• Editorials 7 hours ago

    Erin go summertime

    Erin go summertime

    by Jack Haberer
    I’ve long said that the best thing about Presbyterian General Assemblies is the summer vacation season that follows after adjournment. After spending so much energy and expending so many words, there’s nothing like time away in the mountains or on the beach to quell the cacophony, to renew the spirit and to remember that God is still in control. This year, the post-GA season issued into eight holy holidays for my wife Barbie and me in the Ireland of my roots – my Irish Catholic roots, that is. Not that… continue reading...
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  • Book Reviews 1 day ago

    Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

    Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

    by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill. 247 pages REVIEWED BY FELIPE N. MARTINEZ  Hello! You’ve reached Fast Lane Church, where Sunday services are 58 minutes or your tithe back!™  Of course the staff is not here to take your call: we’re out serving, caring, programing, small-grouping, building, feeding, and sharing at the speed of the Holy Spirit! Don’t bother with voicemail. Just tweet us @TheFast&TheFaithful  If the pace of your ministry feels anything like that, then here is a quick book review: Eating fast… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Features 2 days ago

    Columbia president affirms faith despite spreading cancer (Update)

    Columbia president affirms faith despite spreading cancer (Update)

    by Leslie Scanlon
    Steve Hayner The news was not what anyone wanted to hear: despite aggressive treatment, the pancreatic cancer has spread in the body of Steve Hayner, the beloved, gifted president of Columbia Theological Seminary. Meeting Aug. 7, the board of Columbia seminary listened as Hayner described his illness and treatment, with board members praying with him and for him; with those assembled laying hands on him in prayer; and with Hayner closing the meeting by singing “Trust in the Lord” from the third chapter of Proverbs. The board also voted that… continue reading...
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Pope Francis hints he might one day retire

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Addressing journalists on his return from his intense five-day visit to South Korea late Monday (Aug. 18), Pope Francis bantered with reporters and lightheartedly said he may only have “two or three” years left to live. The 77-year-old pontiff covered a range of topics on the flight back to the Vatican — from war-torn Iraq and his desire to visit the U.S. next year to his personal health, hinting he may retire early. He was asked how he lived with the immense popularity he has generated around the world, evident when crowds chanted his name on the streets of Rio de Janeiro during his first official visit to Brazil last year. “I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, so as not to think that I am somebody,” he said. “Because I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then (go) to the house of the Father,” he said during an in-flight media conference. Elected in March 2013, Francis has already shaken up the Catholic Church, preaching a … [Read more...]

China lets Pope use its airspace for first time in papal history

SEOUL (Ecumenical News) Despite the simmering relations between the Vatican and Beijing, China allowed Pope Francis to fly across the country when he made his way to South Korea. In the past China disallowed popes from flying in its airspace. As part of a papal custom whenever he flies over a country, Francis sent a greeting to President Xi Jinping, ucannews.com reported. “Upon entering Chinese air space, I extend best wishes to your excellency and your fellow citizens, and I invoke the divine blessings of peace and well-being upon the nation,” Francis said in the message, which was radioed to Xi. The government allowed the papal flight to pass Inner Mongolia and Beijing as it made way to Seoul for the Asian Youth Day on Thursday (Aug. 14). The flight crossed 10 different countries and skirted North Korea, which fired rockets shortly before the Pope landed in Seoul. Pope Francis sent a rare public greeting to President Xi Jinping during the first ever papal flight across … [Read more...]

Erin go summertime

jack haberer_sm

I’ve long said that the best thing about Presbyterian General Assemblies is the summer vacation season that follows after adjournment. After spending so much energy and expending so many words, there’s nothing like time away in the mountains or on the beach to quell the cacophony, to renew the spirit and to remember that God is still in control. This year, the post-GA season issued into eight holy holidays for my wife Barbie and me in the Ireland of my roots – my Irish Catholic roots, that is. Not that the land of Erin is free of conflict — especially in my family. My great-grandfather was one of those Irish Catholic “Gangs of New York” immigrants who were rabblerousing for independence from the bloody Brits. Decades later, my rabid, IRA-supporting godmother boycotted my ordination into the enemy church. But an hour after landing in Dublin, we walked to Trinity College to view the fourth century Book of Kells and then to the Chester Beatty Library to see second through fifth … [Read more...]

PC(USA) leaders call for calm and prayer in Ferguson crisis

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8, NRSV) In this time of angst and anger, frustration and fear over the shooting death of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) calls for calm and prayer as justice is sought and righteousness pursued. We, along with the rest of the world, mourn the loss of this child of God, and are pained that his future was brought to an abrupt halt. We, along with the rest of the world, seek answers to why an unarmed human being was shot repeatedly, and question the way in which local law enforcement handled the aftermath. We, along with the rest of the world, are stunned by the violence that has erupted in Ferguson, and acknowledge that the turmoil is rooted both in Michael Brown’s death and in years of disenfranchisement and hopelessness for many in that community. We, … [Read more...]

The other narrative about Ferguson, Mo. (COMMENTARY)

Tom Ehrich new

(RNS) Left to their own devices, residents and officials of Ferguson, Mo., probably could have sorted out the shooting of an unarmed teenager for the apparent crime of “walking while black” on their own. I know from my years there as a pastor that Ferguson is a strong community — racially divided, yes, and angry at changes in American life that have left them behind. But the town has rootedness, civic pride, strong churches, and a fervent desire to make an integrated community work. Of course, Ferguson wasn’t left alone. The town’s nearly all-white police force was clearly over its head. The county police, when invited in, stormed the town in military gear and shock-and-awe tactics and made matters worse. Now Missouri National Guard troops are coming. Media descended on the small city, as well, and the story grew because it reveals so much about who we are as a nation. That emerging narrative makes grim copy. Young black men across the country tell us the police hound them. … [Read more...]

Understanding military chaplaincy: Military chaplains bring training, strength, faith to the job

MONTREAT, N.C. (PNS)  Military chaplains are the same as any church pastor, except that their congregations wear uniforms, right? In some ways, this is true. Chaplains attend seminary and perform worship services, weddings, baptisms and funerals. They minister to congregants in need. It’s not so much what the chaplains do that makes them different — it’s how they do it. At the Aug. 4-7 Presbyterians Caring for Chaplains and Military Personnel training conference here, many of the chaplains were happy to talk about what they do and the unique circumstances in which they work. “Chaplains want their story to go out to the larger church. They feel like many don’t know what they really do,” said the Rev. Robert Ward, an Army chaplain. The Rev. Flo Watkins has a unique perspective as an Air Guard chaplain in North Carolina. She has her chaplain duties with her unit while on duty but also has a connection with the civilian world as pastor of Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church in … [Read more...]