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Extra-Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time bursts with learnings for those paying attention. When the church calendar turns from Advent/Epiphany and Lent/Easter to “Ordinary Time,” congregational..

In Pakistan, an island of clarity amid a sea of mixed messages

Correction:

In the story, “In Pakistan, an island of clarity amid a sea of mixed messages” (pub. Jan 26), David Stoner was identified as former interim director of the General Assembly Council. He actually was the executive director. Also, Christy Munir did not teach at Gordon College but was chair of the chemistry department of Qaid-I Azim University. He was selected to become chairman of the board for Gordon College if the PC(USA) finally takes back the school.


ONE OF THE MANY STUDENTS WHO HAPPILY MUGGED FOR THE CAMERA ON FORMAN’S CAMPUS.

 Check the Amazon.com listings of recent books about Pakistan and you will perceive a theme: “The Unraveling …, ” “Descent into Chaos,” “ … the World’s Most Frightening State,” “Deadly Embrace …, ” “ … the Hard Country.”

From palms to passion to …

Do you think Jesus enjoyed his triumphal entry? Did he enjoy the adulation in those crowded streets in the way a young preacher enjoys affirmations in the post-worship narthex? 

Essential tenets and sweaty palms

 

"We get sweaty palms every time we hear 'essential tenets.'" If ever a line begged for explanation it was that one. Can it be that Joe Small, the Director of the Office of Theology, Worship and Education for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), doesn't believe in the core convictions of the church? Of what value could be the advice he gave to the Form of Government Task Force (as it met in Louisville on August 16-18), if he wouldn't state plainly our essentials?

Given that all ordinands -- elders, deacons, and ministers of Word and Sacrament -- declare that they "receive and adopt the essential tenets" of the church, it only stands to reason that we be able to articulate them. 

Yet, the matter of defining and subscribing to essential tenets has been debated in our present and former denominations since the 18th century. Why has that been such a battleground for us? How can we vow to uphold the essential tenets yet refuse to delineate exactly which tenets are essential? And if we can't articulate clearly what we believe, how can we have any identity? 

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