• Outlook Reporting 7 hours ago

    Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA)

    Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA)

    by Leslie Scanlon
    The Presbyterian Mission Agency has been rocked in recent months by a trifecta of investigations and a lot of criticism involving the 1001 New Worshiping Communities program, the Special Offerings 2015 advertising campaign and overspending for the last Presbyterian Youth Triennium. That’s leading some to ask harder systemic questions about why so many problems are emerging at the top levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). “This is a symptom of a much bigger problem,” wrote Fritz Gutwein, co-director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, on Twitter. “Changing the artwork (of the Special… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 7 hours ago

    Much discussion about the marriage amendment: Going back to Acts

    Much discussion about the marriage amendment: Going back to Acts

    by Jill Duffield
    Lately, I’ve been drawn back to Acts. Specifically, Acts 11 and 15. As I read, certain phrases and sentences stand out. Phrases like: “Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story.” And: “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.” And: “After much discussion…” This last one is my favorite because we all know what it’s code for, don’t we? It means they fought, bitterly, for hours. I am a church nerd and like few things better than going back and reading session minutes.… continue reading...
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  • Outpost Blog 7 hours ago

    Fasting: When what is harmless keeps us from God

    Fasting: When what is harmless keeps us from God

    by Rachel Young
    This week we asked our bloggers what they had learned from spiritual practices and disciples. This is how they responded. This Lent, our adult discipleship leadership team has invited the congregation to engage in the spiritual practice of fasting.  The primary definition of fasting with which we are working is this: We give up a legitimate need in order to experience our real need for Jesus.  But there is so much more to be pondered regarding fasting! A church member passed along excerpts from Dallas Willard’s book, The Spirit of the… continue reading...
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Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA)

electrical outlet overload

The Presbyterian Mission Agency has been rocked in recent months by a trifecta of investigations and a lot of criticism involving the 1001 New Worshiping Communities program, the Special Offerings 2015 advertising campaign and overspending for the last Presbyterian Youth Triennium. That’s leading some to ask harder systemic questions about why so many problems are emerging at the top levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). “This is a symptom of a much bigger problem,” wrote Fritz Gutwein, co-director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, on Twitter. “Changing the artwork (of the Special Offerings campaign) will fix this incident but not the broken system that allowed it to happen. Too many large mistakes are happening out of an instinct to survive. It may be time to let a lot things we hold dear go so something new can emerge.” What’s not working? No doubt, Presbyterians privately have all kinds of theories – and no shortage of people they’re willing to blame. It’s a difficult … [Read more...]

Much discussion about the marriage amendment: Going back to Acts

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 10.36.34 AM

Lately, I’ve been drawn back to Acts. Specifically, Acts 11 and 15. As I read, certain phrases and sentences stand out. Phrases like: “Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story.” And: “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.” And: “After much discussion…” This last one is my favorite because we all know what it’s code for, don’t we? It means they fought, bitterly, for hours. I am a church nerd and like few things better than going back and reading session minutes. When I read “after much discussion,” I know it was a long night. I suspect in the coming months there will be minutes with the phrase “after much discussion.” I know with the passage of amendment 14F there will be sharp dispute and debate among brothers and sisters in Sunday school classrooms, around conference tables and even during coffee hour. The change in the Book of Order doesn’t silence the discussion, it heightens it. The debate is no longer theoretical, it is … [Read more...]

Fasting: When what is harmless keeps us from God

Rachel Young

This week we asked our bloggers what they had learned from spiritual practices and disciples. This is how they responded. This Lent, our adult discipleship leadership team has invited the congregation to engage in the spiritual practice of fasting.  The primary definition of fasting with which we are working is this: We give up a legitimate need in order to experience our real need for Jesus.  But there is so much more to be pondered regarding fasting! A church member passed along excerpts from Dallas Willard's book, The Spirit of the Disciplines.  The book includes a section on "Disciplines of Abstinence," of which fasting is one.  In thinking about the power of fasting, I was helped by this quote from W.R. Inge from “Goodness and Truth”: “If we feel that any habit or pursuit, harmless in itself, is keeping us from God and sinking us deeper in the things of earth; if we find that things which others can do with impunity are for us the occasion of falling, then abstinence … [Read more...]

Tagged With: spiritual practice

Associate Pastor for Mission

First & Calvary Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Missouri, a congregation of 1,700, is seeking an Associate Pastor for Mission to: plan and lead Sunday morning contemporary worship service; preach in both contemporary and traditional services while teaching Biblical truths in the Reformed Tradition; serve as pastoral liaison to Congregational Life committee for implementing fellowship and family ministry programs; and serve as primary leader for evangelism, community outreach and mission programs. As our Associate Pastor, he/she will have compassionate listening and communication qualities as well as teaching skills that will increase theological and Biblical awareness. Effective collaborative and interpersonal abilities are also important attributes. Please visit our website for information about our church. Send PIFs to [email protected] First & Calvary Presbyterian Church 820 Cherry St Springfield MO 65806 firstandcalvary.org Job Type: Full-time … [Read more...]

New York City to change rules to allow churches to rent schools

NEW YORK (RNS) Congregations in New York City that rent space in public schools will be able to hold Easter services this Sunday despite a ruling on Monday (March 30) by the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting an appeal from an evangelical church in the Bronx that sought to overturn a ban on after-hours worship services at public schools. A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio also said that the mayor would work to ensure that houses of worship could continue to rent space like any other group. “Now that litigation has concluded, the city will develop rules of the road that respect the rights of both religious groups and nonparticipants,” Wiley Norvell said in response to the ruling. “While we review and revise the rules, groups currently permitted to use schools for worship will continue to be able to worship on school premises.” Pastor Robert Hall of the Bronx Household of Faith, which was the plaintiff in the case, said he was cautiously optimistic after the administration’s … [Read more...]

Jesus is all over the small screen, and that’s no accident

Need proof that biblical entertainment is Hollywood’s holiest trend? Then look no further than Morocco, where three TV projects — National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Jesus,” NBC’s “A.D. The Bible Continues” and CNN’s “Finding Jesus” — were filmed on neighboring sets last year. “You got this kind of ‘Life of Brian’-esque world you’re living in, where on all of our days off, there’s 36 disciples sitting around the pool and three Jesuses at the bar,” said actor Stephen Moyer, who ditched the fangs from “True Blood” to play Roman governor Pontius Pilate in the Ridley Scott-produced “Killing Jesus.” Based on Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s follow-up to the books he co-wrote with Martin Dugard, “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy,” “Killing Jesus” tracks the last days of the Christian Messiah. Played by Muslim actor Haaz Sleiman, he is portrayed less as a miracle worker and more as a political threat, and the script heightens the sexual tension between Jesus and follower Mary … [Read more...]