Greet religious pluralism with
|One nation under God - or under many
The Rev. John Shuck, pastor of First Presbyterian
Church in Billings, MT, recently published an
opinion piece in the Billings Gazette. With the
title "Respond with hospitality to growing diversity," Shuck
simply highlights from his own experience the fact that our
"Christian nation" is becoming much more diverse than that.
Even in his former pastorate in Lowville, NY ("in northern New York
in a sleepy village in the heart of dairy country 50 miles from the
Canadian border"), he found among his neighbors a Muslim family
from Egypt, several Jewish families, and a number of Chinese. Among the
area physicians were people from India and Pakistan, one of who was an
adherent of Jainism.
He concludes by wondering
How will we treat our neighbors? Will we regard this
rich religious diversity as a strength - a deep well of spiritual
blessing? Will we regard religious diversity as a threat and a danger
to "our way of life?"
As a Christian, my faith compels me to choose
hospitality. How are we to respond to the alien, the foreigner and the
sojourner in the land? With justice, kindness and mercy.
We welcome the stranger and make her feel at home.
Why? Because at one time, we were strangers in the
In so doing, we may discover, as I have, that our
faith will not be compromised by learning the wisdom from people who
practice other religions, like my Jain friend from Lowville. On the
contrary, our faith and our nation will be enriched.
Perhaps, we are not "one nation under God"
A more accurate description of our country may be
that we are "one nation under many gods" whom (we hope) will
all "get along wonderfully."
But, hey -- his
whole essay is very much worth reading!
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!