Archives for January 2008
This page lists our postings from earlier in January
For an index to all our reports
on the 219th General Assembly
For links to
all our archive pages, listed by months,
shall we deal with all those “shalls”? (Or is it how will
we deal with them?)
reported recently on the action by the Presbytery of the Twin
Cities Area, restoring Dr. Paul Capetz to his former status
as an ordained minister. One very helpful response has
come from Lynne Reade, a retired attorney and former
member of the Witherspoon board. She deals specifically with the
urging by opponents of Capetz’ restoration, that every portion
of the Book of Order that contains the word “shall” be regarded
as an “essential,” and therefore not subject to claims of
"scruples" or "departures."
Capetz develops his case
As background material for the discussion on Paul
Capetz’ application for restoration to the ordained ministry,
the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area posted a number of
resources. If you are pursuing the issue of ordination and
“departures,” or “scruples,” these might be helpful. They
include articles he has published in Church & Society,
Theology and Sexuality, and The Journal of Presbyterian
Prayer of Confession
A prayer of
confession was part of the liturgy for the service of communion
held at the beginning of the afternoon session. The Rev.
Kimberly Goodman, a member of the Presbytery, commented later,
“I found myself rereading it several times, lingering. . .”
Your WebWeaver felt the same way, so here it is.
are other sources saying?
Links to reports from Presbyterian News
Service, Presbyterian Outlook, Covenant Network, That All May
Freely Serve, and More Light Presbyterians.
view from “the other side”
Layman Online carries four reports by
Craig M. Kibler, a staff writer
If you have comments or insights
into this very important action by one presbytery,
send a note, so we can share it here!
Eleven SOA protesters sentenced to prison
News release from School of the Americas
Watch, Jan. 28, 2008
the line at WHINSEC and prayed on the grounds to bring
attention to the teaching of torture and assassination. When
enough people learn the truth about this school and act to
end these practices, the healing can begin.”
– Diane Lopez-Hughes, one of the SOAW 11
The Eleven courageous souls who willingly put
their freedom and bodies at risk to stand in witness against the
SOA/WHINSEC during the November 2007 Vigil were sentenced on
January 28 to federal prison on charges of “trespassing on a
The trial took place in a courthouse located
just a few miles from Fort Benning, the current site of the SOA/WHINSEC.
An institute known around the world for its ties to brutal
dictatorships and human rights abuses, which continues to
operate, unchallenged by our government but not by the people.
Two of the people headed to prison are
Le Anne Clausen, a seminary student in Chicago,
Lieberman, a minister in Albuquerque.
of this story >>
And for more about the SOAW 11 >>
On faith and science – a new website
United Church of Christ has just opened a web site entitled “Not
Mutually Exclusive.” The opening statement reads as follows:
“For too long, science and faith have had a combustible
relationship. But even churches evolve. In the UCC, we're not
afraid of science and technology. In fact, we embrace it.” The
site includes some beautiful and provocative videos, and much
may want to take a look >>
on faith and science, evolution, and such >>
Openly gay theologian Paul Capetz restored to ministry of
word and sacrament
A report from Doug King, Witherspoon
On Saturday, January 26, Dr.
Paul Capetz, who laid aside his ordination in 2000 as an act of
personal integrity and theological protest against the passage
of “Amendment B,” not in the Book of Order as G-6.0106b, was
restored to the status of Minister of Word and Sacrament in a
six-hour meeting of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.
By a more than 2/3 margin, the presbytery
expressed its discernment that Dr. Capetz' refusal to accept the
demand for a "vow of celibacy" imposed by G-6.0106b does not
constitute the denial of an "essential" provision of the Book of
Order, and that he therefore is restored to the ordained
We now have the full text of Paul Capetz' statement
to the Presbyterian explaining the reasons -- both
personal and theological -- for his assertion
of a departure from G-6.0106b in the Book of
|On returning home from the Twin
Cities, I've found a note from Laurie Fox, an elder
in West Hollywood Presbyterian Church, who asks
nicely whether the Presbytery meeting was held on
Friday the 25th, or Saturday the 26th -- since I
called it Friday the 26th, which may happen
sometimes, but not this month. Well, I never
was good with numbers. So thanks to Laurie,
I've corrected it: The Presbytery meeting was
held on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008. [posted
She also writes:
THANK YOU for
sharing this incredible story of God’s Spirit at
work in our church!
Gene TeSelle, Witherspoon’s Issues Analyst, sends this note
of gratitude for the life of Jack Stotts
Jack Stotts was one of the first people I met when I went to
Yale for graduate study. My carrel in the library was near his
(and near the more controversial Jim Nelson's), and I learned
much about ethics from them.
Jack Stotts was always notable for his quiet
wisdom. He did not need to raise his voice; his thoughtfulness
and the content of what he said were enough. While I know only
indirectly of his contributions to McCormick and Austin, all
that I have heard constitutes a tribute to him.
We invited him to be a speaker at the
Witherspoon Society luncheon at a crucial time in the life of
the church, and I am glad that Doug King will be making his
address available once again.
I also recall that, in his capacity as chair
of the Special Committee drafting the new Brief Statement, he
attended the Witherspoon "gathering" in 1988 at the Bergamo
Center in Dayton. If we in Witherspoon can brag a little,
several of the suggestions made at that conference were
incorporated into the final draft for the Brief Statement, and I
am sure that Jack in his diplomatic way helped ease the way.
We will miss him greatly. But we can also be
thankful for the many contributions he made to us, individually
Jack Stotts dies in Austin, Texas, at age 75, after long and
brilliant theological service to the PC(USA)
Theological giant’s career spanned pastorate,
classroom and seminary president’s offices
[Headline for the report by Jerry Van
Marter of Presbyterian News Service]
The Rev. Jack L. Stotts, whose ministry in the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) took him from the pastorate to the
classroom to the president’s office of two seminaries and into
some of the most crucial theological deliberations of his
generation, died Jan. 24 at Christopher House, a hospice care
center in Austin, TX.
He was the featured speaker at a Witherspoon
Society luncheon at General Assembly some years ago, and we will
post his talk as soon as we get home from our current
story from Van Marter >>
Presbyterian Outlook carries a tribute to Jack Stotts
from James S. Currie, associate dean of Austin Presbyterian
Theological Seminary, where Stotts served as president from 1985
to 1996 – among the many great things he did.
Currie notes that early in his ministry,
Stotts served as chaplain at the University of Tulsa. His tenure
there was brief because he invited Jim Lawson to speak to
students and faculty there. Lawson had been expelled from the
Vanderbilt Divinity School for leading non-violent civil rights
sit-ins. As a result of this invitation to Lawson, the
University did not renew Stotts’ contract as chaplain.
That seems to reflect that moral stature and
courage that Jack showed throughout his ministry.
SOA grads implicated in Bogota bombings
When many participants in the November vigil against the School
of the America went onto the SOA base to hear a “briefing” for
some of the leaders of the school, one of their main points was
that “our graduates have never been proven to be involved in the
actions they have been accused of.”
Here’s the latest from SOA Watch:
A director of Colombian military
intelligence and another officer implicated in a series of
false attacks and a bombing that killed a civilian and
injured 19 soldiers in Bogotá in 2006, attended the US Army
School of the Americas, an examination of records shows.
The Colombian Public Ministry is
investigating Colonel Horacio Arbelaez, former director of
the Army’s Joint Intelligence Center; Major Javier Efrén
Hermida Benavides; and Captain Luis Eduardo Barrero for
orchestrating placement of bombs in a Bogota shopping mall
and other sites in July 2006, on the eve of President
Uribe’s inauguration for his second term. At the time of the
bombing and false attacks, they were attributed to
guerrillas of the FARC. In most cases, the bombs were not
detonated, but were denounced by the accused officers and
deactivated to demonstrate the FARC threat and show military
intelligence was doing its work.
Read more about
this breaking news >>
Americans United cautions Southern Baptist Convention about
SBC President’s call
for united evangelical front against Giuliani raises tax law
issues, says church-state watchdog group
July 1-5, 2008 -- Montreat Conference Center
When are we going to stop complaining about
the Church we see and start becoming the Church we dream of?
What is standing in the way? What are you going to do about it?
Who else can you work with to make this dream a reality?
Come together with Presbyterians across
boundaries of age, gender, culture, race, theology, and other
barriers to envision a Church Unbound. Experience speakers who
are diverse, provocative, and challenging; workshops that hone
skills; small groups that foster relationship-building;
energizing worship and Bible study; and real conversations with
real people doing ministry in different settings.
Register soon because of limited Montreat
housing during the week of July 4th. Fee structures are designed
to encourage students, spouses, newer ministers, and families.
Recreational programs for children of conferees are provided.
For more information (including speakers, program, costs, and
more) and to register, go to
Co-sponsored by Presbyterian Outlook,
Cross Cultural Alliance of Ministries, and Montreat Conference
Jim Wallis publishes new book following up on God’s
Jim Wallis of Sojourners
gained wide attention three years ago for the religious
perspectives of the left, arguing that the right should have no
monopoly on spiritual and moral concerns in political life.
His new book, The Great Awakening: Reviving
Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America, calls
for spiritual revival as the foundation for real social and
political change. A revival of faith, he argues, is the only
force big enough to take on the greatest challenges of our time:
senseless poverty, deadly pandemic diseases, alarming climate
change, massive violations of human rights, and the endless
cycle of terrorism and war.
Sojourners is again urging people to buy the
book now, in order to move it onto the New York Times’
best-seller list, thereby giving it a huge boost to a wider
audience. That happened with God’s Politics, and they
hope it will happen again.
You can read more about the book, and even
by clicking on the Amazon.com
box to the right, where you'll save money, and your order will provide
a small (but important!) bit of support for The Witherspoon
Wars, Lies, and
use Google’s News service
to get a fresh page of news headlines on my laptop every day,
updated through the day. I get reports on US and international
news, medicine, business, the arts and entertainment (today, yet
again, featuring Britney Spears), the PCUSA, and various other
topics. This morning’s news provided a trio of stories right
next to each other, that I feel compelled to share with you all.
First, the New
York Times report headlined:
Assembles U.S. Prewar Claims
how the Bush administration led the nation into the Iraq war
can now go online to browse a comprehensive database of top
officials’ statements before the invasion, connecting the
dots between hundreds of claims, mostly discredited since
then, linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda or warning that he
possessed forbidden weapons.
The database is
The rest of the Times' story >>
that was the headline from Alaska Report, leading
a brief report on the same database. The headline -- a
little less subtle than the Times', read:
administration officially called liars over Iraq
And in the column
right next to them was the headline for a very long Wall
Street Journal article by Norman Podhoretz, one of the
leading “neo-con” figures behind Administration policies for
invading Iraq, next Iran, and then who knows? He is
Editor-at-Large of Commentary magazine. His new book is
entitled World War IV: The Long Struggle Against
column is titled:
The full essay >>
Why the case for military action still stands.
wonders of the World Wide Web.
Where are the presidential candidates on trade?
Presidential candidates are increasingly talking
about the impact of bad trade deals.
Global Trade Watch
urges: Please write your local paper today urging the candidates
to make clear their opposition to expanding the current NAFTA/WTO
The Global Trade Watch message begins:
With all the news coverage focusing on the
horse race aspects of the presidential primary, it's been hard
to follow a fascinating - and hopeful - trend: criticism of our
current NAFTA-WTO trade model has been a prominent aspect of all
of the Democratic and a number of the GOP candidates' campaigns.
We wanted to share with you the most comprehensive compilation
of candidates' trade positions ever released.
what the candidates are saying about trade and globalization
Read what they're
saying and you'll see that current candidates are now more
critical of our failed status quo than even the most critical
candidates in past presidential elections. Could it be that we
have finally reached the tipping point where candidates must
reflect the public's views on these issues - even though it
flies in the face of their major corporate funders?
Please take action by sending a Letter to the Editor to your
local paper urging the candidates to provide the public with
more details about what they intend to do to fix what they now
agree is a failed NAFTA/WTO model.
Presbyterian Welcome announces 4th annual retreat for GLBTQ
inquirers and candidates
July 17–20, in rural Indiana
Remembering the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – echoes
from history, a Call for today
Light Presbyterians reflect on King and his meaning and call for
This statement was prepared by Michael Adee,
National Field Organizer of MLP
Today we are called to remember the life,
teachings and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and
the Civil Rights Movement. Today we mark the forty-fifth
anniversary of Dr. King’s powerful “I Have A Dream,” speech
delivered at the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington in
More Light Presbyterians is committed to
ending racism along with removing sexism, heterosexism and
homophobia from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the body of
Christ. Today, we call all Presbyterians to study for the first
time, or again, the teachings and writings of Martin Luther
King, Jr. and his challenge to end prejudice and discrimination
against African-American persons and their families. Today, we
call upon all Presbyterians to take seriously the life-taking
force of racism within our Church and world… and for those of us
who are white, to be mindful of white privilege and internalized
racism within us.
We have much to learn from and be grateful for
from the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Movement, to be
sure. What are some of the parallels and lessons for us, for the
LGBT Equality Movement in the Presbyterian Church (USA)?
The rest of the statement >>
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to our condition
"I am convinced that if we are to get on the
right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo
a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the
shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented'
society. When machines and computers, profit motives and
property rights are considered more important than people, the
giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are
incapable of being conquered."
-- speech at Riverside Church,
New York, 1967
Reclaiming King: Beyond "I Have a Dream"
People usually focus on the historic "I Have a
Dream" speech, but it's the work King was doing at the end of
his life that deserves more attention.
Adam Howard, an editor with AlterNet, the son
of a “a Black Baptist preacher in the King tradition.”
During the final two years of his life, King took
on the far more complex de facto racism of northern cities like
Chicago, addressed labor inequality, and took a very bold and
highly criticized stance against the Vietnam War.
The full essay >>
Presbytery of Susquehanna
Valley passes overture to endorse “Amman Call” for Arab-Israeli
For the full text of the
overture including the World Council of Churches’ statement,
the “Amman Call” >>
Creating a Culture of Peace
The innovative design of this
national training program provides a holistic and practical
foundation in spiritually-grounded active nonviolence.
Participants come to recognize their own power for making
personal and social changes without violence and improve their
skills for respectful engagement with opponents, instead of
confrontation that polarizes and demonizes. Unlike trainings
that focus only on anti-war protest, Creating a Culture of Peace
training is an incubator for participants to raise issues which
most concern them — group controversy and conflict, neighborhood
violence, domestic violence, climate change, war and militarism,
discrimination, video games, homelessness, peace education, and
lack of health care. The training helps build a working
community for peacemaking, through a shared foundation, learning
new skills, and a guided experience in struggling and
One more small step toward an inclusive church
More appreciation expressed for San Francisco
Presbytery action furthering the candidacy of Lisa Larges
We reported yesterday on the
the decision of the
Presbytery of San Francisco, allowing Lisa Larges to move
forward in the ordination process. Now
a comment praising the decision. They also include a number
of reports from other sources.
Bear Ride, of
Pasadena, CA, Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians, is
quoted as saying: "We are so delighted to see the
Presbyterian Church (USA) recognize and confirm the call and
gifts for ministry of our friend and sister, Lisa Larges. We
have known for many years that God called and gifted Lisa
for ministry and it's time for Lisa to be ordained by the
Church that she loves and so deeply cares about!"
Lisa’s personal “Statement of Departure from G-6.0106b
And Affirmation of Essentials of Faith and Polity,” which
she provided to the Presbytery. It’s good reading!
The Rev. John
Shuck, Witherspoon member and very busy blogger, has
been posting a number of comments on his blog site.
Board of Covenant Network has also issued a statement,
which expresses appreciation for the careful, discerning work of
the Presbytery, and then says:
celebrate this week with Lisa Larges. She has been an
inquirer or candidate for ministry for twenty-two long
years, waiting patiently for her gifts and call to be
affirmed while the church fought its battles. She has
preached at national conferences including our own, and her
extraordinary gifts for ministry are recognized around the
country. On Tuesday, January 15th, she was examined by San
Francisco Presbytery and found ready to receive a call. The
presbytery responded to her stated departure from G-6.0106b
and her call to ministry with a civil debate and a positive
We have a long way to go as a church to be as just and
generous or as bold and missional as the church God needs
and desires. The church has not solved its division over
sexuality and ordination. But yesterday it took a modest
but significant step forward.
The full statement >>
Bigotry is an ugly word.
Rabbi Jack Moline, The Board Chair of The
Interfaith Alliance, offers some cautions on the way legitimate
concerns about the faith of presidential candidates are easily
being exploited into scurrilous attacks. Those attacks, he says,
are often effective because they exploit the bigotry that is
still part of our national culture.
resource on Israel/Palestine
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church
(USA) has a new website, offering current news, resources,
resources for advocacy, and much more.
Thanks to Witherspoon member
Capetz seeks to declare a
scruple on “celibacy” in Twin Cities Area Presbytery
Paul Capetz, a professor at United Theological
Seminary in the Twin Cities, set aside his ordination in the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 2000, because he could not
accept the exclusionary policy enacted by the church in what was
then known as “Amendment B.” He has now asked the Presbytery of
the Twin Cities Area to allow him to declare a scruple regarding
the denomination’s ordination standards on sexual practice, and
to be reinstated to the ministry.
The Presbytery had been scheduled to vote on
Capetz’ request at a special meeting on Dec. 1, but postponed
that discussion. The presbytery’s Committee on Ministry, which
voted 11-3 to support Capetz’ request, was asked to provide “a
clear statement of what the departure from the constitution is
and what was the rationale of the committee on ministry to
recommend his reinstatement.” The Committee on Ministry has now
provided that statement, and Capetz’ request has now been
scheduled for consideration at another special called meeting of
the presbytery, on January 26.
Capetz’ case is one of the first in which a
presbytery is being asked to decide whether to grant a scruple —
a deviation from the standards based on conscience — regarding
the language in the PC(USA)’s ordination standards, which limit
ordination to those who practice fidelity if they are married or
chastity if they are single. (See
the report on the action by San Francisco Presbytery
approving Lisa Larges’ claim of a “scruple.”)
Read the rest of this report (written in December) in
Presbyterian Outlook >>
Read Capetz' statement
explaining the reasons for his decision in 2000 to lay aside his
ordination, and his decision now to request reinstatement to the
We plan to report on the Presbytery’s action
as soon as possible after the meeting on January 26.
San Francisco Presbytery allows
Lisa Largess to move one more step toward ordination
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 –
report from That All May Freely
In a landmark decision the San
Francisco Presbytery (a regional jurisdiction of the
Presbyterian Church encompassing 80 local churches) voted for
Lisa Larges, an open lesbian, to be moved forward in the process
A 2006 action of the national
Presbyterian church allowed Presbyteries some greater freedom in
determining whether open lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
persons can be ordained. Larges made a statement of conscience
regarding the church’s policy of exclusion and the Presbytery
determined that she was fit for ordination and that her
statement of conscience did not counter essential beliefs of the
church. Larges has been a candidate seeking ordination since
The 167-151 vote represents the
first vote on an lgbt candidate for ordination under the new
That All May
Freely Serve is deeply grateful to the Presbytery of San
Francisco for its commitment to find a way to live more
graciously with one another. We remain committed to the full and
complete removal of all barriers to ordination for all whom God
calls to serve the church.
See also the Associated Press report, which notes that
“Those who oppose Larges' application said they would appeal
Tuesday's decision through the church court.”
Lisa Larges serves as the
Minister Coordinator of That All
May Freely Serve
Witherspooner John Shuck comments:
Actually, I should say Congratulations, SF Presbytery for
doing the right thing. Lisa is a woman blessed with all the
gifts for ministry. We are fortunate to have her.
A “Jerusalem Gym Rat” reflects on the Christian calling to
Shannon O’Donnell is a
Presbyterian Mission Volunteer, serving with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in
Jerusalem. A recent visit to Germany led her to reflect on the
courageous Germans who chose the dangerous path of peaceful
resistance to Nazism. She says, “I have been thinking of the
many ways that people can break away from the mainstream crowd
when it is not quite headed in the right direction.”
The Witherspoon Society is proud to be
providing a portion of her support.
report from Jerusalem >>
Witness in Washington Weekly offers helpful guidance on major
current political concerns: Israel/Palestine peace process,
MLK’s call for just wages, and the coming Ecumenical Advocacy
from the Witness in Washington Weekly,
published by the Washington Office of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.), January 14, 2008
Members of the House of Representatives will
return to Washington tomorrow to open the second session of the
110th Congress. The Senate will return on Tuesday of next week,
after observing the Martin Luther King holiday. The PC (USA)
Washington Office is working on a “wrap-up” of the 2007
legislative year and an “outlook” about what to expect in the
coming 2008 legislative season.
Please stay tuned to
our website for these publications.
This week’s messages are—
|Call for Progress on the Peace Process —
including a sample letter to Pres. Bush urging him to take
concrete steps in support of the peace process.|
The Reverend Dr. King’s Last Issue – Wage Justice|
|Register for Ecumenical Advocacy Days!|
|Amos 5:24 – Let Justice Roll|
For all of these (in PDF format) >>
The Reverend Dr. King’s Last Issue – Wage Justice
from the Witness in Washington Weekly,
published by the Washington Office of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.), January 14, 2008
As we prepare to honor the Reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. this weekend, the year 2008 is important for
remembering this prophet of our time. This year is the
forty-fifth anniversary of Dr. King’s now famous, “I Have a
Dream” speech. The year 2008 is also fortieth anniversary of Dr.
King’s assassination, of his last speech, of his last march.
NOTE: The forthcoming issue of Witherspoon’s Network News
will focus on just this issue, within a the wider
concern for the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor
in the US and around the world, under the title of “The
Other Inconvenient Truth.” We will post it here (in PDF
format) as soon as it comes off the press.
In 1963, the Reverend Dr. King led the March
on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and stood in front of the
Lincoln Memorial to deliver his “I Have a Dream” address. A key
demand of the march was “a national minimum wage act that will
give all Americans a decent standard of living.” Certainly, Dr.
King did not dream that the value of the minimum wage would be
lower today than it was in 1963.
Accountability: not just a virtue for the Right
Simon Zadek, in an essay posted on the
openDemocracy, writes that “the foundation of a healthy
public realm is effective accountability of governments,
businesses and organisations. Each day, there are reminders of
how much goes wrong when this quality is absent - not least in
corroding the trust of citizens, employees and consumers in
those who govern, employ, or sell to them. When accountability
practices fail, individual rights quickly erode in the face of
those in power pursuing personal agendas and enrichment over the
He lists five current examples of the failure
the turmoil in global financial markets
the slowly growing global awareness of the
threat from climate change
the continuing failure to agree on a new
round of international trade liberalisation -- the so-called
Doha development round -- due largely to the continuing
subsidization of well-off American and French farmers
the series of scandals over allegedly
unhealthy Chinese-produced products – partly a failure of
Western companies that import them
a loss of confidence in democratic governance
and in democracy itself, as shown by several international
The full essay >>
protest against Guantánamo
this Friday, Jan. 11!
Witherspoon member Betty Hale has
suggested that many of you may be interested in this appeal from
the American Civil Liberties Union. It begins:
This Friday, you can join
thousands of people across the country in marking a sad
anniversary with an act of hope.
The first prisoners
arrived at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay on January 11,
2002. Guantánamo quickly became an international
embarrassment. It has made a mockery of our laws and values
for six long years. We won't allow seven; this is the year
we are going to end the national disgrace.
Nationwide, the ACLU has
set January 11th as a day of protest, declaring that it's
long past time that we put an end to illegality and close
down Guantánamo. The ACLU and organizations across the
country are asking people of conscience to wear orange to
protest Guantánamo. I hope you will consider standing in
solidarity by wearing orange on Friday as well.
Five moral questions for presidential candidates
Gustav Niebuhr, Director of the Religion & Society Program,
Syracuse University, offers these on the “On Faith” Web page of
Newsweek and The Washington Post.
Here’s a brief version of the five questions he raises:
First, are you able to admit a mistake and ... take
responsibility for it ...?|
Second, will you listen to others ...?|
Third, will you show ... curiosity about the world ....?|
Fourth, will you demonstrate enough respect to other human
beings to be truthful with them ...?|
And finally, will you state categorically that you will not
start a war?|
For the complete (and still very brief) version >>
Thanks to the Rev. Bruce Gillette
1/4/08 -- ... with our best wishes for
the New Year!!
Did you know God has endorsed
Utne blogger Bennett Gordon reports this momentous fact,
discovered through a campaign lawn sign in Des Moines, Iowa.
Why the Conservative Turn in the Catholic Church?
And What Can We All Learn From It?
Gene TeSelle, Witherspoon’s Issues Analyst, reviews a recent
book of four thoughtful chapters, mostly by Jesuits, analyzing
efforts in the Catholic Church to deal with the changes
initiated by the Second Vatican Council (“Vatican II”) – largely
by backing away from them. The authors see the Catholic Church’s
conservative trends as efforts to restore a “healing balance” to
the tensions between continuity and change in the church – a
struggle which is familiar to us Presbyterians as well.
TeSelle focuses on three particular aspects of the church’s life
in recent decades, as examples of the difficulties in finding
that healing balance. First he considers how these tensions have
affected Catholic bishops around the world, many of whom
(especially in Latin America) have struggled with the tension
between engagement in progressive social movements, and
ecclesiastical resistance to such activities.
Second, he looks at efforts by Catholics, as members of one of
the most diverse organizations in the world, to deal with global
tensions ranging from the Cold War to the current struggles over
globalization. Nurturing the global community of the Catholic
Church in the midst of all these tensions presents great
And those challenges are sharpened by the third reality: the
growing secularization of nations and peoples around the world,
which often is represented as a threat of “cultural liberalism”
that denies deeply held Catholic values and weakens the
commitment of many Catholics to their tradition.
that understanding these struggles – the “major ruptures of our
time” – might be helpful to Presbyterians as well.
The book is Vatican II: Did Anything Happen?, edited by
David G. Schultenover.
The full essay -- and a link to order the book.
Stony Point will
join in Interfaith Dialogue on “Untangling the Roots of
Every day, religious violence affects people
around the world. While people of all faiths claim to worship a
God of peace, in the 21st century we're seeing
religious conviction increasingly breed extreme violence,
threatening our very survival. This year's Trinity Institute
conference brings together a panel of prominent Christian,
Jewish and Muslim voices to explore the deep roots of religious
conflict and illuminate each faith's vocation as a force for
peace – in ourselves, our families, our communities, and the
Webcast from Trinity Institute:
an Interfaith Dialogue,
Untangling the Roots of Conflict
January 21- 23,
Stony Point Center, Stony Point, NY
James H. Cone
Stony Point Center
website for more information on these respected theologians.
For more information
and to register for this event, please call (845) 786-5674 or
visit our website.
Explore with a
panel of theologians how religion becomes entangled with
violence and what are the resources within each tradition for
living together in peace, without losing our unique identities.
gathering offers the full conference experience – keynotes live
via webcast from New York, and discussion groups to promote the
discovery of individual and community call to action, and the
realtime Q/A with the presenter through e-mail! Plus a special
reception with a classical piano concert and the special viewing
of Constantine's Sword.
All these at a
cost far less than attending the originating site in NYC,
without the stress and hassle of going to the biggest city,
parking and exorbitant lodging cost. View the conference in the
comfort of our Auditorium and participate in reflection groups.
Rev. Charles Ryu, Program Director
Stony Point Center
For an index to all our reports
on the 219th General Assembly
For links to
all our archive pages, listed by months,
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. |
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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!