newSpin, the newsletter
March 23, 2017
[A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion for the sake of many in this newSpin newsletter, please send the link or your text to email@example.com]
TopSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• DioBeth Leadership News, March 16 … Here. •Evangelism Conference with Bishop Nicholas Knisley, •Chrism Mass on April 3, •Episcopal Church Asset Map: Update Your Information, •Integrity Bethlehem Chapter Reorganizing, •2017 Parish Officials and Convention Delegate Forms, •SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society Summer Camp, •Unholy Trinity Gun Violence Conference April 20 - 22, •People of Bethlehem, •News of the Diocese, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• DioBeth General News, March 2 … Here. •Anglican and Lutheran leaders Issue Ash Wednesday Message, •Welcoming Refugees Webinar on March 8, •Responding to Famine in South Sudan, •Bishop Search Committee Appointed, •Episcopal Youth Event Registration Now Open, •Unholy Trinity Gun Violence Conference April 20 - 22, •Episcopal Veterans Fellowship Offers Resources, •News of the Diocese, •People of Bethlehem, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• Trump's budget slashes aid to the poor. Would Jesus have a problem with that? … [RNS, David Gibson, March 20] Since it was unveiled last week, President Trump’s proposed budget has been widely denounced as “immoral” and downright “evil” for boosting defense spending by billions while demanding drastic cuts to vital aid programs. Yet if liberals and some conservatives are upset about cuts to programs that help ensure clean drinking water, give financial aid to low-income college students, and even help support Meals on Wheels — which delivers nearly a million meals a day to the sick and elderly — would Jesus have a problem with slashing assistance to the needy?
The question has been roiling Christian commentators on social media in recent days, with many on the left arguing that of course Jesus would be outraged by sharp cuts in assistance to the poor while the exegetes on the right took the opposite view. The latter said the truth of the matter — and, by extension, the Christian rationale for much of the nation’s safety net — depends on how you translate a single phrase in the early Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew. Read on.
Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics [•New item ••Repeat]
• All the president's lies … [NYTimes, David Leonhardt, March 20] The ninth week of Donald Trump’s presidency began with the F.B.I. director calling him a liar. The director, the very complicated James Comey, didn’t use the L-word in his congressional testimony Monday. Comey serves at the pleasure of the president, after all. But his meaning was clear as could be. Trump has repeatedly accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones, and Comey explained there is “no information that supports” the claim. Read on.
• Why believe the president? … [Commonweal, The Editors, March 7] Of all Donald Trump’s signature verbal tics—from “bigly” and “tremendous” to “sad!”—perhaps the most telling and ominous is the phrase “believe me,” which he uses as a kind of exclamation point. He likes it so much he often says it twice, as though he were afraid his audience might have missed it the first time.
Careful speakers are as sparing with the words “believe me” as careful writers are with exclamation points, and for the same reason: both are subject to the law of diminishing returns. People who say “believe me” a lot can’t help suggesting one of two things—that they have reason to worry we won’t believe them, or that we should just take their word for it and not ask too many questions. In the mouth of a politician, “believe me” always sounds either fishy or authoritarian. Read on.
• Being Church in the Trump years … [Brian McLaren] How should the church respond to the era of Donald Trump—cooperation and complicity or resistance and spiritual activism? Author and speaker Brian McClaren provides timely advice and counsel for pastors, congregational leaders, and the people who want to influence them about how they might prepare to lead in these times. Part 1. Part 2.
SpiritSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• The Jesus who cannot be … [America, Sermon for 4th Sunday of Lent, March 26] You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. (Mt 13:14) John did not include this story in his Gospel to warn us about the blindness of the Pharisees, although it is true that, in this instance, they did not see. John wrote this Gospel to show how easy it is for any of us to lose sight of Jesus, even when he works openly. Read on.
• How to meditate … [NYTimes, David Gelles] Meditation is a simple practice available to all, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness. Learning how to meditate is straightforward, and the benefits can come quickly. Here, we offer basic tips to get started on a path toward greater equanimity, acceptance and joy. Take a deep breath, and get ready to relax. Read on.
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• The Imitation of Christ ... Available free online.
• Spirit Resources ... way below.
Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin [• New item •• Repeat]
• In the Garden … [Rebecca Randall, h/t Nativity Notes of Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem] I have a confession to make: on Ash Wednesday this year, I didn’t step foot inside a church. I tried, unsuccessfully, to avert my eyes whenever I saw the crosses emblazoned on passersby. “There’s a church a block and a half from our house,” my husband reminded me when I offered up the “I couldn’t find a way to get there” excuse. “I think I’m having a bit of a spiritual crisis,” I told a trusted friend.
I spent some time pondering what was happening in my inner life. Lent is a reminder of death-my mother’s death, Jesus’ death, my own death. “Remember that dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Sometimes, it just feels too painful to bear. So a part of me wants and needs to be defiant. And sometimes, a part of me wants to wrap myself only in the comfort of denial. Easter cannot come soon enough. But I know that it doesn’t work that way. New life comes, I know, but I have to first walk through the landscape of death. Every year, I have to work through this in new and very personal ways. And anyway, I ultimately trust that God always has a way of finding me and bringing me back.
DioBeth [• New item •• Repeat]
• Book benefits church refugee center … [Morning Call, March 20, Jennifer Sheehan] Susan Hulsman Bingham, a member of Church of the Mediator, Allentown, has written, illustrated and self-published a lighthearted little book, "Friendly At Home Fitness Manual," that features tips on how you can make the most of any household chore by adding moves that will give you a workout at the same time. And the book benefits more than your body. All proceeds from the book, which costs $10, benefits the Episcopal Church of the Mediator's Refugee Community Center. The church's center welcomes refugees with free community dinners, English as a Second Language classes, discussion groups, prayer and more. Read on.
• Women's Weekend/Men & Women's Day Retreat … June 9-11. At Mariawald Renewal Center, Shillington. Sponsored by St. Gabriel's Douglassville. This is the first time we’re having a one-day session as part of our annual Women’s Retreat weekend, and able to open that to both women and men. We’re offering the retreat to the wider diocese thinking, and hoping, that some will want to attend to hear this well-known leader. Download brochure here.
•• Education for Ministry … [Cathy Bailey] Groups planned for Wednesday mornings at Nativity Cathedral; Wednesday evenings, St. Stephen's Whitehall. Some are trying to get groups started in Easton, Lebanon, Reading, Stroudsburg and Tunkhannock. Other areas may be available if there is enough interest. No prerequisites except an open mind and the ability to come to class regularly during the next year. We will begin our next EfM course year in September 2017. Questions, more info: Cathy Bilely, firstname.lastname@example.org. Read on.
• DioBeth General News, March. 2 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, March 16 … Here.
Episcopal/Anglican [• New item •• Repeat]
• Beyond Spring Cleaning … [AP, March 22] Think your home furnishings are a dust magnet? New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine just spent 16 years cleaning and conserving its rare, supersize wall hangings. Now the historic house of worship is inviting the public to enjoy the fruits of its labor — "The Barberini Tapestries, Scenes from the Life of Christ," which once graced the Vatican and European palaces. They were designed by baroque master Giovanni Francesco Romanelli; created by weavers for Francesco Barberini, the nephew of Pope Urban VIII, from 1644 to 1656; and donated to the cathedral in 1891, a year before its cornerstone was laid. Read on.
• House of Deputies … March newsletter. Here.
•• Episcopal Divinity School trustees vote to pursue affiliation with Union Theological Seminary in New York … [ENS, Feb. 24]
Episcopal News Service: Episcopal Divinity School board votes to pursue an affiliation with Union Theological Seminary that would create an EDS entity to provide Episcopal theological education and other programs at Union's campus in New York. The two seminaries will begin negotiations immediately in the hope that both boards can vote on an agreement when they meet in May, before EDS’s final commencement at its Cambridge, Massachusetts campus.
EDS has adopted a generous severance plan for its faculty and staff, and all of its students are being “taught out” at other seminaries with EDS financial support to avoid additional costs for those students. Seven of the teach-out students are Episcopalians in an ordination process; they come from three dioceses. A number of the students included in the teach-out, which has been approved by the Association of Theological Schools, are international students, and EDS has retained an immigration lawyer to advise the students about maintaining their visas in the transition. The seminary’s investments are currently valued at approximately $53 million plus its campus. Read on.
• Photos of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry are available for downloading here.
•• Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Current inserts here. To view the archive of bulletin inserts dating back to 2006, please visit here.
• Resources … way below.
• Resources ... way below
In the Media [• New item •• Repeat]
Nothing for now.
TaleSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• What is a ‘Yute’? … [WSJournal, Jacob Gershman, March 13] Journalists may debate which films get their profession right (“Spotlight”) or take liberties (“The Paper”). But for lawyers, there’s a surprising favorite: “My Cousin Vinny,” the 1992 vehicle for Joe Pesci as a fast-talking, underachieving lawyer in a Southern courtroom. Law professors use it as a teaching tool; judges cite it in opinions. And kudos to Marisa Tomei, whom one state judge calls the “greatest expert witness of all time. Read on. Also here.
• 10 quick fact-checking links … [The Week in Fact Checking, Poynter] (1) Africa Check debunks an implausible-but-viral story about bananas and the AIDS virus. (2) The history of Facebook and fake news, as told by TechCrunch. (3) A psychology expert is concerned that the media and others will suffer from exhaustion after a prolonged period of rebutting government untruths. (4) A "news junkie" teacher tackles misinformation in her community. (5) Facebook is now using misinformation pop-ups; here's how it works. (6) Look who's fact-checking now. (7) PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson wins an award. (8) Tanzania suspends journalists over fake news. (8) Syracuse dean Lorraine Branham says this could be a "Watergate moment" for today's students. (9) ESPN fact-checks five Sweet 16 myths. (10) A public radio listener writes a poem about fake news. Read on.
Requiescant in pace [• New item •• Repeat]
• W. Warren Armstrong, 82 … died March 17. He was a member of Mediator Allentown. Obituary.
• Dorothy Searfoss, 86 … died March 14 in Texas. A member of St. Mark's and St. John's, Jim Thorpe, she was the widow of Vernon F. Searfoss, former priest of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church of Scranton for 30 years, where she was actively involved in the Episcopal Church Women's Group, served as adult and children's choir director, included directing the children's musicals and variety shows. Obituary.
• Robert Duval, 78 … died March 13. He served as priest in the Diocese of Connecticut until his retirement in 2003. He had been licensed in our diocese for many years, serving in several parishes as supply and interim priest. He was a member of St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem. Obituary.
• Cardinal William H. Keeler, 86 … [WaPo, Patricia Sullivan, March 23] died March 23. He headed the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s for 18 years and took a leading role in making the Catholic Church more responsive to the 2002 sexual-abuse scandal. A conservative leader on matters of faith, he gained a reputation for social action and ecumenical diplomacy, creating and improving relationships with Protestant, Jewish and Muslim communities.
Late in his career, Cardinal Keeler published the names of hundreds of priests who had been accused of sexual abuse and disclosed that the archdiocese and its insurers had spent more than $5.6 million in 20 years on legal settlements, counseling and other expenses stemming from incidents of child sexual abuse by priests. It was one of the most comprehensive accounts provided by any diocese.
“Ultimately, there is nothing to be gained by secrecy except the avoidance of scandal,” Cardinal Keeler wrote in a letter to 180,000 families registered in the Baltimore Archdiocese, which comprises nine Maryland counties and the city of Baltimore. “And rather than shrinking from this scandal — which, too often, has allowed it to continue — we must address it with humble contrition, righteous anger and public outrage. Telling the truth cannot be wrong.” Read on.
[Bill] Bill Keeler was my friend when he was the RC Bishop of Harrisburg and we worked together on the board of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. He was a good man and a good priest.
• Jimmy Breslin, 88 … [NYTimes, Dan Barry] the New York City newspaper columnist and best-selling author who leveled the powerful and elevated the powerless for more than 50 years with brick-hard words and a jagged-glass wit, died on March 19 at his home in Manhattan. Until very recently, he was still pushing somebody’s buttons with two-finger jabs at his keyboard. Read on.
• Chuck Berry, 90 … died March 18. He was the first true superstar of Rock 'n' Roll (read an appraisal of his work) and also wrote its first great memoir. Here are 15 of his essential songs.
•Winifred Washco, 93 … died March 14. She was a member of Trinity Bethlehem where, through the years, served on many committees. Obituary.
• Thomas Buskaritz, 73 … died March 12. He was a member of St. Anne's Trexlertown where he was a volunteer at nursing homes. Obituary.
• Frances Jones, 92 … died March 8. She was a member of St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. Obituary.
• Margaret Krick, 69 … died March 6. She was a member of St. Anne's Trexlertown. Obituary.
• Martha Craig, 84 … died February 16. She was a member of Trinity Easton. Obituary.
[Rectors, senior wardens or family members who would like the death of a parishioner noted here may point me to published obits, or send their own brief notice. Thanks.]
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not [• New item •• Repeat]
• The Story of Islam … [Commonweal, David Pinault, March 20] Events of the past two decades have brought Islam onto the radar of the West with a centrality few could have imagined. The terror attacks by al- Qaeda and other groups; the calamitous invasion of Iraq; the rise of ISIS; the devastation of Syria and the refugee crisis; the caricature-of-the-prophet controversy; the conflicts over burqa and hijab and the role of women; the religious and cultural clashes embroiling Europe: we live with an ominous anticipation—fueled by anxiety and exploited by some politicians—of global religious strife. Our last president said “We are not at war with Islam,” while our current one insists that “Islam hates us.” Donald Trump’s former national-security adviser warned of “a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: radical Islam.” Can you blame Americans for being confused? Read on.
•• Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College offer free, online class on world religions to promote religious literacy … [HuffPost] The six religion professors who teach the course anticipate up to 50,000 people will enroll. Read on.