• Outlook Reporting 17 hours ago

    Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA)

    Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA)

    by Leslie Scanlon
    The Presbyterian Mission Agency has been rocked in recent months by a trifecta of investigations and a lot of criticism involving the 1001 New Worshiping Communities program, the Special Offerings 2015 advertising campaign and overspending for the last Presbyterian Youth Triennium. That’s leading some to ask harder systemic questions about why so many problems are emerging at the top levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). “This is a symptom of a much bigger problem,” wrote Fritz Gutwein, co-director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, on Twitter. “Changing the artwork (of the Special… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 17 hours ago

    Much discussion about the marriage amendment: Going back to Acts

    Much discussion about the marriage amendment: Going back to Acts

    by Jill Duffield
    Lately, I’ve been drawn back to Acts. Specifically, Acts 11 and 15. As I read, certain phrases and sentences stand out. Phrases like: “Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story.” And: “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.” And: “After much discussion…” This last one is my favorite because we all know what it’s code for, don’t we? It means they fought, bitterly, for hours. I am a church nerd and like few things better than going back and reading session minutes.… continue reading...
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  • Lent Outpost Blog 17 hours ago

    Fasting: When what is harmless keeps us from God

    Fasting: When what is harmless keeps us from God

    by Rachel Young
    This week we asked our bloggers what they had learned from spiritual practices and disciples. This is how they responded. This Lent, our adult discipleship leadership team has invited the congregation to engage in the spiritual practice of fasting.  The primary definition of fasting with which we are working is this: We give up a legitimate need in order to experience our real need for Jesus.  But there is so much more to be pondered regarding fasting! A church member passed along excerpts from Dallas Willard’s book, The Spirit of the… continue reading...
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PC(USA) anxiously awaits proposed revision to Indiana RFRA law

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, NRSV) The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), rooted in the love of God through Jesus and guided by the charge to love thy neighbor, opposes any legislation that could enable discrimination and is eagerly awaiting proposed revisions to a problematic Indiana religious freedom law. We are deeply alarmed about the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) recently signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and are concerned that its current wording could provide a legal excuse for individuals and corporations to use religious conviction as a reason to discriminate. We are, however, pleased by a pledge from Pence on Tuesday to“fix” the law to make clear that it does not allow for discrimination and his charge to state lawmakers to pass clarifying legislation this week. We pray the governor and state legislators … [Read more...]

Beyond time-limited essays

In a press release sent out on Friday, March 27, 2015, the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates (PCC) announced some significant changes to the standard ordination examinations in the PC(USA) that will come into effect beginning in July. Some were in response to referrals from the 221st General Assembly (2014). Over the coming weeks I will explore each of these changes in separate blog posts, going over both the details in the changes and the reasons for them. The first change that I will address relates to the time allotted for the exams in the areas of Church Polity, Theological Competence, and Worship and Sacraments. Look at survey results from any group of exam takers over recent years and you will find that the most often provided feedback was a desire for more time to complete the exams. Although many of the scenarios presented in the exams reflect ministry situations where people in real life would be expecting immediate responses to their … [Read more...]

Where to start? Untangling governance, transparency and finances in the PC(USA)

electrical outlet overload

The Presbyterian Mission Agency has been rocked in recent months by a trifecta of investigations and a lot of criticism involving the 1001 New Worshiping Communities program, the Special Offerings 2015 advertising campaign and overspending for the last Presbyterian Youth Triennium. That’s leading some to ask harder systemic questions about why so many problems are emerging at the top levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). “This is a symptom of a much bigger problem,” wrote Fritz Gutwein, co-director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, on Twitter. “Changing the artwork (of the Special Offerings campaign) will fix this incident but not the broken system that allowed it to happen. Too many large mistakes are happening out of an instinct to survive. It may be time to let a lot things we hold dear go so something new can emerge.” What’s not working? No doubt, Presbyterians privately have all kinds of theories – and no shortage of people they’re willing to blame. It’s a difficult … [Read more...]

Much discussion about the marriage amendment: Going back to Acts

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 10.36.34 AM

Lately, I’ve been drawn back to Acts. Specifically, Acts 11 and 15. As I read, certain phrases and sentences stand out. Phrases like: “Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story.” And: “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.” And: “After much discussion…” This last one is my favorite because we all know what it’s code for, don’t we? It means they fought, bitterly, for hours. I am a church nerd and like few things better than going back and reading session minutes. When I read “after much discussion,” I know it was a long night. I suspect in the coming months there will be minutes with the phrase “after much discussion.” I know with the passage of amendment 14F there will be sharp dispute and debate among brothers and sisters in Sunday school classrooms, around conference tables and even during coffee hour. The change in the Book of Order doesn’t silence the discussion, it heightens it. The debate is no longer theoretical, it is … [Read more...]

Tagged With: Marriage

Fasting: When what is harmless keeps us from God

Rachel Young

This week we asked our bloggers what they had learned from spiritual practices and disciples. This is how they responded. This Lent, our adult discipleship leadership team has invited the congregation to engage in the spiritual practice of fasting.  The primary definition of fasting with which we are working is this: We give up a legitimate need in order to experience our real need for Jesus.  But there is so much more to be pondered regarding fasting! A church member passed along excerpts from Dallas Willard's book, The Spirit of the Disciplines.  The book includes a section on "Disciplines of Abstinence," of which fasting is one.  In thinking about the power of fasting, I was helped by this quote from W.R. Inge from “Goodness and Truth”: “If we feel that any habit or pursuit, harmless in itself, is keeping us from God and sinking us deeper in the things of earth; if we find that things which others can do with impunity are for us the occasion of falling, then abstinence … [Read more...]

Tagged With: spiritual practice

Associate Pastor for Mission

First & Calvary Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Missouri, a congregation of 1,700, is seeking an Associate Pastor for Mission to: plan and lead Sunday morning contemporary worship service; preach in both contemporary and traditional services while teaching Biblical truths in the Reformed Tradition; serve as pastoral liaison to Congregational Life committee for implementing fellowship and family ministry programs; and serve as primary leader for evangelism, community outreach and mission programs. As our Associate Pastor, he/she will have compassionate listening and communication qualities as well as teaching skills that will increase theological and Biblical awareness. Effective collaborative and interpersonal abilities are also important attributes. Please visit our website for information about our church. Send PIFs to [email protected] First & Calvary Presbyterian Church 820 Cherry St Springfield MO 65806 firstandcalvary.org Job Type: Full-time … [Read more...]