• Editorials 12 hours ago

    God’s Word to us

    God’s Word to us

    by Jill Duffield
    John, the parish associate at my first call, was a person I admired greatly and from whom I learned a lot. He never imposed his wisdom or experience upon me and yet he was available, always willing to talk, ever supportive and encouraging. The first time I presided at the Lord’s Table it was with John at a local nursing home. The first time I moderated a session meeting, John sat at the end of the table, ready to clarify a point of polity, but only if I asked. John… continue reading...
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  • Outpost Blog 12 hours ago

    The de facto expert

    The de facto expert

    This month, we asked our bloggers what it’s like to be the youngest Presbyterian in the room. Here’s what they shared. Several years ago I was signed up for a mission trip to a Muslim country. In preparation for our trip, we were trained by a mission worker who had lived in that country for eight years and was now on sabbatical. His stated aim was to convince us that this particular culture was wholly foreign to our own; in fact, he suggested we suspend all of our cultural expectations.… continue reading...
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  • Book Reviews 1 day ago

    Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer

    Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer

    by Jennie Isbell and J. Brent Bill InterVarsity Press, Downers’ Grove, Ill. 192 pages REVIEWED BY ASHLEY GOFF The very first chapter of this book is titled, “A New Way to Pray.” The authors, Jennie Isbell and J. Brent Bill, deliver on those words. Isbell and Bill set out to write a collaborative book on creating fresh language — new linguistic frames — for the individual prayer life. What Isbell and Bill present is far from some sort of cookie-cutter script for prayer. Warning against “snack-bar and microwave-meal equivalents of… continue reading...
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Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program Celebrates Twenty Years of Service

PILP

LOUISVILLE (PNS) The youngest agency of the PC(USA), Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program Inc. (PILP) celebrates its twentieth birthday, July 31, 2015. General Assembly has been supporting low-cost loans to churches through the endowment funds held by the Presbyterian Foundation of PC(USA) for over one hundred and seventy years. At the 207th General Assembly in 1995, the General Assembly recognized the changing financial needs of congregations and created the sixth agency of PC(USA). Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program Inc. – a nonprofit corporation of PC(USA)  was created to provide low-cost loans to congregations, governing bodies and related entities of PC(USA) whose loan requirements exceeded the terms available through the endowment-funded Church Loan Program. Over the past twenty years the Program’s loan portfolio has grown to over seventy-six million dollars and the investment portfolio to over ninety million. By living out its mission, ‘to serve in gratitude … [Read more...]

God’s Word to us

Jill Duffield

John, the parish associate at my first call, was a person I admired greatly and from whom I learned a lot. He never imposed his wisdom or experience upon me and yet he was available, always willing to talk, ever supportive and encouraging. The first time I presided at the Lord’s Table it was with John at a local nursing home. The first time I moderated a session meeting, John sat at the end of the table, ready to clarify a point of polity, but only if I asked. John was quiet and understated, but there was one thing I heard him repeat frequently and with conviction: “A Presbyterian elder ought to be able to teach a Bible study at a moment’s notice.” He was emphatic that this was a basic requirement of spiritual leadership. I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure I could teach a Bible study at a moment’s notice, but because I admired and trusted him, I took this proclamation seriously. This insight, admonishment really, pushed me to maintain a discipline of Bible study. This insight … [Read more...]

The de facto expert

Brandon Gaide

This month, we asked our bloggers what it’s like to be the youngest Presbyterian in the room. Here’s what they shared. Several years ago I was signed up for a mission trip to a Muslim country. In preparation for our trip, we were trained by a mission worker who had lived in that country for eight years and was now on sabbatical. His stated aim was to convince us that this particular culture was wholly foreign to our own; in fact, he suggested we suspend all of our cultural expectations. By the end of the first training session, he had broken down our cultural expectations to such an extent that, in the subsequent training sessions, he could’ve told us anything and we would’ve believed him. We were putty. We were ready to believe whatever he wanted us to believe. By being the youngest Presbyterian in the room, I often feel like that mission worker. I routinely find myself in a room among older generations who believe (rightly, I think) that millennials bring a radically … [Read more...]

Tagged With: youngest Presbyterian

Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer

Finding God in the Verbs- Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer

by Jennie Isbell and J. Brent Bill InterVarsity Press, Downers’ Grove, Ill. 192 pages REVIEWED BY ASHLEY GOFF The very first chapter of this book is titled, “A New Way to Pray.” The authors, Jennie Isbell and J. Brent Bill, deliver on those words. Isbell and Bill set out to write a collaborative book on creating fresh language — new linguistic frames — for the individual prayer life. What Isbell and Bill present is far from some sort of cookie-cutter script for prayer. Warning against “snack-bar and microwave-meal equivalents of prayer,” they seek instead to flesh out a “home-cooked, made-in-love sort of prayer” that comes from an authentic self. Throughout, “Finding God in the Verbs” helps readers reflect critically on the prayers that they might have depended on as teenagers but that now seem inadequate for their adult lives. In considering her own journey with prayer, Isbell writes of a recognition that the “words of teaching songs from the Sunday school ladies [were] … [Read more...]

Healthy congregations need healthy pastors

Karen Russell

“Generally speaking, pastors are among the most unhealthy people ever,” said Karen Russell, associate for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Theology and Worship, in opening a workshop at Big Tent in Knoxville on August 1. “We’re educated people, we know what’s good for us,” though so often pastors neglect their own physical, mental and spiritual health. “The primary call of the pastor is to be a good Christian,” she said, however only about half of working pastors read the Bible outside of sermon preparation. Shifts in church demands may play a role in the decline in spiritual health as well. Russell shared results of a recent inventory of Ministry Information Forms from Presbyterian churches seeking new pastors, which found that less than 10 percent of list “strong spiritual leader” as a top quality; instead, many congregations are searching for an entrepreneur or innovator. Russell said churches and pastors both need to know this fact: there is a strong correlation … [Read more...]

Tagged With: BigTent15

A snapshot of Fringe Christianity

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In Bloomington, Indiana, Mihee Kim-Kort, campus minister for UKIRK @ IU, is part of a new collaboration to gather campus leaders, mainline pastors and those working in social service agencies to collaborate on worship, prayer and justice issues. This group, called Fringe Christianity, is a “loose collective of campus leaders, mainline denominational ministers, social workers, counselors, teachers collaborating in creative ways around spirituality and social justice,” she said. Why “fringe”? In a workshop at Big Tent on August 1, Kim-Kort explained the name choice reflects living on the borders and the edges of a group, a context, a culture; being in the fringe requires engaging different experiences and perspectives. The Fringe Christianity movement plans ecumenical gatherings, to attract students and those from other churches in town. Here are some of the things they’ve done recently: Nadia Bolz-Weber: Author of the memoir “Pastrix” came to Bloomington to speak about her … [Read more...]

Tagged With: BigTent15