Archives: April 2007
This page lists all reports and commentary from
For items from earlier in
All postings from
Our coverage of the 2006 General
Assembly is indexed on a special page.
For links to earlier archive pages,
Can gun control get a hearing now?
The killings at
Virginia Tech have raised the question of limiting access to firearms with
new urgency – and poignancy.
Christians and gun control: An idea whose time has
Dr. Ben Witherington, professor of New Testament at
conservative Asbury Theological Seminary, takes on the question. He writes:
Where is the moral outrage about the ability of even
mentally whacked out people to buy guns in this country? You heard none of
the potential Presidential candidates saying anything about the need for
tighter gun control laws last week. ... It is interesting to me that even
most American Christians, when they discuss these things, discuss them in
terms of their Constitutional rights to bear firearms. They don’t ask
whether the New Testament might have anything to say about Christian
conduct in this regard. ... [Are there] ethical teachings in the New
Testament that have a bearing as to whether Christians, as private
citizens, should be bearing arms? Well yes, in fact there are texts to
The rest of his blog, and many interesting responses >.
.... and from The Thoughtful Christian ...
The excellent PC(USA) adult study resource series, The
Thoughtful Christian, includes on booklet entitled Gun Control: Is There
a Christian Response? It’s a 1-session study and is
available online >>
Have you seen other good resources for
or can you contribute some thoughts or questions of your own?
Just send a note,
to be shared here.
Presidential candidates Clinton, Edwards and Obama
will join in Pentecost 2007: Taking the Vision to the Streets, June 3-6 in
Jim Wallis writes:
I have some very exciting news to share -
presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama
will be joining us at Pentecost 2007: Taking the Vision to the Streets,
June 3-6 in Washington, D.C.!
Our nationally televised presidential
candidates’ forum will be the first to focus exclusively on faith, values,
and poverty. We'll be asking candidates the important questions - and you
can be there in person.
information, and to register >>
Race, Toxic Waste, and Church
from Eco-Justice Notes, by the Rev. Peter Sawtell,
executive director of Eco-Justice Ministries
In 1987, the Commission for Racial Justice of the United
Church of Christ (UCC) released a report titled Toxic Wastes and Race
in the United States. It was a detailed statistical analysis of census
data, meticulously cross-matched with information on the location of toxic
That report is widely recognized as a foundational
document in the environmental justice movement in the United States, and
in shaping similar efforts around the world. It made the well-documented
assertion that the environmental risk from hazardous waste is more
strongly correlated with race than with economics.
On this 20th anniversary of Toxic Wastes
and Race, an important new report has been issued by the UCC.
Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: 1987-2007 revisits the
statistical analysis with more sophisticated tools, and finds that "by
better matching the locations of people and hazardous sites, racial and
socioeconomic disparities around the nation's hazardous waste facilities
are found to be far greater than what previous studies have shown."
This new report is available for
free download from the United Church of Christ website. I
highly recommend this new report for your reading and study. The 175 page
document is 6.5 Mb, so plan on a lengthy download time.
on the report, from Peter Sawtell >>
Racial Ethnic Ministries Program Area seeks Young Adult
Intern for Racial Justice and Advocacy
Announcement from Office of Racial Justice and Advocacy
The Office of Racial Justice and Advocacy is now recruiting for its next
intern. This program is offered through the National Volunteers Office of
the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The position, detailed
in a separate document, is open to persons between the ages of 20 and
35. The intern program is a one-year term, beginning mid-August or
September. A stipend is provided, but housing is the responsibility of the
intern. Please distribute this information to your networks.
This is an excellent opportunity for a young adult to spend a year
learning about the connectional nature of the Church, issues of racial
justice in the Church, and how to advocate for racial justice within and
outside the Church. The internship provides inspiring exposure to the
expression in and through the Church of God's justice and the power of the
Spirit to use human vessels to effect change.
We are particularly interested in recruiting someone to work on the
Facing Race in Theological Education project for the 2007-2008 internship
Please contact me if you have any questions about the position.
Tiffany B. Gonzales
Young Adult Intern, Racial Justice & Advocacy
100 Witherspoon Street, Rm 3006A
Louisville, KY 40202-1396
1-888-728-7228, ext. 5014
We're back at last ...
We started a week ago to move
this website to a new hosting service, and the past few days have been one
of those ventures in technology for which your WebWeaver was not equipped by
all his studies in theology.
We apologize for our absence, and we thank the many of you
who have sent kind notes of sympathy and encouragement. And we'll do
what we can to catch up on the many items we want to post.
America, in 10 Easy Steps
A recent article in
The Guardian/UK advances a harsh word of warning to the people of the
United States: that this nation (or at least the current administration) is
taking many of the steps toward dictatorship that we have seen before under
such rulers as Hitler and Pinochet.
These "ten easy steps" include invoking e a terrifying
internal and external enemy; creating a "gulag," a prison system outside the
rule of law; developing a "thug caste" of private paramilitary forces, that
we now call security contractors; setting up an internal surveillance
system; harassing citizens’ groups; engaging in arbitrary detention and
release; pressuring key individuals such as academics and civil servants to
go along; controlling the media; equating dissent with treason; and
suspending the rule of law.
Sound familiar? Yet this is a serious
charge, and you may want to
the article and offer your own response.
Just send a
note, to be shared here.
The author, Naomi Wolf, has recently written The End of
America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, which will be published
by Chelsea Green in September. A political activist, she worked with the
Clinton team on his successful 1996 re-election campaign, and for Al Gore’s
2000 election bid. Wolf has written several other books, and is a co-founder
of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership.
Her closing paragraph:
"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive,
and judiciary, in the same hands … is the definition of tyranny," wrote
James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we
can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the
founders asked us to carry.
labor organizer murdered:
FLOC urges: Send e-mail calling for an
In February, Santiago Rafael Cruz joined the Farm Labor
Organizing Committee (FLOC) office in Monterrey México. His job involved
helping H2A "guest workers" going to work in the fields of North Carolina
and other locations. He investigated and helped resolve grievances
concerning abuses in the recruiting systems and employment conditions.
On Monday, April 9, Cruz was found tied up and beaten to
death in the FLOC office. Testimony by witnesses who found the body,
indicate that he was tortured by more than one individual in the early hours
of the morning. There were no signs of robbery.
Since opening the office in Monterrey, there has been
constant harassment. The office has been broken into several times when
files and equipment were destroyed. FLOC staff has been threatened with
deportation by Mexican authorities. Their operations have been attacked in
the local media for "destabilizing" Mexican businesses (labor recruiters).
The United Farm Workers urges our supporters to respond to
FLOC's plea to ensure a prompt and thorough investigation of the murder of
Santiago Rafael Cruz, one of FLOC’s staff members in Monterrey, Mexico.
to send an email to the government of the State of Nuevo Leon >>
[Scroll down past the report of his death to the draft of
"Liberating Love" is national theme for More Light
Sunday, June 3, 2007
from More Light Presbyterians
This is the fourth year of the annual tradition of
celebrating the presence, faith and gifts
that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their parents and
families bring to the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church
How does Love liberate us? What is liberating about God's love for us, and
for all the world? What is liberating about being in love? What is
liberating about our love for each other as part of the Body of Christ and
the realm of God on earth?
What actions are required of us to liberate Love in our lives, churches,
communities, nation and world? How is God calling us in this time and place
to liberate Love? How might God be calling you, and all of us, to set God's
Love free to do its life-giving, life-saving work? These are questions and
meditations we offer for this More Light Sunday.
For more information, worship resources, and to sign up as a participating
It’s time to call on Congress (again!) to cut funding for School of the
A message from Father Roy Bourgeois,
founder of School of the Americas Watch (SOA
Did you know that the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA)
has graduated death squad leaders, human rights abusers and at least 11 high
ranking military officials who went on to become dictators? Even though the
school changed its name in 2001 to "Western Hemisphere Institute for
Security Cooperation" in order to distract critics, known human rights
abusers have again appeared in its enrollment lists.
The people of the Americas demand that the School of the
Americas be shut down without delay. Take action NOW to make the SOA
Please join me in taking the first step to close this
school of death.
Click here to send a message to your Representative in Congress,
urging her or him to support legislation that will cut funding, suspend
operations at the school and investigate its connection to human rights
abuses. Follow-up with a phone call if you can. You can contact the DC
office of your Representative by calling the Capitol Hill Switchboard at
Make a difference by adding your voice to the chorus of
millions of people in the Western Hemisphere who strive for a life free from
Click here to learn more
about the School of the Americas, its graduates and the impact that it
has had on Latin America.
And finally ... some major trivia
At three minutes and four seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of
May this year, the time and date
will be 02:03:04 05/06/07.
This will never happen again.
Bearing the pain together – an act of prayer
Not long after the slaughter at Virginia Tech, John
Shuck wrote this brief reflection. It says a lot about how we might
respond not only to this awful event, but to all the other deeply painful
things that keep happening to us and to the world around us.
As I sit here trying to think of something to say, the old
hymn of my childhood runs through my mind:
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear.
Just because we do not carry
Ev'rything to God in prayer.
How much pain do we bear alone? How much pain do our
children carry? I know college students are adults, but as the father of two
college students, they are, to me, grown children. How much peace do we all
forfeit when we keep our pain inside ourselves?
I usually think of that hymn as a hymn of personal prayer. It is that. Yet,
today, I think of it differently. What needless pain we bear when we go it
alone. What needless pain the gunman must have been bearing. From needless
pain to needless violence – and now to pain again. Let none of us bear this
alone. We are to one another, the response to prayer.
Visit John’s blog to see this with a photo of students joining in a
candlelight vigil in Blacksburg on Monday evening.
Presbyterian News Service reports on reactions from Presbyterian and other
religious leaders, and on Presbyterian pastors and others in Blacksburg who
have been directly affected.
The report >>
[As we post this, the PCUSA website seems to be down, so you may need to try
A call to pray for pastors and all at Virginia Tech University
We have just received this note from a Witherspoon
member in Salem, Virginia:
In response to the
recent horrific shootings, I would like to ask the Witherspoon society to
be in prayer for the community of Virginia Tech University, and in
particular for those who minister to that community:
Catherine Snyder, Presbyterian Campus Minister and the
staff and students at Cooper House, our Presbyterian ministry at Virginia
Alex Evans and Susan Verbrugge, Pastor and Associate
Pastor, Blacksburg (VA) Presbyterian church.
Linda Dickerson, Pastor, Northside Presbyterian Church in
There is so much work for them to do, attending to wounds
that will never heal. May our prayers help support them in this difficult
Salem Presbyterian Church
Faithful America urges action to affirm that health care should be a
RIGHT, not a privilege
reminds us that Cover the Uninsured Week 2007 is next
week (April 23 –29) and faith communities across
the country are getting involved to help get America’s
This year, with reauthorization of the
State Children’s Health
Insurance Program (SCHIP) pending,
Uninsured Week will
focus on covering kids as an important first step toward covering all
Americans. By getting involved in Cover the Uninsured Week, people of
faith can help spread the word that all children deserve access to
affordable health care coverage.
are a few things you can do to get involved >>
Save Darfur Coalition calls for ... divestment!
The Save Darfur
Coalition is urging support for the sates which have already enacted
resolutions to withdraw investments from companies that support the genocide
in Darfur by doing business with the government of Sudan, putting economic
pressure on the Sudanese government to cooperate with international efforts
to end the genocide.
But the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is trying to
stop them, so the Coalition says "Please help secure the rights of states to
fight the genocide in Darfur by urging your Senators to support a new bill
that would stop the NFTC's attacks."
Norman Finkelstein under attack by pro-Israel campaigners
as he is considered for tenure at DePaul University
Over the years, Norman Finkelstein has spoken out as a Jew,
criticizing the State of Israel for its suppression of Palestinian freedom
and dignity. He testified at the 2006 General Assembly as the issue of
divestment and criticism of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian
territories were hotly debated.
A friend writes that "Norman Finkelstein has long been the
target of a sustained campaign from the Israel Lobby to discredit him as a
person and a scholar, thereby undermining his critiques of the State of
Israel and the occupation. The latest effort includes trying to prevent him
from getting tenure at DePaul University, a Roman Catholic institution where
he has taught for the past six years. He is down to the last phase of this
process, having been approved by the faculty committee; the dean will be
making a decision by May." Read the
Chronicle of Higher Education account of this struggle >>
You’ll find much more information on Finkelstein’s own
website, and also in a lengthy
written by the Middle Eastern Studies Association
to the President of DePaul University in his
defense – and in defense of academic freedom.
IMF faces confidence crisis
While leaders of the World Bank debate what to do with
Paul Wolfowitz, their embattled president, the IMF and World Bank are facing
a deeper challenge , which the think-tank
Foreign Policy in Focus calls a "confidence crisis." The essay
governments, represented at the meeting by Finance Ministers and Central
Bank Governors) that the institution should continue to exist.
As International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank officials engage in
their joint semi-annual meetings in Washington, the Fund has a nettlesome
new task: convincing its shareholders (most of the world
After some 30 years of making "bail-out"
to indebted and impoverished countries in return for their adherence to a
long list of neo-liberal economic reforms–trade
and investment deregulation, privatization, tightening access to credit,
and rapid budget cuts and public-sector layoffs, to name a few–the
IMF has been confronting a crisis of confidence for the past two years.
Demand for its services has been shrinking. Its reputation has never
recovered from its disastrous interventions in the East Asian and
Argentinean financial crises (1997-1998 and 2001-2002 respectively).
The full essay >>
-- from San Jose, CA
Witherspoon board begins to wind down after a brief, productive meeting
The Witherspoon board has been meeting for the past 30 hours
or so (with a little time out for sleep) in San Jose, CA, which will be the
site of the 2008 General Assembly. We started a few hours late on
Thursday evening, since three of our members enjoyed an extra-long layover
in Dallas/Ft. Worth while their plane underwent a few needed repairs.
The group has dealt with issues such as planning for the
September conference, set for Sept. 16-19, and focusing on the theme,
"Becoming Neighbors: An Invitation to Global Discipleship."
For some details – with more to come.
We have also considered the nomination process for new
officers, budgets for 2007 and 2008, and questions about what issues and
concerns should be given more attention in our work and our publications.
We will be finishing up Saturday morning. It’s been
a very good time, and you’ll hear more about the results within the next few
day ... or weeks.
Professor Doug Ottati headed to Davidson College
Union-PSCE Press release
RICHMOND, VA – April 10, 2007 — Douglas F. Ottati, the M.E. Pemberton
Professor of Theology and a member of the faculty at Union-PSCE for nearly
30 years, is heading to Davidson College in a newly endowed chair in
religion. [Your WebWeaver adds that for the past few years, Ottati has also
contributed a regular column to Witherspoon’s Network News, and has
frequently spoken at Witherspoon events during General Assemblies.]
Ottati’s stint as a visiting professor at Davidson this spring coincided
with a search within the College’s religion department for a distinguished
scholar-teacher in theology and Reformed theology.
Beginning in the fall of 2007 Ottati will occupy the new Craig Family
Distinguished Professorship in Reformed Theology and Justice Ministry.
"It was not an easy decision to make, but it’s exciting," said Ottati.
"It comes at a classic time of life when my two children have left the
house, and I have an opportunity to do something different. Part of it is as
simple as a guy being an auto mechanic for 30 years who gets a chance to
work on another machine."
Ottati said he was attracted to leave his home and employment of thirty
years in part to work within a broader scope of academic disciplines.
"Seminaries like Union-PSCE have as a strength their focus on the clerical
education of ministers," he said. "But at the same time that focus is their
significant limitation. Seminaries don’t have arts and sciences departments,
so it’s more difficult to study in the context of other disciplines. Coming
to Davidson gives me a chance to have those conversations."
"From the time I first arrived in January I could tell that Davidson had
wonderful students, strong and dynamic and interesting colleagues, and
wonderful facilities at a school that seems to have a strong and generally
acknowledged commitment to liberal arts education. That’s a pretty nice
Immokalee Workers, McDonald's, and McD's suppliers
reach agreement to improve farmworker wages, working conditions!
News release from Noel Damico,
Campaign for Fair Food, PC(USA)
With the arrival of the 2007 Truth Tour in Chicago just days away, the
CIW, McDonald's, and its suppliers gathered at the Carter Center in Atlanta
on Monday to announce an agreement that guarantees:
- A penny more per pound to workers harvesting tomatoes
- A stronger code of conduct based on the principle of
- And a collaborative effort to develop a third party
mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields and investigating
workers' complaints of abuse.
The PC(USA) commends the CIW and McDonald’s on this historic achievement.
Special thanks goes to all Presbyterians who have written the company,
hosted the workers on Truth Tours, or joined the CIW in protests. Together
we have made a significant witness.
On the same page, you'll find more reports on this very important
The Witherspoon Society gives thanks to God for this
great step forward, and congratulates the Immokalee Farmworkers and all
those who have worked with them over the months and years, as well as
McDonald's. We especially appreciate the role the Carter Center has
played in helping in the negotiation of this settlement.
If you have thoughts to share,
or details to add,
send a note!
Can Left and Right join to oppose the war and defend
Jim Wallis of
Sojourners has called for a new faith-based approach to
politics in which liberals and evangelicals can unite.
Now others, from different
perspectives, are saying the same thing.
Jon Basil Utley, associate publisher of
The American Conservative, says that some conservatives are becoming
more critical of the war. Even if their opposition is rooted in different
thinking from that of the liberals who oppose the war (and he notes that
many of them, including many Democratic Party leaders, are really not
standing against the war), the two sides need each other if they are to have
any impact on the growing trend toward Empire. And, he says, they can work
together for some goals that both sides value, such as true national
security, a return to use of negotiations to settle problems, and avoiding
further spread of the war, which would among other things be "bad for
His essay is on the Foreign
Policy in Focus website >>
And from the Left, John Nichols,
Washington correspondent for The Nation, writes of a group of
conservatives which is advancing a so-called "American Freedom Agenda,"
which calls for such radical measures as ending the use of military
commissions to prosecute crimes, prohibiting the use of secret evidence or
evidence obtained by torture, and ending National Security Agency
warrantless wiretapping. (And lots more!)
He quotes conservative fund-raiser
Richard Viguerie as saying, "Conservatives must not fail to oppose the
massive expansion of presidential powers out of fear they will be aid and
comfort to the Left. Concern about one branch of government acquiring
excessive power should not be the providence of liberals, moderates, or
conservatives. It must be the concern of all Americans who value liberty…"
A pioneering urban pastor tells the story of
his congregation, his inner-city community in Nashville, and his ministry –
To Love a City
The Rev. Bill Barnes has written about Edgehill Methodist Church in
Nashville, where he has served as pastor for forty years.
Gene TeSelle, Witherspoon's Issues Analyst, who knew Bill
Barnes first at Yale DIvinity School and then in Nashville, says that there
is no one in the U.S. who knows more about the house church movement and
base communities than Bill Barnes. He bummed his way around Europe in the
postwar period, observing the worker priests in France and the house church
movement in England.
He has devoted his life to the predominantly black
Edgehill community in Nashville, near where he grew up. He has helped that
community fight battles over urban renewal and affordable housing. Right now
he is the chief advocate for doing more about housing displacement in
Nashville, starting with keeping records. (The Mayor, although he has
committed himself to promoting affordable housing, doesn't want too many
statistics of this sort floating around.)
This book, then, offers not only the record of an
extraordinary life but a series of observations on the urban situation,
based on both extensive reading in urbanology and intense personal
involvement. It's one of those books definitely worth having.
Barnes himself summarizes the book:
The book is about a small and diverse congregation
making a go of it in a low income minority inner city neighborhood. There
was giving and receiving, loving and fear, anger and reconciliation, tears
and laughter, success and failure – all in trying to live out a Christ led
vocation in the city. Herein is described a multitude of strategies and
approaches, all emerging out of a foundation of love, sure that "we love
because God first loved us."
Click here for the order form, in
PDF format >>
An Easter gift:
Restorative Theology of Easter
The Rev. Peter Sawtell, Executive Director of Eco-Justice
Ministries, first posted this essay in his Eco-Justice Notes in 2002, and
has re-posted it just before Easter.
He contrasts the views of justice at work in our
traditional system of "punitive justice" with those affirmed in the growing
movement for "restorative justice."
He outlines this briefly:
Restorative justice is an idea that is beginning to
catch on in communities across the US. Restorative justice takes a very
different approach than the punitive justice system that is common
throughout western civilization. (While this is a new concept in some
parts of the world, in many cultures these principles are ancient wisdom.)
Punitive justice sees a problem with the criminal, the
"offender". The solution to crime is to punish the person who broke the
laws. There may be an attempt at rehabilitation, but punishment is the
Restorative justice recognizes that the criminal has
caused a problem, and that something must be done. But it does not believe
that the problem can be solved through punishment alone. Because the
offender has not just broken a law. He or she has caused hurt to victims,
and has injured the entire community. The goal of restorative justice is
to bring healing to all involved -- the victim, the offender, and the
He then considers the different ways we understand Easter,
and the life and resurrection of Christ: either a sacrifice to pay a
penalty, or a movement of restoration and healing, both for offenders and
for victims, both for the whole human community and for our relationships
with the whole natural world.
More reports and comments on the
Christian Peace Witness for Iraq
"There is a new spirit
sweeping across our churches ..."
From Rick Ufford-Chase, writing for the CPWI Steering Committee:
March 16th, 2007 was a sign that there is a new spirit sweeping across
our churches in the United States. Though many of you were frustrated by
the weather and unable to join us as planned, we still numbered close to
four thousand people on that cold, wet, snowy Friday night as we filled
the National Cathedral and New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Rev.
Raphael Warnock named the challenge we must help our nation reclaim its
very soul. More >>
To view the Cathedral
Worship Service >>
Host Your Own Peace Vigil >>
We are Marching in the Light
David McPhail, whose essays have been
posted here before, including his reflections on
participating in a vigil at the School of
the Americas, now offers his thoughts on taking part in the Christian
Peace Witness for Iraq.
for the curious and the thoughtful
After recommending one blog of
interest to progressive Presbyterians (and others!), we asked for other
suggestions. We’ve received some more very good suggestions:
Please consider my blog --
http://www.abundancetrek.com/blog . I think
it's unique. I promote progressive Christianity, progressive Politics, the
Perennial Philosophy and the New Church for the New Age. Sometimes I write
my own stuff but usually I'm more like the webweaver finding good stuff and
offering links and excerpts. I'm a retired Presbyterian pastor with too much
time on my hands -- actively involved at First Presbyterian Church, Utica
and Presbytery of Utica Church & Society Committee chaired by John Preston
-- but I do enjoy blogging and I would love a little more attention from the
Progressive Presbyterian community. Thanks. I do link to WS items from time
to time, most recently March 27.
John A Wilde
Two blogs from San Francisco Theological Seminary
The following pair of blogs are by myself and a good
friend. We are both seminary students at SFTS who bring a unique perspective
to the blogosphere.
We've been very active lately in commenting and debating
on the conservative blogs of Jim Berkley,
http://www.jimberkley.blogspot.com/ and Tom Gray,
In return we've drawn the attention of a variety of people
who disagree with our progressive views, but we welcome the opportunity for
Incidentally, I'm writing a series of rebuttals to the
work of Robert Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, that your readers
might be interested in.
This suggestion comes from John Mann, formerly a PC(USA)
pastor, now serving in the Church of Scotland. He has contributed a number
of reports and essays here. For
one example >>
I would recommend the blog at Preaching Peace,
www.preachingpeace.org; I must
add though that I'm partial to it because I am one of the regular
Take Care - John Mann
If you have one or two favorite blogs (even your own),
just send a note.
And unless we have serious doubts, we’ll post it here.
Planned Parenthood’s Pill
Patrol achieves a victory with Wal-Mart
Next target is -- well -- Target.
An update from the PC(USA) Campaign for Fair Food
McDonald’s Truth Tour heads
Momentum for the McDonald’s Truth Tour builds as the workers prepare to
leave Immokalee on April 7th. Presbyterians across the country are hosting
workers and many are coming to Chicago. All the latest info on the tour
stops, buses to Chicago and events in Chicago is available at
the Presbyterian News Service story to get a sense of the excitement.
Peacemaking Update for April 4, 2007
This update contains a link to an Advocacy Alert from the
Washington Office, calling for immigration reform. Its main
focus is on Martin Luther King, Jr's. speech, "Beyond Vietnam" (with
a good, long excerpt from his speech) and links to resources related to the
war in Iraq.
An invitation from More Light Presbyterians:
April 15 - 17 Celebrations, Community and a Call for Justice & Equality in
The Open Doors Chapter of More Light Presbyterians in National Capital
Presbytery, Washington, D.C., is offering an open invitation to a variety of
events on April 15-17, in conjunction with the Clergy Call fo Justice and
Equality in Washington.
Michael Adee, National Field Organizer for More Light Presbyterians, will
be the featured speaker at two events on Sunday, April 15.
Everyone in the Washington area is warmly invited.
A blog for eager readers and explorers of faith
Your WebWeaver must confess he is a bit baffled by the current flood of
blogs, but he’s slowly recognizing that there are good things worth a visit
now and then.
Let me introduce just one of them today, and I’ll try to
be back with more suggestions in the weeks to come.
And if you have suggestions, please send a note! We don’t
want this website to become just a advertising list of blogs, and we won’t
automatically recommend just anything that is mentioned. But if you can
suggest a blog page that offers helpful news and commentary about church
and/or society – and especially the interactions between them – we’ll be
happy to consider mentioning it. (Even if it’s your own!)
Just send a note!
Enough introduction. Here’s our first venture into the
wild world of blogs:
Shuck and Jive
is the creation of the Rev. John Shuck, who
describes his blog thus: "A Presbyterian minister blogs about spirituality,
culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution,
literature, Jesus and lightening up. John Shuck is the pastor of the First
Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee (a liberal church on the
buckle of the Bible belt)."
A couple recent samples:
On March 29, as part of a series of blogs on
readings for Holy Week, he gave very brief introductions to books such
as Marcus Borg's latest, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and
Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary; Borg and John Dominic Crossan’s
The Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus' Final Week in Jerusalem;
and James Tabor’s The Jesus Dynasty – among others!
Shuck reads a lot, but he doesn’t limit himself to the
library. He offers his own theological and ethical reflections on a wide
range of issues, including the environment, politics, the church, the
American Empire, and more. Much more.
For a slightly different tone, check out his thoughts for
Saturday, March 31, on the topic
"Sometimes I wish I was a RevGal," which begins: "Do you notice the
difference between clergy boy bloggers and clergy girl bloggers? There
really is a difference."
As with many bloggers, he invites visitors to subscribe to
e-mail updates sent whenever he adds to his blog.
So – what do you think of blogs (either Shuck and
Jive in particular, or others, or the whole proliferating genre)?
Just send a note with
your comments and recommendations, and we’ll share it here.
Who Gets to Define America?
The Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Assistant Professor of Church
Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary, and a member of
the Sojourners/Call to Renewal Board, has written a thoughtful response to
the widely noted comments by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as he
equated bilingual education with learning "the language of living in a
Noting that Gingrich is not alone in holding this attitude
of "jingoism," he adds that the real issue today is "Who gets to define what
America looks like in the 21st century? Should every effort be made to
maintain a white majority that reflects the current Western European culture
and ethos of American society?"
As an evangelical Christian, I look towards scripture
for my guidance. In my study of scripture, I have yet to find a single
passage which supports the right to bear arms. ... I have, however, found
numerous references (50+ and still counting) calling believers to care for
the alien among them. Why is it then that I am more likely to find members
of the NRA in a typical American evangelical church than I will find those
who advocate for an immigration policy that shows compassion for the
immigrant among us? How much of our view on immigration is driven by a
political and social agenda rather than a biblical one?
His full essay >>
Two conferences on immigration coming in April
New York and Princeton will be the venues
Princeton, NJ, April 14, on Toward a Theology of Immigration:
Embracing the Stranger.
On behalf of the Association of Latino and Hispanic American
Students (ALHAS) and the Hispanic Leadership Program at Princeton
Theological Seminary, we would like to invite you and your congregation to
our event on immigration titled, Toward a Theology of Immigration:
Embracing the Stranger. The event will take place on Saturday, April
14, 2007 and will begin at 10:00am. Our keynote speakers will be Dr. Maria
Patricia Fernandez Kelly from Princeton University and The Rev. Dr. Samuel
Cruz, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York. Please join
us as together we explore how the church can approach this issue that
affects many people from different parts of the world.
For registration information please contact the Center for Continuing
Education at Princeton Theological Seminary at (609) 497-7990, or register
online at: www.ptsem.edu/ce. Once on
the website, you can look for Courses and Events, or you can go straight
http://www.ptsem.edu/CE/Course-ImmigrationConference.php. You can
register and find information about that event at this link. Space is
limited, so please register soon. Please feel free to copy and distribute
We hope to see you on April 14th. May God continue blessing you!!!
New York, April 21, on Immigration, Justice and Christian
On April 21st the Presbytery of New York City is hosting a conference
titled Immigration, Justice and Christian Hospitality. The conference will
be held at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan: 7 West 55th
Street. A flyer is attached (we will have versions available in Spanish
and Korean in a few days).
Please note that the plenary presentations are being offered with
simultaneous translation into Spanish and Korean.
We invite all of our Presbyterian sisters and brothers to join us. We
have organized this conference with the hope that it will prove useful to
churches and Presbyteries in the greater metro NYC region - including on
both sides of the Hudson River! The goal of the conference is to educate,
equip and inspire both clergy and "people in the pews" so that they can
ACT relative to immigration: through providing links to resources, through
activism, and through other forms of solidarity.
We are delighted that Julia Thorne is joining us as the featured
speaker of the conference!
For more information, contact:
Annie Rawlings, M.Div.
Interim Associate Executive Presbyter for Social Witness
Presbytery of New York City
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 240
New York, NY 10115
212/870-2221, ext. 4249
Just in Time for Tax Day: FCNL’s Flyer on Where Our Tax
How much of every dollar of federal income taxes you pay
in 2006 goes to war? To health care? To humanitarian aid? The Friends
Committee on National Legislation offers a nice, clear tax day flyer with
flier, in PDF format >>
An Invitation to Global Discipleship
A Witherspoon conference
on global mission and justice
September 16 - 19, 2007
early details >>
This page lists all reports and commentary from
For items from earlier in
All postings from
Our coverage of the 2006 General
Assembly is indexed on a special page.
For links to earlier archive pages,
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their
action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
If you like what
you find here,
we hope you'll help us keep Voices for Justice going ... and
Please consider making a special
contribution -- large or small -- to help us continue and improve
Click here to send a
gift online, using your credit card, through PayPal.
Or send your check, made
out to "Presbyterian Voices for Justice" and marked "web site," to
our PVJ Treasurer:
4007 Gibsonia Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044-8312
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New
York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive
New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the
Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian
Church in Flushing, NY.
John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive
A Presbyterian minister, currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!