• Outlook Features 1 hour ago

    Hoping the world will listen

    Hoping the world will listen

    by Leslie Scanlon
    Where it all leads is another question, but no one can accuse Presbyterians of not caring or being afraid to speak. Late into the night, the commissioners at the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) parsed and amended and substitute-motioned their way to crafting position statements on social justice issues — speaking out, hoping the world will listen. Here’s some of what commissioners chose to say: Drones. The assembly approved a resolution — an amended version of a measure brought by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy… continue reading...
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  • Book Reviews 1 day ago

    The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms Second Edition (Bookmark review)

    The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms Second Edition (Bookmark review)

    by Roy Howard
    By Donald K. McKim Westminster John Knox Press. Louisville, Ky. 355 pages  There are those who learn English by reading a good English language dictionary. The best would be the Oxford English Dictionary. Some people have a complete OED as a reference book. (I am one of them.) It’s a joy to dip into it frequently and come away not just with a new word but a deep understanding of the universe contained in that single word. All of this is true for the second edition of this dictionary of… continue reading...
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  • Movie Reviews 3 days ago

    Film in review – “Wish I Was Here”

    Film in review – “Wish I Was Here”

    by Ronald P. Salfen
    This is one, dear readers, where I would ask, if your ears are easily offended, to look past the language. The quality beneath is worth your time. All too often, when an actor writes and directs his own film, he winds up being, if not a superhero, at least faultless, perhaps even iconic. Zach Braff approaches his character, named Aidan, with an amazing amount of humility. He’s approaching middle age and still hasn’t really “found himself” yet, because he’s a struggling actor who’s still trying out for bit parts at… continue reading...
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Hoping the world will listen

196-14 cover

Where it all leads is another question, but no one can accuse Presbyterians of not caring or being afraid to speak. Late into the night, the commissioners at the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) parsed and amended and substitute-motioned their way to crafting position statements on social justice issues — speaking out, hoping the world will listen. Here’s some of what commissioners chose to say: Drones. The assembly approved a resolution — an amended version of a measure brought by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy — calling on all countries to halt the use of drones as weapons of war. That resolution states in part: “The goal is to ensure that in any justification of targeting human beings that the fundamental rights of all humans are protected, international law upheld, noncombatants safeguarded, and the larger goal of peace and justice advanced.” The sensitivity regarding the debate was evident from one commissioner’s request that … [Read more...]

Visible actions

Tom Ehrich

From time to time, traumatic events in society require the congregation to make response. Recent shootings at University of California Santa Barbara are such an event. The event itself, like the recent killing of schoolchildren in Connecticut, touched some of your constituents deeply — women who have been stalked by men like the shooter or have been victims of sexual abuse, for example, as well as parents of children similar to the shooter (same age, socially awkward, lonely). As a church leader, you can reach out to them specifically, if you know their stories, and perhaps invite them to join you in providing an immediate response to others, such as a prayer vigil. The key is to take visible action, so that you provide a venue or channel — both for people you know and for people you don’t know. The power of prayer in your sanctuary isn’t that it will rewrite the scripts of, say, Santa Barbara, but that it will embolden your own community to address its comparable … [Read more...]

ACSWP seeks people to serve on study teams authorized by 221st General Assembly

LOUISVILLE (Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy) Following actions of this summer’s 221st General Assembly, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) is seeking nominations from across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of people to serve on study task forces. The studies below were authorized in response to overtures. A short nomination form is available from [email protected] Because of the PC(USA)’s limited funds, these study teams are smaller in size than they have been in the past. General Assembly statements on social witness policy are developed by committees elected by the Assembly rather than simply by staff members. People of expertise and experience are invited to submit their names and brief background, and then ACSWP selects teams. These study teams report back to ACSWP, ensuring editorial review and often wider testing of the reports produced. The studies authorized and nominees sought: Drug Policy Reform: “The task force shall consist of … [Read more...]

July 21, 2014: Digital issue for subscribers

196-15 cover

The digital issue of the Presbyterian Outlook’s July 21,, 2014, issue is now available!  It is viewable on almost all computers, tablets, and smartphones. Click here to view the digital issue. WHERE ARE WE NOW? WHAT’S NEXT? First came the rundown on the actions taken at the 221st General Assembly in Detroit. Now come the interpretations. We provide a sampling of the best such interpretations. SO WHAT ABOUT MARRIAGE? Mark Achtemeier and Paul Dettermann provide separate analyses of implications of actions taken at the GA regarding marriage. POX ON THE OUTLOOK One commissioner took exception to the Outlook’s pre-GA analysis of the divestment proposals, re., Israel. Now he shares his post-GA assessment. … [Read more...]

The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms Second Edition (Bookmark review)

Bookmark

By Donald K. McKim Westminster John Knox Press. Louisville, Ky. 355 pages  There are those who learn English by reading a good English language dictionary. The best would be the Oxford English Dictionary. Some people have a complete OED as a reference book. (I am one of them.) It’s a joy to dip into it frequently and come away not just with a new word but a deep understanding of the universe contained in that single word. All of this is true for the second edition of this dictionary of theological language. Don McKim has artfully assembled the equivalent to the OED for theological terms. One can read it to learn theology in the same way one learns a new language. And one can read it for the pleasure of discovering the intricate web of words that make up the theological universe. This edition contains 7,000 entries (1,000 more than the previous edition) that are linked together with a set of cross-references that display the breadth of the tradition. The annotated bibliography and … [Read more...]

Film in review – “Wish I Was Here”

Wish_I_Was_Here

This is one, dear readers, where I would ask, if your ears are easily offended, to look past the language. The quality beneath is worth your time. All too often, when an actor writes and directs his own film, he winds up being, if not a superhero, at least faultless, perhaps even iconic. Zach Braff approaches his character, named Aidan, with an amazing amount of humility. He’s approaching middle age and still hasn’t really “found himself” yet, because he’s a struggling actor who’s still trying out for bit parts at open auditions. But he’s blessed with a loving wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson), who’s been remarkably supportive of his “chasing his dream” while she’s working full-time to support the whole family. They accept financial help from Aidan’s dad, Gabe (Mandy Patinkin), who supports the two kids’ private schooling – as long as it’s teaching Orthodox Judaism. Aidan has a more lighthearted approach to his heritage, making fun of the uptight rabbis, which his young son, Tucker (Pierce … [Read more...]