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Showing posts from December, 2004

Help South Asia Earthquake Relief through UMCOR

Here's a link to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) with the information about how to donate toward earthquake/tsunami disaster relief. Please help if you can! More info:
South Asia Emergency -South Asia Earthquake and Tidal Waves
December 27, 2004 The United Methodist Committee on Relief is responding through its ecumenical partners to the catastrophe in South Asia. On Sunday, December 26, a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the west coast of the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra caused tidal waves that have so far claimed the lives of more than 22,000 people in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives and Bangladesh, according to news reports. Thousands of people are still missing and tens of thousands of people have been displaced. The full extent of the disaster is still not known in more remote areas in Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia, where ecumenical parters are responding.
Please give to Advance #274305 and designate 'South Asia Emerge…

finding neverland

I went to see Finding Neverland tonight, for an end-of-Christmas-Day treat. And what a treat! I definitely recommend it. Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet are excellent, and the children who are in it are amazing and will touch your heart. I don't think anyone was not crying by the end of the film, and the tugging at the heart strings was done in an authentic not contrived way, I thought. There's certainly a lot of content her for spiritual folks looking for meaning - there was a line I especially liked about time always chasing after us. Coming from the season of Advent, where counting time has been important, I paid attention to that part of the film. Five stars!! :)
Merry Christmas!

Choose The Blue

an interesting link, found via The Liberal Mind:
Choose The Blue. This site shows listings of corporations, from supermarkets to automobile manufacturers, and gives statistics about their giving (direct/indirect/employee/etc.) to the 2004 political campaigns. The breakdowns are sometimes surprising, and always enlightening, I think, to realize just how much corporations can influence the political landscape. Wal-Mart, for instance, mostly supported the Bush camp, while Starbucks was in the 'blue' Kerry camp. Here's some details from the site, which is obviously for 'blue' consuming:

We believe corporations are as important as politicians in American Politics.

You know what party a politician supports. Do you know how much support a corporation* (through its connected political action committee) and its employees (through their political contributions) put behind a political party, its candidates, and its causes?


ChooseTheBlue.com compiles information from third …

Mary Monologues

Here is a quick link to the "Mary Monologues" that I am using for my late Christmas eve service this week. I always have a hard time finding dramas that I like both theatrically and theologically - this one seems pretty solid to me, for the most part. Check it out:
Mary Monologues: Mary Monologues
By Ron VandenBurg, based on the play 'Song of Mary', by John McNeil

Bishop Woodie White's annual letter to Martin Luther King Jr.

I was glad to see that Bishop Wood White has not given up his annual letter to Dr. King even though he retired from active ministry this year. His letter always brings hope when I sometimes feel hopeless about racism. He brings up a good point about the appointment of Condi Rice to Secretary of State. Though I don't support her positions and politics, I, too, was suprised that so little was made in way of celebrating this highest post ever held in government by an African-American woman. Check out the whole letter here:
Bishop rejoices at progress in letter to Martin Luther King Jr. -
Dec. 14, 2004
Each year, United Methodist Bishop Woodie W. White writes a 'birthday' letter to his late colleague, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., about the progress of racial equality in the United States. Now retired and serving as bishop-in-residence at United Methodist-related Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, White was the first top staff executive of the denomination�s …

a few ramblings: cats, a sermon, and a new link

first the new link: Jesus Politics, who I found through a link to my own site (thanks!)

second - I'm having a hard time getting going with my sermon this week. I find it funny, at least, along with frustrating. For three weeks of Advent, the texts have not clearly spoken of Jesus' birth, at least not in my mind, not in a direct way. But I found a way, as we all do, to see the Advent in them, so to speak. But this week, the text is very clearly talking about the birth of Jesus. And my mind feels closed to messages! What's your take on the Matthew text this week? How are you approaching preaching it, if you are? (Matthew 1:18-25)

third, finally, and unrelated to anything godly (!), I brought home a second cat - a kitten - yesterday, and am trying to introduce her (Ella) to my 1 year-old cat (Grayer). Who knew the stress this could cause, on me and on Grayer! Ella seems oblivious and happy as long as she has something to pounce on. But Grayer is on the verge of a breakdown of…

Ten Practices of Just Peacemaking - Short, Sweet, and to the Point

Happened across this brief article on sojo.net - Ten Practices of Just Peacemaking, Sojourners Magazine/January 2005:

1. Support nonviolent direct action.
2. Take independent initiatives to reduce threat.
3. Use cooperative conflict resolution.
4. Acknowledge responsibility for conflict and injustice and seek repentance and forgiveness.
5. Advance democracy, human rights, and religious liberty.
6. Foster just and sustainable economic development.
7. Work with emerging cooperative forces in the international system.
8. Strengthen the United Nations and international efforts for cooperation and human rights.
9. Reduce offensive weapons and weapons trade.
10. Encourage grassroots peacemaking groups and voluntary associations.


From Just Peacemaking, edited by Glen Stassen (Pilgrim Press, 1998)


I preached with a focus last week on Peace with Justice, so this little 'top ten' list caught my eye.

good post from A Religious Liberal Blog

check out this post from A Religious Liberal Blog.

Dwight hits on a few topics I've been wanting to comment on lately, but they're all here for you in one good post, so I figure I'll just point you that way: Beth Stroud/welcoming churches/UCC ad, as well as comments about WesleyBlog's recent posts about liberal seminaries. Dwight mentions my favorite theologian, John Cobb, so extra points for that! I, too, went to a 'liberal' seminary, Drew, and though the faculty was certainly liberal, there was a great deal of variety and diversity in the student body who chose to study there, and I don't think less-liberal students were penalized for their beliefs. Challenged, of course. I loved my time at Drew, and I felt very well prepared for pastoral ministry, while I was at the same time challenged beyond what I could have anticipated in terms of my own faith development. I wouldn't trade it for anything. And the scholarship/teaching/etc., as A Religious Liberal

Faith-based communicators react to nixing of UCC ad by CBS and NBC

from the United Methodist News Service,
Faith-based communicators react to nixing of church ad:

Dec. 6, 2004
NEW YORK (UMNS)
A nationwide group of faith-based communicators has added their voice to challenge the refusal of the CBS and NBC television networks to air a message from the United Church of Christ.
The statement, drafted by Communication Commission of the National Council of Churches USA, calls the networks actions 'arbitrary' and contrary to the principals of freedom of speech and equal access to media.

...“This is not about gays and lesbians; this is about the constitutional rights of a responsible organization to exercise the freedom to speak on a medium licensed to serve the public interest,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive with United Methodist Communications, the denomination’s communication agency.

“This decision calls attention to the reality that, for self-serving reasons, corporations in control of major media are in a position to filter an…

Understanding the truth (and lies) about liberals and conservatives -Steven Waldman -- Beliefnet.com

Understanding the truth (and lies) about liberals and conservatives By Steven Waldman -- Beliefnet.com:
Perverted, God-Hating Frenchies vs. Inbred, Sex-Obsessed Yokels
Why Can't Liberals and Conservatives Get Along? Because They Fundamentally Misunderstand Each Other


That's the catchy mouthful of a title of this article by Steven Waldman I found on beliefnet. I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here are the main points:

TRUTH ABOUT LIBERALS #1
They're Just As Moral As Conservatives

TRUTH ABOUT CONSERVATIVES #1
They're Just As Smart As Liberals

TRUTH ABOUT LIBERALS #2
Most Are Religious

TRUTH ABOUT CONSERVATIVES #2
They Don't Want a Religious Dictatorship

TRUTH ABOUT LIBERALS #3
They Believe History Is On the Side of Tolerance

TRUTH ABOUT CONSERVATIVES #3
The Pro-Life Position Is Born of Compassion

TRUTH ABOUT LIBERALS #4
Most Support Separation of Church and State to Protect Religion

TRUTH ABOUT CONSERVATIVES #4
They Feel Under Assault

TRUTH ABOUT LIBERALS #…

sermon on Isaiah 11:1-10 by Edward F. Markquart

In preparing for my sermon this week, I came upon this sermon by Edward F. Markquart on Isaiah 11:1-19, the peaceable kingdom. I don't normally just link to other sermons, but his was exactly where my head had been this week. Check it out!

My favorite section - the intro:
"Wouldn’t it be nice? Wouldn’t it be nice if there wasn’t so much killing going on right now in Iraq? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t it be nice if the Muslims and Christians in the Sudan would miraculously started to live together in peace? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no death squads in Columbia and people weren’t shooting each other? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were peace on earth?
Or, if you can’t have peace between nations, wouldn’t it be nice to have peace within our families? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole week together as husband and wife and not have a fight? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t it be nice if your children d…

United Methodist court revokes Beth Stroud's credentials

United Methodist court revokes Beth Stroud's credentials:

Dec. 2, 2004

By Linda Green and Linda Bloom


PUGHTOWN, Pa (UMNS) A United Methodist lesbian clergywoman has been stripped of her ministerial credentials by a church trial court.

The Rev. Irene Elizabeth 'Beth' Stroud was found guilty Dec. 2 of engaging in "practices that are incompatible with Christian teachings." After that 12-1 decision, the trial court, or jury, entered a penalty phase and voted 7-6 to strip Stroud of her ministerial credentials, effective immediately.

Stroud, 34, is not able to perform the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion but plans to remain on staff at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, where she had been associate pastor since 1999.

She has the right to appeal the court's decisions in 30 days to the denomination's Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeal.

At the trial's conclusion, Stroud acknowledged in a press conference the …

CBS and NBC reject an add from the UCC showing acceptance of gays and lesbians

I was alerted to this via chuck currie's blog, and then read this article about it on CNN.com which i quote below:

CBS bans church ad inviting gays
Network says church spot welcoming gays is advocacy advertising; NBC said to take same line.

December 1, 2004: 4:24 PM EST
By Steve Hargreaves, CNN/Money Staff Writer
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -


CBS has refused to run an ad by a liberal church promoting the acceptance of people regardless of sexual orientation because the network believes the ad is advocacy advertising.
The church also says the ad was banned on NBC.
The 30-second spot, run by the United Church of Christ, features two muscle-bound bouncers standing outside a church, selecting people who could attend service and those who could not. Among those kept out are two males who appear to be a couple. Written text then appears saying, in part, "Jesus didn't turn people away, neither do we."

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the f…