Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I having trouble with the Emergent Church. It’s not the new things that are emerging, nor the innovations emergent people are making. It’s the word – emergent.
I’ve been so conditioned by gender neutrality that I can’t accept the suffix ‘gent.’ That’s a masculine term and I’m really surprised that the enlightened emergents and emerlassies are sticking with it.
So, I started to change the word. I began with emerhuman and then realized that I had the same problem – human ends with man. Well duh! Back to the drawing board.
So I tried the neutral emerperson and then it hit me – person ends with son…another masculine term!
Then I tried to settle on emerbeing, which kind of has a ring to it, but then I thought about all those who are into good works, wouldn’t they want to be called emerdoings?
That didn’t help either….I started to pronounce it as emer doing …like Gerald McBoing Boing.
So I’m left wondering should it be emerist instead of emergent, or would that cause a new schism called emerism? And what about the ‘me’ in the middle of the word? Isn’t that being selfish? Surely it should be ‘we’…which would end up looking like ewerist, but that sounds like someone who is into Greek vases, or worse still, it’s a female sheep.
So, I’m having trouble with the Emergent church. Apart from laying off the Eucharistic Koolaid, does anyone have any suggestions?
Stushie writes the daily devotional Heaven's Highway, the Sunday worship prayer site Aaron's Beard , and the weekly international religous news blog Stushie's Stuff He's also started blogachuting on Fridays on the HH site - you should try it too.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Basically, Bible in 90 Days is a curriculum published by Zondervan that uses a specially published NIV Thinline, a Participant's Guide and some seriously good videos to get groups of people to read the Bible, cover-to-cover, in 90 days -- well, 88 actually.
Sound nuts? It works.
My church offered it starting in January. We had almost our entire average worship attendance sign up. We estimate the completion rate at around 80%. I kid you not.
So, what happened here. First of all, the curriculum works. Ninety days is long enough to get it done (12 pages a day in the specially published Zondervan Thinline), but it is still short enough not to lose enthusiasm. Second, the group format provides just enough support. Third, the videos are seriously good. There are actually two sets of videos. We did not use the set done by Biblical scholars. We used the set that is less intellectual. I thought that was a huge mistake. Let me state it here publicly, I was wrong. I'm sorry, you couldn't hear me? I WAS WRONG. The videos were wonderful, and I believe were largely responsible for the success rate.
Other factors involved were that the sermons for the entire 13 weeks of readings came from the week's readings. Second, the brand new Senior Pastor was behind it. Third, we offered virtually nothing else in the way of Adult Ed on Wednesday nights. Fourth, we put some effort into getting groups set up at different times. We had groups meeting Sunday mornings, Sunday evening, Monday morning, Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening and Friday morning.
Is this a Bible study? No. It is just getting through it. So, what's the point? First of all, everyone winds up with at least a passing familiarity with all the major themes and players. Second, the Old Testament ceases to be impenetrably scary when you've actually read it. Finally, it has produced an excitement and a hunger that is really refreshing.
There are two web pages with more information -- www.Biblein90days.com and www.Biblein90days.org -- one is the official Zondervan site, and the other is a site run by the man who started this whole thing -- at a PCUSA church no less. The two sites work well together. They do have different things, and it is worth checking out both of them.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Lord God, we come before you this morning with motives mixed, or perhaps with no known motive at all. Yet here in this place - whose very walls are filled with memories - you are with us here and now. We thank you that it is not necessary for us to wait for your presence until we deserve it or until we have banished all other thoughts and considerations from our minds.
Lord, help us to know and understand why we are here. Why our lives really matter? You have placed us on this earth to tend and keep it, we are called to actively participate with you in taking care of the world that we find ourselves in. This world is filled with such beauty and such order and such good, and yet at the same time filled with such heartache and such pain? Give us your grace that we may join together to work for the kingdom that you promise on earth. Let us never rest at peace until hunger, oppression, discrimination, pollution, and war have been banished from our planet. And bless the efforts of those who are working to eradicate these ancient afflict. Unite all persons of goodwill, who perceive your grace in many various ways, as we work together for your world.
We pray for your church-for this congregation that we love, for the denomination of which we are a proud part, and for all who bear your name regardless of what other name they bear. We pray for ourselves: for those of us who are sick and who need your gift of healing, for those who are in despair and who need your gift of comfort; for those who are nearing the end of their life and who need your gift of faith.
Help us here and now, to understand the decisions we make and the life we lead has greater meaning beyond today. To understand why everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do matters. Desperately wanting to understand what significance this minute, this hour, this week, this month, this year has to our lives and to our world. Help us to not just sit back and wait for something to happen or someday to come. Teach us to live lives not for some unknown future but for today. That we may firmly believe and act out our faith, that your will is being done in us and through us. The choices we make now will shape our world and lives for eternity. Because of you, our lives have meaning today and our lives today have meaning forever.
We literally are partners with you, O God, in making this world the kind of place that you originally intended it to be. We are people committed to partnering with you to make this world, the world that we live in, the kind of place that you originally intended it to be. May we be the kind of people who, when we live this way, the very trees of Paradise will be planted. We trust that you will provide that tree whose leaves are the healing for all nations.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Feel free to copy and use the design for your own meditations. The school colors are represented in the candle and flame.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Dear Friends in Youth Ministry,
The Office of Youth Ministry has created some resources to use with your young people in response to the shootings at Virginia Tech. You can find them at http://www.pcusa.org/youthministry/
1. 60-70 minute lesson plan for a youth group or youth gathering "Through a Mirror
Dimly". PDF icon
2. d365.org Online Devotions for youth and youth leaders. Special writings on April 17, 18 and 19 responding to the shootings at VA Tech.
3. Liturgy of Discernment and Prayer For a Youth Group PDF icon Contemplative movement for youth groups using scripture and prayer to explore the acts of violence happening in our world (and this past week).
For any questions please contact The Office of Youth Ministry through http://www.pcusa.org/youthministry/.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Jim and Kaye Johns
you're close to people whose hearts are breaking,
those who are discouraged and have given up hope.
May You who see their troubles and
grief respond when they cry out.
When they're hurting,
help them find their joy in You,
for ...Your joy will be their strength.
Help them to trust You as their God of hope.
Fill them with Your joy, peace, and hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- from Prayers for the Moment
Monday, April 16, 2007
Police say the campus is now secure and that the gunman is dead. No motive was given for the shootings. It was not known if the gunman was a student.
Three members of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team (NRT) are on their way to the campus to be a presence and resource to the community. Over the years, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been very engaged in helping communities and student survivors that have been affected by school shootings.
NRT members have been in contact with Catherine Snyder, Presbyterian campus minister, George Goodman, of the Presbytery of the Peaks, and with Alexander Evans, Pastor of Blacksburg Presbyterian Church. Evans is also a chaplain with the fire department.
A convocation service will be held on the campus Tuesday to help the community cope with the tragedy. Counselors are available to students and staff in the West Ambler Johnston residence hall where some of the shootings occurred and in another school building.
Please keep the loved ones of those killed and injured, the school administrators and teachers, the residents of the reservation, and the care givers in your thoughts and prayers.
How, as Christians and church leaders, do we respond to the events that took place at Virginia Tech?
For men with guns have staged a play
Where kids with hopes and lifetime dreams
Have been mown down with bullet streams.
The world's a sadder place today
With broken hearts in disarray
And mournful parents full of tears
With nothing left but painful years.
The world's a broken place today
For who won't turn to God and say,
"Why did You let this happen here?
Why is our world so full of fear?"
The world's a silent place today
And heaven knows not what to say,
For even God is hurt inside
And grieves the loss of those who died.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
help me to love the hills of home, for they tell of thy majesty;
help me to love the seas I know, for they speak of thy energy;
help me to know that behind hills and seas, thou art,
forever and ever. Amen.
- Prayers From an Island by Richard Wong
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
Instead, when reading my morning news, I ran across an article on cnn.com, Commentary: What would Jesus really do?
Mind you, this isn't buried on some religion page that you have to follow a multitude of different links to find and God will have to help you if you don't already know it is there. No, this is a front page headline in the Latest News paragraph at the top of the main page. The headline differs from the title. The headline reads, "Martin: Christians must take back the faith". I saw that headline and thought, "Oh boy, another tirade about Easter bunnies." I was wrong.
This commentary was written by CNN contributor Roland Martin and is connected to the CNN Special Report entitled, "What Would Jesus Really Do?" and airing tonight at 8 p.m. E.T.
This commentary has nothing that screams "in-depth" about it. It is filled with soundbites. It is clearly intended to direct attention to the Special Report airing tonight, and it says some things that are astonishing to read on the front page of CNN.com.
I have been typing and then deleting quotes from the commentary. Don't read a few quotes, read the Commentary. It is a great thing to read on Good Friday. It only takes a minute.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Worship Bulletin cover for Maundy Thursday Tenebrae service
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
by so great a cloud of witnesses,
Help us to lay aside every weight
and the sin that clings so closely,
and let us run with perseverance
the race that is set before us,
Rembering the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the pioneer,
perfecter of our faith,
who for the sake of the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
disregarding its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Help us to remember the One who
endured such hostility from sinners,
so that we may not grow weary or lose heart.
- Based on Hebrews 12:1-3