• Outlook Features 18 hours ago

    Invisible rays: Preaching in the 21st century

    Invisible rays: Preaching in the 21st century

    by Jana Childers
    Theologian Amos Wilder said that going to church should be like “approaching an open volcano where the world is molten and hearts are sifted. The altar is like a third rail that spatters sparks. The sanctuary is like the chamber next to the atomic oven: there are invisible rays and you leave your watch outside.” I like to ask my seminary students, “Do you know that church?” But pretty much no matter how they answer, I continue to point them to Wilder’s phantasmagoric vision. It’s an image suited to this… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 18 hours ago

    Gradye Parsons announces will not seek another term, talks about what’s next

    Gradye Parsons announces will not seek another term, talks about what’s next

    by Leslie Scanlon
    Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – the denomination’s top ecclesiastical officer – has announced that he won’t seek election to a third four-year term. That means the 2016 General Assembly will be asked to name a new stated clerk. It also means that the PC(USA) is facing a clean sweep of leadership at the top, as Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, left that post as of July 10 and an interim executive director has not yet been named. Parsons shows off his… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 2 days ago

    A recalibrated Big Tent

    A recalibrated Big Tent

    by Leslie Scanlon
    KNOXVILLE –  “Be yourself” — find your own sense of authentic Christian identity, Paul Roberts, the president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, preached during closing worship at Big Tent 2015. Paul Roberts preaches at Big Tent in this issue’s cover shot. In a way, that’s exactly what the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — which is finding new footing in a world in which the foundations of church life have shifted — is doing, and what Big Tent, held July 30-August 1 at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, was all… continue reading...
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Hark! Listening for the Surprises of Advent

Cynthia Rigby

A 90-minute webinar presented by Cynthia Rigby Tuesday, October 27 at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) Click here to purchase the live event with on-demand replay – $29.95 (1-6 participants) Click here to pre-order the DVD – $43.95 (free shipping) Remember when we were children, and it seemed like Christmas would never come? Now we might feel like it comes way too often! I have neighbors who don’t even bother taking down their outdoor holiday lights. “It feels like we’d just have to put them right back up again,” they explain. And pastors are often similarly apathetic about gearing up for the season, working hard to be motivated and innovative even when their hearts are not in it. What new thing can be said? Should we even wish, somehow, to get back to our sense of childhood anticipation and wonder? Or is that just not the way of the spiritually seasoned adult? What will this webinar cover? This webinar will be devoted to inviting us, again, into the surprises and wonders of Christmas. … [Read more...]

Invisible rays: Preaching in the 21st century

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.12.40 PM

Theologian Amos Wilder said that going to church should be like “approaching an open volcano where the world is molten and hearts are sifted. The altar is like a third rail that spatters sparks. The sanctuary is like the chamber next to the atomic oven: there are invisible rays and you leave your watch outside.” I like to ask my seminary students, “Do you know that church?” But pretty much no matter how they answer, I continue to point them to Wilder’s phantasmagoric vision. It’s an image suited to this generation of the church’s life, I believe. And to this age of preaching. Wilder’s metaphors remind us of the spark-spattering power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a theme that resonates with the view of Phyllis Tickle and others who describe this era of the church’s life as “the age of the Spirit.” In Tickle’s schema, the first 2,000 years of God’s project with human beings runs from the time of Abraham to the time of Christ; the second from the time of Christ to the year 2000; and the … [Read more...]

Tagged With: preaching

Gradye Parsons announces will not seek another term, talks about what’s next

Gradye Parsons UT

  Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – the denomination’s top ecclesiastical officer – has announced that he won’t seek election to a third four-year term. That means the 2016 General Assembly will be asked to name a new stated clerk. It also means that the PC(USA) is facing a clean sweep of leadership at the top, as Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, left that post as of July 10 and an interim executive director has not yet been named. The Stated Clerk Nomination Committee will post application materials online in October, Parsons said. All application materials must be submitted by Dec. 21, and the committee will announce its nominee no later than April 19. Following his announcement, Parsons, a teaching elder who was first elected stated clerk in 2008, sat down for a conversation with The Outlook about the accomplishments of his tenure, the challenges facing the PC(USA) and his expectations for the … [Read more...]

PC(USA) study team seeks input on two state solution for Israel/Palestine

LOUISVILLE (PNS) A study team of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP), appointed last year to study the "two state solution" to the Israel/Palestine conflict, is welcoming written comments or statements on the feasibility and nature various concepts of statehood and the rights, values and characteristics attached to those concepts. Written statements can be submitted to [email protected] the end of September 2015. ACSWP invites those in or near Washington, D.C., to present their views with representatives of the study team on Sept. 10, from 10:30am to 4:00pm. The presbytery of National Capital is sponsoring the Sept. 10 listening session, to be held at the National Presbyterian Church. Members of the study team and its parent committee will be present. Those wishing to present views in person are asked to indicate their interest in an email to [email protected] for scheduling purposes. The study team will deliver a brief … [Read more...]