Archives for September 2008
This page lists our postings from earlier in September
For an index to all our reports
on the 219th General Assembly
For links to
all our archive pages, listed by months,
|So what about all this money
Your WebWeaver is far from
being an expert in economics. (But then, have we seen anybody lately
who really understands what’s going on?)
I was struck yesterday by one economist who
pointed out that the strength of the U.S. dollar rests not on
mountains of gold backing it up, but is quite simply “faith-based.”
Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, and author of
the forthcoming Mr. Market Miscalculates: The Bubble Years and
So what happens if we try to consider this truly
dangerous situation from a faith perspective — if we dare to ask
that frighteningly simple question, “What would Jesus do?”
I have no intention of offering my own analysis,
but I’d like to point to three commentators that dare to view the
situation from a faith-based and justice-oriented perspective. You
may find these interesting and helpful. And I invite you to add your
own comments, arguments, laments, cries of outrage, or whatever
But let’s not allow this crisis to wash over our
world without some reflection, some prayer, some action.
An opportunity for a “new New Deal”
Sakia Sassen, who is the Robert S. Lynd professor
of sociology and member of the Committee on Global Thought at
Columbia University, sees this crisis as an opportunity for a “new
new deal,” which would work “to the immediate benefit of tens of
millions of people across the land, and of the long-term
sustainability of their social and environmental livelihoods.”
What would this counter-plan involve? The most important item would
be to focus on the kind of work the economy needs desperately but
seems unable to perform, work that involves wide sectors of the
population and of the economy. A rebuilding of the country's
infrastructure is a prime example. There are vast numbers of
essential tasks waiting to be done: repairing flood defenses and
unsafe bridges, environmental clean-ups, developing
alternative-energy sources, introducing suburban train systems,
rebuilding devastated inner-cities, creating urban parks and green
belts, helping low- and modest-income households to acquire
foreclosed properties; and allowing recently foreclosed on
households to recover their homes. There is so much more.
These tasks alone would require the creation of huge numbers of jobs
and enterprises of all sizes, in almost all economic sectors. This
in turn would feed directly into GDP growth and heave a healthy
effect eventually on the value of the dollar. At present, actual
economic growth is more urgent than lowering the interest-rate so
that households can borrow more; households need income and
employment, firms need buyers of their goods and services. In this
dispensation, banks would do the lending through conventional loans
rather than financial firms selling high-risk structured financial
full essay >>
Rabbi Michael Lerner advises:
Just Say "No" to
Any Immediate Bailout – Don't try band-aids to keep the Tower of
Rabbi Michael Lerner
– the founder of Tikkun
magazine and of the
Network of Spiritual
Progressives – compares the current world market economy to the
ancient effort of human to build “a Tower of Babel that would allow
people to storm heaven as a symbol of human hubris and technological
power gone crazy. It was globalization for the sake of power, not
for the sake of kindness or goodness, so, according to the Bible,
God ensured that the whole thing would collapse.”
So, he argues, “Our
contemporary capitalist system and its globalization of selfishness
has evolved into a similarly grotesque distortion as people are
increasingly socialized into the goals of the system: accumulate as
much money and power as possible, and refuse to allow any other
ethical goals into the public sphere (we are allowed to pursue them
in our own ‘private lives’ but not together in social space). The
human suffering that results is not only for the poor.”
This is an extraordinary
moment, a crisis like this is a precious thing and should not be
wasted. If we had any ethically or spiritually visionary leadership,
they would reject any immediate bailout, and instead, talk of
ethical and spiritual reconstruction of the society in accord with a
New Bottom Line: that every institution should be judged efficient,
rational and productive not only to the extent that they maximize
money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize love and
caring for others, generosity and kindness, ethical and ecological
sensitivity, and awe and wonder at the grandeur of the universe.
To start that process,
we should demand that any corporation receiving help from our
government give a corresponding level of ownership and control of
their venture to the people of this country. ... [Thus] any
corporation with an income of more than $50 million a year must get
a new corporate charter once every ten years, to be granted only if
it can prove a satisfactory history of social responsibility as
measured by an Ethical Impact Report and as decided by a jury of
ordinary people whose task is to represent the interests of the
Meanwhile, the rest of
us should be protected as the Tower of Babel collapses. So the
hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown recklessly by our
Congress into the hands of the very people and corporations that
fostered the current meltdown, should instead be used to create a
national bank that would provide mortgage assistance at affordable
rates, buy up and restart in the hands of the people who work within
them any at-risk corporations providing socially useful functions
..., recreate ... pension funds for families with incomes under
$300,000/yr., create a single-payer universal health care system
..., and provide strong incentives for alternative energy-oriented
investment and a minimum wage that rises with inflation to ensure
adequate compensation for working people.
essay (which is shorter than most of his) >>
Arianna Huffington offers typically sharp advice to
Obama Needs to Lead, Not Be One of the Bailout Bipartisan Musketeers
Excerpts from her
I've said it before,
and I'll say it again: bipartisanship in service of bad legislation
is not a good thing.
And, make no mistake,
this bailout bill – at least if the details that are trickling out
are accurate – is going to be very bad legislation indeed. And by
that I mean very bad for the American people, whose interests are by
no means identical to Wall Street's. ...
Last night, he
announced that he'd urged Democratic leaders in Congress not to
pursue efforts to include an economic stimulus package in the
bailout, or to push for a provision giving bankruptcy judges the
power to rework mortgage rates because it might derail a deal.
That's the kind of
thinking that prompted White House press secretary Dana Perino to
applaud the candidates for trying to take the politics out of the
But, as David Sirota,
asks: "When did a crisis suddenly mean that giving away taxpayer
cash is laudably apolitical, but spending taxpayer money on
taxpayers is inappropriately 'political?'" ...
So will it be Obama,
as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party, making a deal that,
in the end, adopts the overriding trickle down essence of the
original Paulson plan: give Wall Street what it wants, cross our
fingers, and hope that the crisis is averted?
Instead of siding
with Bush and Paulson on far too many deal points, Obama should draw
a line in the sand and refuse to cross it.
Voters are not
looking for smiling post-partisan photo ops. They are looking for a
leader willing to fight for a bailout plan that more directly
protects the interests of the American people.
Huffington's full essay >>
What are your thoughts,
send a note,
and we'll do some thinking together here.
|Try this out for a solution. Wouldn't it be
Already comes this delightful
idea, sent by Witherspooner Bill Coop.
The Birk Economic Recovery Plan
I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to
America in a We Deserve It Dividend.
To make the math simple, let's assume there are
200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting
every man, woman and child.
So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $850 billon
that equals $425,000.00.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as
a We Deserve It Dividend.
The rest of the plan >>
correction here >>
Readers comment on these discussions of the economic crisis and
One note corrects the faulty math
(which I tried to check, but all those zeroes led me astray)
Birk Economic Recovery Plan.
|Is the bailout needed? Many economists say "No"
Kevin G. Hall, of McClatchy Newspapers, writes:
A funny thing happened in the drafting of the
largest-ever US government intervention in the financial system.
Lawmakers of all stripes mostly fell in line, but many of the
nation's brightest economic minds are warning that the Wall
Street bailout's a dangerous rush job. President Bush and his
Treasury secretary, former Goldman Sachs chief executive Henry
Paulson, have warned of imminent economic collapse and another
Great Depression if their rescue plan isn't passed immediately.
Presbyterians called to
join in monthly fasting in response to global food crisis
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
— at the behest of the denomination’s 218th General Assembly — is
inviting its congregations to engage in a monthly, churchwide fast
to discern faithful responses to the global food crisis.
The call to action comes as
approximately 854 million people worldwide are going hungry and
soaring food prices are putting another 100 million people at risk
of starvation while others live with plenty to spare.
will typically take place on the first weekend of every month,
beginning on Friday evening and ending with Communion or a communal
meal on Sunday. Those who are physically unable to fast may eat
The full story >>
|Peacemakers offer observations on police actions
during the Republican National Convention
has been no shortage of opinions on the police actions during the
recent Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Especially for
those of us living in the Twin Cities, the media have provided a
wide range of opinions, from comparisons with Nazi Germany to
justifications in the name of public order.
One group with a unique perspective was the
Minnesota Peace Team, whose volunteers, numbering about a hundred,
underwent training and then attempted during the week to put
themselves between demonstrators and police, and sometimes
counter-demonstrators as well.
A local group,
Friends for a NonViolent World, was one of the main organizers
and trainers for the Peace Team. And now that the dust has settled
about, Matthew Hunter, Executive Director of FNVW, has posted his
report on the whole experience. I think it’s worth a good look.
His report begins:
a Great Opportunity Before Us!
As you know, our town of St. Paul, Minnesota just
spent five days squirming under the international spotlight brought
by the Republican National Convention. A city known best for
Garrison Keillor and the Minnesota State Fair is now known, at least
for a little while, for pepper spray and mind-blowing police force.
Nagging questions kept bubbling up for me during convention week:
* What does it say about our current political
process when party conventions are held in domestic versions of
* Should residents of St. Paul and the United
States be concerned about Hummers full of troops patrolling the
streets surrounding the Xcel Energy Center? About snipers placed on
downtown roofs? About National Guard troops firing chemical weapons
at unarmed U.S. citizens?
* Is democracy and free speech served when
police practice pre-emptive intimidation (i.e., squadrons of
helicopter gun ships doing maneuvers above individuals assembling
for the nonviolent Veterans for Peace march, police officers showing
up to peaceful gatherings already wearing their riot gear, U.S.
Coast Guard gun boats patrolling the Mississippi River, preemptive
raids on houses inhabited by journalists and videographers)?
* What should people committed to nonviolence
say about the diversity of tactics used in civil disobedience,
including sit-ins, obstruction of traffic, and breaking of windows?
* How best can nonviolent activists hold the
small number of violent protesters accountable while not deflecting
our intense scrutiny on weapon-laden, well-staffed security forces?
Police in Riot Gear Line Much of the Peace March Route
* How can we move local and federal police
away from the worst-case scenario mindset that seeks to justify the
showing and use of extreme force, regardless of threat level?
The rest of his report >>
Freedom under fire
Gun violence jeopardizes American
way of life in costly ways, speaker says at Stony Point conference
Service has reported on a conference held Sept. 15-17, 2008, at the
Stony Point Center in upstate New York, on the subject of “Gun
Violence and Gospel Values.”
The report begins:
threatens the nature of society, costing us in ways that is
difficult to quantify but affects us all deeply, a leading
expert told about 40 Presbyterians gathered here for a
conference on the topic Sept. 15-17.
“There are real
dollar costs in hardening our society [against gun violence], in
making airports secure, in making schools secure,” said Dr.
Garen J. Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine and
director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the
University of California, Davis, School of Medicine in
“But the larger
costs I think are intangible, they’re indirect. Gun violence
threatens the nature of our society as a free and open society,”
Wintemute continued. “It scares us. We live our lives to a
greater or lesser extent with fear because of gun violence.”
The full report >>
More on concerns
for gun violence and gun control >>
|More on Charles Darwin and the teaching of the
We've received a couple interesting
comments on John
Tindal's questions about how the church responds to the theory
of evolution and all its implications, as the 200th anniversary of
his birth will be commemorated next February.
Read the comments >>
|Two ministers defend “biblical
orthodoxy” against PC(USA) actions
minister members of Beaver-Butler Presbytery have drafted an open
theological declaration to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with the
intention of confronting the denomination for its "deviation from
orthodox Christian faith."
The Rev. Albert Rhodes Stuart of Highland
Presbyterian Church in Slippery Rock, Pa., and Patrick McElroy of
Park United Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pa., are taking
action to discern what they believe to be "multiple errors" coming
from the denomination's 218th General Assembly, a biennial meeting
that took place in June.
"These errors must be labeled and opposed lest we
be guilty of failing to raise alarm or of leading 'the least of His
little ones astray,'" the declaration reads. "We cry out with
fervent voices that the flock is under attack and we, individually
and collectively, must return to the shepherd immediately."
The rest of the story >>
|A Presbyterian friend asks us
to think about ...
Charles Darwin and the
Teaching of the Church
Charles Darwin was born on 12 February 1809. Next
year we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth. The
Church of England is taking steps to recognize his birth and his
contributions to the advancement of science.
Click here for one report from The Guardian.
The theory of evolution impacts on some basic
Christian beliefs such as "original sin" and Paul's teaching
regarding "original sin."
It raises questions: If evolution is true,
when did men and women acquire immortal souls? If evolution is
true, does this not mean that other species also have souls?
Indeed, in Mark 16:15, didn't Jesus say: "Go into all the world
and proclaim the good news to the whole creation."
What is the Presbyterian Church doing to
harmonize its theology with modern science? What are we teaching
our children? Do we leave it up to the children to harmonize
what they learn in church with what they learn in the secular
world? Is it not time for the church to rethink its theology –
bringing it into the 21 century? If not now, when?
Sumter, South Carolina
Mr. Tindal added another note from the Anglican
Church, pointing to this report:
Church of England issues 'apology' to
A spokesman for the Church of England has said
the church misunderstood Charles Darwin's work nearly 150 years
ago and that "by getting our first reaction wrong," has
continued an on-going misunderstanding.
At the end of an essay titled "Good religion
needs good science," the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown, the Church of
England director of mission and public affairs, addressed Darwin
directly, saying that nearly 200 years after his birth "the
Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you
and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to
misunderstand you still."
The rest of the story >>
And a little note from your WebWeaver:
I'm no expert on this huge subject, but here are a
few quick thoughts:
We have mentioned before (and borrowed from!) John
Shuck's very lively blog, which he calls "Shuck and Jive." He deals
with lots of different subjects, but the evolution-vs.-creationism
question is one of them. For one sample,
click here >>
Also, the Presbyterian Church has a study group on
"science, technology and the Christian faith."
Click here for an introduction to the group. You’ll find
more on their own website >>
So, friends, here’s an invitation to join one thoughtful and
concerned Presbyterian in dealing with an issue which has been with
us for some years, and has been revived lately with Gov. Sarah
Palin’s nomination for Vice President.
What thoughts (or concerns or questions) do you
have on the apparent tension between scientific and traditional
Christian views of creation and evolution?
Please send a note,
to be shared here!
more on evolution and creationism and all that >>
|America’s values are changing — and will change
Writing on the Op Ed page of the
New York Times, Mark Mellman, who is a Democratic pollster,
Voters not only express a desire for change in the
coming election, they themselves have changed, and their shifting
values are likely to alter the course of future policy debates.
For more than 25 years, three core questions have
animated our political discourse:
• What should be the role of government?
• Should moral absolutism or moral relativism
guide our actions?
• Should our foreign policy primarily pursue
unilateral interest through military power or a multilateral
approach grounded in diplomacy?
Almost every major policy controversy in the past
quarter-century involved at least one of these fundamental values;
more often than not, conservatives prevailed by convincing Americans
that their positions were in sync with voters’ ideals.
But it could be different in 2009 and beyond.
Public commitments have shifted, most profoundly on the role of
government, but also on morality and unilateralism — transforming
the trajectory future policy disputes will follow.
The rest of his essay >>
More on U.S.
Theology of Palin’s church comes under scrutiny
Service has posted a story from Religion News Service, dated Sept.
16, 2008, which begins:
A church that Alaska
Gov. Sarah Palin and her family called home for more than 20 years
has links to a controversial Pentecostal ideology that emphasizes
prophesy, miraculous healing and “spiritual warfare” with demons.
Several Web sites and
blogs — including Talk2Action,
the Huffington Post and
The Revealer — have been
busily discussing whether Palin has been influenced by this
theology, known alternately as Third Wave, the New Apostolic
Reformation, Latter Rain and Kingdom Now.
|You might take a look at one
example from each of the web sites listed by RNS
Huffington Post offers Bruce Wilson on “Sarah
Palin's Churches and The Third Wave: New Video
One short note from
connections may be dubious at best, Palin nonetheless sought the
advice of at least one of her pastors on the eve of becoming
governor, and that has raised questions about how Third Wave
ideology might influence her thinking if she were vice president.
“What are the political
implications if you say problems are demonic and we are going to
address them through spiritual warfare?” asked Jeff Sharlet, author
of The Family: The Secret of Fundamentalism at the Heart of
American Power, an examination of Third Wave theology.
The rest of the
More on the
current election contest >>
An important message from the National Religious
Campaign Against Torture:
Please contact your Senators tomorrow morning,
Tuesday, September 16, 2008!
The Senate is currently debating the FY 2009 Defense Authorization
bill, and one of the pending amendments, Amendment Number 5369,
would provide the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
with access to all detainees. The ICRC functions as an independent
observer whose function is to ensure that prisoners are not denied
their basic human rights. Allowing the ICRC access would help to
end the use of torture and other abusive practices.
Please call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak
with each of your Senators' offices. Tell them that you would like
the Senate to vote on Amendment Number 5369 to the FY 2009 Defense
Authorization bill, and that you hope that they will support
providing the International Committee of the Red Cross with access
to all U.S.-held detainees.
Thank you for your good work in the fight to end torture.
Rev. Richard Killmer
Executive Director, NRCAT
|Bill Moyers Journal looks at hate on the airwaves
One focus is on Knoxville, Tennessee, where the
recent shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist
Church has left the pastor asking what role hateful speech from
popular right-wing media personalities may have played in the
our earlier reports.)
The PBS announcement: "What happens when America's
airwaves fill with hate? ... a tough look at the hostile industry of
'Shock Jock' media with a hard-hitting examination of its effects on
our nation's political discourse."
Tonight, Friday, September 12, at 9:00 PM
(EDT) on PBS (check
local listings here).
It's not pleasant reading, but click here to
a full transcript of the show >>
|Oklahoma court rules that Eastern Oklahoma
Presbytery is legal owner of Tulsa church’s property
2,600-member Kirk of the Hills sued in 2006 to keep
property when it left
Presbyterian News Service reports:
An Oklahoma district court in Tulsa has ruled
that the Presbytery of Eastern Oklahoma of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) is the legal owner of the property of breakaway
Kirk of the Hills, a 2,600-member congregation that bolted to
the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in August 2006.
In his Sept. 9 ruling, Judge Jefferson Sellers
denied Kirk of the Hills petition for a summary judgment and
ordered the church to “convey its real and personal property” to
the presbytery, as per the decision of the presbytery’s
administrative commission, which concluded in March 2007 that
Kirk of the Hills was “in schism.”
Kirk of the Hills attorney John O'Connor told
the Tulsa World that the decision will be appealed.
The full story
full text of the District Court decision >>
|Witness for Peace urges:
Support Victims of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav
Lift restrictions on Cuba, help victims in Cuba
and sign the petition to Bush
This pioneering peace group, in a note to its
As you know, devastating Hurricanes Ike and
Gustav ripped through Cuba leaving a path of destruction. And
now a 47 year old, worn-out, futile, draconian U.S. policy
toward Cuba stands in our way of reaching out to our Cuban
sisters and brothers at this time of need. Witness for Peace
joins the Latin America Working Group in advocating for an end
to restrictions that prevent us from coming to the aid of Cubans
during this time. In the LAWG appeal you will find instructions
on how to pressure policy makers to lift restrictions for aid,
how to help victims in Cuba, and how to sign a petition to
Please act today.
The Witness For Peace Team
Go to the
Latin America Working Group website for more information, and
ways to communicate to policy makers.
|Whole Foods and CIW
Stated Clerk praises pact to improve wages and working conditions
Presbyterian News Service reports
that Whole Foods Market
has struck an agreement with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-backed
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
(CIW) to help raise wages and improve working conditions for
Florida’s tomato pickers.
The Texas-based organic and natural
foods grocer is the latest to join the coalition’s Campaign for Fair
Food, agreeing to pay a penny more per pound for tomatoes it
purchases from Florida growers. The extra money would be passed
along to the harvesters.
The CIW, a Florida-based
farmworkers group, receives strong support from the PC(USA) and
other faith groups.
The Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated
clerk of the PC(USA) General Assembly, issued a statement commending
Whole Foods and the coalition on the agreement, which was signed
The full story and
|We care about social justice, right?
Well, try the Social Justice Quiz 2008
Bill Quigley, a human rights lawyer and law
professor at Loyola University New Orleans, offers a little quiz to
see how much we see the issue through the eyes of those who have
much less that most of us.
He introduces the quiz:
We in the US who say we believe in social
justice must challenge ourselves to look at the world through
the eyes of those who have much less than us. Why? Social
justice, as defined by John Rawls, respects basic individual
liberty and economic improvement. But social justice also
insists that liberty, opportunity, income, wealth and the other
social bases of self-respect are to be distributed equally
unless an unequal distribution is to everyone's advantage and
any inequalities are arranged so they are open to all.
Therefore, we must educate ourselves and
others about how liberty, opportunity, income and wealth are
actually distributed in our country and in our world.
The first two questions:
1. How many deaths are there worldwide each
year due to acts of terrorism?
Answer: The US State Department reported there
were more than 22,000 deaths from terrorism last year. Over half of
those killed or injured were Muslims. Source: Voice of America, May
2, 2008. "Terrorism Deaths Rose in 2007."
2. How many deaths are there worldwide each
day due to poverty and malnutrition?
A: About 25,000 people die every day of hunger
or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations.
Poverty.com - Hunger and World
Poverty. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related
causes - one child every five seconds. Bread for the World. Hunger
Try the quiz for yourself, and see what you might learn.
From the Presbyterian Washington Office:
WITNESS IN WASHINGTON WEEKLY
for September 8, 2008
Congress returns from recess this week with a short timetable and a
long list of things to do before adjourning again on September 26.
This week’s message deals with the following topics
Help Iraqi Refugees: Support Bipartisan Effort to
Address Their Needs
Congress Should Enact Mental Health Parity Before
Call in for National Kickoff Call: Fight Poverty with
Faith Week of Action,
September 9 – 16, 2008.
Isaiah 1:16-17 – Make Yourselves Clean
yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
here for excerpts on each of these points, on this website.
To download the full WITNESS IN WASHINGTON WEEKLY
issue for September 8, 2008,
TORTURE IS ^ A MORAL ISSUE
Religious Campaign Against Torture has sent a new communication to
its supporters, suggesting very specific things we can do over the
next few months to end U.S. sponsored torture. The main focus of
these actions is to urge members of Congress to support NRCAT’s
"Declaration of Principles for a Presidential Executive Order on
Prisoner Treatment, Torture and Cruelty," which calls for an
Executive Order by the President of the United States to put an
unequivocal end to all US sponsored torture, secret prisons and
rendition for torture.
The full letter >>
|From More Light Presbyterians ...
Answering God's Call to Serve:
218th GA Ordination Overture 08-B
The National Board of Directors of More Light
Presbyterians unanimously and joyfully affirmed its support of the
218th General Assembly's Ordination Overture 08-B and the following
statement on September 6, 2008 during its recent board meeting in
Santa Fe, NM.
Ordination Overture 08-B is being considered by
the presbyteries for ratification over the next nine months. A
simple majority vote is needed for ratification.
|Has McCain been studying Napoleon on scamming
Berry Craig, long-time
Witherspoon member and frequent contributor to this website, has
just sent an interesting reflection on John McCain’s use of religion
to oppose labor rights – and compares him to Napoleon in the
His essay >>
|More comments on the “mission study” of the
We have received
TeSelle's discussion of the planned review of the work of the
Presbyterian Washington Office.
|More thoughts on the “mission study” of the
Yesterday we posted a
the Presbyterian News Service on the steps being taken for a new
review of the work of the Presbyterian Church’s Washington Office.
Later in the day we added
an essay by
Witherspoon’s Issues Analyst, Gene TeSelle, offering some
clarification of the mission and work of that office, and of the
objections to its work from some people on the conservation side of
Now we are
adding a bit
more to TeSelle’s essay, as he has thought further on the
And we’re happy to add also
helpful comments which came within hours after our posting
yesterday, both of which support and add to his expressions of
concern about the study.
on the planned "mission study" of the Washington Office
We posted just a couple
hours ago the
of a planned "wide ranging mission study designed to enable the
larger church to review the scope and function of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office."
We are now happy to add some
from Witherspoon Issues Analyst Gene TeSelle, regarding some of
the concerns that seem to be involved in the review, and some of the
important background and purposes of the Washington Office and how
|Two comments to brighten the current campaign
Two friends have shared with us this observation. One
reports seeing it as a bumper sticker, the other as a comment from a
Jesus was a community
Pontius Pilate was a Governor.
And for a painfully funny little video in the
style of the “jib-jabbing” of a couple years ago, take a look at
time for some campaignin’ ”
Indian Christians call for Sept. 7 as Day of Prayer and Fasting for
Peace and Goodwill in response to violence against Christians in
state of Orissa
Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
The National United Christian Forum in India has called for
Christians in India and around the world to observe September 7 as a
Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace and Goodwill in response to the
violence directed against Christians in the state of Orissa.
Read more on the
Peacemaking Program website or on their
Swords into Plowshares blog
For more information from the
Council of Churches in India >>
order of prayer, from the National Council of Churches in India
>> Scroll down the page through the story to find
background on the violence, from NCCI >>
One report from The Times of India >>
A comment by John Shuck, on his blog
Shuck and Jive: "The one thing all religions seem to agree
upon is the duty to kill for your god."
Office mission study announced
Lindner to serve as study consultant
Service reports that "a wide ranging mission study designed to
enable the larger church to review the scope and function of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office" has been announced
by the Rev. Tom Taylor, General Assembly Council deputy executive
director for mission.
providing some commentary on this action, which we will post
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!