• Movie Reviews 2 days ago

    Film in review – “Joe”

    Film in review – “Joe”

    by Ronald P. Salfen
    “Joe” is an old-school, old-fashioned kind of movie.  There’s no slick CGI fantasy sci-fi stuff.  No chase scenes.  No shoot-‘em-ups that look like video games of bloodless bad guys dropping everywhere.  No romance.  No sweet smell of success, either.  Just a bunch of down-home country folks stubbornly, but proudly, being the genuine folks that they are.  And though their motivations are not always for the betterment of humankind, sometimes they transcend themselves and accidentally stumble on the pure right thing to do. Joe (Nicolas Cage) is the straw boss of… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 3 days ago

    Easter in Memphis

    Easter in Memphis

    by Robert Bullock
    Good news is coming out of Memphis this year from a meeting held on March 22 at Second Presbyterian Church (EPC). The purpose was to help heal the wounds inflicted exactly 50 years ago during a yearlong effort by students and others to overturn the segregation policy at the church. On that day two students, one African American and one white, walked up the steps of the church with the intention of entering and worshipping. They were turned away at the door by church representatives. Immediately the students kneeled and… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Features 4 days ago

    A prayer for pastors on Easter

    by Brian McLaren
    Dear Lord, I pray for all the pastors today Who will feel enormous pressure to have their sermon Match the greatness of the subject And will surely feel they have failed. (I pray even more for those who think they have succeeded.” Help them to know that it is enough Simply and faithfully to tell the story Of women in dawn hush … Of men running half-believing … Of rolled stones and folded grave-clothes … Of a supposed gardener saying the name of a crying woman … Of sad walkers… continue reading...
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April 28, 2014: Digital issue for subscribers

196-09 digital final

The digital issue of the Presbyterian Outlook’s April 28, 2014 issue is now available!  It is viewable on almost all computers, tablets, and smartphones. Click here to view the digital issue. NEXT CHURCH, NEXT MODERATOR MEET THE CANDIDATES Three ministers have agreed to stand for Moderator of the upcoming General Assembly. Who are they? What are their hopes and concerns? Who are their running mates? We asked. They have responded. NEXT CHURCH CONFERENCE “Risk-takers” ... “positive deviants” ... Such expressions were kicked around by participants at the NEXT Church conference. Leslie Scanlon reports COMMENCEMENT REPORTS Which schools qualify to be “PC(USA)-related”? Why is Auburn seminary moving to a new site? When is your alma mater’s commencement ceremony? … [Read more...]

Letter to the editor: OVT. 55 on Cuba

While I most certainly believe that the church should think about how to fulfill the Church's mission in Cuba, I'm not sure that there really have been any drastic changes in the oppressed country.  Just this week, both NPR and BBC Worldservice highlighted the plight of Alan Gross who was imprisoned for bringing illegal internet equipment into the country to assist that nation's small Jewish minority.  Rather than rehash the whole NPR segment, I will relay the key point that triggered this letter.  The interviewee noted that the Cuban government views any effort to promote democracy as regime change.  That comment and the ongoing imprisonment of Mr. Gross tells me that not much has really changed in Cuba after all, contrary to what the Santa Fe Presbytery may think. Sincerely, David J. Stewart Smyrna, Ga. … [Read more...]

Film in review – “Joe”

Joe_(2013_film)_poster

“Joe” is an old-school, old-fashioned kind of movie.  There’s no slick CGI fantasy sci-fi stuff.  No chase scenes.  No shoot-‘em-ups that look like video games of bloodless bad guys dropping everywhere.  No romance.  No sweet smell of success, either.  Just a bunch of down-home country folks stubbornly, but proudly, being the genuine folks that they are.  And though their motivations are not always for the betterment of humankind, sometimes they transcend themselves and accidentally stumble on the pure right thing to do. Joe (Nicolas Cage) is the straw boss of a hard-working bunch of backwoods roughnecks who are surreptitiously injecting poison into trees.  That’s right, apparently the lumber company can only “harvest” trees that are already dead, and this under-the-radar crew is paid, in cash, to go make some deadwood out there.  Yes, it’s ironic work for them, since they are sort of the deadwood of that particularly remote neck of the woods.  Joe lives in a ramshackle house that … [Read more...]

Easter in Memphis

Professor Stephen Haynes (rear) with a group attending the March 22 event; Carolyn (front row left) holding copy of Haynes’ book.

Good news is coming out of Memphis this year from a meeting held on March 22 at Second Presbyterian Church (EPC). The purpose was to help heal the wounds inflicted exactly 50 years ago during a yearlong effort by students and others to overturn the segregation policy at the church. On that day two students, one African American and one white, walked up the steps of the church with the intention of entering and worshipping. They were turned away at the door by church representatives. Immediately the students kneeled and began praying for those who were resisting them. The efforts continued for more than a year at the church until the policy was changed.  The story is told in the book, “The Last Segregated Hour” by Rhodes College (then Southwestern at Memphis) professor Stephen Haynes. There were other similar kneel-in events in the Southeast but the longest and most sustained effort took place in Memphis. Fifty years later, Second Church and Independent Church, which split … [Read more...]

Luke 23:34: Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing… .”

Who are the 'them' that Jesus is forgiving?  In a moment of intense humanity, he appeals to God for those at his execution.  Besides the faithful women and some followers, Luke records three groups who were there: rulers, the soldiers and people who 'stood looking on'. It is fairly certain Pilate was not there and it is difficult to see the Sanhedrin assembled for the event.  But the Governor and the Temple Elders will have sent official representatives to observe and report.  There are soldiers doing their duty upon orders.  And there are the people; Mark refers to them as passers-by.  Can we identify with any of these for whom Jesus pleads? Have we ever taken a smirky pride in accomplishing some punishment –  the harsher it is, the more  it seems warranted?  Are we troubled when we reflect upon the times we were righteous victimizers, when we bullied someone or excluded another from a social clique, insisting on punishment that satisfied our anger and fears or 'settled a score' … [Read more...]