Your Faith Your Life - An Invitation to the Episcopal Church
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Robert Duvall's cinematic take on faith ...[NPR] Some call Robert Duvall's upcoming movie a mystery, some a love story. For many, Get Low is about mortality, sin and redemption. The Oscar-winning actor seems drawn to stories about faith — but not to Hollywood's stereotypes. Read more.

Does Hitchens have a prayer? ... Since the dire diagnosis of esophageal cancer a question has arisen over whether to pray for famous atheist, Christopher Hitchens. Read more.

RSCM in America ... Since 1995, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral and King’s College in Wilkes-Barre have hosted an annual summer choir training course sponsored by the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in America. More here.

Your Faith Your Life - An Invitation to the Episcopal Church ... by Jenifer Gamber with Bill Lewellis ... [Episcopal News Service] Drawing upon the success of an earlier book written for teens (My Faith, My Life - A Teen's Guide to the Episcopal Church), the new book retains the same unique presentation, inviting readers to consider their relationship with God and the church community as an ongoing process of transformation, while providing ways to engage in that process. Read more.

Nun on the run ... A New York Post update of the following item posted in Monday's newSpin newsletter. The habit-wearing panhandler in Little Italy who said she's an Episcopal holy woman collecting money for an orphanage, is, according  to a New York Post story, a convicted rapist collecting money for back taxes for the family "church" and the daughter of a convicted rapist/serial-killer who founded the "church." There is no orphanage. More here.

When should doctors focus on improving life rather than preventing death? ... For all but our most recent history, dying was typically a brief process. For most people these days, death comes only after long medical struggle with an incurable condition. In all such cases, death is certain, but the timing isn't. So everyone struggles with this uncertainty -- with how, and when, to accept that the battle is lost. How do you attend to the thoughts and concerns of the dying when medicine has made it almost impossible to be sure who the dying even are? Author and doctor Atul Gawande reflects, The New Yorker. [H/T to Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]

Episcopal students at Penn State ... Canon Daniel Selvage, Episcopal Chaplain at Penn State, reminds us that the university does not provide campus ministry groups with the names of incoming or returning students ... even when students have self-identified as members of a particular faith group. Accordingly, he asks that you contact him with the name(s) of any students from your parish who will be attending the main campus of Penn State this fall. Additional information, including the student's email address, phone number, home and/or campus address, etc., would be greatly appreciated. Canon Selvage may be reached by email, dls87@psu.edu or phone, (814) 867-3397.

Letting Go ... The former president of Wellesley College writes that she knew the rhythms leading up to a big transition. Until it was time for her own. Wendell Berry, a poet with a keen eye for the teachings of nature, pointed a way. “When we no longer know what to do,” he wrote, “we have come to our real work. And when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” Read more. [H/T to Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]

Weekly Bulletin Inserts for Aug 1 and 8 ... On July 30 each year the Episcopal Church remembers William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833), a British statesman and evangelical Anglican who used his position as a Member of Parliament from the Yorkshire area to advocate for the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire. ENS Weekly bulletin inserts for Aug. 1 mark Wilberforce's contributions to ending slavery.

Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, the new book of commemorations on the Episcopal Church calendar (succeeding Lesser Feasts and Fasts) was recently published for trial use. The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has launched a one-year review period, during which Episcopalians are encouraged to comment on the new book. ENS Weekly bulletin inserts for August 8 provide information about the new volume and the survey.

Lutherans welcome their gay and lesbian pastors ... Laurie Goodstein, in The New York TImes reports on the warm welcome for Lutheran gay and lesbian pastors. "With a laying on of hands, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Sunday welcomed into its fold seven openly gay pastors who had until recently been barred from the church’s ministry." [H/T to Ann Fontaine at Episcopal Cafe]

The end of Christianity as we know it ... [Mark Galli, Christianity Today] From the point of view of experience, it seems it's impossible to tell the difference between drug-induced and "natural" mystical experiences. Both are powerful. Both enable people to enjoy a transcendent moment. Both seem capable of transforming people so that they feel a greater sense of empathy for and unity with other people—what most people would call love. This sort of thing makes many a Christian nervous, and for good reason. We live in an age in which religious experience is the centerpiece of faith for many, many Christians. We disdain faith that is mere intellectual assent or empty formality. We want a faith that is authentic, that makes us feel something—in particular, one that enables us to experience God. When we describe the one time in the week when we put ourselves in the presence of God, we talk less and less about "worshipping God" and more about "the worship experience." Read more.

The Future of Mainlne Protestantism ... Solidly established in American society, mainline Protestantism faces a threshold. How will it retool itself for a new century? How will it develop new avenues of ministry and new ways of doing community? How will the growing progressive and emergent movements affect Protestant thought and practice? How will denominational bodies respond to the well-documented "mainline decline?" How will pop culture reflect and be impacted by the changes in mainline Christianity? Patheos invites the visioning of Protestant thinkers in its Future of Religion series. Read more. [H/T to Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]

Got an Episcopal Church related question? ... Need some info? InfoLine can help you with answers to questions and in making connections to churchwide ministries, events and activities. Email or call.  Check it out here, or contact  info@episcopalchurch.org or 212-716-6136, 6137; 800-334-7626, x6136, 6x6137.

Is contraception a sin? ... [Religion News Service] The very suggestion made Bryan Hodge and his classmates at Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute laugh. As his friends scoffed and began rebutting the oddball idea, Hodge found himself on the other side, poking holes in their arguments. Read more. [H/T to Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]

Deadline for Diocesan Convention Resolutions is August 1 ... More here.

Deadline for nominations also August 1 ... More here.

ECW Summer Gathering and Tea ... August 18 at the Cathedral. "Hats optional" More here.

New Hope grants ... [From the Rev. Daniel Gunn] The Social Ministries Committee is now ready to receive and consider requests for disbursements from the New Hope Campaign. The total amount we are able to grant for the 2010-11 calendar year is $100,000. Therefore, we are inviting Letters of Intent from parishes and Episcopal related organizations within the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem. The Deadline for Letters of Intent is 30 July 2010. More here.

Register for diocesan events online.

Calendar of Events ... Download the latest calendar of events from around the diocese in Word format here.

Deadline for the next issue of Diocesan Life is August 3rd.

Find earlier issues of the newSpin newsletter here.

Send this to friends you think may be interested ... newSpin is an electronic newsletter that includes news, information and commentary related to the Diocese of Bethlehem, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the world of religion ... with some spin, of course, from the editor. It is edited by retired communication minister Bill Lewellis and ordinarily published twice weekly, on Monday and Thursday. To have it emailed to you, you may subscribe at the "Get Connected" box on the right column of www.diobeth.org. Select newSpin under the groups. You may find samples of the newSpin newsletter at the newSpin blog, www.diobeth.typepad.com.

About the newSpin newsletter ... Composed at least weekly (usually twice a week) by Bill Lewellis, the newSpin newsletter appears as a post within the newSpin blog, but newsletter and blog are not identical. The newsletter currently goes to some 1,000 email addresses on a separate list. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor, but 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 or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments may be addressed to Bill.

Bill Lewellis, Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]

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