THINKING PRESBYTERIAN
with eyes wide open...a reading list for Presbyterians & more...
Curated by Jim Collie
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The Slingshot: Indiana to ‘clarify’ controversial religious freedom law as N.C. draws up its own

The Slingshot: Indiana to ‘clarify’ controversial religious freedom law as N.C. draws up its own | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
NC considers Indiana-like religious objection legislation

An N.C. bill that looks a lot like Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act could come up for debate in the state House as soon as this week. And Arkansas might beat N.C. to it.
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PC(USA) anxiously awaits proposed revision to Indiana RFRA law - The Presbyterian Outlook

PC(USA) anxiously awaits proposed revision to Indiana RFRA law - The Presbyterian Outlook | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, NRSV) The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), rooted in the love of God...
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Morning Buzz | How Big a Problem is Sexual Assault in High Schools?

Morning Buzz | How Big a Problem is Sexual Assault in High Schools? | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
In today's buzz, Elle Magazine uses PRRI data to ask why the sexual assault discussion is limited to colleges, and the
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Survey | How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health

Survey | How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Findings from the 2015 Survey of Millennials, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health.

[highlight href= http://publicreligion.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/PRRI-Millennials-Web-FINAL.pdf target=
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Jessica Gregory on Pastoral Identity: A Pastor or One who Pastors?

Jessica Gregory on Pastoral Identity: A Pastor or One who Pastors? | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
This post is part of a blog series on Pomomusings, discussing pastoral identity. To read about the series, as well as get a full schedule of participants, click here.
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Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

You know by now that the Indiana State Assembly has passed a measure called The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This bill purports to protect persons and businesses from government reprisal if their decisions to treat groups of people differently (in the provision of services and goods, for example) stem from what they claim to be religious beliefs – even if those beliefs are not part of the formally professed teaching of any established religious group.

Proponents of the bill say it is not about discrimination. Discrimination, in its truest sense, is about drawing distinctions. To discriminate is to make considered decisions, and is not in itself either morally or ethically good or bad. But when decisions are being made about who will be entitled to what, and on what basis, the potential for discrimination to become a relational weapon in a culture and society is tremendous. None of us has to think hard to come up with examples in our own history as a nation.

The language of the bill does not identify any specific group of people – either as needing protection for their beliefs, or as possible targets in decisions to withhold services or goods. What this means is that there is no legal boundary placed on who may decide to discriminate, or who may be discriminated against, so long as the 'decider' claims to be acting out of religious conviction. The possibilities for mischief are tremendous!

Though the group most likely to be singled out in our thoughts is the LGBT community, it is clearly possible for many others to be told they are unacceptable to receive whatever services or goods a person or company has on offer. Consider the possibility that only Christians will be served in some places, only Jews in others, while no Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, or Druids can purchase merchandise in some stores, and only Latinos will be included here, only Blacks excluded there....you see the point. This legislation gives the appearance of tolerating and protecting overt bigotry in any form so long as it is dressed up as personal religious fervor.

That this is terrible for business is already being made exquisitely plain. That it is an embarrassment to 'Hoosier Hospitality' is undeniable. It is also an affront to faithful people across the religious landscape. Provision of a legal way for some among us to choose to treat others with disdain and contempt is the worst possible use of the rule of law.

For Episcopalians, whose lives are ordered in the Gospel of Christ and the promises of our Baptismal Covenant, it is unthinkable. We are enjoined to love God with heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others as Christ loves us. We promise, every time we reaffirm our baptismal vows, to "seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves." We promise to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being."

The God we worship became Incarnate, and waded into the unfaithful realities of human life. We follow a Master who associated with sinful, unacceptable people, both Jew and Gentile, all the while challenging as hypocritical the religious leaders who held themselves aloof from the general populace.

As I write this letter to you we are approaching Holy Week and Easter – seasons of deep reflection and joyous celebration in which we rehearse the saving acts of God throughout human history and in the death and Resurrection of Jesus. We claim for ourselves the transforming, reconciling love of God in Christ; not as treasures to be hoarded, but as gifts to be shared with the whole world in the name of the Lord we serve and worship.

Please join me in prayer for all those who have experienced demeaning behaviors, and those who have chosen to treat them so badly. Both in our individual and our common lives, may we become faithful advocates for justice, and reconciling examples of the indiscriminate love of God.



+Catherine M. Waynick
Bishop of Indianapolis
March 26, 2015
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The campaign to undermine pro-LGBTQ churches

The campaign to undermine pro-LGBTQ churches | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
You may have noticed that Christian Right organizations are promoting the idea that people are leaving pro-LGBTQ churches because of their support for equal rights, and for rejecting the Right’s corrupt and redefined version of religious freedom.
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Westminster's grace approach Church, pastor ready to work - Enid News & Eagle

Westminster's grace approach Church, pastor ready to work - Enid News & Eagle | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
“We absolutely feel God called us here." — Rusty Mosley, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church
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Marci Glass: Boycott?

Marci Glass:  Boycott? | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence signed a law this week for “Religious Freedom Restoration”. On the surface, this is presumably to protect people’s religious expression.
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The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act - An Analysis of Its Controversy

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act - An Analysis of Its Controversy | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
I will preface this post by saying that I am not a supporter of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (IRFRA), a/k/a Ind. Code § 34-13-9, et seq. As this post goes on, those reasons will become self-evident but it is mostly because it is so vague and just a poorly written law. However, more than anything, there is a shocking lack of actual analysis of this statute and several arguments are being thrown out there which are rather unfounded. As an Indiana citizen and lawyer, I will do my best to provide insight as to what this bill purports to do and why it has drawn the ire of so many both within and without the borders of this state. So, I invite you, the reader, to take the time to go through this bill and decide for yourself, without prejudice, what you think of this newest piece of legislation (the full text of the law is below beside the titular parallel federal legislation.
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About Matt Anderson

I am civil trial lawyer with Wruble & Associates in South Bend, Indiana and have practiced on both sides of insurance and personal injury law in Illinois and Indiana for the better part of ten years. I created this blog as a way for other Indiana civil litigation and trial attorneys to get meaningful updates on cases ad issues that affect their practice. (I'll admit that there is some self-interest involved since it's also a handy way to summarize and file my own research.)

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Travels around country bring Presbyterian moderator to G.I.

Travels around country bring Presbyterian moderator to G.I. | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it

In Grand Island, he first wanted to listen to members and pastors from all the area Presbyterian churches speak about “something that gives you joy, something that makes you excited about being part of the Presbyterian Church.”


The listening started off with Sudanese residents of Grand Island who have Sunday afternoon worship services at First Presbyterian as they sang a hymn in their native language.


From there, people started talking about programs such as middle school youth groups and handbell choirs that are helping to involve young people in church, go-and-serve missions by church members to communities that have been damaged by natural disasters, different forms of worship that have people mostly singing and hearing some Scripture readings, a very small congregation that spends one-third of its money on activities that have nothing to do with the local 40-member congregation, and casual worship services that allow people to talk about their past week, sing and have Bible study.


Some approaches are bringing people into church who do not normally attend church.


Mark Young of First Presbyterian Church in Grand Island noted the church’s new diversity. “The world has come to us,” said Young, who noted the church has reached out to those who have come from other parts of the world.

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Presbyterian Foundation adds new service for churches and ministries

Presbyterian Foundation adds new service for churches and ministries | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it

Jeffersonville, Ind., March 27, 2015 — The Presbyterian Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of the Planned Giving Navigator as a service to churches and other ministries involved in beginning or enhancing a stewardship and generosity program.  Developed under the leadership of Karl Mattison, the Planned Giving Navigator is a subscription service that provides a brochure design center, a library of best practices, a calendar of activities and planned giving web pages that integrate into existing congregation websites as well as reports on current giving trends and research.


Mattison, former executive director of Presbyterian Endowment Education and Resource (PEER) Network, recently joined the Presbyterian Foundation team to complement the work of the Presbyterian Foundation and its subsidiary New Covenant Trust Company (NCTC) who help congregations develop planned giving programs.

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Changes coming to PC(USA) ordination exams

Changes coming to PC(USA) ordination exams | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
LOUSVILLE (PNS) The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) committee charged with preparing ordination exams has approved changes to administration procedures for the tests, complying with assignments it was given by the General Assembly.
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Breathing new life into Rockwood, Oregon—Part One

Breathing new life into Rockwood, Oregon—Part One | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
“Our focus is people with low incomes. We want to provide economic and healthy food opportunities for residents in this neighborhood,” says Jenny Holmes, director of Environmental Ministries with EMO. “We don’t want to see people move out of the community; we’re working to provide jobs here, close to home.”

 Working with local residents and community leaders, EMO launched an initiative in 2012 to assess the community on a broad range of food and economic issues and recommend action to engage citizens.  More than 200 surveys were conducted in both Spanish and English. Survey teams went door to door and conducted community forums to share results. 
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Leslie Scanlon: Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA)

Leslie Scanlon:  Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA) | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it

The elected board is smaller now; roughly half of its members are new. Among questions the board expects to discuss during its April meeting in small groups: What is it like for you as a member of the board in this challenging time? What’s the role of the board and board members? How can the board build trust in the church?


Among the questions being asked across the church (particularly after the One Great Hour of Sharing advertising campaign was pulled for being racially insensitive, even after some tried to warn about that during the consultation process) are these: Who has power and voice in the PC(USA) leadership? Is there enough accountability and trust? What is the culture of the PMA national staff’s work environment – and does that culture reflect the values of the PC(USA)?

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Real Religious Leaders Must Stand Up for Real Freedom

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by Governor Mike Pence last week, is one of the most biased pieces of state legislation we've seen in our modern era.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Living Missionally Under the Big Tent

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Living Missionally Under the Big Tent | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Living Missionally Under the Big Tent
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The Slingshot: Holy Week, holy heck in Indiana, and saints for every personality

The Slingshot: Holy Week, holy heck in Indiana, and saints for every personality | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Wedding cake as sacrament

Stephen Prothero backs Indiana law while decrying culture wars

While arguing against the government compelling people "to participate in rites that violate their religious beliefs," he equates wedding cakes with the Eucharist.
MORE FROM USATODAY.COM
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The Presbyterian Resource Guide for Ministry — Presbyterians Today Magazine — Mission and Ministry — Presbyterian Mission Agency

The Presbyterian Resource Guide for Ministry — Presbyterians Today Magazine — Mission and Ministry — Presbyterian Mission Agency | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Presbyterians Today Resource Guide for Ministry
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Donation to Wheaton's First Presbyterian means $100 to 100 members for good ... - Suburban Life Publications

Donation to Wheaton's First Presbyterian means $100 to 100 members for good ... - Suburban Life Publications | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Suburban Life Publications
Donation to Wheaton's First Presbyterian means $100 to 100 members for good ...
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Q&Amy: Saving the 99-year-old Third Presbyterian Church

Q&Amy: Saving the 99-year-old Third Presbyterian Church | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Q: What's happening with the old Third Presbyterian Church on Pete Hollis Boulevard? I heard another church was going to start using it.
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Shreveport Times: Women finding their place as church leaders

Shreveport Times:  Women finding their place as church leaders | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Women's roles as leaders have been limited in some cases, almost nonexistent in others.
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Timothy Tennent ~ Help Is On the Way: A New Wesleyan Network in a Post-Denominational World - Wesleyan Accent

Timothy Tennent ~ Help Is On the Way: A New Wesleyan Network in a Post-Denominational World - Wesleyan Accent | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Let me also remind us that the Wesleyan movement is a global reality, well beyond United Methodism, comprising many movements and denominations and tens of millions of people.
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United Reformed Church of Scotland divests from fossil fuels - The Guardian

United Reformed Church of Scotland divests from fossil fuels - The Guardian | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
United Reformed Church of Scotland commits to move assets out of oil, gas and coal companies and to not invest in fossil fuels in the future
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