Our Spiritual DNA – Final report to CANAAC and the WCRC

anne weirich

March-April meeting – 2014 – Ocho Rios, Jamaica Submitted by Sara Harrington (Canada) Kelvin Marte Sena (Dominican Republic) Lisa Vander Wal (US) Donette Ritchie (Guyana) and Anne Weirich (US)

How to do justice – unity in and THROUGH the bond of peace – was the general theme of the CANAAC meeting and the opening Bible . . . → Read More: Our Spiritual DNA – Final report to CANAAC and the WCRC

Disconnects and the Accra Confession – by Allan Buckingham

Allan Buckingham

Allan Buckingham lives in Banff, Alberta. He is lay member of the United Church of Canada and the Chair of the Strong Public Witness Division of Foothills Presbytery. Allan is also currently one of 3 North American representatives to the Executive Committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. When not attending church meetings . . . → Read More: Disconnects and the Accra Confession – by Allan Buckingham

Confessing and embodying compassionate justice – by Nico Koopman

Nico jaarverslag 2013

The logic of the Confession of Belhar and of the Accra Confession entail that justice discourses take place in interwovenness with reconciliation and unity discourses.

1.The justice that is confessed in The Confession of Belhar 1986, and in the Accra Confession is rightly described as compassionate justice. In line with the biblical use of these . . . → Read More: Confessing and embodying compassionate justice – by Nico Koopman

The Accra Confession and Ecumenism Today – by Neal D. Presa

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He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” -Matthew 16:15 (NRSV)

This is the 11th week after Pentecost in the liturgical calendar. The Gospel reading is Matthew 16:13-20, the famed confession of Peter when the Lord inquired, “But who do you say that I am?” This dialogue occurred in the district . . . → Read More: The Accra Confession and Ecumenism Today – by Neal D. Presa

Latin American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches Meet to Celebrate and Contextualize the Accra Confession – by The Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

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This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Accra Confession. Representatives of the member churches of the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Latin American, AIPRAL by the Spanish language acronym, met in Barranquilla, Colombia, June 2 – 6, 2014.

The Accra Confession of 2004 was drafted and adopted by delegates of the former . . . → Read More: Latin American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches Meet to Celebrate and Contextualize the Accra Confession – by The Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

The Accra Confession: a North American Newcomer’s Perspective – by Lisa L. Vander Wal

Lisa VanderWal

 

“My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? … What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? … If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of . . . → Read More: The Accra Confession: a North American Newcomer’s Perspective – by Lisa L. Vander Wal

GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: Heath Rada and Larissa Kwong Abazia

Heath and Larissa

NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR:

It’s Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly week on ecclesio.com. All three of the candidates standing for Moderator of the General Assembly, meeting in Detroit, Michigan, June 14-21, 2014, have written responses to questions from the Office of the General Assembly, to introduce themselves to the Commissioners and Advisory Delegates. One of . . . → Read More: GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: Heath Rada and Larissa Kwong Abazia

GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: Kelly Allen and Leslie Murphy King

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NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR:

It’s Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly week on ecclesio.com. All three of the candidates standing for Moderator of the General Assembly, meeting in Detroit, Michigan, June 14-21, 2014, have written responses to questions from the Office of the General Assembly, to introduce themselves to the Commissioners and Advisory Delegates. One . . . → Read More: GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: Kelly Allen and Leslie Murphy King

GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: John Wilkinson and MaryAnn McKibben Dana

John and MaryAnn

NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR:

It’s Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly week on ecclesio.com. All three of the candidates standing for Moderator of the General Assembly, meeting in Detroit, Michigan, June 14-21, 2014, have written responses to questions from the Office of the General Assembly, to introduce themselves to the Commissioners and Advisory Delegates. One of . . . → Read More: GA Moderator and Vice Moderator Candidates: John Wilkinson and MaryAnn McKibben Dana

The Church in South Africa: A Reflection on the Future – S.T. Kgatla

Thias Kgatla

Reflection on the future role of the church in South Africa is not possible without looking critically at past trends. The past history of the church in South Africa has been characterised by dependency on state resources after the annexation of Christian Education in the 1950s and replacing it with inferior Bantu Education. The political . . . → Read More: The Church in South Africa: A Reflection on the Future – S.T. Kgatla

The church and politics in South Africa after twenty years of democracy – Nico Koopman

Nico jaarverslag 2013

South Africans went to vote on the 7th of May 2014. The elections provide opportunity to reflect upon the role of Christians and churches in politics in South Africa, twenty years after the birth of democracy on the 27th of April 1994.

Involvement in the life of the city, the polis, of politics, is a . . . → Read More: The church and politics in South Africa after twenty years of democracy – Nico Koopman

Lessons from the past 2: Courage – Dawid Kuyler

Dawid Kuyler

Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courage)

The Bible teaches us much . . . → Read More: Lessons from the past 2: Courage – Dawid Kuyler

The church in South Africa Past, Present and Future: Lessons from the past, Compromises – Dawid Kuyler

Dawid Kuyler

It is sometimes very easy for us to be hard on our ancestors and the decisions that they made. With hindsight it is easy to criticize them. As we grow older we realize that when we were young it was easy to criticize our parents, but now when we are parents and grandparents we are . . . → Read More: The church in South Africa Past, Present and Future: Lessons from the past, Compromises – Dawid Kuyler

Three Observations on What Is Coming and Becoming in Theological Education – Jonathan Strandjord

Jonathan Strandjord

Observation #1: Theological Education of Public Leaders is Becoming More Plural in its Forms and at the Same Time More Connected in its Development and Execution

For several decades, Lutheran churches in North America have done nearly all their work in theological education for public ministry using one standard model: an M.Div. structured as two . . . → Read More: Three Observations on What Is Coming and Becoming in Theological Education – Jonathan Strandjord

Preparation for Ministry without A Safety Net – Kathy Wolf Reed

Kathy Wolf Reed

Week after week as I serve Christ’s church, I see theological education from some varied venues. As a pastor I see theological education playing out in Sunday school rooms and Bible studies, members of our church giving up free evenings to study Scripture together and vacation time to attend continuing education events. As a member . . . → Read More: Preparation for Ministry without A Safety Net – Kathy Wolf Reed

Accounting for Hope – Edwin David Aponte

Edwin Aponte

When I told someone that I was asked to reflect on the future of theological education, I was asked, “Is there a future for theological education?” That is a reasonable question given that theological education in the United States is at a crossroads of relevancy and effectiveness to church and society. We are in a . . . → Read More: Accounting for Hope – Edwin David Aponte

Lighter on Our Feet into the Wide Open Arms of God – Wendy Fletcher

Wendy Fletcher

Writing at the end of the 1960′s, Canadian author Pierre Burton observed that theological education, rather than serving as a vanguard which helped the rapidly changing church blaze a path to the future, functioned instead as a rearguard action that lagged behind the church sweeping up the pieces. Too often, in the immediately preceding decades, . . . → Read More: Lighter on Our Feet into the Wide Open Arms of God – Wendy Fletcher

Midwifing What’s Next in Theological Education Together – Lee Hinson-Hasty

Lee Hinson Hasty

Whether you are reading news from the Association of Theological Schools, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, blogs on NEXT Church, seminary mission statements, or reports to the 221st General Assembly on theological education one thing is clear, something new is being born. No one really knows who or what exactly is next, but most who . . . → Read More: Midwifing What’s Next in Theological Education Together – Lee Hinson-Hasty

Evangelicals and Israel: A Slipping Support? – John Hubers

john at american

I teach a course called “Christian Story: II” which is a general education requirement for students at Northwestern. As part of this class, which is essentially an introduction to historical theology, I cover the rise of the American fundamentalist movement particularly in the wake of the fundamentalist/modernist conflict arising out of the Scopes Monkey . . . → Read More: Evangelicals and Israel: A Slipping Support? – John Hubers

Act 3: Christian Zionism Revisited – John Hubers

john at american

(Christian Zionism: Origins and Impact, Part 2)

It is interesting and instructive to note that the most vocal and politically active American Christian supporters of a Jewish state in Palestine in the period around the implementation of the 1947 UN Partition Plan were not Christian Zionists, but liberal Protestant theologians and church leaders who had . . . → Read More: Act 3: Christian Zionism Revisited – John Hubers

Christian Zionism: Origins and Impact, Part 1 – John Hubers

john at american

Note: This article owes a good deal to the research and writing of the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, whose doctoral dissertation was published under the title: Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (London: IVP Academic UK, 2005).​

The development of the Christian Zionist movement can best be understood as a drama unfolding in three acts:

Act . . . → Read More: Christian Zionism: Origins and Impact, Part 1 – John Hubers

“Christian Zionism” and the Myth of Manifest Destiny – John Hubers

john at american

America, in part, owes its national identity to the prevalence of powerful myths that arose out of its early history. Many of these myths are attached to founding “fathers”, others to the occupation of the land by European settlers and their experience of nation building.

Perhaps the most powerful myth is that which developed . . . → Read More: “Christian Zionism” and the Myth of Manifest Destiny – John Hubers

What Is Going On? The Relation between Christ and Culture Now – Mark Rich

Mark

So I’ve made clear many of my thoughts on Reza Aslan’s book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. My primary reason for reviewing that book – as it is for all my ministry – is that, to me, Jesus matters deeply and greatly. He is the good person for whom I would . . . → Read More: What Is Going On? The Relation between Christ and Culture Now – Mark Rich

Debunking the debunker: Reza Aslan’s ‘Zealot ‘ vs. the Real Jesus – Father Robert Barron

Robert Barron

This is a repost, with permission, from http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=2726

When I saw that Reza Aslan’s portrait of “Jesus, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” had risen to number one on the New York Times bestseller list, I must confess, I was both disappointed and puzzled. For the reductionistic and debunking approach that . . . → Read More: Debunking the debunker: Reza Aslan’s ‘Zealot ‘ vs. the Real Jesus – Father Robert Barron

Reza Ipsa Loquitur – Eric Lindner

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My wife and I just saw the movie American Hustle. The film begins thus: “Some of this actually happened.”

Reza Aslan’s hustle is less forthright. He issues no such caveat. He should. Some of what’s in Zealot actually happened, but the key assertions are the bogus yarns of a slick writer.

I have no problem . . . → Read More: Reza Ipsa Loquitur – Eric Lindner

Not a Zealot: Review of Reza Aslan’s Zealot – Mark Rich

Mark

Reza Aslan’s book first came to my attention via The Daily Show, where he was interviewed by John Oliver, who gave the book a high recommendation: “It’s a fantastic read – You’ve got to get it.”[1] Despite Aslan’s claim to intellectual originality this is not at all a new thesis. S.G.F. Brandon argued this thesis . . . → Read More: Not a Zealot: Review of Reza Aslan’s Zealot – Mark Rich

Music for Good Friday – Ben Keseley

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I love this week. Not because it’s the busiest and most intense week for a church musician, but because it is a week that possesses things of great beauty and an incredible story. It provides us an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the richest and most profound liturgies of the church which help us enter . . . → Read More: Music for Good Friday – Ben Keseley

Music for Maundy Thursday – Michael Bauer

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Ubi Caritas

The title “Maundy Thursday” comes from the so-called mandatum: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John 13:34). The service celebrated on this day incorporates one special commemoration that is unique to that liturgy, the foot-washing ceremony. . . . → Read More: Music for Maundy Thursday – Michael Bauer

A Passionate Passiontide: Three Powerful Hymns in Bach’s St. John Passion – Mark Ball

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Bach’s two surviving settings of the passion narrative (1685-1750) are filled with musical-spiritual treasures and both add richly to the Passiontide contemplation of people of faith. Of Bach’s two monumental works, St. John and St. Matthew, I find the St. John to be the most moving and meaningful. Bach employs more human-scale forces in the . . . → Read More: A Passionate Passiontide: Three Powerful Hymns in Bach’s St. John Passion – Mark Ball

Lent, Holy Week, and Musical Meanings – Ben Spalding

Ben headshot 1

The Season of Lent/Holy Week and Easter is my favorite time of the liturgical church year, especially as a church musician! I often begin my planning with dozens of books spread across a large conference table!

I have chosen two specific pieces which are especially meaningful to me during this season.

1) What Wondrous Love . . . → Read More: Lent, Holy Week, and Musical Meanings – Ben Spalding

A Holy Week of Musical Reflections – Elisa Williams Bickers

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The content of the Holy Week narrative is vast, ranging from the dubious celebration of Palm Sunday, to solemn and meditative Maundy Thursday and violent and tumultuous Good Friday, culminating with Easter, in all of its triumph and glory. This story has inspired countless artistic offerings, and we in turn are inspired by such gifts. . . . → Read More: A Holy Week of Musical Reflections – Elisa Williams Bickers

God Is in the Neighborhood – Donna Simon

Donna and Izzy

There’s a neighborhood in Kansas City called Columbus Park. As the name suggests, it was settled by Italian immigrants, around the turn of the twentieth century. Today, the red, white and green striped fire hydrants and a couple of seldom-used bocce ball courts hearken back to a heyday in which all of the doors were . . . → Read More: God Is in the Neighborhood – Donna Simon

You Must Be a Pontiff – Colleen Simon

colleen simon

“You must be a pontiff!” WHAT? What did he say?

For over half an hour I had been listening to this Mexican Catholic Bishop talk and the poor translator trying to keep up with him and share his words with those of us who didn’t know Spanish. After a long day of travelling and adjusting . . . → Read More: You Must Be a Pontiff – Colleen Simon

Congregational Ministry: Moving from Maintenance to Mission – Jennifer Thomas

Pastor Thomas portrait summer 2012

Each congregation is a mission post. Each doorstep and the surrounding area is the mission field. Mission fields are no longer around the world. The people we are called to reach are our neighbors, our co-workers, our children, our family, and our friends. “Love God and your neighbor as yourself,” is not an abstract idea. . . . → Read More: Congregational Ministry: Moving from Maintenance to Mission – Jennifer Thomas

Coadunatio Dei – Michael Peck

Mike Peck

The missional church conversation has been a difficult one to grasp on a congregational level because of our proclivity for functional programs and measurable data. The selling point for any evangelism or stewardship program is that it will increase numbers in the pews and dollars in the offering plate. Ministry conferences held at large churches . . . → Read More: Coadunatio Dei – Michael Peck

Slouching Toward Redundancy…and also Bethlehem – Donna Simon

Donna Simon

In the summer of 2009, eager to take advantage of the $8000 President Obama was offering to first time homebuyers, I started looking at houses in Kansas City. I had been serving a church here—Abiding Peace Lutheran—for nine years, and it looked like I might be staying. So I looked at houses. A lot of . . . → Read More: Slouching Toward Redundancy…and also Bethlehem – Donna Simon