The newSpin newsletter, Jan. 17, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Mondays and Thursdays
• Martin Luther King gave his last Sunday sermon at Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968. Read it and ask yourself how a man who says the kinds of things Dr. King said would fare in today's cabled world? More here.
• "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" [Martin Luther King, Jr.]
• To one who says, "All the church wants is your money," Debi Metcalf of St. Brigid's Nazareth replies, “Oh no dear, they want much more than that.”
• Archdeacon Stringfellow reminds baseball fans of all stripes of an important event to come in less than a month.
• Don't miss Religion News Service's informative and, at times, witty daily roundup.
• Bishop Paul invites us to share comments on the book that influenced us most during 2010. See below, under Media.
• [Come let us reason together" -Isaiah 1:18] Joe Jackloski of Grace Kingston says, "It seems to me we are living in a world where fear, mistrust, xenophobia and self loathing rule; one in which derision and vilification have replaced civil discourse. Fear is an awful master, violence is its tragic stepchild."
• Comments made in 1955 ... I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for $10.00 ... Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won’t be long before $1,000 will only buy a used one ... If cigarettes keep going up in price, I’m going to quit; 20 cents a pack is ridiculous. [To be continued. H/T Jane Teter. Did she say or forward them?]
Diocese of Bethlehem
• Polly Moore Dawsey ... "I am saddened to report that Polly (Mrs. Marshall) Dawsey passed from this life on January 13 at the Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre," Bishop Paul wrote on Bakery, our diocesan interactive internet list. "Polly was of constant support and encouragement to her parish, her clergy, and to me (and my predecessors). Polly was a dedicated member of Christ Church Towanda, and together with her husband supported community and diocesan ministries." Read her obituary here.
• Episcopal Appalachian Ministries Small Grants Initiative is seeking applicants for its Spring awards. The grants are intended to be used as seed money for organizations to seize opportunities of a one-time nature. On-going operating costs will not be given priority. Successful applications will usually involve helping Appalachians address regional issues such as poverty, health care, unemployment, education, cultural affirmation, or the environment through direct service. Grants are usually $500 to $3000. The application deadline for the Spring awards is February 28th. Applications are available online or by contacting The Rev. Dcn. Gordon Brewer, Executive Coordinator for EAM, at email@example.com.
• Telling Stories ... [A sermon for the second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A by Andrew Gerns.] Something happens when we tell a story. The people who study this kind of thing tell us that when we start a story off like this, something happens in our brains. With the right equipment they can see it happen right before their very eyes. They say that when our brains are scanned in a certain way, and we start to tell a story, the researchers looking at their screens see whole parts of our brains light up with color that had just a minute before been dormant. It is as if a different part of the brain from what we use every day is activated. We are not just talking about facts; we are painting images in our minds. Read Andrew's sermon here.
• Calendar of Events ... Download the current calendar, updated Jan. 4, here.
• Ninth annual Women of Nativity retreat is open to women of the diocese. March 11-13. Still time to register. More here.
• Overwhelming vote for Southern Sudan secession ... Southern Sudanese election officials posted early results on Sunday indicating that perhaps more than 95 percent of voters in this regional capital of Juba voted to secede from Sudan. More at the NYTimes. And this, fromBishop Anthony Poggo: The provisional Referendum results for Kajo-Keji County were announced today. The summary showed that 198 people voted for Unity while 45,892 voters voted for Secession. This represented 98.7 % of all the votes that were casted. There were 102 invalid votes and 85 unmarked votes. Out of 46,454 registered voters, 46,277 voters participated in the plebiscite. This represented 99.6% voter turn-out.
R20 – Risk to Opportunity for Congregations
• Renewal Assembly, Feb. 19, 9:00 to 1:00 ... Registration is now available for the Renewal Assembly, “The Call to Prayer and Discernment.” The Assembly will be held in six locations: Christ Church Towanda, Trinity Carbondale,Trinity West Pittston, Trinity Pottsville, St. Anne’s Trexlertown and the Cathedral Church of the Nativity Bethlehem. Lunch will be provided. Registrants will be assigned to the most appropriate site. More here.
• I have seen the future of preaching ... [Peter Wallace] and it is a beautiful thing.
• Biblical storytelling ... Christian storyteller Tracy Radosevic says learning to tell Bible stories is a spiritual discipline that allows space for the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of traditional narratives. Read here.
• The Bible and 1776 ... Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham, Executive Vice President and Executive Editor at the Random House Publishing Group and a member of the vestry at Trinity Wall Street, offers his insights into how the Founding Fathers perceived scripture. View the short interview here.
The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Bulletin inserts for Jan. 23, Epiphany3: Q&A about the Episcopal Church. Here.
• Anglican Communion weekly news service ... Here.
• Trinity Institute ... Still time to register for the Trinity Institute's Annual Theological Conference, that is being webcast live from Zion's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Old Zionsville on January 19-21. More here. As Trinity Institute prepares for the 2011 Theological Conference on contextual bible study, Interview with Jon Meacham.
The Roman Catholic Church
• No Exorcist Files ... [John Allen, National Catholic Reporter] Despite titillating news stories over the weekend, the Vatican has denied that it is collaborating with the U.S.-based Discovery Channel on a series to be called the “Exorcist Files.” More here.
• How easily is your moral judgment manipulated? ... [Alex Howard, retired Episcopal priest] Who’s in charge of making your moral decisions? If you think it’s you, think carefully about that. There may be a magnet in your life. More here.
• National Episcopal Health Ministries newsletter ... Sign up here (scroll to the bottom) to receive the NEHM newsletter.
• Smoking leads to genetic damage in minutes ... Even scientists are shocked by the results of a study in the Chemical Research in Toxicology journal that shows the first few puffs of a cigarette can lead to immediate genetic mutations of a smoker's DNA. Researchers say that such rapid results are essentially the same as "injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream." More here.
• Automated External Defibrillators ... Are there any parishes in the Diocese of Bethlehem with AEDs in place? If so, please reply to Diana Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• What book most influenced you in 2010? ... The following is Bishop Paul's recent post on Bakery, titled "Getting your cerebrum involved," with which he invited others on Bakery to name a book that most influenced them in 2010:
"Mine was a title ill-named by marketers who perhaps misunderstood the profundity of what the book says. It is called, alas, Bozo Sapiens, by Kaplan and Kaplan. I gave as many copies for Christmas as I could afford, and recommend it. It is written by a mother-son team who examine how primatology helps explain persistent patterns of thought and behavior among humans (one example: why we hold on to bad stocks--our brains want to).
"The chapter that touches on the Challenger disaster is worth a read and justifies buying the book. It discusses competing systems of logic and summarizes almost every meeting I have attended. Business logic, science logic, management logic, etc., all have different presuppositions, and when the all-too-predictable buffoon stands up in a vestry meeting and talks about the "real" world, we now have the tools, through this books, to ask him/her about the particular world to which reference is being made. The audiotapes reveal that Challenger crashed precisely because the "management" style of real-world logic was specifically invoked to override real-world "engineering" logic, and this was done by naming the "hats" people were wearing. Each group quite honestly held a different conception of "probability." The lesson is not that managers are bad and engineers are good, but is very much about the duty to assess a situation and determine which kind(s) of logic are called for. Is there a logic to mission that is different from the logic of finance, the so-called "scientific method" of falsifiability, boundary-maintenance, etc., or, how do they intersect? Is there a logic to the Cross that allegedly practical folk might miss?
"Anyway, it is a short read, available on Kindle and, for that matter, on Audible, and well worth the investment.
"The most humbling chapter is that about motivated perceptions--how we find what we want to find, even if we don't recognize it, especially if what our parents believed at the time time of our early childhood shapes our expectations.
"What book changed your way of thinking in 2010? Blessings, +Paul"
If you want to get in on the conversation, join "Bakery" at the Get Connected box on the right side of our diocesan Web site, www.diobeth.org
• Time, the Enemy in our 1440/7 news cycle — 1,440 minutes every day, seven days a week, each one of those minutes demanding news for delivery to a networked world. [Arthur Brisnbane, Public Editor, NYTimes] During a few minutes on Jan. 8, The Times had the story wrong. In that brief window of time, NYTimes.com was reporting that Representative Gabrielle Giffords was dead of gunshot wounds. The error and some other aspects of the coverage of the Tucson shootings illustrate how difficult it is in the current environment to be both timely and authoritative. The intense focus on political conflict — not just by The Times — detracted from what has emerged as the salient story line, that of a mentally ill individual with lawful access to a gun. Whether covering the basic facts of a breaking story or identifying more complex themes, the takeaway is that time is often the enemy. Sometimes the best weapon against it is to ignore it, and use a moment to consider the alternatives. More here.
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem
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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.