• Outpost Blog 4 hours ago

    Brokenness is not discipleship

    A guest blog from Brandon Gaide Brokenness is an important word in the church. It’s akin to the word “depravity,” but feels less churchy and less heavy-handed. Maybe that’s why it’s become so popular. We church folk wanted a word that described our soul-sickness while at the same sounding non-threatening enough to be used outside the church. Not everyone is ready to say they’re depraved. But most can come around to the idea that, at least in some ways, we’re broken. To know our brokenness is a gift from God.… continue reading...
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  • Editorials 4 hours ago

    The default interim

    The default interim

    by John Wimberly
    When I started in the ministry way, way back in 1974, I don’t think I ever heard of an interim pastor. Over the decades, interim ministry has developed in ways that have been helpful to many congregations. Congregations that have experienced a lot of conflict, major unresolved issues or been the victims of sexual misconduct by a prior pastor are just three of the types of that have benefited immensely from the development of a trained group of interim pastors. However, at some point, interim ministry has gone from being… continue reading...
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  • Movie Reviews 1 day ago

    McFarland, USA

    McFarland, USA

    by Ronald P. Salfen
    Director Niki Caro (“Whale Rider”) is already adept at feel-good films, and star Kevin Costner (“Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” “For Love Of The Game,” “Tin Cup,” “Draft Day”) certainly has done his share of sports movies. And who doesn’t love to root for the underdog? But “McFarland USA,” though swimming in the predictable waters of athletic triumphalism, still manages to entice the viewer to love its own unique version of small-town Americana: McFarland, California. Here, the lush orange groves and lettuce farms are dotted with seasonal workers, many of… continue reading...
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Brokenness is not discipleship

Brandon Gaide

A guest blog from Brandon Gaide Brokenness is an important word in the church. It’s akin to the word “depravity,” but feels less churchy and less heavy-handed. Maybe that’s why it’s become so popular. We church folk wanted a word that described our soul-sickness while at the same sounding non-threatening enough to be used outside the church. Not everyone is ready to say they’re depraved. But most can come around to the idea that, at least in some ways, we’re broken. To know our brokenness is a gift from God. Only in our brokenness do we cry out for a Deliverer. Only in the brokenness of our world do we find a reason for the mission of God.   Brokenness is the essential prerequisite for genuine discipleship. But brokenness is not discipleship. And here is where we might depart from popular belief, especially among the younger generations. There is a trend, evidenced by dark, angsty, self-reflective worship services growing in popularity among younger generations, to believe … [Read more...]

The default interim

John Wimberly

When I started in the ministry way, way back in 1974, I don’t think I ever heard of an interim pastor. Over the decades, interim ministry has developed in ways that have been helpful to many congregations. Congregations that have experienced a lot of conflict, major unresolved issues or been the victims of sexual misconduct by a prior pastor are just three of the types of that have benefited immensely from the development of a trained group of interim pastors. However, at some point, interim ministry has gone from being the exception to the rule. Instead of being an option for congregations, in many presbyteries interim ministry has become the rule with congregations required to hire an interim and go through an extended interim period. Is making interim ministry a mandatory step in every pastoral transition process a good thing? To me, the answer is “no.” We need interim ministry in some situations and should give thanks to the ministers who engage in it. But we don’t need interim … [Read more...]

McFarland, USA

McFarland,_USA_poster

Director Niki Caro (“Whale Rider”) is already adept at feel-good films, and star Kevin Costner (“Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” “For Love Of The Game,” “Tin Cup,” “Draft Day”) certainly has done his share of sports movies. And who doesn’t love to root for the underdog? But “McFarland USA,” though swimming in the predictable waters of athletic triumphalism, still manages to entice the viewer to love its own unique version of small-town Americana: McFarland, California. Here, the lush orange groves and lettuce farms are dotted with seasonal workers, many of them migrant, some of them illegal immigrants, and none of them making a living wage. But here they are, slaving away in the hot sun, trying to catch some elusive part of the American Dream. Coach Jim White (Costner) moves to town in a U-Haul with his wife and two daughters, mainly because he has no other choices left. It seems he has a temper and has demonstrated it not only with superiors, but also with the kids he’s … [Read more...]

Interview with Coach Jim White

"movie" by van Ort is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Interview with Coach Jim White of “McFarland, USA.” Ron Salfen for the Presbyterian Outlook: First of all, I really enjoyed the movie. And the fact that it was based on a true story just makes it even better. Jim White: Thanks very much. Presbyterian Outlook: So here you are, out in a remote area, kind of a coach's purgatory. How did you decide to go from coaching football to coaching track? Jim White: Well, the movie took a little bit of liberty there, in order to tell the story. I actually did still help with the football program, but after a while, track became my primary emphasis, just because it was something I really enjoyed, and the boys seemed to be responding positively. Presbyterian Outlook: They sure did. It's amazing how you were able to take a bunch of untrained high schoolers and turn them into competitive athletes. How did you do that? I mean, where did you start with evaluating the talent? Jim White: I started with P.E. I was also teaching physical … [Read more...]

The Last Five Years

The_Last_Five_Years_poster

OK, musicals aren’t for everyone. But I daresay that Presbyterians have more interest in music than most. For one thing, our worship services encourage everyone to sing hymns. (And we just published a new denominational hymnal.) There are plenty of people in our surrounding culture who haven’t sung anything for years, much less every week. And for those of us who have sung in church choirs all our lives, well, the music of the anthems runs through our heads constantly, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s like a part of our spirits is always at song, like a soundtrack in the background of our consciousness. Yes, we’re the type of people who have more inherent interest in musicals than most moviegoers. That said, there’s a lot to appreciate about “The Last Five Years,” especially for music lovers. The singing is practically nonstop. There’s only a little dialogue in between. It’s the complete history of a five-year relationship, from meeting each other to breakup, with the charming … [Read more...]