• Those with ears to hear (music reviews) 2 hours ago

    Coming Home (Leon Bridges)

    Coming Home (Leon Bridges)

    by Steve Lindsley
    This album review is brought to you by summertime. So kick back, relax and plug in the soulful, retro sounds of Mr. Leon Bridges and his debut album, “Coming Home.” And my “retro” I don’t mean “released a long time ago.” This little gem landed back in June. I’m talking about the sound, the feel, the texture. It’s a throwback to classic Motown with some soulful blues thrown in for good measure. And it totally works. Which isn’t always the case with retro projects, mind you. It’s one thing to… continue reading...
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  • Editor's viewpoints 11 hours ago

    In memory of Aylan, Galip and Rehen  (A prayer for worship by Jill Duffield)

    In memory of Aylan, Galip and Rehen (A prayer for worship by Jill Duffield)

    by Jill Duffield
    What can we do but weep, Lord God? Thousands of Syrian refugees find themselves stranded at a Budapest train station as they seek to travel across Hungary to the Austrian border. —Daniel Fekete/HIA/ACT We cry out with Hagar for all the children whose mothers cannot provide them with food or water or shelter. We howl lament like Jacob, his face buried in the torn and bloody clothes of Joseph, for sons lost and thought dead. We cry bitter tears with Rachel and all those whose children are no more. Like Mary… continue reading...
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  • Looking into the lectionary 1 day ago

    23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Proper 18 – September 6, 2015

    23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Proper 18 – September 6, 2015

    by Jill Duffield
    Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; James 2:1-10, 14-17; Mark 7:24-37 Sandwiched (pun intended) between the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand in Mark is this bizarre exchange about bread between Jesus and a Gentile woman. Is the bread of life only intended for the House of Israel or is there enough for those outside that circle to eat? Ask the kids gathered for the children’s time: “If someone asked Jesus for bread, would he give it to them?” They would answer, “Yes!” and “Of course!”… continue reading...
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Coming Home (Leon Bridges)

coming home

This album review is brought to you by summertime. So kick back, relax and plug in the soulful, retro sounds of Mr. Leon Bridges and his debut album, “Coming Home.” And my "retro" I don't mean "released a long time ago." This little gem landed back in June. I'm talking about the sound, the feel, the texture. It's a throwback to classic Motown with some soulful blues thrown in for good measure. And it totally works. Which isn't always the case with retro projects, mind you. It's one thing to play songs that sound like they're from a different era. Bryan Setzer was a whiz at this – the doo-wop guitar, bouncing bass, he had it down pat. Thing is, it was recorded in the 1990s, and you could tell. It was vintage in construct only, not sound. Which meant that, as cool as it was, something had been lost. It sounded like a newer version of an older sound, which is all it was. The real joy of “Coming Home” is that it bleeds analog, sounding like it was recorded in the studio right next … [Read more...]

Thousands of Syrian refugees stranded in Budapest

BUDAPEST (PNS) The Syrian refugee crisis has drawn increased attention this week with the heartbreaking photos of a lifeless child’s body being pulled from the Aegean Sea. Alyan Kurdi was one of at least a dozen refugees who drowned while seeking safety from the conflict in Syria. In the past few days, thousands more refugees have found themselves stranded at a Budapest train station as they seek to cross the border into Austria. Images out of Hungary show people either camped out at a local train station, or swiftly running along the tracks toward the border. Witnesses describe the station as a place of “disorder and confusion” as families gather on blankets on the station floor. The railway company suspended all trains leaving the Hungarian capital for transport security reasons. Police have tried to contain the families at the station, yet some have broken away to reach the border by foot, nearly 100 miles away. Meantime, Hungarian volunteers are trying to distribute food, … [Read more...]

In memory of Aylan, Galip and Rehen (A prayer for worship by Jill Duffield)

hungary2_medium300

What can we do but weep, Lord God? We cry out with Hagar for all the children whose mothers cannot provide them with food or water or shelter. We howl lament like Jacob, his face buried in the torn and bloody clothes of Joseph, for sons lost and thought dead. We cry bitter tears with Rachel and all those whose children are no more. Like Mary holding the body of her boy, cradle in your arms Alyan and Galip as we mourn for all the waves of suffering breaking upon the shores of creation. Almighty, compassionate and all-powerful God, we plead for help. Hear the wailing of your people and intervene. Make a way where there seems no way. Prepare a room where innkeepers and gatekeepers and rule makers have said there is no room. Reunite families so that fathers can embrace sons they never thought they would see again. Roll away all that stones that thwart your resurrection power and bring life where death has claimed a false and fleeting victory. Do not let us forget that … [Read more...]

Stated Clerk releases Labor Day statement, worship resources

gradyeparsons

LOUISVILLE (PNS) We Presbyterians believe that God’s image is reflected in us, including our ability to be co-creators and co-laborers in the world. There is something fulfilling and even holy in doing your best work. Our cooperative work allows us to do things we cannot do individually. Through our sense of vocation we connect to the web of labor relationships as we seek to build a more just society. For this Labor Day, we affirm the church’s stance on labor and offer up examples of our work in pursuit of dignified work, better conditions, and fair wages. For many who read this message, children are already back to school and many of us are back at full-paced work. Yet for too many in the United States and abroad, there is no work or the work available does not provide a “living wage.” The phrase, “living wage,” comes from the 1908 “Social Creed of the Churches,” a statement that was updated on its centennial by our 218th General Assembly (2008) (Minutes, 2008, Part I, p. 924 of … [Read more...]

The power and potential of international mission partnerships

Bill Paul

Guest commentary by Bill Paul As people of God we are called to both ministry and mission. Ministry is what we do to build up the life of the church, the body of Christ. Mission is what we do to build up the life of the world. Both tasks are essential and interdependent. Faithful ministry in the church makes fruitful mission possible. Fruitful mission in the world makes faithful ministry necessary. Mission begins at the church door and extends to the ends of the earth. We are sent out into the world, near and far, individually and corporately, as agents of God’s grace and mercy. In 1991, and in light of this great commission, Pittsburgh Presbytery and the Synod of Blanytyre (Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian) formed a mission partnership that has since been renewed every three years. In that time, more than 600 Pittsburghers and western Pennsylvanians have been hosted in Malawi for different lengths of time and in various capacities of service. Nearly the same number of … [Read more...]

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Proper 18 – September 6, 2015

Jill Duffield

  Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; James 2:1-10, 14-17; Mark 7:24-37 Sandwiched (pun intended) between the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand in Mark is this bizarre exchange about bread between Jesus and a Gentile woman. Is the bread of life only intended for the House of Israel or is there enough for those outside that circle to eat? Ask the kids gathered for the children’s time: “If someone asked Jesus for bread, would he give it to them?” They would answer, “Yes!” and “Of course!” But not here, at least not at first. This week we get the fully human Jesus – one with apparent compassion fatigue who not only refuses to give the woman what she’s asking for (even though she’s thrown herself at his feet, even though it is on behalf of her little girl), but also calls her a name to boot. Do you recognize this Jesus? I remember a heated discussion about this text in a Presbyterian Women’s Bible study. The curriculum said something along the … [Read more...]