My Thirst for Evidence

“I find comfort in those two tones that indicate that an episode of a “Law and Order” franchise is coming on. I don’t mind watching reruns because I’ve usually forgotten the outcome. I feel the same way about the “CSI” franchises and the television show “House.” This might be my personal television vice, but I suspect that it’s part of a wider fascination with evidence. That is, many people have become increasingly interested in various forms of evidence– through technology, skepticism, a need for healing or a quest for justice – and how it plays out around us.” Guest blogger Monica Coleman shares her fascination with ‘evidence’ from her Beautiful Mind Blog. [Read more...]

Ethics in an Oil Spill: Sorrow in a Spill

“Here we find ourselves again, viewing images of Lake Pontchartrain. This time, the threat is not from nature, it’s human-made. Tar balls from the Gulf Oil spill threaten the lake, as that oil spill looms into not days, not weeks, but months. Surely, this gas and oil spill has been both a nightmare, and a public relations fiasco.” Guest blogger Susan Baller-Shepard wonders who will say “I’m sorry?” [Read more...]

Cleaner, Leaner Form of Government for Presbyterians

“The stripping away of rules and regulations is hard for some people to stomach. I heard someone say that we would need to be “so much more alert” to the dangers of misuses and abuses. Yes. He was right. But maybe we’d also need to be more alert to one another, and to our faith, and to the church.” Talitha Phillips, blogging live from the PC(USA)’s General Assembly, on the vote to adopt a new Form of Government… [Read more...]

Race, Nationality, Immigration, Solidarity?

Seminary student and guest blogger Talitha Phillips files her third report on the hot issues being debated at the Presbyterian Church’s bi-annual gathering this week. [Read more...]

How Buddhism Taught Me to Pray as a Christian

I was raised as an evangelical Christian to spend twenty minutes each day in a “quiet time” with God: reading the Bible, journaling, and praying. When I first visited a Zen Buddhist Center as an undergraduate religion major, I was invited to sit zazen for forty-five minutes, more than twice the amount of “quiet time” to which I was accustomed. [Read more...]

How Not to Inherit Eternal Life

This is the third week of our summer series “How Not to be a Disciple.” This week our focus is on the parable of the Good Samaritan and our topic is “How Not to Inherit Eternal Life.” [Read more...]

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Gratitude: A Spiritual Practice

“Meister Eckhardt once noted that if the only prayer you can make is “thank you,” that will be enough. And, I agree. Gratitude is the virtue of interdependence and connection, reminding us that what is best in life is a gift, not something we originated on our own and by ourselves but the result of the interplay of our creativity and the gift of life mediated through parents, friends, the environment, culture, our nation, and the divine who moves through all things.” Bruce Epperly reflects on the spiritual practice of saying “thank you.” [Read more...]

Praying The Future

Phillip Clayton of Claremont School of Theology says that the future of the church over the next 20 years will not secured by new and emerging forms of theology, but in ecclesiology. By this he means it is in how we DO CHURCH that is important. While we can expect the continued decline of Christianity in culture we can also expect new pockets of vitality and experience to emerge. [Read more...]

Electing a new Presbyterian Moderator, or Habemus Mamam

“When the Catholic council of superarchbishops or whatever it is gathers to choose a new pope, they sequester themselves in a room and send up a plume of white smoke when they come to a choice…Presbyterians do much the same, minus the secrecy…” Seminary student Talitha Phillips files her second report from the Presbyterian Church’s bi-annual gathering this week. [Read more...]

Live from General Assembly: What ARE We Doing?

“Nearly 3,000 Presbyterians have descended upon Minneapolis, with nametags flapping, outfitted in everything from suits to sloganed T-shirts, meandering like tourists around the convention center & associated hotels. We stick out like a circus. I watch us bumbling around and wonder — what ARE we doing?” Seminary student and guest blogger Talitha Phillips files her first post from the Presbyterian Church’s bi-annual gathering, General Assembly, happening this weekend in Minneapolis… [Read more...]

Trouble and Transformation: Reflections on Sunday’s Bible Texts

“Reading the prophet Amos hits too close to home these days. No one wants to be a harbinger of bad news, especially when anxiety is gripping the community already; but that’s Amos’ vocation. To speak words of disorientation, with just a few final sentences of hope, is Amos’ challenge to an already unsettled nation, facing the “perfect storm” of unfixable problems.” Theology Professor Bruce Epperly on how Amos’ words speak to us today… [Read more...]

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The Preacher as Last Comic Standing?

I am a fan of the show Last Comic Standing. I wouldn’t stand up in a pulpit and recommend to parents that they have their children watch it, because it is, of course, often profane and vulgar. But for me, stand- up comedy is a fascinating genre – both because of its delivery and its content. Preachers can learn some positive lessons, as well as some cautionary tales, from stand- up comedians. [Read more...]

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