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Archive -- August 2001

Links to earlier archive pages are found at the bottom of this page.

Added on 8/31/01
Moral freedom does not equal moral anarchy
Sociologist Alan Wolfe has concluded from more than 200 conversations with people across America, that our people are increasingly reluctant to accept moral absolutes - but that does not mean they have plunged into a swamp of relativism, as religious conservatives so deeply fear.
onReligion.com:  a very helpful link to all sorts of interesting news about religion and society - and the place where I found the story above! (And a number of others you'll find here.)

John Rakestraw, who operates this list, explains it thus:

"onReligion.com is really rather simple. If you subscribe, each weekday morning you'll receive an email message with descriptions of news stories about religion and culture. Each description will give you the information you need to decide whether it's worth your time to read the story. If you read the description carefully, you might even see some humor. ... If you want to read a story, log in to the web site. There you'll find a link that will take you directly to the story itself."

From the home page you can check out some sample entries, or sign up for a free two-week trial subscription. Then you can subscribe for $29.95 US per year ($19.95 per year for full-time students).

Added on 8/30/01
Beloved, Let us Respect One Another  

As we approach the debates on Amendment A, Gordon Shull, elder of Wooster, Ohio, suggests ways of keeping the issues in perspective so that we can engage in debate without letting the differences divide us.

We recently posted suggestions for getting involved in presbytery decision-making.  We've received an interesting comment, asking why biblical and confessional reasons were not included.
Rhetoric Versus Reality: the Role of U.S. Arms Transfers in Human Rights Violations   

The U.S. is the world's major supplier of arms - providing 54% of all weapons delivered to the world in 1999. While we proclaim loudly our commitment to human rights, our actions as weapons-supplier to the world make those claims look like major hypocrisy.

The World Policy Institute web site provides strong evidence for this in its posting of  testimony by William D. Hartung, Director of the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute at New School University, before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, House International Relations Committee.

Holy humor:

Parodies of two hugely popular "Christian" books

[8-30-01]

You may well be aware of two recent religious best sellers, Left Behind and The Prayer of Jabez. Left Behind has drawn so much attention among Presbyterians that an overture to the 2001 General Assembly, and a number of other statements, have tried to contrast Reformed understandings of the "end times" with what is portrayed in the book.

A review in The Washington Times, by Julia Duin, begins:

"And these two books were without discernable form, and void of heavy theology. And darkness was on the face of the buying public, which snapped up millions of these books, making their authors very rich.

And God said, 'Let there be parodies.'
And so there were."

Two professors at New St. Andrew's College, a Christian institution, have decided this stuff was just too much, so they have published parodies of them: The Mantra of Jabez, by Douglas M. Jones ("a conservative Presbyterian," says the reviewer), and Right Behind, by Nathan D. Wilson.

Adds the reviewer: "They are part of a rarity in evangelical Christian life: humorists who poke fun at churches' sacred cows."  (But she lists some other nice examples, too!)

We've just added an index page listing some of our major pages dealing with international issues, other countries, and peacemaking concerns.
Added on 8/28/01
School of the Americas demonstrators sentenced 
Dwight Lawton, a member of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, reports on the sentencing of 26 people who were arrested for demonstrating last November against the School of the Americas.  He also reflects on the reasons for their action.  The Peace Fellowship also announces plans for another action this coming November.
Kurt Norlin responds to comments on his earlier plea for understanding and dialogue.  He explains why conservatives believe they might accept divorce in spite of biblical prohibitions, more easily than they can accept homosexuality.
The story behind the GA presentation on Overture 8

Advocates for 33 overtures to the 213th General Assembly worked together to shape and present the case for a change in our church's ban on ordaining gay and lesbian persons. In a "Guest Viewpoint" article in Presbyterian Outlook, the Rev. Timothy Hart-Andersen, one of those advocates, tells how this cooperation came about, and the reasoning that made it so effective.

Some getting richer, some getting poorer, and (almost) all in denial  

As the rich-poor gap in American society continues to grow, our habit of denial helps us keep on believing that we live in a land of equal opportunity. {"While the average worker's pay in 2000 was lower than in 1980, adjusting for inflation, CEO pay was 10 times higher.") Molly Lanzarotta writes in the political zine, IMPACT Press, that some people - especially women and minorities - are catching on. Those concerned for economic justice, she implies, need to help people see the economic realities, and present the American ideal in more convincing ways.

Added on 8/26/01
Who ordains, and for whom?

One of the major contentions of those opposing Amendment A is that "ordination is for the whole church," and so presbyteries must not be allowed do use standards which other presbyteries might not accept.

Elder Richard Hong offers a clear and careful argument that our Book of Order gives to each ordaining body (presbytery or session) both the right and the responsibility to exercise its own discernment in ordaining elders and ministers, and in calling ministers already ordained in other presbyteries.

Moderator Jack Rogers offers his response to charges from conservatives that the Christology expressed by the 213th General Assembly was somehow insufficient.
What in the heavens is going on in your neighborhood?  

When the sun is down and the sky is clear, there's no better time to marvel at the heavens - and learn something in the process. Every month, this site offers a map of the sky in your region of the world that you can down- load for free, print, and take with you to locate stars, constellations, planets, and other celestial bodies. Go to: http://www.skymaps.com

Source: SojoNet 2001 (c) http://www.sojo.net

Added on 8/22/01
Civility is appreciated   

A number of people have responded appreciatively to Kurt Norlin's reflections on the need for calm in the midst of the "bitter battle" going on in our Presbyterian Church.  Here are two notes we've received.

New director of women's ministries program envisions another global women's theological conference 

Mary Elva Smith said recently that she'd like to see the denomination push for another global women's conference that she said will restore the validity of feminist theology in the church. She said she doesn't want to allow the continuing backlash to the legendarily controversial Re-Imagining God conference of 1993 to continue silencing feminist theologians in the denomination.
Relentless violence hurts, haunts children on embattled West Bank 

Presbyterian journalist Alexa Smith gives a long look at what Palestinian Christians are experiencing in the not-so-little town of Bethlehem, on the West Bank of Israel/Palestine, primarily through the eyes of Viveca Hazboun, the only Christian psychiatrist and the only female psychiatrist on the West Bank.

WCC Asia consultation urges churches to find alternatives to globalization  

A mid-August consultation in Fiji, sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Pacific Conference of Churches, gathered representatives from 29 countries to struggle with the phenomenon of globalization and its effects. The meeting ended by calling on churches to be more prophetic in their opposition to the distortions of economic globalization, while urging them to seek viable alternatives that won't increase suffering and poverty, exploit workers or destroy the environment.

Added on 8/20/01
Here's a calm conservative voice in the midst of all the bitterness. 

We have been in e-conversation recently with a self-avowed, practicing conservative who expressed dismay at some of the things he has read on this site.  He is concerned to find ways to restore some civility to our discussions, too.  Out of our conversation he has written about his own convictions and concerns -- in a tone which your WebWeaver finds heartening.  And he raises question that progressives might well take seriously.

World Conference against Racism -- Presbyterians will be there!  

The US government may not be willing to attend the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, which will take place in Durban, South Africa from August 31st to September 7th. But the PC (USA) will be represented at the governmental meeting as well as at a forum for NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

The First Annual National ASK Day was observed on Monday, August 20th - and we missed it!

The idea is magnificently simple:  asking people to pledge that they will ASK if there is a gun in the home before sending their children over to play at someone else's house.  

New Church & Society editor sought 

As Kathy Lancaster approaches retirement from her long and brilliant tenure as editor of Church & Society Magazine, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has announced a search for a new editor. You may want to check out the position announcement.

From a Ghost Ranch seminar comes a "call to civility," urging an end to attacks on the General Assembly and the Moderator -- endorsed by Witherspoon and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.  

The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, who was one of the group at Ghost Ranch that drafted the Call to Civility, writes about why it's necessary now to take a stand for that call.   

More folks are signing on to the Call.  Please check the list, and consider adding your name.

Added on 8/18/01
Do you want to get involved in the debate on Amendment A in your presbytery, but you're not sure how? 

A recent visitor asked how she could do just that, so we tried to offer some answers. You may not need this, but you might want to share it with friends who haven't had as much experience as you have!  

The Confession for Mission: The Confession of 1967 and the Wholeness of the Church.  Feb. 3 - 4, 2001, at Stony Point, NY.  A conference celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Confession of 1967 will look at how we might reclaim that prophetic element in our confessional heritage.
The Witherspoon Society elected some new officers at our Annual Meeting during General Assembly.  Here (belatedly!) is a brief introduction to the new members of the Executive Committee.
Consider joining Witherspoon -- help strengthen progressive voices in the Presbyterian Church.  And if you'd like e-mail notes updating you every time we add something to this site, please send a note.  (Be sure to include the e-mail address you want us to use.  And any suggestions for what you'd like to see here!)
Added on 8/16/01
A report from Ghost Ranch

Crisis in Our Global Neighborhood
 

Fifty-five people from across the U.S. gathered at Ghost Ranch August 6-13 for an intensive seminar on the looming crisis of economic globalization and militarism. The seminar was sponsored by the Witherspoon Society, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and Presbyterians for Restoring Creation.

The group agreed on a need for our church to focus education and action on three areas of concern:  the US involvement in the conflict in Colombia; the US-Mexico border; and the School of the Americas.

Energy: a really big addiction?
Peter Sawtell of Eco-Justice Ministries recently posted a thought-provoking look at America's biggest addiction: Energy. And, he says, it's time for a big-time intervention.
Added on 8/15/01
How shall we talk about Amendment A?
Gene TeSelle surveys some of the major concerns and arguments arising in discussions of Amendment A, and suggests helpful responses.
Brazilian churches deal with peacemaking and violence

A consultation in Brazil, in early July, brought together representatives from the PC(USA) and two Brazilian churches to share and strategize about ways the churches might respond and peacemakers in the face of growing violence in Brazilian society. Witherspooner Charles Hurst attended as an observer, and reports on the group's struggles with the fact that violence is rooted in the growing rich-poor gap, while the membership of the Presbyterian churches is relatively well off. 

Jonathan Justice comments with some skepticism on the Layman's claims that the Moderator and the Stated Clerk are trying to "divide and conquer" conservatives.  They are hurting themselves, he says, more than anyone else can hurt them.
Our index page of resources on Amendment A is getting a little better organized.  Please check it out, and if you have new material to add or to suggest, let us know!

Church leaders refute Presbyterian Layman charges of "apostasy."   In a strongly worded letter to the board of directors of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, the moderator and stated clerk of the General Assembly have asked the conservative group to "reconsider" its accusation in the July issue of The Presbyterian Layman that the 213th General Assembly was "apostate."  

Background on the meaning of apostasy:  Early in June, the Rev. Dr. Joe Small, Coordinator for Theology & Worship on the General Assembly staff, sent a brief message clarifying the significance of the term "apostasy." 

The Layman has responded to this statement.

Conservatives confront Moderator Jack Rogers

The Presbyterian Coalition held a meeting in Denver on July 30-August 1, to which they invited Moderator Jack Rogers. They told him clearly of their concern that he "may be leading the Presbyterian Church (USA) to its last days," because of his theological orientation, his openness to the ordination of glbt Presbyterians, his affirmation of same-sex unions, and above all his criticisms of the confessing church movement. [It may or may not be significant that the Layman's report now refers to it not merely as a movement, but as " the Confessing Church within the Presbyterian Church (USA)."]

In responding to the criticisms, Rogers is quoted by the Layman report as thanking the group for their honesty, and expressing his pain at their attacks, and especially "the suggestions about my integrity."

Answering the very sharp criticisms of his own criticism of the confessing church, Rogers said, according to the Layman: "On the Confessing Church issue, I have to plead guilty to being a professor. The only thing I knew about that movement when I made that comment was what I read in The Layman, equating the movement with the Christians' experience in Nazi Germany. Their statement that this year's General Assembly is apostate confirms that they are schismatic. But I learned at the General Assembly that there are actually two Confessing Church Movements. One is schismatic and the other simply wants to confess. I apologized to those in the second group."

Added on 8/13/01
Tracing the very human process that brought us the Bible in English ---
An evangelical scholar traces how the very human process of translating the Bible into English slowly led to its veneration as "as the Word of God straight from heaven." Gene TeSelle reviews Alister McGrath's In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture
Sandra Olewine, Methodist Liaison in Jerusalem, reflects on increased violence in that tormented city, and the need for a wider view

She begins:   On the morning after a horrific afternoon in Jerusalem, words seem a bit superfluous. Today many Israelis will say goodbye to family and friends, infants, children and parents, as the dead are buried. Prayers for comfort seem a small offering to such tragedy.

And later she comments:  In such days, we must return to the root cause of the violence in order to break the cycle. Addressing only the symptoms ensures our continuing horror at senseless death in this region. The root cause of the violence of the last 11 months is the on-going Israeli occupation and control of the West Bank and Gaza. After 32 years, it most come to a stop.

To our growing collection of resources on Amendment A, we have added links to other web sites with similar collections.
Church member returns after defeat of Amendment O, and wants to find a voice in the coming debates 

We recently received a note from a visitor, asking about the process by which our church creates and approves constitutional amendments. We sent a brief response, and asked about what got her interested in this sometimes slightly arcane subject.

Her response says something heartening about what happens when the Presbyterian Church makes even very modest moves to be more inviting and inclusive. 

A TV REMINDER
PBS will feature a new documentary, "In the Light of Reverence," on Native American struggles to protect landscapes of spiritual significance.  It is announced the show, P.O.V. at 10:00 PM on Tuesday, August 14, but check local listings.
Added on 8/11/01
Layman responds to statement by Moderator and Stated Clerk

The Layman has responded to the letter from the Moderator and the Stated Clerk by posting supportive words from Bob Davis, executive director of the Presbyterian Forum, a conservative organization that works closely with the Lay Committee.

Davis asserts that the General Assembly leaders are mistaken in their criticisms of the Layman's charges, and charges that the leaders are trying "to isolate and alienate The Layman" from other conservative groups. He bases this partly on the fact that Moderator Jack Rogers acknowledged to the recent Denver gathering of evangelicals that there may be many supporters of the confessing church movement who are not supportive of the "apostasy" charges, and who do not appear intent on splitting the church.

Interestingly, the Layman's headline states: "Forum leader says moderator, stated clerk were out of line." Well, yes - Davis does use those words in his statement, but he uses them to summarize what Rogers and Kirkpatrick were saying about the Layman, and not to describe the actions of the two GA leaders themselves.

The rest you can read for yourself.

The "Council" in Louisville
Trina Zelle, Witherspoon's Secretary-Communicator, preached on the Sunday after the Assembly, aiming to correct some of the misunderstanding of the GA action that were and still are being spread by the secular press and by conservative Presbyterians who oppose Amendment A.  The issue, she says, is not morality vs. immorality, but Jesus' attitude of inclusion vs. our human desires to exclude. 
Moderators begin putting together "peace, unity and purity" task force

More than 500 names have been submitted for 17-member panel

Presbyterian News Service reports on the August 6-8 meeting of General Assembly moderator Jack Rogers and his two immediate predecessors, to begin the process of selecting a 17-member task force that will "try to lead the Presbyterian Church (USA) out of its current theological malaise."

Toward a global peace force 

One of the overtures considered by the 113th General Assembly was number 01-64, from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, which called on the church to support efforts to create a Global Nonviolent Peace Force. This would be "an international nonviolent, standing peace force [which would be] sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle nonviolently, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution."

The Assembly's Committee on Global Issues recommended, and the Assembly approved, action to endorse research and development of such a "global nonviolent peace force," and asked the Peacemaking Program to follow developments, to participate in research and development efforts "as appropriate," and to make recommendations for actions to later Assemblies.

Now Sojourners magazine reports on an already existing effort along these lines: Christian Peacemaker Teams, which have been working in Israel/Palestine, and are now operating in Colombia.

WCC Consultation on Israeli-Palestinian conflict decides on coordinated ecumenical action 

50 participants gathered in Geneva to seek ways of moving toward action in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and identified 7 potential areas for coordinated action.
Added on 8/9/01
US, a rogue state??  

The Clinton administration received the benefit of lots of moral analysis - even ethical reflection. The current administration doesn't seem to be getting the same kind of commentary from the media or the citizenry.

A "Commentary" article published in last Sunday's Minneapolis Star Tribune points the way. It's written by Norman J. Vig, a professor of political science at Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota.

He begins: "We might as well make it official: The United States is acting like a rogue state." He is commenting specifically on the Bush administration's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing the emissions that seem clearly linked to the phenomenon of global warming. He mentions also the recent G8 summit in Genoa, and our planned imminent violation of the ABM treaty. So if any nation is flouting the will of the world of nations ... if any nation is willing and even eager to break the promises made in treaties over recent decades ... if any nation is operating purely on the basis of its own narrowly defined interests ... it's US.

Vig provides a thoughtful analysis of the issues behind the Kyoto treaty, and refutes much of the reasoning offered by the President for his withdrawal from it.

Do we really need more religion in public life?

Religious conservatives often lament the lack of religion in public life. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen offers a thoughtful view that while "it's true, of course, that prayer -- not God -- has been banished from the public schools ... [yet] for the most part, America -- alone among the major Western democracies -- remains an exceedingly churchy country where religion plays a large and unashamedly prominent role."

As a secularist, Cohen expresses concern about "the religion of religion becoming the quasi-official religion of the state." One consequence, he says, seems to be that "both Bush and Ashcroft are setting an implied religious qualification for office -- not a particular religion, mind you, but a requirement that you believe in something."

If you have comments on either of these articles (or on anything else!) please send a note, and let us share your thoughts here.
Our index page of resources on Amendment A is getting a little better organized.  Please check it out, and if you have new material to add or to suggest, let us know!
Added on 8/8/01

Church leaders refute Presbyterian Layman charges of "apostasy."   In a strongly worded letter to the board of directors of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, the moderator and stated clerk of the General Assembly have asked the conservative group to "reconsider" its accusation in the July issue of The Presbyterian Layman that the 213th General Assembly was "apostate."  

Background on the meaning of apostasy:  Early in June, the Rev. Dr. Joe Small, Coordinator for Theology & Worship on the General Assembly staff, sent a brief message clarifying the significance of the term "apostasy." 

The Layman has responded to this statement.

Added on 8/6/01
James A Gittings, 73, who chronicled the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for more than 40 years, died Aug. 3 of pancreatic cancer. He died at his home in Greenville, S.C. His friend and colleague Vic Jameson reports on his life, and Doug King reflects on his life from a few shared moments in Indonesia and in recent GAs.
The Presbyterian Coalition has announced the outlines of its strategy for defeating Amendment A.  
In a time of private prosperity, the public good has suffered

The L.A. Times has published an article by staff writer Peter G. Gosselin revealing more clearly than we may have seen it before, just how skewed has been the U.S. economy during the recent economic boom. Private wealth has grown, and private living standards have improved. But public investment in boring things like highways and water supplies has lagged seriously.

Sometimes Freedom and Justice meet

Some two weeks ago, the US Supreme Court ruled that the state of Missouri cannot discriminate against the Ku Klux Klan when it comes to groups that want to participate in the adopt-a-highway program.

While some felt that seeing the name of the Klan on a highway sign was disgusting, most realized that this decision was a victory for free speech and equal protection under the law.

But the Department of Transportation in Missouri has apparently found a way to respect the freedom of speech, while maintaining some kind of justice.

True, they can't remove the KKK's adopt-a-highway sign, but no one would dispute the state's right to designate what stretch of highway the group will "adopt." So the KKK is now regularly cleaning up a stretch of the newly christened Rosa Parks Freeway

Added on 8/4/01
Witherspoon president Jane Hanna offers further reflections on the Assembly -- not its actions as much the way it acted.  She sees a mix of civility and the Spirit at work. 
Are you a surfer? Here are some interesting new web waves.  Well, new to us, anyway.

Reformed Online has been launched to promote unity among the 700+ denominations in the Reformed tradition about the world. The site provides information and news about these churches, coming events, and a virtual library of documents, books and papers related to the Reformed tradition.

The National Council of Churches provides a variety of information - including the story of an alliance between NCC and Habitat for Humanity to build houses in Korea, and the latest ecumenical statements on the energy debate.

The National Voting Rights Institute has good information on (obviously!) issues relating to voting rights, and the current Congressional discussions on voting reforms.

Consider joining Witherspoon -- help strengthen progressive voices in the Presbyterian Church.  And if you'd like e-mail notes updating you every time we add something to this site, please send a note.  (Be sure to include the e-mail address you want us to use.  And any suggestions for what you'd like to see here!)
Added on 8/3/01
Conservatives confront Moderator Jack Rogers

The Presbyterian Coalition held a meeting in Denver on July 30-August 1, to which they invited Moderator Jack Rogers. They told him clearly of their concern that he "may be leading the Presbyterian Church (USA) to its last days," because of his theological orientation, his openness to the ordination of glbt Presbyterians, his affirmation of same-sex unions, and above all his criticisms of the confessing church movement. [It may or may not be significant that the Layman's report now refers to it not merely as a movement, but as " the Confessing Church within the Presbyterian Church (USA)."]

In responding to the criticisms, Rogers is quoted by the Layman report as thanking the group for their honesty, and expressing his pain at their attacks, and especially "the suggestions about my integrity."

Answering the very sharp criticisms of his own criticism of the confessing church, Rogers said, according to the Layman: "On the Confessing Church issue, I have to plead guilty to being a professor. The only thing I knew about that movement when I made that comment was what I read in The Layman, equating the movement with the Christians' experience in Nazi Germany. Their statement that this year's General Assembly is apostate confirms that they are schismatic. But I learned at the General Assembly that there are actually two Confessing Church Movements. One is schismatic and the other simply wants to confess. I apologized to those in the second group."

Update on the Middle East:  A Lutheran professor reports from on the spot in Jerusalem, where the violence is real and ugly.

Witherspooner Darrell Yeaney has forwarded a report from Dr. Fred Strickert, who teaches Religious Studies at Wartburg College in Waverley, Iowa. As Darrell's note concludes: Read and weep. But then, cry out for truth and justice.

One of the potentially most important events of the 213th General Assembly was the pre-assembly event which introduced antiracism training to commissioners and visitors on Saturday, June 9.  We reported briefly on this in our post-Assembly wrap-up, but have now added more detail to this report.  We hope you'll take a look.
Added on 8/2/01
What does the Church need to learn from Albert Einstein?

Peter Sawtell, Executive Director of Eco-Justice Ministries, poses this question, and suggests that we might learn from that "frizzy-haired scientific genius" to seek new and more expansive answers to the new and expanding questions of our time.  

The Bible has a whole book of proverbs.  Here are a few more ... "non-biblical proverbs"
Back to the wars in Central America? 

The New York Times has recently added more details to earlier reports of the number of veterans of Ronald Reagan's covert wars in Central America who are now being nominated by the Bush administration to high foreign policy positions.

See "Bush Latin America Nominations Reopen Wounds," on the Times web site for August 1, 2001. People committed to peace and justice may want to express your concern to the White House, or to members of the Senate who will be called on to confirm many of these nominees.

This article will be available on the NY Times web site for one week free of charge (though you have to register to use the site). After that, you will be asked to pay a small charge for downloading it from their archives.

An index of GA actions relating to homosexuality, 1970-2001

The Constitutional Services Department of the Office of the General Assembly has prepared a listing of all actions of the General Assembly relating to homosexuality from 1970 to the present. You may find it helpful in researching this complex issue for the coming discussions of Amendment A. 

The Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns is searching for resources local churches can use to develop ministries to prostitutes and other sexually exploited people Materials are needed by September 6. 
Presbyterians for Restoring Creation urges people to contact representatives in Washington regarding the flawed energy legislation now coming up for debate.
An invitation to expanding horizons:  Hosting high school students from other nations.  
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney speaks out on need for US participation in UN Conference Against Racism  This strong statement by a Member of Congress has been shared with many Presbyterians by our Washington Office.
The UN World Conference Against Racism will go ahead ... with or without the United States.  And a major conference of non-governmental organizations is planned as well, along with a Youth Summit.  Here are details from the World NGO Forum, as received from the Presbyterian Washington Office.
Bush advances a "values campaign"?  

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, has issued a press release detailing what he sees as the many channels through which President George W. Bush is attempting to "merge religion and government" by advancing a "values campaign" which includes advancing religious revival, presenting himself as a moral leader, dealing with religious leaders to decide the question of stem cell research, urging abstinence-only for sex education ... and of course pushing his "faith-based initiative" and religious-school vouchers.

Bigger Barns
A new hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette reflects on the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21, holding our "need for our money, gadgets, more" up against the needs for justice and a decent life.
Do you want to go back in time??

To wander through earlier headlines and links:

bulletfrom July, 2001.
bulletfrom June, 2001.
bulletfrom May, 2001.
bulletfrom April, 2001.
bulletfrom March, 2001.
bulletfrom February, 2001.
bulletfrom January, 2001, click here.
bullet from all of December, 2000, click here.
bullet from November 2000
    including reports on 
bulletCovenant Network conference
bulletRe-Imagining Conference
bulletPJC ruling in favor of First Presbyterian Church of Stamford, CT
bullet articles from the Spring 2000 issue of Network News
bullet from mid-September through October, click here.
bullet from July through mid-September, click here.
bullet from January through June 2000, click here.
Can't find what you want? Click here to run a search.
 
 

GA actions 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 of Order.

We're providing resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest are:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which would remove the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.
 

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Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

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 thoughtful community.

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

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 lightening up.

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!

 

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