Celebration of New Ministry at Redeemer Sayre
newSpin 140812

newSpin 140806

The newSpin newsletter
August 6, 2014
Bill Lewellis

Published weekly, usually by Tuesday

[This week's newSpin newsletter is a bit late and, perhaps, a bit light because I'm enjoying two weeks (July 30 to August 13) as the visiting priest and on vacation at the seasoal Church of the Redeemer in Longport NJ.]

TopSpin
• Let us pray ... [The Writer's Almanac] On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. It was the first time that a nuclear weapon was ever used in warfare, and only the second time that a nuclear weapon had ever been exploded. It was dropped over Hiroshima at 8:15 in the morning. It exploded 1,900 feet above the ground. Capt. Robert Lewis watched the explosion from his cockpit and wrote in his journal, "My God, what have we done?"

• Priest banned for abuse in Scranton, then raised to high post in Paraguay receives  from Pope Francis  ... [RNS] A showdown between Pope Francis and a conservative bishop in Paraguay is heating up as the bishop rejected charges that he sheltered a priest accused of sexual misconduct, and claimed that Pope Benedict XVI himself vouched for the suspect cleric just days before his election as pope in 2005. The conflict between the Vatican and Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este was sparked by revelations in March that the bishop had promoted a Catholic priest who had been barred from ministry in Pennsylvania after church officials there said he molested several boys. Last month, Rome dispatched a cardinal and an archbishop to Paraguay to investigate, and on July 30 the Vatican said it was removing the priest, the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity, from his job as the diocese’s No. 2 official. It also took the unusual step of barring Livieres from ordaining any men to the priesthood In a detailed and sharply worded 12-point rebuttal to Rome, the Paraguayan diocese said Urrutigoity has been the subject of “a long and harsh defamation campaign in the U.S.” and said he came “recommended by some cardinals with roles in the Vatican.” Read on.

• The Leftovers ... The Episcopal priest character in the HBO drama works to prove that the Rapture-like event was not the rapture. See below, under "Media/Films." 

• What we do and do not believe ... [TM Luhrmann, NYTimes via Episcopal Café] Luhrmann examines the phenomenon of 'boggle lines'--the point at which someone draws the line between what can be accepted into an operational worldview and what seems utterly fantastical. Luhrmann explains that each person's boggle line is different. A person may have no trouble believing God became a mortal being two millennia ago, but may find the prospect of progressive evolution fantastical. Read on.

• Racism is White America's HIV ... [Bishop Gene Robinson, The Daily Beast] For white America, confronting its own racism is a lot like attitudes surrounding the virus that can lead to AIDS. Read on.

• The greatest story never told ... [Esquire] Ten years ago, Benedict Fitzgerald's screenplay helped turn The Passion of the Christ into the most successful independent movie ever made. Later, he wrote a follow-up script that he thought could be as big—and so did some drug dealers, money launderers, and kidnappers. Now, when biblical epics have once again become a thriving Hollywood business, this is the story of what happened to the mother of all sequels. Read on.

SpiritSpin
• New Tracts for Our Times ... [Michael Curry, Ellen Davis] Dr. Ellen Davis speaks about the importance of scripture for the life of Episcopalians. Bishop Michael Curry speaks about the unity and beauty of the Eucharist, beginning with a stunning story. Each YouTube video is about eight minutes. Here.

• Have you ever walked on water? ... [Bill] Next Sunday's gospel passage, Matthew 14:22-33, tells of Jesus walking on water towards the boat of the frightened disciples. During my preaching years, I've come at this passage in a handful of ways, but never one I'm working on for Eucharist, once again, in Longport NJ. I want to focus on Peter walking on the water towards Jesus.
   In Shawshank Redemption, Stephen King has one of his characters say that hope is a dangerous thing. Have you, like Peter, ever walked on water? I'll bet you have. Hope is a dangerous thing when we look to Jesus and dare to walk on water. Unlock your memory. When have you dangerously hoped to walk on water? Perhaps you never thought of your story as a dangerous hope of walking on water experience. I'll bet that, among those reading this, there are people who could tell stories that would knock our socks off ... and add their meaning to that of Sunday's gospel story. Come to Longport on Sunday if you want to hear mine. :-)
   Here's a draft of my intro: About six months ago, I purchased and learned how to use a Kindle. I’ve mainly read mysteries and thrillers on it – and, of course, one of the four free downloads Amazon provides monthly. My IQ may have dropped by a few points … but the books have been page turners. I have downloaded a few very serious books, of course … just in case someone wants to look at my library. :-)
   Every so often, however, even in the mysteries and thrillers, I find something to use in a sermon or in my occasional newspaper column. What was it that Garrison Keillor said? Something like writers never have bad days because everything is material. Here’s something I recently highlighted from a recent thriller: “Generally I agree with Stephen King that hope is a dangerous thing." Hope is a dangerous thing, even when we look to Jesus  ... and dare to walk on water. Have you ever walked on water? I’ll bet you have.

• Religion
... [Society of St. John the Evangelist, Br. Curtis Almquist] The English word “religion” comes from the Latin, religare, which means “to bind fast.” Religion is a spiritual “ligament” which holds the parts together. The word religion comes from the same etymological root as our word “rely,” rely not just on God, but rely on one another, for the love of God. More here.


• Listening how? ... [Stephen R. Covey] "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

• Celtic Spirituality Initiative at Bethlehem Cathedral
... [Melinda Rizzo] Nativity’s dean Tony Pompa said his hope is for the monthly Thursday evenings, the fourth Thursday, 7:00 p.m., to become a touchstone for anyone interested in seeking a new way to approach spirituality and make a deeper connection with the sacred.  All are welcome to the Thursday evening Celtic spirituality offerings, regardless of their denomination, or faith affiliation. The sessions are informal, and invite participants to enter the Cathedral for meditation, silent prayer, personal reflection time, to light candles, privately ask for healing prayers, and simply enjoy brief theme appropriate meditative readings and poems spoken, all supported by quietly played Celtic Music by guest musicians, well known and versed in Celtic themed music. “We offer a variety of opportunities for sacred connections in about 40 minutes, and the sessions hold a peace-filled and paced economy of time; the Celtic music played by our gifted guest musicians throughout the majority of the evening invites transformation, it’s a recipe of sacred mystery," Pompa explained. Read on.

• Adequately and effectively
  ... [RootedRadical]
Q: Is there a difference between preaching the Gospel adequately — where the content of the Gospel is preached — and preaching the Gospel effectively, preaching it well? A: Yes. It is the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing a bullet. Here.

RNS: The “Left Behind” books series has sold more than 60 million copies. What do you think when you hear that so many have been influenced by that brand of eschatological thought? 

SH: My reaction to the “Left Behind” series is one of amusement and pathos. Pathos because so many people have misunderstood Christian eschatological convictions and turned them into speculative accounts of the so-called “rapture.” I take it to be a judgment against the church that that kind of speculation has gained a foothold.

- See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/07/07/stanley-hauerwas-reflects-end-times-end-life/#sthash.ClyfFU6i.dpuf

• Resources
 ... Here.

NewSpin
• Does God hate shrimp? ... [Religion and Politics] One of the most popular “West Wing” clips on YouTube is President Josiah Bartlet’s biblically-based takedown of a conservative radio talk-show host (a thinly veiled Dr. Laura), who confidently justifies her opposition to homosexuality by citing the Hebrew Bible. Specifically, she refers to a so-called “clobber verse,” Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.” In response, the popular fictional president excoriates her by asking questions about other verses surrounding this passage. “Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football?
   This rhetorical theme isn’t limited to television. In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama addressed a conference hosted by the Christian social justice organization Sojourners. In addition to describing his own spiritual journey, Obama also questioned the biblical invocations of conservative leaders, asking, “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination?” Read on.

• The lavish homes of American archbishops ... [CNN, Daniel Burke] Records reveal that 10 of the country's top church leaders defy the Pope's example and live in residences worth more than $1 million. Read on.

e of the most popular “West Wing” clips on YouTube is President Josiah Bartlet’s biblically-based takedown of a conservative radio talk-show host (a thinly veiled Dr. Laura), who confidently justifies her opposition to homosexuality by citing the Hebrew Bible. Specifically, she refers to a so-called “clobber verse,” Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.” In response, the popular fictional president excoriates her by asking questions about other verses surrounding this passage. “Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? … Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?” His pointed questions leave his interlocutor speechless.

This rhetorical theme isn’t limited to television. In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama addressed a conference hosted by the Christian social justice organization Sojourners. In addition to describing his own spiritual journey, Obama also questioned the biblical invocations of conservative leaders, asking, “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination?”

- See more at: http://religionandpolitics.org/2014/08/05/does-god-hate-shrimp-biblical-citation-gone-awry/#sthash.Qc1gTFYq.dpufe of the most popular “West Wing” clips on YouTube is President Josiah Bartlet’s biblically-based takedown of a conservative radio talk-show host (a thinly veiled Dr. Laura), who confidently justifies her opposition to homosexuality by citing the Hebrew Bible. Specifically, she refers to a so-called “clobber verse,” Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.” In response, the popular fictional president excoriates her by asking questions about other verses surrounding this passage. “Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? … Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?” His pointed questions leave his interlocutor speechless.

• Analytics without action... [Seth Godin] Don't measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions. If you're not prepared to change your diet or your workouts, don't get on the scale.

DioBethSpin
• New Hope is a new Girls' Dormitory ... [New Hope in Pictures, Archdeacon Stringfellow, July 13] The thirty-third New Hope building in Kajo Keji, a girls
 dormitory, is almost ready for occupancy. Yes, 33. An amazing accomplishment. Read on.

• Bishop's School ... Fall, 2014.

• In-Formation in Bethlehem and Faith Formation News ... [Anne Kitch] You may be interested in subscribing to In-Formation in Bethlehem, a monthly eNewsletter. It contains articles for reflection, highlights books and new resources, and advertises opportunities for learning in the areas of Christian education, congregational development, and spiritual formation for adults, children, and youth. You can subscribe here. Also, Faith Formation News is a publication of the Diocese of Bethlehem highlighting Christian education and formation events and opportunties. Subscribe.

• Listening, Prayer and Discernment ... [News release from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem] Two Episcopal Moment consultants, the Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Johnson, Jr., D.Min, and the Rev. Dr. Robert K. Myers, PhD, both priests based in the Chicago area, will facilitate a series of listening opportunities, to be held across the diocese beginning in fall, at which everyone will be invited to discuss the challenges facing the Episcopal Church in northeastern Pennsylvania, how the diocese has responded to these challenges, and where the Holy Spirit might be leading this diocesan community. The goal is for everyone who wishes to participate in this process to have a chance to be heard. Read on.

• Resources
 ... Here.

ParishSpin
• Why do congregations matter ... [Alban Weekly, David Odom] Where I see congregations struggling for relevance is as institutions in their local communities. Local governments, health care providers and social service agencies have an instrumental view of congregations. If these agencies look to congregations at all, it is to supply things like meals at Thanksgiving or toys for Christmas. Few congregations have a vision to influence policy. Most are more concerned about the number of people attending than the impact of their witness in the community. But it doesn't have to be this way. Read on.

• At Redeemer Sayre ... Celebration of New Ministry, Aug. 24. More here.

• Resources
 ... Here.

People from our diocese and parishes in the media
• Nothing to report

YouthSpin
• Resources
 ... Here.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Worship/Church Growth
• Resources
 ... Here.

Rest in Peace

James S. Brady, 73 ... died August 4. While the White House press secretary, he was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and then became a symbol of the fight for gun control, championing tighter regulations from his wheelchair. AP obituary here.

Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• Whoa! Uganda's Anglican leader says anti-gay law still needed ... [Episcopal News Service] Uganda’s top Anglican leader criticized the constitutional court for striking down the country’s controversial anti-gay law on a technicality, saying the law is still needed to protect children and families from Western-imported homosexuality. Read on.

• Resources
 ... Here.

Employment Opportunities
• Tunkhannock seek Organist/musician ... [Lou Divis] We would like to expand our music to include ideas outside of the box. Please email cover letter and resume to:  stpetes@epix.net.

• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here

TaleSpin
• Laundry Love: Building church from the inside ... [The Episcopal Church] A modern-day footwashing. Watch video. Also on NPR.

Evangelical Lutheran Church
• Resources
 ... Here.

Moravian Church
• Resources ... Here.

United Methodist Church
• Resources
 ... Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Resources
 ... Here.

On Meet the Press earlier this month, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, claimed that the Catholic Church is not anti-gay. “We’re pro marriage, we’re pro traditional marriage, we’re not anti anybody. We’ve been out-marketed, we’ve been caricatured as being anti-gay,” he explained to the show’s host, David Gregory. Dolan’s right. The Catholic Church isn’t anti-gay, but evidence suggests its bishops certainly are. - See more at: http://michaeloloughlin.religionnews.com/2013/12/12/catholic-church-isnt-anti-gay-bishops/#sthash.AXXkoaJF.dpuf
Whoops! After years of debate, Catholic bishops in France decided that the version of the Lord’s Prayer their congregants recite could be considered blasphemous. Apparently French people…can’t read French? The official translation has been changed from “Do not submit us to temptation” to “Let us not enter into temptation,” absolving God of any perceived meddling. - See more at: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/10/21/sacre-secularism-blasphemous-prayer-state-circumcisions-religious-freedom-recap-oct-14-21/#sthash.TsUkdjdR.dpuf
Whoops! After years of debate, Catholic bishops in France decided that the version of the Lord’s Prayer their congregants recite could be considered blasphemous. Apparently French people…can’t read French? The official translation has been changed from “Do not submit us to temptation” to “Let us not enter into temptation,” absolving God of any perceived meddling. - See more at: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/10/21/sacre-secularism-blasphemous-prayer-state-circumcisions-religious-freedom-recap-oct-14-21/#sthash.TsUkdjdR.dpuf

Roman Catholic
• Resources
 ... Here.

The Vatican
• Vatican urges faithful to cool it during passing of the peace ... [Episcopal Café via RNS] In an effort to insure a more sober ritual, the Vatican has urged bishops to clamp down on singing, moving around and other casual expressions of affection when the sign of peace is exchanged during Mass. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments led by Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, has sent a letter to bishops around the world expressing concern about what it considers to be ritual abuses. Read on.

• Resources
 ... Here.

HealthSpin
• Resources
 ... Here


Media/Films/DVD/TV/Books/Music/Tech
• Finally, a TV show that truly takes religion seriously ... [New Republic] HBO drama, “The Leftovers,” asks the question, what would have to happen for us to take religion seriously again? And would the world be better off if we did? Read on.

• Resources
 ... Here.

******************
As soon as the newSpin newsletter is completed, usually by Tuesday, it is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on Bakery and on a ChurchPost list of some 1,200 addresses. Many recipients often forward it to others. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. 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, the Standing Committee or the Archdeacon as an official communication. If you're wondering why you haven't seen something related to your parish or agency here, it's probably because no one has sent relevant info. If you think something about your parish or agency merits inclusion, send email to Bill. Comments are welcome at the newSpin blog. Click there in the right hand column on the title of the current newsletter. Then, make your comment below.

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
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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