The newSpin newsletter, Feb. 28, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Mondays and Thursdays
• Our Renewal Assembly Video ... Watch it at YouTube, split into two parts, or all in one at Vimeo. The video, with Bishop Paul, Mother Laura Howell and Father John Francis, is 23:30.
• Three-minute daily retreat ... Try it here and here.
• Who gets into heaven? ... The argument some most commonly rely on by way of "proving" that only Christians can get into heaven is John 14:6, where Jesus says, "No one comes to the Father except through me." But do those words really mean that? Watch video.
• A Time for Two-Wheelers ... [Bishop Paul, Diocesan LIfe, March] A father was having a terrible time teaching his daughter to ride a two-wheeler. He writes about all the care he took to structure her experience so that learning to ride the bike was safe and pleasant. There was safety, there was structure, and there was a protective presence. As you might guess, she did not learn to ride during those sessions. The father retreated into a reverie, wondering how he could have made the experience better. For the time being, the lessons stopped. A few afternoons later he came home and was astonished to see his child riding her two-wheeler with confidence and enjoyment. His feelings at this sight were many. Fortunately they included curiosity. When questioned, his daughter revealed that she had consulted her friends on how they learned to ride. Her report of their wisdom: “To ride a two-wheeler, the first thing you have to do is fall down a lot of times.” More here, on page 2 of the March Diocesan Life.
Lent begins on Wednesday, March 9
• A Time for Two-Wheelers ... [Bishop Paul, Diocesan LIfe, March] Read above.
• Spiritual reading for Lent ... Recommendations from Canon Anne Kitch, including her new book, here.
• Episcopal Relief and Development 2011 Lenten Devotional ... Inspiration to reflect on our own lives and our relationships with a hurting world. Download ERD 2011LentenDevotional
• Jubilate for Lent to Easter ... Hymnody for Ash Wednesday to last Sunday of Easter (March 9, 2011 to June 5, 2011), published by the Diocese of Bethlehem for our diocesan community and for free distribution to the world, may be downloaded below as an Acrobat or MSWord file. Jubilate is a service of our Liturgy and Music Commission, specifically Canon Cliff Carr who has been doing this for more than 30 years. Download Jubilate as a pdf or a word file here.
Diocese of Bethlehem
• Special Community Choral Concert at the Cathedral ... Sunday, March 6, at 4 p.m. The Cathedral Choir will be joined by the choirs of Central Moravian Church Bethlehem and St. John's Lutheran Church Allentown. Great choral classics will be performed by the individual and massed choirs under the direction and accompaniment of: Russell Jackson, Cathedral Church of the Nativity; Rebecca Owens, Central Moravian Church; and Stephen Williams, St. John's Lutheran Church.
• Diocesan Life, March ... Download it or read it without having to download. Here.
• Christophany ... [Kim Rowles] Registration is open for the spring retreat for youth of the Diocese of Bethlehem, April 8-10. More here.
• Episcopalians and Moravians celebrate Full Communion ... The landmark Full Communion between the Episcopal Church and the Northern & Southern Provinces of The Moravian Church in America was celebrated February 10 at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem. See this item at the newSpin blog for a comprehensive report: (1) What Full Communion means, (2) Quotes by Bishop Paul, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, and Kat Lehman, (3) The ENS story, (4) ENS Gallery of Photos, (5) Photos taken by Kat, (6) Video of the service, (7) Moravians? Who are they?, (8) The final report of full communion, (9) The sermon by Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller, and (10) A feature by Dave Howell of Trinity Bethlehem, written for The Living Church.
• Calendar of Events ... Download the current calendar, updated Feb 2, here.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Bulletin inserts for March 6, Last Epiphany: World Mission Sunday. Download inserts here.
• DioBeth Website and newSpin Blog
Spinning (in Bill's head, after too much browsing)
• Studying Liberation Theology on the border ... Later this week, Dr. Kelly Denton-Borhaug (Lutheran pastor, Moravian professor, member of Grace Allentown), as part of the Moravian College course "Religion 255: Latin American Liberation Theology," will lead students in a travel seminar to the border between Mexico and Nogales, Arizona. "Our seminar will operate in conjunction with the non-profit organization, 'Borderlinks,' a bi-national group that works to increase understanding and cultural awareness regarding the realities of immigration and the Mexico-U.S. border," she says. "We will meet with immigrants, stay in their homes, visit court proceedings, hear from local activists and academics, and more."
• What is the Role of the Faith Community in Civic Life in the 21st Century? ... Lehigh County Conference of Churches 2011 Campbell Lecture on Christian Unity, Thursday, March 3 (2:30 to 8:15) at DeSales University. Speaker: The Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin,executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches for 14 years, an ordained Moravian minister with dual standing in the United Church of Christ upon whom the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota bestowed the honor of canon.The Rev. Canon Maria Tjeltveit, rector at Mediator Allentown, will preach at the 6:30 service. More here.
• Star power ... On the ground with a new kind of statesman. In the age of Twitter-shortened attention spans, fame is an increasingly powerful weapon of diplomacy. How George Clooney is helping to bring change––and a hefy dose of hope––to Sudan. Read the cover feature in Newsweek, Feb. 28.
• Is your event listed? ... The Morning Call has created with its newly expanded Community Calendar a user-friendly way for churches and nonprofits to submit their events for listing (24/7 online and Monday through Saturday in print). View and submit events.
• Crusades not anti-Islam? ... That's what Rick Santorum said in South Carolina. More here and here.
• A Belgian Monastery ... is pretending to brew beer, but Denmark's Carlsberg is making the beer and slapping the abbey's name on it. Religion News Service editor Kevin Eckstrom quips that this is "a crime that violates so many commandments that all involved should be forced to drink Coors Light for the rest of their lives in penance." More here.
• What if Starbucks marketed like a church? A parable ... Here.
• Channeling Jacob? ... [RNS Quote of the Day] "To Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and the familiar Religious Right leaders, you need to go check on Billy Graham. Glenn Beck's no patriarch of Israel, but I think he might just have made off with your birthright." -- Episcopal scholar Diana Butler Bass on Fox commentator Glenn Beck's Feb. 19 meeting with the Rev. Billy Graham. Beck's statement after the meeting implied that the aging evangelist had "passed his mantle onto the Mormon Beck" as the spiritual leader of a new Great Awakening, according to Butler Bass.
• Staying with social media to build a virtual community ... Nancy Davidge, president of Episcopal Communicators and editor of the Episcopal Church Foundation's Vital Practices, said the challenge of social media for churches "is that it requires a commitment to stay with it and to build a virtual community." She cited Unapologetically Episcopalian and the relatively new Episcopal Foodie Network as examples of Facebook pages that are building significant virtual communities and developing continuing discussions. ECF is sending out three Facebook posts per day, she added. "We're finding that we get a lot of people reading them and for us a lot is 500. And we're getting some comments, probably in the 30-or-so range a week. But we've been having a harder time getting discussions started. The big challenge is being willing to stick with it and test things and figure out what is it that's going to catch people and engage them." The Episcopal Divinity School recently announced a series of upcoming Conversations about Social Media, planned for mid-March to April to help churches address the "urgency to speak with the faithful in new ways."
• Reading Jesus ... Novelist, Barnard professor and author of Reading Jesus: a Writer's Encounter with the Gospel, Mary Gordon was a principal speaker at Trinity Institute 2011, Reading Scripture through Other Eyes. After one viewing of her lecture, this is my summary. Because one comes to the Bible laden with not only publically culturally but also privately emotional responses, it is impossible to give it an innocent reading. There are boundaries, however. (1) Jesus had an intimate relationship with God who was not remote. (2) Jesus related with individuals, taking people seriously. (3) Jesus took on the inevitable suffering of life and gave it meaning. Therefore, unless one's reading/apprehension of the story of Jesus leads to a personal life that shares in those three "boundaries" (an intimate relationship with God who is not remote; a hands-on relationship with our sisters and brothers that takes each one seriously; a recognition that the world will not be fair to us and a willingness to transform that suffering), it is a misreading. View her lecture here. Read a discussion between Mark Richardson and Martin Elfert here, at CDSP's Anglican Insight blog. Mary Gordon is a progressive Roman Catholic. See below, under Roman Catholic Church, Why I stay: a parable from a progressive Catholic.
The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion
• New Zealand Anglicans assess damage, reach out to others ... [Episcopal News Service] Lay and clergy members of the Diocese of Christchurch are re-grouping, attempting to hold funerals, ministering to each other and reaching out to a wider community stunned by the Feb. 22 magnitude-6.3 earthquake. ... The official death toll as increased to some 150 with another 200 reported missing. There are still an estimated 22 people lying unrecovered at Christchurch Cathedral where, police say, there was no chance of surviving the collapse of the building's tower. More here. [Religion News Service] Work has moved from rescue to recovery in Christchurch, New Zealand. More here.
• Tweeting, texting, friending, surfing: Churches confront the 'digital divide' ... [Episcopal News Service, Pat McCaughan] In a Feb. 15 tweet the Rev. Jim Liberatore (aka gamma909) sent Genesis 18 in 130 characters to followers across the web: #Gen18-men visit-Abe hospitable-Men:wife 2 have kid-Wife pushing 100, laughs-Lord miffed-Abe haggles Gd dn on destructn thing. He has declared 2011 "The Year of Connection" at St. Andrew's Church in Pearland, Texas. To that end, he has embarked upon a mission to tweet a Bible chapter a day and endeavors to get each one "to 130 characters, so they can be retweeted. "I'm about one-third of the way through Genesis," said Liberatore, 60, St. Andrew's rector, during a Feb. 15 telephone interview from his office. It's an example of how social media is changing or could potentially change the way Liberatore and other Episcopal clergy do church. Some say they have enlisted Twitter, Facebook, blogs, websites and e-mail to render more user-friendly church meetings, evangelism, Bible study and even pastoral care. More here.
• The case against the Rev. Donald Armstrong ... [Episcopal Café, John B. Chilton] Here and at the Colorado Springs Independent. Be sure to scroll to the background history. Also, Armstrong avoid jail time, must pay $99,247 ... More here.
• First Wednesday live concert webcast ... March 2, St. John's, Lafayette Square, Washington DC, here.
• A Theological Foundation for Full Communion between The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church ... Download the document here. [H/T Maria Tjeltveit]
• Episcopal Peace Fellowship ... Feb. 24 newsletter here.
• Episcopal Church Website and News Service
The Moravian Church in North America
• Weber Memorial Lecture with Brian Wren ... “Surprise Us By the Words We Sing: New Hymns to Sing and Ponder,” Friday, March 11 on the South Campus of Moravian College, presented by esteemed hymn writer Brian Wren. All are welcome to attend this free event.Registration is available through our website or by calling the Office of Continuing Education at 610-861-1519.
• Full Communion with Episcopal Church ... See above, under "Diocese of Bethlehem."
• Moravian Church in North America website • Moravian Church Northern Province website • Moravian Theological Seminary website
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
• ELCA website ... Here. • ELCA News Service ... Here. • NEPA Synod website ... Here. • Synod E-News ... Feb. 25. Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter by email here.
The United Methodist Church
• A Theological Foundation for Full Communion between The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church ... Download the document here. [H/T Maria Tjeltveit]
• UMC website ... Here. • UMC News Service ... Here. UMC Communication ... The United Methodist Church has long been a leader in providing useful resources for church communicators. Start here. Eastern PA Conference of the UMC website ... Here. Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog ... Here.
The Roman Catholic Church
• Paths to God ... Jesuit priest James Martin, culture editor of America magazine and author of numerous books, says there are as many paths to God as there are individuals. He has written a series on Huffington Post that looks at six of the most well-traveled paths for contemporary believers: Belief, Independence, Disbelief, Return, Spiritual Exploration, and Confusion.
• Bishop Cullen rebuts Morning Call story from pulpit ... [The Morning Call] The Allentown Catholic Diocese has distanced itself from comments retired Bishop Edward Cullen made at a confirmation this week, when he said a newspaper article was false in stating he helped protect a Philadelphia area priest who later was charged with raping an altar boy. Speaking at the end of the confirmation Tuesday at St. Anne Church in Bethlehem, Cullen said an article in The Morning Call on Sunday based on a Philadelphia grand jury report represented the latest example of what he described as the newspaper's longstanding bias against Catholics, according to several who attended the ceremony. An aunt of one of the eighth-graders being confirmed said Cullen referred to The Morning Call's initials and he said they really stand for "to mortify Catholics." The spokesman for the Allentown Diocese said "only the sitting bishop speaks for the diocese." More here.
• Why I stay: a parable from a progressive Catholic ... [Mary Gordon, Huffington Post] We are deluged by questions from those who think of themselves as our colleagues and comrades. Actually, only one question: "How can you still stay in the Church?" ... An important source of the Catholic imagination is the parables of Jesus, and so I would like to explain the position of people like me in the form of a parable. Here. Also see Reading Jesus above, under Bible.
• RC bishops back Wisconsin Union protesters ... [Religion News Service] Ignoring Madison bishop who proclaimed the church "neutral," the U.S. Catholic bishops on Thursday (Feb. 24) threw their moral weight behind the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin, saying the rights of workers do not abate in difficult economic times. More here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here. • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website ... Here. • Diocese of Allentown website ... Here. • Diocese of Scranton website ... Here.
• Of Gods and Men ... is based on the true story of a group of French Cistercian Trappist monks caught up (and ultimately killed) in the violence that engulfed Algeria in the 1990s. NYTimes movie review here. Also at Salon.
• Unease with the postmodern condition: Oscars edition ... What do this year's Best Picture nominees have to say about homo sapiens? S. Brent Plate says (a) plenty and (b) it ain't simple. [H/T Torey Lightcap at Episcopal Café]
• The Redemption of a Racist ... [NYTimes] David Evans, an optometrist whose previous arts experience involved producing passion plays at a Memphis Christian church, makes his directorial debut with "The Grace Card." More here.
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem
(1) The DioBeth newSpin blog
(2) The DioBeth website
(4) Twitter.Kat Lehman
(5) Public news and info lists: At the Diobeth website, enter your name and email in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of these. "Bakery" is our diocesan interactive list.
(2) News & Notices
(4) Episcopal News Service
(5) Episcopal Church website
(9) The Lead, Episcopal Cafe
(10) Daily Episcopalian, Episcopal Cafe
(12) AnglicansOnline News Centre.
(13) Anglican Communion website.
(14) Anglican Communion News Service.
• Find earlier issues of the newSpin newsletter here and recent ones in the left column here.
Send info about newSpin 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. The newSpin newsletter is currently received by some 1,200 people, many of whom forward it to many others. To have it emailed directly to you, 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 on the left column of 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 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.