Moyers and Company explore how story can shape advocacy and public life. Marshall Ganz reflects:
Public narrative is central to movement building, organizing and advocacy. It’s an articulation of the challenge, of the sources of hope, and of a pathway to action required to realize that hope; a response to those three questions posed by first century Jerusalem scholar, Rabbi Hillel: If I am not of myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself alone, what am I? If not now, when? A story of self, a story of us, and a story of now.
Narrative is how we learn to make choices, how we learn to access the moral resources (hope, empathy, self worth) to respond mindfully and courageously to urgent challenges. As St. Augustine observed, it is one thing to “know” the good, but another to “love” it – and loving it calls forth action. Because values are emotional in content, they are sources not only of information about what we “ought” to do, but also of the motivation to do it. I say values, not interests, because while self-interest is sufficient to sustain the status quo, our values are sources of the courage to take the risks, make the commitments, and reach out to others that challenging the status quo requires.
How do you see the church offering "story"? The particular church you serve? How does this go beyond a "vision or mission statement"?
All clergy use material from one another and read others' thoughts and sermons on the Sunday lectionary but how much is too much to use?
An Episcopal priest in Massachusetts has been suspended for plagiarizing sermons according to theCape Cod News,:
The Rev. John E. McGinn, 65, who has led the 300-plus families at St. John's Episcopal Church since 1993, was placed on administrative leave amid allegations that he plagiarized sermons dating back to 2006, said the Rev. Mally Lloyd, canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, a position equivalent to the bishop's chief of staff.
As many as 15 sermons have been identified as direct copies, Lloyd said. They were allegedly taken from a book called "Dynamic Preaching," which can be accessed only with an online subscription.
The bishop's office pointed out a Dec. 11, 2011, sermon as an example. The sermon is still on the church's website.
A growing number of seminary graduates are exercising their ministries outside of churches according to this Washington Post article:
Alethea Allen, a Virginia resident, graduated this week from Wesley Theological Seminary in Northwest Washington after years of divinity classes. But she has no intention of becoming a[n ordained] minister.
Instead, Allen plans to keep practicing as a pediatrician in the Winchester area. Her seminary training, she said, will help her be a better doctor. Allen is one of an increasing number of divinity students who don’t plan to become pastors. Instead, they envision using their degrees to “minister” in any number of professions, from filmmaking to medicine to nonprofit management.
“I see what I’m doing as a form of ministry,” said Allen, 36. “Particularly with parents whose children are dying. I approach the situations more with my spiritual eyes open. This isn’t just a medical event taking place.”
How does education in your church enhance the ministry of all in the world?
Cowley Magazine offers in interview with the Rev. Dr. Carl P. Daw, Jr. focussing on how he translates and paraphrases psalms for hymn texts:
Why do we need new paraphrases of the psalms today?
A great danger with psalm translations – as with anything that we sing or do in church – is the possibility of making one text into an idol, such that it seems it cannot be changed. It has been said about church architecture that anything in the worship space that cannot be changed becomes an idol. This is true also of what we sing in worship. So it’s valuable to have different psalm paraphrases, as well as different tunes to pair with psalm and hymn texts, because these different versions will enable us to notice new things that we might not have seen in the familiar version.
How does chanting the psalms, like we do at the Monastery, add to the experience of the texts?
Chanting the psalms emphasizes the timelessness of them, especially in the space of the Monastery Chapel. There is a kind of sonic memory that is evoked by hearing those sounds in that space, which, to me, communicates a sense of transcendence that doesn’t come by singing ordinary ditties from our culture or reading the texts on their own. Chanting the psalms here opens a door to a memory we didn’t know we had. Among other things, chanting the psalms seems larger than any one person or any one community or any one time, and so it invites us to be part of that timelessness.
And the prayer book translation of the psalms chanted at SSJE is a fine vehicle for this timelessness, because it was created specifically for singing. You can see the difference if you compare it with the RSV or NRSV or NIV or any other recent translation.
In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the graduating class of Kenyon College. The resulting speech didn't become widely known until 3 years later, after his death.
The talk has gone viral and we thought it would be an appropriate reflection during this graduation season and the 49th Day of Easter.
Here is the full text:
Again, please don't think that I'm giving you moral advice, or that I'm saying you're "supposed to" think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it, because it's hard, it takes will and mental effort, and if you're like me, some days you won't be able to do it, or you just flat-out won't want to. But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line - maybe she's not usually like this; maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who's dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Dept who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible - it just depends on what you want to consider. If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important - if you want to operate on your default setting - then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren't pointless and annoying. But if you've really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars - compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff's necessarily true: the only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan elected the Rev. Whayne Houghland, Jr. to be the ninth bishop of the diocese on the eighth ballot.
Electronic voting was used in this election. The eight ballots were cast in less than an hour and half.
The Candidates were:The Rev. Jennifer Adams, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Holland, Michigan The Rev. Whayne Hougland, Jr., Rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Salisbury, North Carolina The Rev. Canon Angela Shepherd, Canon for Mission, Diocese of Maryland The Rev. Canon William Spaid, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Western Michigan
PDF of candidate booklet is here.
A new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life examines where immigrants to the United States come from and their religious affiliation.
Over the past 20 years, the United States has granted permanent residency status to an average of about 1 million immigrants each year. These new “green card” recipients qualify for residency in a wide variety of ways – as family members of current U.S. residents, recipients of employment visas, refugees and asylum seekers, or winners of a visa lottery – and they include people from nearly every country in the world. But their geographic origins gradually have been shifting. U.S. government statistics show that a smaller percentage come from Europe and the Americas than did so 20 years ago, and a growing share now come from Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East-North Africa region.
With this geographic shift, it is likely that the religious makeup of legal immigrants also has been changing. The U.S. government, however, does not keep track of the religion of new permanent residents. As a result, the figures on religious affiliation in this report are estimates produced by combining government statistics on the birthplaces of new green card recipients over the period between 1992 and 2012 with the best available U.S. survey data on the religious self-identification of new immigrants from each major country of origin.
While Christians continue to make up a majority of legal immigrants to the U.S., the estimated share of new legal permanent residents who are Christian declined from 68% in 1992 to 61% in 2012. Over the same period, the estimated share of green card recipients who belong to religious minorities rose from approximately one-in-five (19%) to one-in-four (25%). This includes growing shares of Muslims (5% in 1992, 10% in 2012) and Hindus (3% in 1992, 7% in 2012). The share of Buddhists, however, is slightly smaller (7% in 1992, 6% in 2012), while the portion of legal immigrants who are religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular) has remained relatively stable, at about 14% per year.
Unauthorized immigrants, by contrast, come primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean, and the overwhelming majority of them – an estimated 83% – are Christian. That share is slightly higher than the percentage of Christians in the U.S. population as a whole (estimated at just under 80% of U.S. residents of all ages, as of 2010).2
The complete study is here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury says the Holy Spirit “gives us a love for the world around us, and the capacity to both speak and act in a way that is revolutionary," in a short film produced by Lambeth Palace and released two days before Pentecost.
Archbishop Justin adds that the Holy Spirit “draws Christians from very different background and tradition together, in a body that loves one another”.
Alongside the Archbishop, the film features Joel Edwards, international director of Micah Challenge, the Revd Jan McFarlane, Archdeacon of Norwich, and Holy Trinity Brompton’s Hayley Bisosfky, who works with women who have been victims of sex trafficking.
The Rev. Dr. Jeff Golliher, offers a way to engage with local stakeholders about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," through respectful dialogue. He brings a Christian faith-based perspective to a technical and scientific conversation.
Golliher is a priest in the Diocese of New York, Program Director for the Environment and Sustainable Communities, Anglican United Nations Office, New York, NY and an adviser to the Anglican Communion Environmental Network.
His letter to Anlgicans confronting fracking in their communities may be found here.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I’m writing with love for God, great concern about our environment, and about an increasingly troubling subject - a method of drilling for natural gas called hydraulic fracturing, or more simply “fracking.” This has been a contentious practice in many parts of the Anglican Communion (especially the United States, Canada, South Africa, and parts of Europe) for several years, and the concern is spreading more widely, which is one of the reasons that I’m bringing it to your attention now.
Fracking involves deep vertical and then horizontal drilling in order to extract natural gas. Drilling can extend for distances measured not in feet/meters, but miles/kilometers. It requires millions of gallons/liters of water per well, mixed with chemicals that are known to be toxic, despite the fact that they might not be revealed. For the most part, the controversy involves the consequences of this drilling method: the risk of contaminating drinking water and the impact on climate change (fracking wells can release methane, a greenhouse gas much worse than carbon dioxide). Issues of local rights and community decision-making also come into play - in the United States, the fracking industry was given an unwarranted exemption from environmental standards set years ago by the Clean and Clean Water Acts. In addition, how this issue is portrayed and explained can vary a great deal from one country to the next, which can complicate understanding. Obviously the fracking industry has their own agenda and they use the media, some elements of government, and, in some cases, universities to get their message out. In the United States, a number of university programs were closed, once it was realized that their studies of fracking were secretly supported by the industry. My point is that it’s not very easy to know what anyone is actually talking about or how reliable the information is.
I also need to explain the capacity in which I am writing. In addition to working with the Anglican Communion Environmental network (ACEN) I’m the Program Director for the Environment and Sustainable Communities at the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations. Our mandate is to educate and organize around issues primarily on the basis of Resolutions passed by the Anglican Consultative Council, but also in connection with official statements made by individual Provinces, ACC Networks, and/or other Anglican organizations. Given that fracking is a relatively specialized form of technology, there are no existing ACC Resolutions that specifically mention it, nor are there likely to be in the future. In this instance, I’m responding to several members of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network who have raised questions and concerns about fracking and asked me to share my views.
I’m also a parish priest in the Episcopal Church USA, in the Diocese of New York. In that capacity, I’ve been deeply involved with local and regional anti-fracking campaigns, and I’ve worked diligently to ensure a ban on fracking in my hometown. Without hiding or playing down my point of view, my purpose is to encourage you to discover for yourselves what the facts are (which may not be easy) wherever you live. In fact, that’s exactly what I encouraged local town officials to do where I live. The majority of those elected officials had been inclined to favor fracking - until they investigated the matter on their own.
In most areas, fracking represents a “boom or bust” economic expansion – quick profits for a few, with little concern for the long-term impact. Communities often jump at the promise of large financial returns without examining the environmental and social costs. In places where public debate has actually taken place, the controversy has generally turned on this essential question: Is fracking safe? Pro-fracking advocates (including the industry) argue, as you can imagine, that the drilling technology is safe for groundwater and public health, and that it poses no threat whatsoever. Their point of view suggests an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality – whatever happens deep underground could not possibly affect life on the surface. Independent studies have shown otherwise. In fact, some scientific studies in North America link earthquake activity to the impact of fracking. For all these reasons, concerned citizens in over 130 local municipalities of my home State (New York) have either banned or declared moratoria on fracking (temporarily halting the practice until further study is done) through democratic processes. In other words, local communities have taken action by educating themselves, organizing themselves politically, and sometimes challenging the industry in courts of law.
Pro-fracking constituencies also say that because the burning of natural gas (and gas drilling) is relatively clean (it emits much less carbon dioxide than coal or oil), it offers an important transitional step toward renewable energy. This can be a persuasive argument, and there is some truth to it. For example, let’s imagine the thoughts of someone living in a region of the world, like the Pacific Islands, who feels the impact of sea level rise as a result of fossil fuel use in North America. That person would reasonably wonder why anyone in the United States would want to ban a new, apparently “cleaner” technology – especially since people in the Pacific are not so dependent on fossil fuels, but are suffering the consequences of them anyway. The answer has several parts: First, the issue is not the fuel (natural gas, which is much cleaner than petroleum), but the consequences of a specific method for extracting it. Second, governments and energy industries should be pursuing genuinely renewable energy, rather than taking half-way measures. Third, the technology of fracking could do much more harm (to drinking water) than good, and it could make climate change worse (as a result of methane emissions). Fourth, do we really want to put ourselves in a position of trading one kind of hazard/risk for another – telling ourselves that we’re willing to risk public health and possible groundwater contamination for the sake of a halfway measure that “might” alleviate only a portion of climate change? That’s just one example of the difficulty in discerning the difference between fact and fiction in this issue.
With regard to the question, “Is fracking safe?” or “Can it possibly be safe?” with better technology and regulations, the answer is very controversial. Many anti-fracking activists would say no – that it will never be safe. I’m reluctant to say “never.” If scientific studies, someday, find that new drilling methods of this kind are safe, then I would want real proof. But if that proof exists, then I would probably favor it, for the sake of climate change, water, and public health – that is to say, for the sake of the future and God’s green earth....
...If fracking is practised where you live, my suggestion is to familiarize yourself with the materials provided here, contact local groups that have probably formed, and discuss the issue with your bishop. And you can always contact me at the Anglican UN Office with any questions or concerns that you might have.
The Rev. Canon Jeff Golliher, PhD.
Program Director for the Environment and Sustainable Communities, Anglican United Nations Office, New York, NY.
Today we remember Thurgood Marshall, Lawyer and Jurist who died in 1993 who, along with other Episcopalians, Jonathan Daniels and the Rev. Pauli Murray, blazed a trail of freedom witnessing to Christ along the way.
From an essay by Byron Rushing on the House of Deputies web site:
Today, May 17, in the Calendar of the Episcopal Church, we commemorate Thurgood Marshall, who served as a deputy to the 61st General Convention in 1964. Born in Baltimore in 1908, Marshall had an exceptional career as a civil rights attorney and was appointed Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1967. He retired from the Court in 1991 and died January 24, 1993. The church chose May 17 as his day to also commemorate the unanimous ruling of the U. S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, released on that date in 1954.
Beyond ruling that racially separate public schools were inherently unequal, the Court not only overruled the legal concept of separate but equal, but its action was also a spark for the modern civil rights movement. Over the next 14 years African Americans and their allies would struggle to end all aspects of legal segregation.
By 1965, the central strategy for the civil rights movement was to restore to all black citizens the right to vote. This right, guaranteed specifically to them in the Fifteenth Amendment, had been denied to virtually all black Americans in the South since the end of Reconstruction.
Early that year the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) invited Martin Luther King to Selma, Alabama, to join and invigorate their voting rights work there. The Selma to Montgomery marches began on March 7 with a violent attack on the marchers by Alabama state troopers seen on television news by Americans throughout the country, including President Lyndon Johnson. Johnson filed the Voting Rights Act ten days later. Meanwhile, King and SNCC called on Americans to join and complete the march from Selma to Montgomery on March 25th. Among the hundreds of Episcopalians who came responding to a call from the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity (ESCRU) were Judy Upham and Jonathan Daniels, students at what is now Episcopal Divinity School.
Daniels completed the march and returned to work that summer in Alabama. He was arrested in a demonstration and on August 20, 1965, and after being released from jail, was murdered protecting seventeen-year-old, Ruby Sales, from a threatening, armed, deputy sheriff. The Voting Rights Act had passed Congress and was signed by Johnson on August 6....
...Daniels was murdered in Lowndes County, where more than 80 percent of the residents were African Americans. Yet the jury that acquitted Tom Coleman, the man who shot him, was entirely white. State law and local practice made it all but certain that juries in Alabama would be composed entirely of white men, and on the heels of the verdict in Daniels' case, a team of lawyers, including Pauli Murray, who later become the first African American woman ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, prepared to challenge the law.
Murray had already played an important role in the civil rights movement. In 1950, she wrote States' Laws on Race and Color, a critique of existing statutes that Marshall and lawyers for the NAACP drew on in shaping their arguments in Brown v. Board of Education and other important cases. Marshall referred to the book as "the bible" of the civil rights movement.
As a result of the work of Murray and others, a U. S. District Court in Alabama ruled in 1966 in White v. Crook a ruled that jury service was a right guaranteed to all citizens under the 14th amendment.
Update The following was sent via e-mail list to clergy and lay leaders in the Diocese of Massachusetts Canon to the Ordinary Mally Lloyd.
Bishop Tom noticed over the past week that he wasn’t remembering things well, so on Thursday he went to see his primary care doctor and had some tests. Those tests revealed a mass on his brain. He is having surgery this afternoon to remove the mass. After that we will know more about his recovery and any other required follow-up treatment. He is expected to be awake and conversational after surgery and to be headed home to the monastery within two to three days, with an anticipated two-week recovery period at home with his brothers in the community.
Please pray for him.
Canon Mally Lloyd sent the following note to the clergy and lay leaders of the Diocese of Massachusetts at 9:42 pm EDT.
I'm glad to be able to send this update about Bishop Tom (text of my e-mail sent earlier today is copied below). I've just heard from Brother Geoffrey Tristram that Bishop Tom's surgery went well, the doctors are pleased and there were no complications. Bishop Tom is in an ICU room, which is standard for this type of procedure, and is coming out of anesthesia. They expect after a good night's sleep he will be fully awake tomorrow morning. It will be a week or so before we know whether further treatment is necessary.
Brother Geoffrey wanted me to let you know that he and the SSJE community are grateful for all your concern and continued prayers, as are we.
Wishing you a restful night.
As the IRS vs. Tea Party scandal unfolds, we remember that in 2006 All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, California was threatened by the IRS under a previous administration.
Ken Lane at Gawker writes:
Only 25% of the 300 scrutinized groups seeking non-profit status were reportedly affiliated with right-wing causes....
...IRS examinations of politically vocal non-profits is not new—the most recent outrage to make the national news was in 2006, when tax officials threatened and persecuted liberal churches during the presidency of George W. Bush.
The experience of both liberal and conservative churches in 2004 and 2006 show that bureaucrats have difficulty interpreting tax code prohibitions especially when the language is vague on what constitutes political engagement by charitable groups.
The IRS has yet to reveal the non-Tea Party non-profits investigated in 2012, but at least one other politically motivated wave of harassment was revealed in 2006, when tax officials went after a liberal church in Pasadena.
All Saints Episcopal Church was threatened with the loss of the church's tax-exempt status because the congregation allegedly heard political speech from the pulpit. The church's then-rector, the Reverend George F. Regas was accused of being anti-war in his sermons.
These sermons took place during the 2004 presidential campaign between George W. Bush and John Kerry. During the Bush Administration and many presidencies before it, actively agitating against one of Washington's wars will get the IRS sniffing into your business—even when your stated business is not for profit.
The witch hunt of liberal churches happened under the leadership of IRS commissioner Mark Whitty Everson, a Republican appointed by George W. Bush in 2003. Another Bush appointee, Douglas Schulman, headed the IRS during the scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking non-profit status in 2012. Schulman's term ended on November 11, after the 2012 election.
So, in the midst of the current crisis, the question is "Where was the outrage then?"
During the 2006 scrutiny of liberal churches, it was a Democrat congressman who demanded investigations into the IRS practice of targeting non-profits with Democratic leanings:
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who unsuccessfully tried to launch a Government Accountability Office investigation into the IRS' probes of churches nationwide last year, called the summons "a very disturbing escalation" of the agency's scrutiny of All Saints."I don't want religious organizations to become arms of campaigns," he said. "But they should be able to talk about issues of war and peace without fear of losing tax-exempt status. If they can't, they'll have little to say from the pulpit."
The College of Bishops the Scottish Episcopal Church is working to establish a process by which the whole church will be able to engage in discussion about same-sex unions in that church.
The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow writes in his blog, What's in Kelvin's Head?:
The Very Rev. John Hall, dean of London's Westminster Abbey, is visiting the U.S. on what he calls a "friend-raising" tour to garner donations for the upkeep of the historic church. Hall, who officiated at the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton two years ago, talked with the Huffington Post about the spiritual significance of the abbey, one of Britain's premier tourist attractions. He also talked about the Episcopal Church and its role within the Anglican Communion:
The Rev. Catherine Caimano asserts that when church members consider themselves "family," they can make it very difficult for newcomers to feel at home. From Duke Divinity's Faith and Leadership:
From Religion News Service:
WASHINGTON -- Twenty-five top Christian leaders gathered in the U.S. city with perhaps the worst reputation for civil discourse Wednesday (May 15) and committed themselves to elevating the level of public conversation.
As furor mounts about IRS scrutiny of conservative non-profit groups, evangelist Franklin Graham is raising hellfire over tax audits of two organizations he leads: the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the relief group Samaritan’s Purse. He wrote a letter this week to President Obama asserting that "someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us."
Francesca Gino and Michael I. Norton suggest that there are real benefits to rituals, religious or otherwise, in Scientific American:
In Forward Movement's "50 Days of Fabulous" , a celebration of the Easter Season, Susan McDonald reflects on understanding the Eucharist:
Candida Moss' new book "The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom" addresses the exaggeration of claims of martyrdom in the early church, and the effect it has in modern circles concerning the way Christianity is taught and perceived.
The Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) is asking for help.
TREC has created a website to invite feedback about the structures, governance, and administration of the Church.
It is using Twitter and Facebook as well. Yesterday they posted on the two social media sites:
Birthrates in most countries around the world are falling according to the Washington Post. The reason seems to be access to television and other media:
The Washington (DC) National Cathedral won first place in preservation grant voting giving it $100,000 towards restoration after the earthquake. Episcopalians and others around the country voted each day to make the Cathedral the top vote getter. Using Twitter and Facebook and their web site the Cathedral reminded voters to click through each day and add to the vote total. From the Washington Post:
The Minnesota Senate passed a marriage equality bill Monday and the governor is expected to sign it today according to the New York Times:
On the one hand, one begins to wonder if the many factors that contribute to church growth can be captured in list form. On the other hand, folks seem to enjoy reading and discussing them, so one assumes they make some sort of contribution. Having engaged in sufficient equivocation, we present a new list, this one from Ron Edmondson on the seven paradigms necessary for church growth.
Charles A. Blanchard, General Counsel, United States Air Force asks for your recommendations on reducing sexual assault in the military. Blanchard, writing at Air Force General Counsel Blog:
Mike Romkey, associate managing editor of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, and member of Trinity Anglican Church, Rock Island, IL, spent a day in the recent two-week trial between the Anglican Diocese of Quincy (ACNA) and The Episcopal Church. His notes have appeared in Quad Cities Online. A taste:
Shane Raynor offers a podcast commentary on the question of whether the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church is making a mistake in discouraging people over the age of 45 from seeking ordination. He asks, provocatively, whether the church shouldn't be discouraging everyone who seeks ordination.
At the Episcopal Church Building Fund's annual symposium, Bishop Greg Rickel of the Diocese of Olympia discussed some of the church's problems. This excerpt begins with family systems theory and ends with the bishop rewriting Doctor Seuss' Oh the Place You'll Go.
Happy Mother's Day -one last word:
A Methodist woman credits her Christianity with her decision to seek a burial place for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the man who allegedly killed and wounded many with bombs during the Boston Marathon. From AP:
Diana Butler Bass reminds us of the history of Mother's Day - before it became the high holy day of Hallmark™. From Huffington Post:
The Rev. Malcolm Boyd is featured in the Christian Science Monitor as the priest who brought Christianity into the streets to promote civil rights:
The ancient Celts described Iona as a “thin place,” where the veil between heaven and earth is lifted, and where one might glimpse the divine.
The Rev Heidi Haverkamp wonders in essay on the Collegeville Institute website, if perhaps congregations should not try so hard to keep their young people:
Christopher Craig Brittain is Senior Lecturer in Practical Theology in the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He has looked at both church attendance and what we make of it.
For a long time, liberal mainline denominations have been in decline and conservative churches were said to be growing. A year ago, Ross Douthat stirred up a tempest when he wondered if the mainline churches could survive. Conservative churches have been declaring victory since at least 1972, when in fact their decline is now just as steep as the mainlines.
While sitting through endless commencement exercises, both as a faculty member and as a dad, David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, has had a lot of time to think about how graduation ceremonies show how faith is expressed in the public square.
He see three basic approaches: no faith, single-faith and multi-faith. Besides the volume of religious content (or lack thereof), he notes an interesting difference in the ethical content of the ceremonies.
Andrew Brown looks at the recent report on attendance in the Church of England and wonders "whether things are going to change, or whether the church will pootle along, like an exhausted cyclist, until it finally wobbles over and collapses."
Lunch with the FT is a regular feature of The Financial Times. Today's lunch mate is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby:
A wide majority of Americans support the Boy Scouts of America’s proposal to admit gay scouts for the first time, and most oppose the organization’s plans to continue to bar gay adults from serving as scout leaders, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Updated The former archbishop of York, the Most Rev. David Hope, was accused Friday of covering up child abuse by a Church of England clergyman who has since died.
Just two months into the job, the first female dean of Llandaff Cathedral in Wales has resigned. Apparently she encountered a certain amount of resistance to the idea of a woman in this position. From WalesOnline:
Despite protests from Catholic bishops, an American-based group, Catholics for Choice (CFC), is refusing to back down on running advertisements in Kenya supporting condom use to battle the spread of HIV/AIDS.
From Anglican Communion News Service:
The president of South Sudan has appointed the archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan to chair the national reconciliation committee “trying to heal the mental wounds”’ in the world’s newest nation after 40 years of war.
Mark Sanford's election victory in South Carolina may bode well for former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who also left office amid scandal and is pondering a return to politics. Robert Jones writes at the Washington Post:
At The Christian Century, Mary Louise Bringle writes about the enduring role of hymnals in the digital age: