newSpin, the newsletter
March 22, 2018 – Bill Lewellis
• Nationa Geographic confesses its own sins … [Poynter] “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” With that, National Geographic editor in chief Susan Goldberg announced the findings of a historian’s audit of the 130-year-old magazine’s archives. Until the 1970s, National Geographic rarely covered people of color in the United States. The magazine had used slavery-era slurs. It had portrayed “natives” elsewhere as “exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages,” Goldberg writes. “It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past,” she said in an editor’s note. “But when we decided to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others.” Read on.
• On Race … [Poynter and NYT] The New York Times has an extensive write-up about a study of 20 million young Americans that reveals an uncomfortable truth: Systematic racism is making it hard for black boys to achieve what their white counterparts achieve. A quote from the story: “ ‘One of the most popular liberal post-racial ideas is the idea that the fundamental problem is class and not race, and clearly this study explodes that idea,’ said Ibram Kendi, a professor and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. ‘But for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to stare racism in the face.’” The study was led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau. Read on.
• Face the Racist Nation … After you’ve read the NYTimes piece, it’s worth visiting this episode of WNYC’s “On the Media” titled “Face the Racist Nation.” It’s a deep dive into the media’s coverage of white supremacist groups and includes a thought-provoking observation in its final segment: Ignorant people aren’t the reason for racism; racism comes from the top. Here.
[Stephen Lewellis] In the spirit of Maria Popova, pair this with Professor Kendi’s "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America." Here.
• The billionnaire who gave his $8 billion away … [The Irish Times, March 3] Giving while living – It was the right thing to do, and it's a lot more fun. Read on.
• DioBeth Leadership News, March 15 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, March 8 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 1 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.
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Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• A firm with ties to the Trump campaign obtained 50 million Facebook users' data … [NYT, March 18] Lawmakers in the United States and Britain demanded on Sunday that Facebook explain how a political data firm with links to President Trump’s 2016 campaign was able to harvest private data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without the social network alerting those whose information was taken.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, went so far as to demand that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, appear before her panel to explain “what Facebook knew about misusing data from 50 million Americans in order to target political advertising and manipulate voters.”
The calls followed reports on Saturday in The New York Times and The Observer of London that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, had used the Facebook data to develop methods that it claimed could identify the personalities of individual American voters and influence their behavior. Read on.
This is the language of a banana republic. In nations without a strong democratic foundation, tyrants cling to power by belittling perceived enemies and insulting and coopting other institutions, such as a free press, law enforcement and the military, coercing them into subservience. Just look around the world at practices today in Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Turkey, to name a few. The banana republic playbook has no place in the United States, not in a town hall, not in a statehouse, least of all in the Oval Office. Read on.
• Trump's Bluster on the Opioid Epidemic … [NYT Editorial Board, March] In a speech this week, the president laid out a plan to address the crisis that was at turns thin on details and alarmng in content. Read on.
• President Trump's Lies, the Definitive List … [NYT] Here.
• Forgiveness Sunday … [America, March 15, Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community and government relations at the University of Scranton] On Forgiveness Sunday, we look for the best in the one we forgive and seek to give a charitable interpretation of the other’s intent—what Jesuits call the “plus sign,” in reference to Annotation 22 of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the season of Lent begins with a “Forgiveness Vespers.” At the end of the service, each member of the community proceeds to the front of the church to exchange with the priest and fellow parishioners—the whole church—a plea of repentance.
One by one, you bow to the person before you and then, coming face to face, you say: “Forgive me!” The other person responds: “God forgives. I forgive.” You then extend your hand and the kiss of peace (or two or three, depending on the parish). And so it goes until each person has asked every other person for forgiveness, and the entire church is encircling the sanctuary. Read on.
[Bill] It seems that when my disrespect for Donald Trump gets to the point that I could not imagine respecting him (and his office as long as he holds it) and forgiving him for daily lies and much else, I come across something like "Forgiveness Sunday" to reflect on. This morning, I've reflected on it. Though I could forgive him if what he has done affected only me. I think I don't have the right to forgive him for what he has done to so many, the US and the world. That's where I am. How can I be elsewhere? Can you help me?
• 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.
• When someone comes to you and tells you your own story … I don't remember where I found this story, decades ago, It's a bit longer than many stories, but I think you won't regret reading it to the end and considering it in an open-ended way. For example, a good friend once gave me a custom-made T-shirt with these words on the front: "My life is based on a true story." Since then, I have been aware that God comes to me occasionally to tell me my own story, Thanks. Bill
• Waiting for my spirit … In Africa, a tired old man was sitting on a roadside. A missionary asked if he wanted a ride. He declined the offer and said, "I walked a long way today. I'm sitting here waiting for my spirit to catch up with me."
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• 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
• John 3:16 needs 17 … [From the March 11, Lent 4B, of Andrew Gerns at Trinity Easton] 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to the end that all that believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 3:16 is the slogan-passage for many Christians, describing for them the core of Christian faith. That’s the problem with simply reading the Bible by the numbers. Because that’s not how the book was first written and the numbers tempt us to forget about the rest of the passage and its context.
3:17 “Indeed, God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that it might be saved through him.” In other words, the whole point of the chapter in John describing Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus in the dead of night, is that God’s salvation is not about “me” but about “we.”
Many Christians focus on the personal part of the passage: “…all that believeth in him…” part in verse 16 but the real story is at the start of the passage is that God loves the world, and in verse 17, that God’s chief goal is the reconciliation of the whole world. We have tended to reduce salvation, and everything that goes with it—sin, redemption, holiness of life—to a personal, once-and-done, relationship with God alone. But the point of salvation and the purpose of holiness is we followers of Jesus participate with God in the saving and healing of the whole world! Read on.
• We're in the midst of an Apocalypse, and that's a good thing … [Wapo, Acts of Faith, Nadia Bolz-Weber, March 15] If, when you think of an apocalypse, you picture a scary, doom-filled, punishment-from-above type of thing, you are not alone. Originally, though, apocalyptic literature — the kind that was popular around the time of Jesus — existed not to scare the bejeezus out of children so they would be good boys and girls, but to proclaim a big, hope-filled idea: that dominant powers are not ultimate powers. Empires fall. Tyrants fade. Systems die. God is still around. An apocalypse is a good thing, and I’m delighted to welcome you to this one. Read on.
• A Parable of Self-Destruction … [Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes Sunday Review, March 17] Easter Island — This remote speck in the South Pacific is famous for its colossal stone statues, nearly 1,000 of them towering over the landscape like guardians. Who built them? How did they get there? And who fitted some of them with giant red stone hats weighing up to 12 tons each? … “Easter Island’s isolation makes it the clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by over-exploiting its own resources,” Jared Diamond wrote in his 2005 book, “Collapse.” “The parallels between Easter Island and the whole modern world are chillingly obvious. Read on.
• Have guns beome our modern-day idols? … [WaPo, Acts of Faith, Adapted from a sermon by Susan Flanders, an Episcopal priest at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in D.C. What appears immediately below is an excerpt.] Guns were so important at the time our Constitution was written. They allowed for hunting, a necessary activity for many to be able to feed their families. But beyond that, guns were important for self-defense, and sadly, for conquest of native populations as we gradually took over a new continent. And for the Founding Fathers, guns were deemed necessary to enable a militia to protect the citizens’ freedom against any who might try to reintroduce tyranny in their young democracy. Hence the Second Amendment to our Constitution protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Guns started out as a kind of savior, a source of protection — like the bronze serpent.
But, like the bronze serpent, guns have become an idol for many, and the right to have guns — of any kind, in any amount has become a near article of worship for some. The NRA and gun makers can be seen as the priesthood — elevating our guns to sacred status, equating them with a power and potency that must be maintained.
I’m hoping that perhaps now we are in a Hezekiah moment, a time like the one so long ago when the bronze serpent was destroyed. Can we begin to see guns for what they have become, far too prevalent, too high-powered, false saviors in, too often, the wrong hands? False saviors — not only with no power to save but with horrific power to destroy. Can we recognize the worship of assault weapons as the idolatry that it is, and can we stand up to those who continue to bow down at the shrine of unfettered access to murder weapons? Read on.
• When we're not ready … [Slightly edited excerpt from a 2001 sermon by Bill Lewellis at Grace Allentown] God often meets us when we are not ready, when we have other matters on our minds: when we are busy living, working, resting, cooking, laughing, hurting… when we have not consciously invoked the divine presence. At some unlikely times and places, we find we are on holy ground.
I heard former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold tell about rushing for a train after having given a talk to a group of clergy on the need for solitude and space in our lives (on his day off!). He took a flying leap onto the station platform and ruptured his Achilles’ Tendon. As he lay in a hospital bed awaiting surgery, he read Evening Prayer for that particular Tuesday.
In the appointed psalm (94), he came across the verse: “As often as I said, ‘My foot has slipped,’ your love, O Lord, upheld me.”
“That,” he said, “became the word of God – or rather unleashed the word of God to me right then and there. I burst out laughing. The circumstances of my life, the scriptural word, the word within me all came together.”
After relaying that story, Bishop Griswold proceeded to say that in order to stay open to God’s word, to God’s visitations, to God’s presence in his life, he relies upon three sentences that help him stay grounded amid daily complexities and contradictions.
The first is from Teilhard de Chardin’s book, The Divine Milieu. “By means of all created things without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us.”
The second comes from a Russian Orthodox monk who lived in the forests of Finland. When asked what he had learned from his many years of prayer and monastic life, he replied: “The very circumstances of your life will show you the way.”
The third sentence comes from James Finley, a disciple of Thomas Merton: “A simple openness to the next human moment brings us into union with God in Christ.”
“I am also aware,” Bishop Griswold said, “that God’s word does not present itself fully formed. It comes to us in various ways in the ebb and flow of our lives. It comes with scars.”
We need to live the questions that life and God’s often unformed word present to us. God’s word often presents itself to us as a question rather than an answer, as something to live and struggle with.
“Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart,” Rainer Maria Rilke writes in his Letters to a Young Poet. “Try to love the questions themselves… Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
By means of all created things without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. Some of those created things may be crosses.
The very circumstances of your life will show you the way. Some of those circumstances may be crosses.
A simple openness to the next human moment brings us into union with God in Christ. That moment may be a moment of conversion, transformation, resurrection.
• Two nominated for IX Bishop of Bethlehem … The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem released the names of two priests who will stand for election for the ninth bishop of the diocese. They are the Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, and the Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, 55, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Colorado. The search committee had chosen three nominees, but one withdrew shortly before the slate was presented to the Standing Committee, which oversees the election. More info and photos.
• Special Electing Convention and Diocesan Convention Updates … A Special Electing Convention with the sole purpose of electing the IX Bishop of Bethlehem will take place April 28 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. The new bishop will be ordained and consecrated on September 15 at The First Presbyterian Church, Allentown.
The Diocesan Convention, including the seating of the new bishop, will take place October 12 and 13 at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Allentown Bethlehem Center Valley. Eucharist and the seating will be held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Please note the change of dates and location. The seating will be held during diocesan convention rather than the Sunday morning after the ordination and consecration so that everyone in the diocese has the opportunity to attend.
Certificates of Election of Lay Delegates, who will serve at both the Special Electing Convention and at the Diocesan Convention, were due February 28. Certificates must be completed and sent to the diocesan office through mail, fax or to email@example.com.
Download the Certificate of Election of Lay Delegates (fillable PDF).
• St. Stephen's W-B Says Embezzlement Could Top $10,000 … [Times Leader W-B and Citizens Voice W-B, March 13] St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral is missing $10,000, and the priest in charge said an investigation is trying to determine if the amount could be even higher. In a statement, the Rev. Brian Pavlac said the South Franklin Street church discovered that a member of the parish “had systematically misappropriated pledge payments and other donations made in our offering plates.” Pavlac said the individual has admitted to embezzling $10,000 in 2017, and the church is investigating if the amount is higher and whether the embezzlement began earlier. “He (the parishioner) did admit it,” Pavlac said. “We know of $10,000 being missing. We are investigating to determine if more has been taken. We really don’t know how large the amount is.”
Pavlac said the church’s vestry board voted to report the suspected embezzlement to Wilkes-Barre City Police, and did so on Thursday, March 8. “We believe this was a necessary step, not only to insure the proper investigation of our own case, but to alert other members of the community who may have found themselves in similar situation,” Pavlac said in the release. Pavlac identified the parishioner. The Times Leader has chosen not to identify the individual, as no charges have been filed to date.
“We’re a church that does a lot of good work in the community,” Pavlac said in a telephone interview. “I do not know the status of the police investigation. Any further criminal charges are up to law enforcement.” He did say the individual has been offered religious support. “Despite our dismay at this situation, we will continue to pray that (the parishioner) may seek amendment of life and God’s peace, and that those who love him may be comforted. A diocesan priest is providing him with pastoral care,” Pavlac said.
St. Stephen’s has about 200 members, said Pavlac, who has been the priest in charge since the summer of 2015. Here and Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, March 15 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, March 8 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 1 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.
• Highlights (4 minutes) of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's sermon at the Opening Eucharist of Evangelism Matters … [March 15] View here.
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.
In the Media
• Telling the good news in the media … [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] ROME — If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told about your congregation, it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.
• No deathbed conversion for atheist Stephen Hawking … [RNS, Kimberly Winston, March 20] It happens a lot after famous nonbelievers die: People claim the nonbeliever had a deathbed conversion to Christianity.And it happened again after the death last week of physicist Stephen Hawking, who, by his own account, did not believe in God … But that did not stop a Facebook page called Catholics Online from claiming that Hawking uttered “I believe” in his mechanical voice after a meeting with Pope Francis just before his death. Trouble is, it isn’t true. The investigative site Snopes called the claim and its source “disreputable” before slapping the story with its bright red “FALSE” sticker. Read on.
Christianity as default is gone: the rise of a non-Christian Europe … [The Guardian, London] Europe's march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion. Read on.
Of course, you are right … A rabbi was approached by two feuding members of a congregation and asked to mediate the dispute. He met with the first member and listened carefully. At the end he nodded and said gently, "And of course you are right."
The other disputant came over and laid out his side of the argument and again the rabbi listened carefully and at the conclusion said, "And of course, you are right."
His wife who had heard both conversations came up to him after the second poerson had left and said "I do not understnad. You told the first one he was right and you told the second he was right. They can't both be right!" He said gently, "And of course, you are right." [Rabbi David Wolper, Chicago Tribune]
Requiescant in pace
• Edna M. Bell, 92 … died March 14. She lived in Center Valley since 2004, at Cedarbrook/Fountain Hill, these last 3 years. She was a member of St Paul’s Episcopal in Clinton NC ere she taught Sunday school and later, Grace Episcopal Allentown. Obituary.
• Nadina P. Mattes, 90 … died March 8, a week after turning 90. She was a member of the Church of the Epiphany, Glenburn, where she was a Sunday school teacher, an acolyte leader and on the altar guild. She was also a lay minister, in addition to serving on many committees and church projects. She also volunteered for numerous charitable causes. After her retirement, Nadina fulfilled a lifelong ambition of becoming a missionary for the Episcopal Church in Haiti and 10 years later in the Dominican Republic. Obituary.
• Stephen Hawking, 76 … [CNN March 14] may have been our era's greatest scientist, but he became something of a pop star, too. The British theoretical physicist died at the age of 76. His life was, quite simply, remarkable. He overcame the debilitating disease ALS to publish a series of popular books probing the universe's mysteries. He went on to become something of a cultural icon as well, with appearances on everything from "The Simpsons" to "The Big Bang Theory." Read on,
• T. Berry Brazelton, 99 … [NYT, March 14] died March 13. He was America’s most celebrated baby doctor since Benjamin Spock and the pediatrician who revolutionized our understanding of how children develop psychologically. Read on.
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• Reassessing Religion … [The Atlantic Daily March 12] People’s connections to their religions have changed greatly over the years, but recently the spotlight has turned on evangelicals, a segment of Christians undergoing a form of identity crisis in America. In our April cover story, Michael Gerson examines the group’s relationship to Trump, a president who seemingly lives beyond many traditionally Christian principles. And a new book looks at similar themes, including how leaders in the evangelical world grapple with the different perceptions people have of their faith. Read on.
Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA Website … Here.
• ELCA News Service … Here.
• ELCA Blogs … Here.
• Ross Douthat's Francis book is poorly sourced, inadequate journalism… [NCR, Michael Sean Winters] You would think that someone who works for a newspaper would be able to distinguish fact from fancy, to feel some sense of authorly responsibility for getting the story correct, have a nose for propaganda and insanity. In the case of Douthat's book, these attributes are missing. As I read my review copy, a paperback with no footnotes, I kept noting in the margins, "Source?" and "How would he know this?" and "That is not how bishops talk about one another." When the hardback arrived with the footnotes, I realized in the first instance that the sources were few, or a paragraph full of assertions would have a footnote that only referenced the last of those assertions. And among the sources were Life Site News, and Catholic World Report, an essay by John Zmirak and articles mostly from Edward Pentin, Sandro Magister and John Allen. If you are unfamiliar with these "sources," check them out. The first three are lunatic fringe, and the latter three display varying degrees of anti-Francis bias …
I cannot recommend that anyone buy this book, but if you do and you retrieve it from the non-fiction section of the bookstore, you can ask for your money back. Douthat should go write novels. The editors at The New York Times should ask why they would continue to give a man capable of such dishonest prose some of their prime real estate. Let him go be among his friends at Life Site News and Catholic World Report where this kind of nonsense is standard fare. Maybe he could be the next editor of The Wanderer. He has done a disservice not only to those who seek to understand the Catholic Church but also to those of us work hard to get the true story, who base our analysis on facts not fictions, and who grow suspicious when our theses are unbalanced, in short, a disservice to journalism. This book is a disgrace. Read on.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
• Crux Now ... Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
Health and Wellness
Film and TV
• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.
Media, Print, Music, Tech
• 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. I especially jliked Episode 4 with Richard Rohr
• 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.
• You probably eat more sugar than is good for you. Here's a handy guide to cutting back without sacrificing the pleasures of eating … [NYT, David Leonhardt, March 18] 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.
• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-716-6080.
• 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.
• 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.