The newSpin newsletter, Oct. 14, 2010
Spinning .. (1) I am not data. (2) Pink smoke over the Vatican? (3) "There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here. " –In a letter from Jimmy Sanchez, sent up from the underground shelter where 33 Chilean minors were trapped for more than two months.
Convention small groups highlight the work of the Spirit in the Diocese of Bethlehem ... When the Diocese of Bethlehem met in Convention in October, the lay and clergy delegates met in small groups to discuss the common ministry of each congregation in the diocese and how members might work and pray across parochial lines to forward the work of God in Northeast Pennsylvania. More here.
Whose God rescued the Chilean miners? ... [Politics Daily] Different churches lay claim for divine intervention in Chile in an effort to get a leg up on the competition for souls in South America's newly diverse religious marketplace. More here and here. [H/T to Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
Sudan delegation meets with UN secretary general, 'raises alarm' ... [Episcopal News Service] An ecumenical delegation of Sudanese religious leaders met with U.N. officials and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Oct. 11 to express its fear of what might happen if the Jan. 9 referendum in which south Sudan is expected to vote for independence from the north is not carried out as planned. "We told him we came to raise an alarm to the United Nations," said Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of Sudan during a press conference held at the Church Center for the United Nations, following a day of U.N. meetings. "We are the church, we are on the ground. We are with the people. And we are knowing every thing that is happening on the ground there. So because of that we are here," Deng said. The ecumenical delegation is in the United States on an awareness and advocacy campaign in advance of the referendum. Read more.
Why haven't they left? ... [Faith and Leadership, Jason Byassee] The Episcopal Church of Sudan tends toward conservative positions on Anglican hot-button issues. So why haven't they left the communion? Read here. [The first of two posts on the Episcopal Church of Sudan as a model of the practice of stability.]
When America feared and reviled Catholics ... [The Los Angeles Times] In the early 1900s, many Americans were frightened by the perceived threat from the Roman Catholic Church, with tragic consequences. Read more here.
Anglicans in Sydney, Australia are in financial trouble, and according to the Sydney Morning Herald the situation is getting worse. Archbishop Peter Jensen, told the annual synod on Monday: "The financial issues are grave." One of the biggest and richest dioceses in Australia, Sydney leveraged its huge investment portfolio in the boom and sold when the market hit rock bottom. After losing more than $100 million, it was forced to halve its expenditure. "There was considerable pain," the archbishop told the annual gathering of clergy and laity in Sydney. But it wasn't enough. "In round terms, it seems possible that the amount of money available … to support diocesan works in the next few years is going to be reduced from the $7.5 million of 2010 to something like $4 million. Our major rethink of last year was only the beginning." More here.
Tell or not, no matter ... A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction Tuesday immediately stopping enforcement of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, suspending the 17-year-old ban on openly gay U.S. troops. More here.
Physician revives a dying art: the physical ... [NYTimes] This engaging article is about Dr. Abraham Verghese whom some of us may recognize as having written a captivating review of Mountains Beyond Mountains and having authored Cutting for Stone which I highly recommend. More here. [H/T to Steve Lewellis]
The PBS series, God in America ... If you didn't see the six hours from Monday through Wednesday, you can get some background and watch it online free here.
Insights into Religion ... Through this gateway, religious leaders and the public can find congregational resources and insights into religious practices. The organizations and projects on this portal site are supported by Lilly Endowment’s Religion Divisions.
Is abundance thelogy on the run? ... Writing for the Alban Institute, Dan Hotchkiss notes that difficult economic times have taken the shine off stewardship appeals rooted in the theology of abundance. More here.
The quiet faith behind Colbert's right-wing funnyman ... [Religion News Service at Huffington Post] Colbert has said that he attends church, observes Lent and teaches Sunday school. "I love my church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout," he told Time Out magazine. "I was raised to believe that you could question the church and still be a Catholic." Read more here.
The sale of three Catholic hospitals has become a political issue in Pennsylvania, where a conservative Catholic group is running ads blaming the sale on congressmen who voted for the health-care overhaul. [Times-Tribune, Scranton] See also National Catholic Reporter.
Offering students skills to improve the world ... [Morning Call Op-Ed, Kelly Denton-Borhaug and Daniel Jasper] Over the last five years, we have worked with faculty colleagues to develop a Peace and Justice Studies emphasis at Moravian College. Why is such study important? Peace and Justice Studies prepare students to be responsible, critical analysts of society; disciplined thinkers with respect to ultimate questions of peace, justice and conflict; and effective and creative agents for positive personal and social transformation. Read more. [A Lutheran pastor and associate professor/chair in Moravian College's department of religion, Kelly Denton-Borhaug and her family are parishioners at Grace Allentown]
Karen Armstrong: The compassionate face of religion ... [The (London) Guardian] The former nun's writing and theories about God and belief upset some, but she numbers the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu among her fans. Read more. [H/T to Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
The Politicians We Deserve ... [Slate, Christopher Hitchens] "What normal person would consider risking their career and their family life in order to undergo the incessant barrage of intrusive questioning about every aspect of their lives since well before college?" Not many, which may be the reason why there is a dearth of "convincing or even plausible" political candidates, Hitchens contends. Even once the campaign is done, those who have survived must while away their days fundraising to retain their jobs. "No wonder," he writes writes, quoting William Butler Yeats, "that the best lack all conviction." [H/T to the Atlantic Wire]
The origin of good ideas ... [The Daily Beast] In his new book bestselling author Steven Johnson lays out the history and sources of innovation. He speaks to The Daily Beast about how to cultivate your inner light bulb. The question, "Where do good ideas come from?" should not, by all rights, be answerable in 246 pages. It is a profound epistemological question on the nature of knowledge and the human brain's ability to stir it around and mold it into something new—ideally, something useful. But in his new book, Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson offers a compelling new survey of how we think, dream, and create today. And light bulbs flicking over people's heads have little todo with it. More here.
Calendar of Events ... [Kat Lehman] Here is the latest calendar of events in and around the diocese. If you want your event posted, please email Kat Lehman who will gladly add your event to the list. This calendar is updated monthly. The format is in Word .doc if you want to cut and paste into your own calendars. Download 101001calendarofevents.doc
News/Info/Commentary from The Diocese of Bethlehem ... •The newSpin blog •The Diobeth website. Enter your name and email address in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side. You will find quite a few public news and info lists there. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of them. "Bakery" is the diocesan interactive list. •Twitter
ENS Weekly bulletin inserts ... For October 17: The House of Bishops wrote a pastoral letter on immigration issued at the end of its September meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Full text in bulletin insert. Download inserts here.
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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 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.