• Book Reviews 10 hours ago

    God and the Gay Christian

    God and the Gay Christian

    by Jonathan Saur
    by Matthew Vines Convergent Books, New York, N.Y. 224 pages REVIEWED BY JONATHAN SAUR When I was 20 years old, I asked a professor at the community college I was attending to recommend a book on the history of AIDS. Like many young evangelicals at the time, I had become interested in the AIDS crisis in Africa and wanted to learn more. Knowing my religious commitments and wanting to broaden my perspective, my professor slyly referred me to “ … And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts. Trusting the… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Features 1 day ago

    What sports should — and should not — be about

    What sports should — and should not — be about

    by Leslie Scanlon
    The following is an edited version of a conversation the Outlook’s Leslie Scanlon had with theologian Marcia Mount Shoop, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister and author of “Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil on Big-Time Sports.” Shoop’s husband, John Shoop, is offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Purdue University football team. Shoop is the fourth generation in her family to be ordained to the Presbyterian ministry. She earned a doctorate in religious studies from Emory University, and has served the PC(USA) on the Committee… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Features 1 day ago

    News from Presbyterian-related colleges and universities

    News from Presbyterian-related colleges and universities

    AGNES SCOTT COLLEGE, DECATUR, GA. ASC has received a $2 million grant from The Goizueta Foundation for two new programs: the Goizueta Global Leadership Project and the Goizueta STEM Success Initiative. ALMA COLLEGE, ALMA, MICH. Alma has launched a four-year nursing program that will emphasize creative problem-solving and interpersonal skills in addition to nursing fundamentals. ARCADIA UNIVERSITY, GLENSIDE, PA. Arcadia, in cooperation with the Peace Corps, has established the Arcadia University Peace Corps Prep Program, an academic and service initiative designed to build cultural awareness and develop practical skills sought… continue reading...
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Pope Francis blasts supermax prisons as ‘torture’

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis said Thursday (Oct. 23) that keeping inmates isolated in maximum security prisons is “a form of torture,” and called life sentences “a hidden death penalty” that should be abolished along with capital punishment. “All Christians and people of good will are called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty,” the pope told delegates from the International Association of Penal Law. “And this I connect with life imprisonment,” he continued. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.” The pope noted that the Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code, though that move was largely symbolic. In the wide-ranging address, Francis denounced practices that are widespread in many regions of the world, such as extrajudicial executions and … [Read more...]

God and the Gay Christian

God and the Gay

by Matthew Vines Convergent Books, New York, N.Y. 224 pages REVIEWED BY JONATHAN SAUR When I was 20 years old, I asked a professor at the community college I was attending to recommend a book on the history of AIDS. Like many young evangelicals at the time, I had become interested in the AIDS crisis in Africa and wanted to learn more. Knowing my religious commitments and wanting to broaden my perspective, my professor slyly referred me to “ ... And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts. Trusting the professor, I purchased and read the book — though it was clearly not about AIDS in Africa. The book chronicles the early years of AIDS in the United States, from around 1979 to the death of actor Rock Hudson. The book also chronicles the ways in which evangelicals were either largely indifferent towards AIDS in those early years or openly antagonistic to the gay communities being ravaged by the disease. Since then, rightly or wrongly (I think rightly), I have viewed the interaction … [Read more...]

What sports should — and should not — be about

Marcia Mount Shoop

The following is an edited version of a conversation the Outlook’s Leslie Scanlon had with theologian Marcia Mount Shoop, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister and author of “Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil on Big-Time Sports.” Shoop’s husband, John Shoop, is offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Purdue University football team. Shoop is the fourth generation in her family to be ordained to the Presbyterian ministry. She earned a doctorate in religious studies from Emory University, and has served the PC(USA) on the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the Mid Councils Commission. Q: Why did you choose sports and football as a topic? A:   “It’s because of the peculiar position I find myself in in my life – I’m a trained theologian and actually a theologian with a pretty good amount of feminist training also, and I’m married to a professional football coach, one of the most male-dominated and some would say … [Read more...]

On the front lines of the fight against Ebola: Presbyterian Dr. Jim McAuley reports from Sierra Leone

LOUISVILLE (PNS) Presbyterian minister and medical doctor James “Jim” McAuley has been sent by his employer from Zambia to Sierra Leone. Trained as an infectious disease specialist, McAuley is a member of the Presbytery of Chicago, while his family are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Evanston Ill. He wrote to his wife in Zambia: Sierra Leone is not in good shape ― really poor, lots of corruption, no infrastructure. I think things will likely get worse before they get better. People are being told not to touch dead bodies (good idea given that over half of all Ebola cases can be traced to contact with a body), but the government is slow to pick up bodies. The workers briefly went on strike (can you blame them? ― poorly paid and risking their lives). There was a body on the roundabout outside our hotel ― left for several days. Our workers are really working hard, but tempers are flaring. Everyone who gets sick reports to me ― I decide if it can be watched or if it’s … [Read more...]

Condolences offered following Jerusalem killing

LOUISVILLE (PNS) Our thoughts and prayers are with the family whose baby was killed and those whose loved ones were injured when a man slammed his vehicle into pedestrians at a light railway stop in Jerusalem on Wednesday. We mourn over this senseless loss of life and the injuries sustained, and condemn the violent act that also led to the death of the perpetrator. We pray for God’s hand of comfort on all who are grieving, and that the Spirit of peace will fall fresh on the land. The Reverend Gradye Parsons Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) … [Read more...]

‘1001’ grant program is retooled

LOUISVILLE (PNS) The funding arm of the Presbyterian Mission Agencythat helps establish New Worshiping Communities is revising its “1001” grant program to better serve the movement. “We’ve learned so much about the 1001 ministry from our mid-council partners and leaders of these new worshiping communities,” says Mission Program Grants associate Tim McCallister. “We’ve re-designed these 1001 grants to better serve our constituencies.” The New Worshiping Communities “Seed Grant” provides an initial $7,500 to help start a 1001 community. After a year the ministry can apply for an additional $25,000 “Investment Grant.”  18-months later they would have the opportunity to apply for of a $25,000 “Growth Grant” Both the “Investment” and “Growth” grant require dollar matching from a mid-council, congregation or in kind support. All new worshiping community leaders are still eligible to apply for a Health Insurance Grant, worth $1,500 per year — twice renewable. Since the … [Read more...]