The newSpin newsletter
December 30, 2014
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• Christ Episcopal Church Reading … [Reading Eagle, Bruce Posten] features prominently in a story, Church Pews Slowly Open Up for Diversity, that begins on the Dec. 26 front page. Rector John Francis says that when he was called to the church ten years ago, the nonwhite membership was five to ten percent at most – now 40%, mostly Latino and African American. Read on. [Note: the continuation link is at the top of the newspaper page.]
• Bishop Sean's 2014 Christmas Message: Shining light of Christ's birth pierces the darkness ... [snip, snip, snip] The notion of enduring light is comforting in this season of short days and long nights. When we pick up a newspaper to learn of massacres in far-off places, racial unrest at home, and a rising tide of economic prosperity that is lifting only the boats of people who are already well off, it too is comforting to believe that darkness will not overcome us. I believe this. God means to comfort us, yet God means to challenge us too. It is in the nature of light to fall indiscriminately. The sun shines on the just and the unjust alike. It lights the way of those we love and those we do not. It warms those who share our values and those who oppose them. Having worked so hard to "deserve" God's grace, we are sometimes troubled to find that God, like the father in the story of the prodigal son, doesn't always play by rules we find fair. [snip, snip, snip]
To feel the force of this story, try to imagine your own version of the Nativity. Where is the most insignificant place in your world? Who are the least significant people? Which is the most backward culture? Whom do you trust the least? Now imagine that God has chosen to share with these people a revelation that will not only save your life but also transform the world. This, the gospels tell us, is how the news of Jesus' birth would have landed in his time. The story of the Nativity is an announcement, that God's values are not our values. A glance at the front page of a newspaper, or an honest inventory of our own lives, suggests that despite our best efforts, this remains the case. We remain a people deeply invested in the idea of merit. We hold fast to the notion that as individuals, and, some would argue, as a nation, we are uniquely virtuous, and therefore uniquely deserving. God, we like to tell ourselves, has recognized our merit and rewarded us accordingly.
The stories that Christians read at Christmas, of a God whose birth was hidden from the most powerful and sophisticated people of the time but revealed to shepherds, should disabuse us of these mistaken notions. A light shines in darkness and falls on all of God's children. Our part is not to throw others into shade, but to manifest our gratitude. [The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe is bishop provisional for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem.]
Read it all at The Morning Call and the newSpin blog. It was noted in Sunday's Morning Call that this was the second most article read online during the past week in the Your View/Letters to the Editor category.
• Nine steps to take in the fight to end poverty … [Alan Jennings, The Morning Call] Here. This is an excellent column.
• How Ebola Roared Back … [NYTimes] For a fleeting moment last spring, the epidemic sweeping West Africa might have been stopped. But the opportunity to control the virus, which has now caused more than 7,800 deaths, was lost. … "It's like if a plane crashes in the Hudson in the morning, and there's a snowstorm in the afternoon and floods in the subways in the evening. And then you have two planes hit the World Trade Center in the middle of the night." [Dr. Robert Fowler of the World Health Organization, on the organization's facing an Ebola breakout in West Africa, while also handling crises in Saudi Arabia, China and Syria.] Read on.
•• The Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) … has presented its final report to the 78th General Convention and to the Church, and for inclusion in Reports to General Convention, commonly referred to as The Blue Book. Read on. TREC also released A Word to the Episcopal Church about its final report. Consider participating in the first of three free courses on reimagining church leadership produced by ChurchNext in partnership with TREC. The second and third free courses will be available during the coming weeks.
• Elizabeth Yale … [Tony Pompa] will be ordained to the priesthood January 17, 2015, at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Houston TX where she is currently serving on staff. She will be ordained by the Bishop of Texas on behalf of Bishop Sean. Elizabeth was born and raised in Bethlehem, the daughter of Bill and Carol Yale. She was raised in the community of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity where she grew to maturity and demonstrated obvious gifts for ordained ministry. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Allegheny College and her Master of Divinity from the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee TN. She was ordained to the diaconate at Nativity on March 2, 2014. Elizabeth has many interests and hobbies, she says, "including, but not limited to, kayaking, making paperclip earrings, knitting, making electronic kits, and reading science fiction." Since May 1, she has completed her first triathlon, studied in Israel, traveled in Turkey, was on pilgrimage in New Orleans with a J2A group, and spent time with her family and friends.
• The Bible: So misunderstood it's a sin … [Newsweek] Cover story of Dec. 23, 2014, issue. Here.
• Pope Francis gives face-to-face blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats … [NYTimes/AP] To the Catholic Church's "seven deadly sins," Pope Francis has added the "15 ailments of the Curia." Francis issued a blistering indictment of the Vatican bureaucracy Monday, accusing the cardinals, bishops and priests who serve him of using their Vatican careers to grab power and wealth, of living "hypocritical" double lives and forgetting that they're supposed to be joyful men of God.
• A message from Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton regarding the tragic situation involving Bishop Heather Cook … [Bishop Sutton] I am distressed to announce that Bishop Heather E. Cook was involved in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon, Dec 27, that resulted in the death of a bicyclist, Thomas Palermo, 41. Bishop Cook did not sustain any injuries. Together with the Diocese of Maryland, I express my deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist and offer my condolences to the victim’s family. Please pray for Mr. Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time. Please do not contact Bishop Cook directly, but feel free to send written notes to the Diocesan Center. There is an ongoing police investigation into the accident. Several news agencies have reported this as a ‘hit and run.’ Bishop Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions. Because the nature of the accident could result in criminal charges, I have placed Bishop Cook on administrative leave, effective immediately. I will meet shortly with the Standing Committee to discuss ways we can move forward. Also, I have decided to delay my sabbatical indefinitely to be pastorally present in this difficult time.
Also, Baltimore Sun here and here. In 2010, Cook pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. Charges of possession of marijuana and paraphernalia were dropped. There's no indication that Cook was intoxicated in Saturday's crash.
• Living attentively every day … [NYTimes Op-Ed, David Brooks] "You’d think faith would be a simple holding of belief, or a confidence in things unseen," writes David Brooks in a recent column titled The Subtle Sensations of Faith, "but, in real life, faith is unpredictable and ever-changing. It begins, for many people, with an elusive experience of wonder and mystery." The "main business of faith," Brooks continues, is "living attentively every day." He concludes: "Insecure believers sometimes cling to a rigid and simplistic faith. But confident believers are willing to face their dry spells, doubts, and evolution. Faith as practiced by such people is change. It is restless, growing. It’s not right and wrong that changes, but their spiritual state and their daily practice. As the longings grow richer, life does, too. As Christian Wiman notes, 'To be truly alive is to feel one’s ultimate existence within one’s daily existence.' " Read on.
[Bill] Over the past few years, I have read David Brooks a lot. It has seemed to me that he often writes four columns, then a sermon. With a few personal edits, I would be proud to preach his sermons.
• Do Christians over-emphasize the birth of Jesus? ... [Religion News Roundup]David Gibson of RNS says that if we want an edifying but challenging take on Christmas here’s a must-read by Anglican theologian N.T. Wright:“Christmas looms large in our culture, outshining even Easter in the popular mind. Yet without Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 we would know nothing about it. Paul’s gospel includes Jesus’s Davidic descent (Romans 1:3), but apart from that could exist without mention of his birth. One can be justified by faith with no knowledge of it. Likewise, John’s wonderful theological edifice has no need of it: God’s glory is revealed not in the manger; but on the cross.” Wright goes on to make some fascinating arguments about Christ’s, humanity, divinity, and the role of sex in the Nativity story.
I don’t remember when I first found the Episcopal Church’s account, but I do remember how quickly these nightly tweets became part of my prayer life. In between news stories, personal ramblings, hashtag games, television commentary, and whatever sponsored corporate content Twitter has thrown into my feed, there is that little prayer. I rarely retweet it, and I only sometimes favorite it, but I often go to Twitter just to read it.
The liturgy of the hours has a long history, and the Episcopal Church’s nightly prayer is a kind of digital compline for those who cannot gather for worship. There are, of course, more features in traditional liturgies of compline—hymns, confession, scripture readings, antiphons, and other elements depending on the community—but @iamepiscopalian’s digital compline accomplishes some of what the liturgy strives to do. Readers of that nightly prayer realize that the church is both local and global, that they are one voice among many voices.- See more at: http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-titles/religion/11119/twitter-microprayer-iamepiscopalian/#sthash.CvZb8Pce.dpufRead on.
•• Resources ... Here.
• At a Manhattan Soup Kitchen, Food on the Table and Chops on the Piano … [NYTimes, Michael Wilson] The line of men — they are almost all men — backs up around the corner on West 28th Street in Manhattan, turns and follows the iron fence line along Ninth Avenue and through the gates of the Church of the Holy Apostles. A worker at the door hands each a ticket, and from that point on, they are referred to as guests.
They file through a narrow hall and enter the Episcopal church’s sanctuary, an arching vault shot through with color from the stained-glass windows. The men accept trays, and empty plates quickly fill with roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, half-cobs of sweet corn, milk and chocolate pudding.The church’s soup kitchen program fills quickly, bringing a din of chitchat and the scraping of chairs on floor tiles and the thud of trays being knocked against the inside of a trash can.But above it all, each and every weekday, hovers another sound, wholly unexpected: the clear, clean notes of a concert grand piano, there in a far corner. Read on. Don't miss the video.
• A free online class taught by Cornel West ... Individuals and congregations are invited to take a free class taught by Cornel West – Called to Common Good.It will take an average student about 45 minutes to complete this course. You can pause at any time and come back. You can even re-take lessons. It features 4 video lectures that are from 4-6 minutes in length. Also included are downloadable Mp3s of each lecture plus Discussion Questions and a one-page synopsis of the course called The Takeaway. The course opens January 11 and is free through January 21 - that means you can take it anytime, 24/7, during that time period. If you register here, you will receive an email to remind you. It's part of Trinity Institute's Jan 21-25 conference Creating Common Good. It is sponsored by: Trinity Institute, Forward Movement, The Episcopal Church, ChurchNext.
• Reimagining the church with TREC ... Another free online course. Christlike Leadership with Dwight Zscheile. Leadership and Innovation with Dwight Zscheile. The Baptismal Covenant with Frederica Thompsett. Leadership and Truth Telling with Winnie Varghese. Learn about the essentials of church leadership in a changing landscape. In this first of three TREC courses on church leadership three seasoned leaders tell us what's needed to nurture and build healthy communities. For more info and to register.
• Can you question the Virgin Birth and still be a Christian? … [Religion News Roundup] Kimberly Winston of RNS asks the question, and gets some intriguing responses.
• 2014's best podcasts about religion… [Religion Dispatches, Andrew Aghapour] In three categories: Explorations of the Uncanny. Interviews and Confessions. Secular Intersections. Here.
• Debunking the worst political lies of 2014 ... [DailyDot] Legally it's not torture. Human activity is not “causing these dramatic changes to our climate.” Encryption is only for criminals. Read on.
•• Church of England names its first woman bishop … [ACNS] Downing street have today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport – and the first woman bishop in the Church of England – will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley. As Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minister on Monday 26 January 2015. Read on.
• Audit Report for 2010 … from the Diocese of Bethlehem audit committee. Here.
•• Resources ... Here.
• Craig Sweeney undergoes surgery … [Posted on Bakery by Craig, in response to inquiries] Surgery was Thursday (Dec. 18). Friday was spent in the hospital till late afternoon. There was tremendous pain and stiffness in my shoulder muscles and around the wound (top six inches of spine). However, better every day. I took off the neck brace last night and slept much better. Now the discomfort comes from muscle stiffness in the left shoulder for some reason. It may be because of how I was positioned during the surgery. Symptoms are much reduced in the hands and perhaps a little bit in the feet. But they tell me that it will take a long time for normalcy to be attained, if ever. Main purpose of surgery was to prevent things from getting worse. Yet another medical miracle in my life, and I give thanks to God for such things as well as to all of you for your prayers.
• Homeless honored at memorial service in Wilkes-Barre … [Times-Leader] For nearly a decade, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church has hosted a service to remember those so often brushed to the fringes of society. Attendance year-to-year stays much the same, says Luzerne County Homeless Coalition volunteer Mary Zack, but the list of deceased always grows. This year’s Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service, held Saturday, honored 114 homeless men and woman who have passed since the year 2000. Read on.
• Top Ten Resources for church leaders from 2014 ... [Leadership Network] Part 1, Part 2.
•• Resources ... Here.
Columns, Sermons, Reflections and other Spin
• There's good news and there's better news … The good news: there is a messiah. The better news: it's not you. [Father James Martin, S.J., quoting his spiritual director on On Being with Krista Tippett]
• When readers do get it … [Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes Op-Ed] Poetry is a window into the soul. And one lesson to me from the reaction to my “When Whites Just Don’t Get It” series is that we need soul-searching about race in America. So I invited readers this month to submit poems about race. Read on.
• The least lame duck ... [NYTimes, Ian Ayres and John Fabian Witt] Hitorians rate presidents by every conceivable quality. One survey of presidential scholars rates presidents along no fewer than 20 dimensions, from best luck (Washington) and best imagination (Theodore Roosevelt) to best intelligence (Jefferson) and best handling of Congress (Lyndon B. Johnson). And of course, there’s the ultimate prize: Best president, a distinction Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt have traded back and forth since at least the first modern survey, in 1948. What about least lame duck? President Obama is making a run for the title. Since the midterm elections, in his first month and a half as a lame duck, Mr. Obama has taken dramatic action on immigration, climate change and now, normalizing relations with Cuba. Read on.
• An Atheist's Christmas dream ... [Mark Bittman, NYTimes] Everyone believes their time is the most tumultuous; for all of its challenges, ours probably is not. Violence is on the wane, there’s widespread peace, abundance and progress, and the opportunities for real democracy and understanding have never been greater. If efforts toward progress seem halting, it’s in part because the oligarchs running the United States and most of the rest of the world are desperate to remain in control, because progress threatens the concentration of wealth. But if we talk among ourselves and properly love one another the best we can, we will prevail. A just and wonderful world can be ours, as long as we do not relinquish our citizenship. The historical Jesus was a nonviolent revolutionary. Let’s celebrate that. And the lengthening of our days. Read on.
• The Sidney Awards ... [David Brooks, NYTimes] Brooks' annual celebration of the best magazine essays of the year. Part 1. Part 2.
People from our diocese and parishes in the media
•• Oakes Fegley, 10, of Allentown … [Bill] onetime student at Grace Montessori School, played a short but difficult part last night (Dec. 16) on the CBS drama, Person of Interest (Season 4, Episode 10, The Cold War). I was delighted to see how well he did in this part which could easily have been hammed up. I suspect his parents, Mike and Merce, both ASCAP members, had a hand in helping him not overplay it. I suspect also that many in the biz will now seek Oakes out for other parts. Congratulations, Oakes and Michael and Mercedes. Oakes will appear again in Episode 12, Control-Alt-Delete, on Jan. 13.
In 2015, Oakes will appear in Prism and The Truth About Lies. He is also set to star as Pete in the non-musical remake of the Walt Disney film Pete’s Dragon which will be shot next year in New Zealand. The Disney re-boot will also star Oscar-winner Robert Redford, and Golden Globe nominee Bryce Dallas Howard. Oakes has also appeared in several films including Children of the Moon which also featured his father Michael Fegley, This is Where I Leave You, and Fort Bliss.
•• Resources ... Here.
•• Resources ... Here.
Rest in Peace
• Al Packard … husband of Nancy Packard, retired rector of St. Mary's, Reading, died on Dec. 24. Bishop Sean will preside at a service of thanksgiving for Al at St. Alban's Sinking Spring on Monday January 5 at 10:00 a.m., with an hour of visitation preceding. Give thanks for his life. Pray for our sister Nancy and her family and for the repose of the soul of Al. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
• Doreen Voyvodich, 93 … mother of Daniel V, FitzSimmons, rector of St. Martin-in-the- Fields, Mountain Top, died Dec. 22 at the Meadows Nursing Home in Dallas, PA., She had lived independently until the past month. She is survivedalso by two daughters, Julie Adamchek of Wappingers Falls, NY and Christine Voyvodich, of LosAngeles, CA. Obituary here.
• Rafael Ramos, 40 … a New York City police officer, was fatally shot in an ambush while on duty Saturday, Dec. 20. Read on. He had spent ten weeks studying to become a certified chaplain with the New York State Chaplain Task Force and was just one hour away from graduating from a volunteer chaplain program when he died.
• Wenjian Liu, 32 … a New York City police officer, was fatally shot in an ambush while on duty Saturday, Dec. 20. Read on.
• Joe Cocker, 70 … [AP] the raspy-voiced British singer known for his frenzied cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends," the teary ballad "You Are So Beautiful" and a contorted performing style uncannily parodied by John Belushi on "Saturday Night Live," died Dec. 22. Read on.
His London-based agent, Barrie Marshall, said Cocker died Monday of lung cancer in Colorado, where he has lived for the past two decades. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/ns/obituary.aspx?n=joe-cocker&pid=173558813#sthash.22Z9bcRa.dpuf
• Why is Christmas on December 25? … Biblical Archaeology Review answers that question and others in several interesting articles:How December 25 Became Christmas. How the apocryphal (non-canonical) gospels helped create the Christmas story. Where was Jesus really born?
• It was supposed to be the greenest building in America. So what went wrong? … [Mother Jones] The tower is now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. And it's also supposed to be one of the greenest—a first on its scale to aim for the US Green Building Council's LEED gold certification, a coveted prize for sustainable building design. One World Trade Center features lighting that reacts to sunshine, rain harvesting, and a state-of-the-art onsite fuel cell installation, one of the largest of its kind in the world. In 2008, then-New York Gov. David A. Paterson praised this "space-age energy technology," adding, "I can think of few sites in the country where the symbolism of this is more important."
Then came Sandy. A 26-page trove of internal documents obtained by Climate Desk from the Port Authority reveals for the first time a substantial hit to the project's green ambitions: Superstorm Sandy caused critical damage to the World Trade Center's $10.6 million clean-power sources—those world-class fuel cells—a third of which went unrepaired and unreplaced, in part because of a costly flaw in the main tower's design, and pressure to honor a billion-dollar deal with Condé Nast, the global publishing powerhouse and high-profile anchor tenant. What happened in the basement of One World Trade Center after Sandy is a previously untold—and as yet unresolved—chapter in the site's redevelopment, already dogged by false starts, political squabbling, and cost overruns, involving some of the biggest names in New York City's world of corporate real estate. Read on.
• When politics ends and religion begins … [Karen Armstrong, in an interview on WNYC] It was conceptually impossible before the year 1700, about, for anybody in the world to say when religion began and politics ended. Trying to take religion out of politics and warfare would have been like trying to take the gin out of a cocktail.”
It’s rare that we hear of Christian parents responding to their LGBT children coming out with love and grace. The common reactions are of guilt (“What did I do?”), or suggesting conversion therapy (“We can change you”), or just complete condemnation and rejection (“You’re going to hell. Get out of my house.”) At best, parents respond with “I still love you, I just don’t agree with your lifestyle.”
These reactions stem from the parent’s lack of understanding on sexuality and gender as well as their indoctrination with the church’s religious homophobia. That’s why it’s incredibly refreshing when parent’s respond to their children with open arms.- See more at: http://elielcruz.religionnews.com/2014/12/12/hasten-assure-sweetheart-affirm-letter-christian-father-lesbian-daughter/#sthash.n0oxwrcn.dpuf
• Mark Driscoll is on the road to reinvention … [Religion News Roundup] The Seattle megachurch pastor has a spiffy new website and apparently no mention of the scandals that doomed his Mars Hill Church ministry. He is asking for money, and selling some Christmas messages, as the Post-Intelligencer reports. Warren Throckmorton has more here. In a week the church Driscoll founded will formally dissolve.
• I will be your mother figure … [Rhonda Mawhood Lee] At 71, Ned was in love with a 28-year-old man. And the church was going nuts. Read on.
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.
Ecumenism and Interfaith
Evangelical Lutheran Church
•• Resources ... Here.
•• Resources ... Here.
United Methodist Church
•• Resources ... Here.
Presbyterian Church USA
•• Resources ... Here.
•• Resources ... Here.
• Pope Francis gives face-to-face blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats … See above, under TopSpin.
• The Green Pope … [Religion News Roundup] The pope who famously said “who am I to judge?” is about to judge . . . climate deniers. An encyclical on global warming has long been expected but now we have some details. Here’s the plan: Francis is going to visit Tacloban, a Philippine city destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in 2012, and then publish an encyclical in March that will say 1. the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are right about the earth warming and 2. we have a moral obligation to reduce the production of greenhouse gases. He’ll follow up in September at the U.N. General Assembly in NYC where he will personally lobby world leaders on the issue.
• The top five over-covered Vatican stories of 2014 … [Crux] Here.
• Flu activity widespread locally, nationally … [WFMZ] This year is proving to be a busy flu season both locally and nationally. "Influenza does kill," said Terry Burger, director of the Infection Control and Prevention Department at Lehigh Valley Health Network. "Therefore it is critically important that patients get vaccinated, keep themselves healthy and recognize the signs and symptoms of flu." The numbers of influenza patients at LVHN has tripled over the past one to two weeks. Burger says the reason is likely partially due to the fact that there was a mismatch between the flu vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu. "Nevertheless, we absolutely endorse getting a flu shot," Burger said. "Because at the very least it gives you partial protection." Burger also says while the flu shot may not protect everyone completely from the flu it will help keep patients out of the hospital and off a ventilator. Read on.
•• Getting your Flu shot is a gift to your loved ones ... Info from the CDC Here and Here. A lot of good info also at flu.gov.
•• The most spiritually literate films ... [Spirituality & Practice] of 2014, of 2013, of 2012.
•• BBC miniseries of two Hilary Mantel novels ... [Kottke] Hilary Mantel's excellent pair of novels about Thomas Cromwell & Henry VIII, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, are being turned into a six-part BBC miniseries. Noted Shakespearian actor Mark Rylance will play Cromwell with Homeland's Damian Lewis as Henry VIII. BBC One will be airing the show in Britain in January while American audiences without access to BitTorrent will have to wait until PBS airs it in April.
• They know what they're doing … Wiley Parker, Esq., of St. Luke's Lebanon thought fans of The Newsroom and others might find this amusing. (Careful, if you haven't finished Season Three, there's a slight spoiler here.) In the finale of the The Newsroom, the terrific three year series on HBO all the characters are attending the funeral of Charlie Skinner, the President of the news division of the fictional network, ACN, played by Sam Waterston. The church is not identified, and about all of the service you see is the singing of the Navy Hymn, a shot of the choir in cassocks and cottas and an acolyte/CB in an alb, although if you look closely you see a very brief glimpse of the flag of the Episcopal Church. After the service three different characters remark “nice service” after it’s over, but the character, Jim Harper, one of the young producers, responds to another character’s “nice service” with the statement: “Episcopalians know what they’re doing.”
• The Norton Anthology of World Religions ... [NYTimes] Volume I on Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism. Volume II on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. [Bill] These caught my eye a month or so ago when I noticed that Jack Miles was primary editor of both volumes and Lawrence Cunningham was an editor of Volume II. Miles was a Jesuit seminarian during the 60s, studied at the Gregorian University when I was there, though I didn't know him. He was also awarded a Pulitzer in the mid 90s for God: A Biography. Cunningham, among other pursuits, has been among the top Bernard Lonergan scholars.
• 'Unbroken' faith: The religious journey of Louis Zamperini … [DeseretNews] The unforgettable story of Olympian and American war hero Louis Zamperini will be told on the big screen beginning Christmas Day Zamperini's experiences as an “untamable” child, Olympic athlete, prisoner of war and distraught veteran on the brink of divorce who eventually found God are chronicled in the biography "Unbroken," written by Laura Hillenbrand. The book was on the New York Times best-seller list for three years. Angelina Jolie directed the film adaptation, which stars Jack O'Connell as Zamperini and opens in theaters nationwide Dec. 25. Zamperini's journey is one of faith — both in himself and, eventually, in Jesus Christ. And while the film version is more subtle in its depictions of prayer and belief in God and does not address Zamperini's post-war conversion, faith and Christianity are integral parts of his life story as portrayed in Hillenbrand's book. Read on.
• Two new Jesus films … [Religion News Roundup/The Guardian UK] are in the works and may not be to the liking of traditionalists. One aims to make Reza Aslan’s book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” into a movie. The other is from Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, who is making a film of his own book: “Jesus of Nazareth.” Read on.
• Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence … [Bill] Karen Armstrong's latest book, Fields of Blood is reviewed, quite differently, in the Chicago Tribune (Troy Jollimore) and in the NYTimes (James Fallows). Read the Tribune review first. My money is on Fallows.
• The 5 most glaring lies tech companies told you in 2014 ... [The Kernel With technology woven so thoroughly into the fabric of everyday life, it’s inevitable that in 2014, threads would begin to fray. In the tech industry, this was as big a year for disillusion as for excitement—every other step toward innovation wobbled under the awkward weight of a hack, a scandal, or a cautionary tale in the making. Read on.
•• Resources ... Here
As soon as the newSpin newsletter is completed, usually by Tuesday, it is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on Bakery and on other diocesan lists of nearly 4,000 addresses. Many recipients often forward it to others. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee or the Archdeacon as an official communication. If you're wondering why you haven't seen something related to your parish or agency here, it's likely that no one has sent relevant info. If you think something about your parish or agency merits inclusion, send email to Bill. Comments are welcome on Bakery (if you are subscribed to that interactive list) anf at the newSpin blog. Click at the newSpin blog in the right hand column on the title of the current newsletter. Then, make your comment below.
Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog , Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]