newSpin, the newsletter
May 17, 2018 – Bill Lewellis
• Bishop Sean's ministry could expand to Western New York … [Times-News staff, May 7] he Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Western New York could begin sharing Bishop Sean Rowe in 2019. Erie’s Episcopal bishop will wrap up his work in the Diocese of Bethlehem but could then head to the Diocese of Western New York.
The Right Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of the Erie-based Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, will end his duties as provisional bishop in Bethlehem when its newly elected bishop is consecrated Sept. 15. Rowe became bishop in Erie in 2007 and took on the temporary Bethlehem job in 2014 after the bishop there retired. In 2019, he could resume the job of provisional bishop, this time in Western New York following the retirement of Bishop William Franklin.
Rowe, 43, the youngest bishop in the Episcopal Church, leads an Erie-based diocese of 33 congregations that officials say has more than 3,000 members in 13 counties. The Diocese of Western New York, based about 100 miles from Erie in Tonawanda, New York, has 57 parishes with almost 8,500 members. Read on
• Jubilate for Pentecost B … is now available at the Trinity Bethlehem website. Also, Prayers of the People may be found there. Jubilate is a resource for hymn selection. Weekly Prayers of the People may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in both Word (.doc) and .pdf formats. Find both here.
• Michael Curry will preach at the royal wedding … [NYT] Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American to preside over the Episcopal Church, will deliver a sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19. Read on. Also at Newsweek.
• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.
• Reclaiming Jesus … Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners have issued the following letter to church leaders about the Reclaiming Jesus Declaration. Read the letter here.
• Great Sermon! Now, how about my carburetor? … Most everybody in Moscow, PA knows Father Earl Trygar. At some point or another, he's probably had his head under the hood of one of their car. Plus, about 40 of them hear him preach and sing the Eucharist at St. Mark's Church every Sunday morning. It makes for interesting conversation. “People will stop on the way out of church and say, ‘Nice sermon! By the way, my inspection sticker expires at the end of the month. Can you get me in?’” And Trygar always can. Trygar’s Auto Center, which he opened in 1977, is the only garage in town, and it’s conveniently located about 100 yards from St. Mark’s Church, where Trygar has served as rector since 2003. During the years leading to his 2002 ordination to the priesthood, more than a few church leaders urged him to consider ordained ministry. Not that they wanted him to give up being a car mechanic; they just thought he should do both. Read on.
• Four different news stories over 24 hours – how they connect … [David Leonhardt, NYTimes] The president is going to keep lying, and his allies are going to keep covering for him. The rest of us need to remember that a lie is still a lie, even when it’s coming from the president. #4: Pro-Trump media outlets, many of which have little regard for truth, are spreading. They include Salem Radio Sinclair Broadcasting, Fox News and local websites promoting Republican candidates that are intentionally framed to look like real news websites. Read on.
• DioBeth Leadership News, May 10 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 3 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, April 26 … Here.
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Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• We'll separate you from your children … That’s the message from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to people who cross U.S. borders without documentation. Sessions said 700 kids already have been taken away from their parents by U.S. officials since July.That’s the message from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to people who cross U.S. borders without documentation. Sessions said 700 kids already have been taken away from their parents by U.S. officials since July. Read on.
• On preserving favorable tax treatment of clergy housing allowances … [Forbes, May 6] The big trouble makers in this are are the Freedom From Religion Foundation and its officers. They think that allowing "ministers of the gospel" to receive cash housing allowances tax free is a violation of the Establishment Clause. Read on.
• Ben Carson vs. The Fair Housing ACT … [NYTimes Editorial Board, May 13] The contempt of the housing and urban development secretary, Ben Carson, for the Fair Housing Act of 1968 has blinded him to policies that are in the nation’s best interest, and made him a prime target for lawsuits and court intervention. Read on.
• Protecting Religious Liberty … [Bernard Prusak, Commonweal] Why should religious beliefs warrant accommodation when they conflict with other people’s interests? Here.
• In rebuke of Trump, Tillerson says lies are a threat to democracy … [NYTimes] In his address, he cut to the heart of the most significant criticisms of the president, that Mr. Trump exaggerates and constructs his own truths and that he has undermined ethical standards in Washington. “If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both the public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years,” Mr. Tillerson warned. Read on.
• Trump's Failure in Jerusalem … [NYTimes Editorial Board] The day the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem is a day the world has longed for, because of what it was supposed to represent: the end of a seemingly endless conflict, a blood-soaked tragedy with justice and cruelty on both sides. Israelis and Palestinians have envisioned a capital in Jerusalem, and for generations the Americans, the honest brokers in seeking peace, withheld recognition of either side’s claims, pending a treaty that through hard compromise would resolve all competing demands.
But on Monday President Trump delivered the embassy as a gift without concession or condition to the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and as a blow to the Palestinians. The world did not witness a new dawn of peace and security for two peoples who have dreamed of both for so long. Instead, it watched as Israeli soldiers shot and killed scores of Palestinian protesters, and wounded thousands more, along Israel’s boundary with the Gaza Strip. Read on.
• Isn't this a good thing we are doing? … [A 1987 column by Bill Lewellis published in a local daily newspaper] There's a good story about that awful distinction described as "ministers minister and congregations congregate." I'd like to supply appropriate attribution, but I can't remember where I heard the following parable about ministry.
• Faith, Fear and Certainty … [A slightly edited version of a 2003 column by Bill Lewellis, published in The Morning Call] When the religious certains have been many, they have harassed, persecuted, even killed the few. When the certains are few, they simply bore others to death with an ironic accomplishment: replacing the joy and richness of relationship with God with a drab and tedious version of being right. Read on
• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• What are your defining moments? … [A slightly edited version of a column by Bill Lewellis, published in 1998] A three-story perspective casts a little light for me on God’s continuing visitations in our lives. Read on.
• The Daily Examen … [IgnatianSpirituality] is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. The method presented here is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God, and that God wanted it to be shared as widely as possible. One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.
[Bill] When I was in college seminary in Philadelphia, those responsible for mentoring our spirituality put this into our nighttime community prayer as an examination of conscience (recalling our sins of the day) rather than an examination of consciousness (discerning God's presence in our day). What an awful misunderstanding of the Daily Examen! Worse yet, it may have been intentional in the RC seminary culture of those days. Read on.
• Keep thinking – It's so religious … [A slightly edited version of a 2005 column by Bill Lewellis, published in The Morning Call] A conclusion, according to Mark Twain, is the place where someone got tired of thinking. God wants us to keep thinking. That’s why we have so many parables, images and themes in the bible without one-size-fits-all conclusions. I think. Read on.
• Life within the Swirl – pointlessly purposeful … [A slightly edited 1997 column by Bill Lewellis, published in a daily newspaper] Preachers over the years have moved from the classic “three-point” sermon to one memorable point. Television has, indeed, affected our attention span. Recently, however, I heard sermon-resource guru Leonard Sweet suggest that sermons be “pointless.” His “point” was that sermons ought to invite us into further contemplation. Open-ended images and stories do that better than points. My contribution to that discussion is a “pointless” column. My image: swirls. Read on
• Today We Remember Tomorrow … [A slightly edited sermon preached at Diocesan House by Bill Lewellis, Oct. 31, 2013, Vigil of All Saints] From several of my classmates and friends and professors in Rome during the early 60s, I gained a love of good theology. But it wasn’t until some 15 years ago that I heard four words, right here, that captured the purpose of theology and the meaning of Eucharist. Today, we remember tomorrow. My mantra. Read on,
• Ability, Adaptability, Ambiguity: Living with integrity in the tension … [Bill Lewellis] A one-sided conversation took place during the late 1960s when what was to become for me a 40-year ministry on the staffs of three bishops in two denominations. Too soon was it over. My first day at the bishop’s office of the RC Diocese of Allentown was a deep-water introduction to ecclesial systems. I was 30 years old with the slight experience of three years in parish ministry, and one year of teaching in local Catholic high schools. I had earned a reputation as one who resisted the system. Well, it was the '60s.
During that first day, the bishop’s main man gave me some advice. "You obviously have ability,” he said, “but even more important for your work here will be adaptability … and being able to deal with ambiguity."
The veiled message spooked me. I was warned. It was a pre-emptive strike. I believed then, however, and still believe that the one giving the advice was looking out for me. One question stayed with me after I processed the advice: "How to live with integrity in the tension?" Read on.
• Oh the Places You Can Go With Metaphors … [A slightly edited excerpt from a 2006 sermon preached by Bill Lewellis] “Like knotholes in a fence around a construction site,” it has been said, “metaphors allow the curious to peek into the realm of God.” One cannot speak about God or about relationship with God without using images and metaphors, some helpful, some not. Read on.
• Jesus is a troublesome figure … [A 2001 published column by Bill Lewellis] Midway through The Brothers Karamazov, (New York: The Modern Library, pp. 259-266), Dostoevsky deals insightfully with the temptations Jesus rejected, temptations to carry out his mission by manipulation. He inserts in his novel the story of “The Grand Inquisitor.” Read on
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons and reflections. Here.
Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• Baylor's 12 Most 'Effective' English Language Preachers … [CNN] For only the second time in two decades, Baylor University has released its list of the 12 most "effective" preachers in the English language. It is among the most prestigious honors in the preaching profession -- one that has changed the lives of previous recipients. Here, Here and Here.
• No wonder there's an exodus from religion … [EJ Dionne, Jr., WaPo, May 6] Do you wonder why the proportion of Americans declaring themselves unaffiliated with organized religion has skyrocketed in recent decades? This trend is especially pronounced among adults under 30, roughly 40 percent of whom claim no connection to a religious congregation or tradition and have joined the ranks of those the pollsters call the “nones.” To understand how so many now prefer nothing to something when it comes to religion, ponder the news over the past few days. Read on.
• Diocese of Bethlehem elects Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, as its next bishop … Nichols, who is currently, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, was elected on the first ballot by the clergy of the diocese and elected lay representatives during a meeting in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
"I am thrilled to be joining with the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem to bear witness to the power of the Resurrection in their communities," Nichols said. "The momentum there is unmistakable and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us together.
"I see this as a moment for us as a church to recover our purpose for why we are here, to reconcile and to offer God's love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem in its diverse landscapes is rich and fertile ground for God's planting and pruning."
Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire's Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.
A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and St. Andrew's in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
While serving small parishes, Nichols also worked as an account manager and management trainer for Sealed Air Corporation, a packaging company. Read on,
• DioBeth Leadership News, May 10 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 3 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, April 26 … Here.
• House of Bishops' pastoral response to #MeToo will focus on listening, liturgy and steps for healing … [The Episcopal Church, Public Affairs Office] In an open letter to the Episcopal Church, an invitation is extended to share reflections on sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation. A selection of the reflections will be read at a special listening session during General Convention 2018. The House of Bishop’s Pastoral Response will be a sacred space for listening and further reconciliation on Wednesday, July 4, 5:15 pm to 7 pm Central (6:15 pm Eastern/4:15 pm Mountain/3:15 pm Pacific). Those at General Convention 2018 in Austin, TX, are welcome to attend; those not in Austin will be able to participate remotely via a live webcast. Read on.
• The Episcopal Asset Map … unveils redesigned site, invites full participation across church. It's an online platform showing the location and ministries of Episcopal churches, schools and other communities. It has been revamped and refreshed with more-detailed information, easier access and ease of navigation. If your congregation or appropriate info about your congregation is not included, that means info has not been supplied. Read on.
• House of Deputies … May newsletter.
• How the Church of England has shifted on divorce … [WaPo] When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand before the altar at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a refuge of the British monarch for a thousand years, the Archbishop of Canterbury will tie the knot with vows from the Common Book of Prayer that read “to have and to hold . . . until death do us part.” Not so very long ago, this wedding — with this service and this officiant at this place — would have been impossible.Not because Markle is an American and a commoner, marrying a prince now sixth in line for the throne. And not because the actress is biracial, raised Episcopalian and attended Catholic school in Los Angeles. No, such a service would have been opposed by the Church of England hierarchy because Markle is divorced and her former husband is still alive. Read on.
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.
• Question Your Answers … [The Atlantic and HBO] These days, our culture rewards strong opinions and quick-draw conclusions. In a time when every side seems convinced it has the answers, The Atlantic and HBO are partnering on a series of short films that challenge our certainties.
Civil discourse ultimately depends on a recognition that none of us has a complete understanding of the world—and that we’re at our best when we engage with arguments that confront our deepest beliefs. This is how we, as a society, move toward a better and shared future. Read on.
• Children of the Opioid Epidemic … [Intro by Jake Silverstein of the NYTimes Magazine] This NYTimes Magazine's cover story is a masterful piece of reporting, writing and human empathy from the novelist and journalist Jennifer Egan, who spent many months documenting the lives of women who are addicted to opioids and become pregnant. This is an aspect of the opioid crisis that we haven’t heard as much about, in part, perhaps, because it seems so tragic. But Egan’s story is a vitally important one. As she explains, the number of pregnant women addicted to opioids has grown significantly in recent years; and there has been a similar increase in the number of newborns experiencing the opioid-withdrawal condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. Egan’s story explores the complex emotional and physical struggles that these women and their children go through.
As Egan notes, the tendency in many areas to villainize these women, to treat them as criminals (or at least criminally irresponsible), is a dangerous one, not only because it risks compounding their cycles of addiction with shame and persecution but also because it fails to recognize that a newborn baby can often become a lifeline for a woman who has struggled in vain for years to quit using drugs. Read on.
• I am one of the lucky ones … [A Mother's Day reflection by Dean Tony Pompa of Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem] I realize that I am one of the lucky ones. I was fortunate to be born to a woman whose basic instinct is one of nurture, love, and compassion. I also was fortunate enough to be have a mother who was resilient and smart, though she would never come to that thought on her own. I was raised in love, protected enough from strong forces that might work against me, and because my mother lived as one who respected other's dignity, I hold that as a core value. I am so very very grateful to my mother for her sacrifice and for her example. I am also lucky to still have her in my life and that my children have grown up to know this amazing woman. Lucky. In theological terms, my mother has been a blessing to me and my siblings.
I also know that Mother's day isn't always an easy day for some. I am aware that some have never known their mother or experienced the good fortune I have. I am aware that some relationships get strained, and that not all those who have given birth have had the resources or emotional capacity to love their children in ways some might hope for. I am aware that some relationships are abusive and that those scars remain a lifetime. I am aware that some have lost their mothers in death, sometimes tragically, and that pain often stings while folk like me enjoy the good fortune of a living and loving mother. I am also aware that some mother's among us have lost children prematurely, and that the hole left in their hearts by this is deep and sometimes dark.
I suppose on such a day I will offer my thanks and share my gratitude and love with my mom. At the same time I offer my respect for the fragility of the day for those whose pain I am aware of, and walk a care filled path so that I might not step on the feelings of those whose pain I may not be aware. Perhaps a psalm that might be written or sung is to the great nurturer who is our God. A psalm that is able to mix a spirit of thanksgiving for love received with a balm of healing for love lost and longed for.
• A secretary quietly amassed a fortune, then gave most of it to scholarships … [NYTimes, May 6] Even by the dizzying standards of New York City philanthropy, a recent $6.24 million donation to the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side was a whopper — the largest single gift from an individual to the social service group in its 125-year history.
It was not donated by some billionaire benefactor, but by a frugal legal secretary from Brooklyn who toiled for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at age 96 and died not long afterward in 2016.
Her name was Sylvia Bloom and even her closest friends and relatives had no idea she had amassed a fortune over the decades. She did this by shrewdly observing the investments made by the lawyers she served.
“She was a secretary in an era when they ran their boss’s lives, including their personal investments,” recalled her niece Jane Lockshin. “So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary’s salary.” Read on.
• Surest way to face marijuana charges in New York: Be Black or Hispanic … [NYTimes, May 14] The police explanation that more black and Hispanic people are arrested on marijuana charges because complaints are high in their neighborhoods doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Read on.
• The 9 Minutes that Almost Changed America … [BuzzFeed, h/t NYTimes] A riveting reconstruction of last year’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice, which was very nearly a ‘deadly, mass political assassination.’ Detailed and haunting, it will remind readers of an awful day that, if not for a group of brave people, could have been even worse. But it also underscores how our hyper-charged news cycle has already pushed even this mass shooting to the edges of memory. Read on.
• A Different Age … [NYTimes] Viewing Eleanor Roosevelt’s tenure as first lady through the acrid smoke of Hillary Clinton’s history as political wife, senator, secretary of state and failed presidential candidate is like trying to picture a loved one before she suffered a devastating injury: There is no way to un-see that wreckage, to reimagine her whole. But there was once a highly educated, independent American wife and mother who transformed the role of first lady, worked tirelessly for social justice and served as a strategic helpmate to her charismatic, philandering husband — while retaiof course, and yet she was awarded — by a still moderately respectful press and not least by Franklin D. Roosevelt himself — a measure of personal freedom to nurture close emotional ties with others. One of the most significant of these was the A.P. journalist Lorena Hickok (known as Hick), who left her job after becoming tooning her dignity, and even some measure of privacy, in that exposed position. It was a different time.
Eleanor Roosevelt had legions of detractors as well as acolytes, close to her subject, worked for the Roosevelt administration and later lived at the White House. In July 1933, just a few months after her husband took office, Eleanor and Hick set out for a vacation in New England and Canada, driving off in Eleanor’s sporty blue convertible, unaccompanied by the Secret Service, staying together in hotels and farmhouses. Today it’s unthinkable that such a holiday could go undocumented — or unpunished. Read on,
Requiescant in pace
• Gabrielle (Gaby) Whittier … died April 29. Gaby was a faithful parishioner and long-time parish administrator at Trinity Bethlehem.
• Louis J. Falzone, 87 … died May 11. He was a member of Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Wilkes-Barre, and had been a member of the choir for many years. Obituary.
• Loren Mead, 88 … died peacefully under hospice care at his home, in Falls Church, Virginia, on May 5. He was a congregational studies pioneer. "The Episcopal Church has lost a visionary pioneer and leader in congregation wellness and mission," Archdeacon Rick Cluett writes "I have lost an old friend. I am grateful for him. I have known him since the late 1960s. He was very important in my early ordained ministry and later inspired the church to see that God may be doing - and needing - new things as the Church moves into this era. I am grateful to him." Obituary.
• Tom Wolfe, 88 … died on May 14. The white-suited wizard of “New Journalism” who exuberantly chronicled American culture from the Merry Pranksters through the space race before turning his satiric wit to such novels as “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and “A Man in Full,” died of an infection in a NYC hospital. AP, NYTimes, Poynter, Master of the Long Sentence, and Poynter, How Tom Wolfe made me feel better about the semicolon.
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• St. Paul's Lutheran in Allentown in Danger of Closing … [Column, May 6, by Pastor Steve Shussett] Over the past few weeks, many people have learned about the precarious situation in which St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Allentown finds itself. Like many inner city mainline churches, its membership, though faithful, has declined for a variety of reasons. Generosity through the ages has carried the congregation far, but those resources cannot last forever. And so, like many churches, it faces the prospect of closing. Vital, if not sustainable, it remains a beautiful, worshipful place.
But unlike most churches, St. Paul's has become known as ground zero for ministry to the homeless and marginalized in Pennsylvania’s third largest city. From colleagues in community and government to Christian, Jewish and Muslim, and other faith partners, those in need knew they could come to St. Paul's for an array of services for body, mind and spirit. Regrettably, that soon may come to an end. We are hopeful, we are trying, but we are also realistic. We are trusting in God’s resurrecting power: that the God who raised Jesus from the dead can take this dire situation and bring new life. Read on.
• The elusive phenomenon of churches without God … [The Economist] When a group sings, talks and bonds like a religion but may not be one. Like many similar clubs across the Western world, this “atheist church” aims to offer some features of a religious congregation (fellowship, collective enjoyment, a stimulus to moral behaviour) while eschewing any belief in a deity or the supernatural. Ruth Walther, the founder of the Seattle community, sums up its ethos by drawing a contrast with a Christian hymn, “God moves in a mysterious way”. At her church, she says, “We believe in good because good works in non-mysterious ways.” Read on.
• Is Jerusalem embassy part of God's grand plan? Why some evangelicals love Israel … [RNS] Evangelicals' influence on the decision to move the Israel embassy suggests that United States policy in the Middle East is now heavily influenced by dispensational theology. Read on. And, The new American emassys messianic moment.
Evangelical Lutheran Church
• In historic votes, Lutherans elect two African-American women bishops … [RNS] A synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America made history Saturday (May 5) by electing the denomination’s first female African-American bishop. One day later, a synod 900 miles away elected the second. Read on,
• ELCA Website … Here.
• ELCA News Service … Here.
• ELCA Blogs … Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
Health and Wellness
• The value of a doctor-patient relationship … [NYTimes Magazine] In its push for profits, the U.S. health care system has made it difficult for patients to get personal attention from doctors. But what if hands-on medicine actually saves money — and lives? Read on.
• The NYTimes Magazine Health Issue … Here.
• All about ticks and mosquitoes … [NYTimes] Here.
Film and TV
• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
Media, Print, Music, Tech
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.
• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg ... Here.
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here.
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here.
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.
• The Episcopal Café … Here.
• AnglicansOnline … Here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem … Here.
• The Episcopal Church … Here.
• Episcopal News Service … Here.
• The Bible for Normal People … Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas.
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, Explained … Vox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency.
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
• Freakonomics Radio … Stephen Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.
• Things Not Seen … is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. "We take faith seriously, and our guests do, too."
• The Francis Effect … is about the real world of politics and current events, seen through the lens of Catholic teaching and spirituality. Hosts, Fr. Dan Horan and David Dault, both have doctorates in theology. Dan is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. David is a radio producer and Catholic convert.
• Caliphate… is a new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi of the NYTimes as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.
• Ukrainian Sushi … Here.
Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO … Anglicans Online
AP … Associated Press
BCP … Book of Common Prayer
CJR … Columbia Journalism Review
COM … Commonweal
CN… Crux Now
CNS … Catholic News Service
DoB… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC … Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic
TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal
newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It 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, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).
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]
Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest
• For the Poor and the Neglected … [BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.
• A prayer before anything … [Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.
• A Man Called Mark … A new biography of Bishop Mark Dyer, will be published on July 17. Dyer was bishop of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995. [Church Publishing and Leadership News] This official biography tells the compelling story of the Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer: Irish Catholic boy from New Hampshire, U.S. Navy vet, Roman Catholic then Episcopal priest, bishop, and seminary professor-and one of the most influential, beloved leaders of the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Following a dispute with ecclesiastical authorities, Dyer left the Roman Church for the Anglican Church of Canada. Later received as priest in the Episcopal Church, his gifts as teacher, preacher, and pastor were recognized with election as Bishop of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There, he established a new model of leadership, delegating administrative duties to concentrate on spiritual direction, pastoral care, and creating mission projects at every church in his diocese. Also renowned as a story-teller, many of his favorite stories appear here, told in his own voice. Read on.
• Reclaiming Jesus … is a confession of faith in a time of crisis signed on to by many faith leaders including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The following is an excerpt.
I. We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity.
II. We believe we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).
Therefore, we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.
III. We believe how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
Therefore, we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34).
IV. We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.
Therefore, we reject the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.
V. We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it.
VI. We believe Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18).
Therefore, we reject “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. Read all of this confession of faith.
• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.
• Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.
• Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.
• Vital Practices for leading congregations … This website of the Episcopal Church Foundation seems to me to be an especially useful tool for anyone active in parish life. It covers much more than parish finances. Read on.
• The Episcopal Church … is currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.