The newSpin newsletter, Jan. 25, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Mondays and Thursdays
Diocese of Bethlehem
• Grace Honesdale begins program to shelter homeless ... WNEP video here.
• Diocesan Life ... Download the February edition here.
• Episcopalians and Moravians will celebrate full communion relationship on Thursday, February 10, at 6:00 p.m. at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside, joined by the heads of the Provincial Elders’ Conference of the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America. More here.
• Organ Concert at Trinity Easton ... January 28. More here.
• Calendar of Events ... Download the current calendar, updated Jan. 4, here. Updated on Jan. 18 for next month, here.
• Peace Training ... The diocesan Peace Commission is offering substantial scholarships for the peace training to be held at Kirkridge in March. More here.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Bulletin inserts for Jan. 30, Epiphany4: Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Here.
• Pray for our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families ... Here.
• A video for the Feb. 19 Renewal Assembly ... Jeffrey Kemmerer of Grace Allentown, an engineer by profession and a gifted videographer and video editor by avocation, has contributed his services to producing and editing a video featuring Bishop Paul, Father John Francis and Mother Laura Howell that will introduce discussions at the Feb. 19 Renewal Assembly (see R2O below). "Editing video is a bit like the movie Groundhog Day," he said today as he prepared the finished product. "You start with a normal day, full of stops, starts, stutters and other imperfections, and you live the day over and over again, improving it with each iteration." Jeff deserves the gratitude of our diocesan community.
• A "Jesus Hates Obama" ad submitted to air during the Super Bowl has been rejected by the Fox television network.
• Approximately 350 families are served each month by Grace Community Foundation, Grace Allentown's Food Bank +
• Video excerpts from Trinity Institute ... Reading scripture through other eyes. Here.
• Jane Teter's dog, Abby, had to be put down on Saturday.
• Against all odds, a beautiful life ... [NYTimes] Some things we know for sure — a little boy dealt a seemingly impossible hand, the two gay men who decided to give him a home and a life, the unlikely spell cast by the only horse in Montclair. More here.
• Spiritual but not religious? ... Read here.
• Foreclosing on churches ... [WSJournal] The past few years have seen a rapid acceleration in the number of churches losing their sanctuaries because they can't pay the mortgage. More here.
• Comments made in 1955 ... If they think I’ll pay 30 cents for a hair cut, forget it ... No one can afford to be sick anymore. At $15.00 a day in the hospital, it’s too rich for my blood ... It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet ... I never thought I’d see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now. [H/T Jane Teter who forwarded these, but she didn't say them. Who started that rumor? :-)]
• Christians in northern Sudan flock south ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Cafe] Reuters reports that many Christians who live in northern Sudan are flocking south in anticipation of independence there, but are also driven by fears that the north could become an Islamic state governed by Shariah law. More here.
R20 – Risk to Opportunities 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.
The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion
• She's good at this ... says Jim Naughton (Episcopal Café) of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. She sat for an interview with the Houston Chronicle during a recent visit to Texas. As usual, she acquits herself – and represents our church – well.
• Primates set to meet in Dublin, with a few absentees ... [Episcopal News Service, Matthew Davies] As the primates of the Anglican Communion prepare to meet Jan. 25-30 near Dublin, Ireland, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said she is "deeply grateful that we may begin to focus on issues that are highly significant in local contexts as well as across the breadth of the Anglican Communion." Seven primates have indicated they will not be attending the meeting because of Jefferts Schori's presence and recent developments concerning human sexuality issues in the Episcopal Church. Jefferts Schori is one of 38 primates in the Anglican Communion. "In all we do, we seek to recognize the face of God wherever we turn, realizing that the body of God's creation will only be healed when all members of the body of Christ are working together," Jefferts Schori said. Other primates may not attend the meeting due to reasons of health, diary commitments or major issues in their provinces, such as flooding in Australia and the referendum on independence in Sudan, Kearon said. Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada has said that reports that some primates with more conservative theological views are planning to boycott the meeting "does nothing to model for the church what it means to try and live with difference. To simply say 'I refuse to come' is anything but exemplary of the office and ministry to which we are called." The Primates Meeting is not a decision-making body. "It is a body which issues guidance and indicates direction; It has a lot of moral authority based on the fact that it is composed of primates but it isn't a body that votes on resolutions; it doesn't have that kind of procedural or constitutional nature. More here.
• Theocracy not so bad to Roberta Green Ahmanson ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Café] Julie Ingersoll of Religion Dispatches looks at a recent interview in Christianity Today of Roberta Green Ahmanson, wife of Howard. Ingersoll says that most reporters do not understand the depth and importance of the theology behind Ahmanson's support of religious right causes, including his support of the undermining of the Episcopal Church over the last decade, and so miss the impact on our culture and politics. More here.
• Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth wins summary judgement ... Here and here. Still, Bishop Jack Iker said he and other area Episcopalians who left the national church will appeal the judge's decision ordering his group to give up all property of the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Here.
• Anglican Communion News Service ... Weekly roundup.
• Spring Courses at General Seminary ... Here.
The Roman Catholic Church
• Ecumenical manners can't blunt pro-life message, pope says ... [NPR, John Allen ] At the conclusion of an annual week of prayer devoted to overcoming divisions in Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI has warned that hard political choices over “the family, marriage and sexuality” cannot be played down for the sake of preserving good relations among the various Christian denominations. Such issues form the heart of the contemporary culture wars, and Benedict called for a united front among Christians on these debates, “which cannot be minimized or avoided simply to avoid endangering the agreement we’ve already achieved.” More here.
• B16 on social networks ... Social networks are the principal focus of Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the 45th World Day of Social Communications published this morning, though of course none are mentioned explicitly by name. He says that social networking is a wonderful for both evangelization and for building relationships, but cautions against replacing virtual friendships for real, face-to-face relationships. More here. [H/T Andrew Gerns]
• Don't dumb down the incomprehensible God ... We have done our people a breathtaking disservice by trying to make theology (God-Talk) easier to understand. Dumbing-down our God-Talk has only made us dumber about God. More here. [H/T Andrew Gerns]
• Spirituality is the new science ... [Deepak Chopra, San Francisco Chronicle] When a Nobel laureate announced last week that water had appeared to "teleport" DNA, it underscored the changes taking places in the very foundations of the scientific world, Chopra declares in the San Francisco Chronicle. "The solid, material world vanished a hundred years ago," he writes, "and almost all the quantum pioneers, such as Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schroedinger, either became outright mystics or remained baffled by the radical discovery that the universe emerged from a void." Chopra asserts that consciousness is now a viable topic of study, as the connection between science and spirituality is increasingly explored. "Everything in existence is experienced through our consciousness, including subatomic particles and distant galaxies. The universe exists in our consciousness. There is no proof of an objective universe, which is taken on faith, as pure assumption," he writes. "Is the universe conscious? ... Does the mind exist outside the brain? Once preposterous, these questions seem to hold the key to the future, in both physics and biology." Read more here. [H/T The Atlantic Wire]
• Why parents fear the needle ... [NYTimes, Michael Willrich] Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, roughly one in five Americans believes that vaccines cause autism — a disturbing fact that will probably hold true even after the publication this month, in a British medical journal, of a report thoroughly debunking the 1998 paper that began the vaccine-autism scare. That’s because the public’s underlying fear of vaccines goes much deeper than a single paper. Until officials realize that, and learn how to counter such deep-seated concerns, the paranoia — and the public-health risk it poses — will remain. More here.
• For safe sledding ... follow these tips. [H/T Diana Marshall]
• What do we mean by 'Judeo-Christian'? ... [Religion Dispatches] This irksome and quintessentially American term has considerable political value, if no intellectual or spiritual weight. Here.
• True Grit, then and now ... [Frank Rich, NYTimes] 1969 and 2011. Also, the two Americas of True Grit and The Social Network. Read it here.
• On a busy street corner with Thomas Merton ... [Episcopal News Service, Lori Ericksn] In the middle of downtown Louisville, Kentucky, there stands a most unusual bronze plaque. Usually such markers commemorate a battle, political figure, or some natural or historical feature, but the one on the street corner in Louisville marks a mystical experience -- one that happened to the monk Thomas Merton on March 18, 1958. 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.