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Showing posts from February, 2005

communion liturgy

this year during Lent, I'm leading a brief weekly communion service. The service is short, and casual, and the traditional Great Thanksgiving from our UM Book of Worship doesn't feel right for the service. I'm looking for something different to use - anyone have some good suggestions? What kinds of alternate liturgies have you used for communion?

The Passion of Hotel Rwanda

found via The Gutless Pacifist is this article - The Passion of Hotel Rwanda about Hotel Rwanda, which I've written about previously. Columnist Brian McLaren raisese the issue - if the Christian community rallied for people to see The Passion, why aren't they rallying for people to see Hotel Rwanda? It's a good question, but I'm afraid the answers may be obvious....
Some excerpts:
"A year after Mel Gibson's movie, I found an even more Christian film, one that most Christians are ignoring...
For whatever reason, when I walked out of the recent film Hotel Rwanda, the story of a hotel manager who saves more than a thousand Tutsi refugees from Hutu-led genocide, this thought wouldn't leave me: If we really had the mind and heart of Christ, this is the movie we would be urging people in our churches to see...
Then I go back to the film again. I think about Tutsi and Hutu locked in a cycle of fear and aggression, insult and revenge, attack and counterattack. And I …

Who is the Most Liberal?

Found via Time magazine, a report from National Journal: "Who's the Most Liberal?"

This report uses votes by politicians in Congress to figure out who wins labels as most liberal, most conservative. Surprise: John Kerry gets the most-liberal label. That actually did surprise me! Excerpt:

"Listening to her critics, you might have guessed Hillary Clinton is the farthest left of the Democrats that might run for President in 2008. In fact, Clinton wasn't even one of the top 10 most liberal Senators last year. But the true liberal of that group, according to rankings compiled by National Journal, a non-partisan public affairs magazine, is actually John Kerry. Because he was off campaigning last year, Kerry missed too many of 63 votes the magazine used to calculate its ratings for 2004. But his lifetime ranking, compiled from his entire Senate career, puts him at a 85.7 (out of 100) liberal rating, compared to a 80.7 for Clinton. While Kerry was attacked as being to…

Church Priorities

found via Wesley Blog:
A new Barna study talks about the priorities of different churches - mainline, baptist, evangelical, etc. - I thought the statistics were pretty interesting. Most interesting? Differences in priorities between predominately white and predominately black churches.

An excerpt: "Compared to white pastors, few black pastors identified worship and preaching as top priorities, in spite of the fact that our surveys among church-goers show that African-Americans are much more likely than white congregants to be satisfied with their worship experience." I think that's pretty cool.

Also, mainline denominations ranked discipleship as highest priority, over evangelism, which was ranked highest by Southern Baptist churches for instance. Interesting - I guess it is a chicken-egg question to an extent, isn't it? Can you reach out, if the people reaching out are not disciples? How can you make disciples, if you haven't reached out?

CNN.com - Commentary: 'Buster' and the lesbians - Feb 15, 2005

Here is a good article about the PBS controversy over the children's show that was going to include Lesbian parents. You may remember that several conservative groups protested, along with our brand-new secretary of education, saying that PBS wasn't funded to produce such controversial shows, etc., and eventually PBS agreed not to air the show. Frazier Moore from the AP writes this commentary: "Commentary: 'Buster' and the lesbians TV critic asks: What's the big deal?"


excerpts:

But by daring to include two of the nation's 168,000 gay-parented households (joining Pentecostal Christians, Muslims, Mormons and Hmong among those represented on the series) "Buster" was busted....


Of course, no child watching this episode is any more likely to be brainwashed into becoming gay than into copying Buster and growing rabbit ears.

The danger, such as it is, lies elsewhere. The episode's two couples -- Karen and Gillian, and their friends Tracy and …

NAACP being investigated by IRS for anti-Bush/Republican statements

found via the gutless pacifist, who says that some churches are also coming under scrutiny for politically slanted speeches, etc. :
from CNN.com - NAACP says it refused IRS' request for documents -

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Lawyers for the NAACP say their client will not supply documents the IRS has requested as part of an investigation into a political speech given last year by the group's chairman.

a quote, "In a written statement obtained by CNN, Bond said, "We've criticized, condemned and/or praised every president since Theodore Roosevelt and we'll continue to speak truth to power.""


I wonder how many churches engaged in supporting Bush (or Kerry) directly or indirectly as the "Christian" candidate?

Eco-Justice Notes - 2/4/05 - Going Postal

another good edition of Eco-Justice Notes from Peter Sawtell, titled "Going Postal."

an excerpt:

I wonder -- how many others around us carry hurt, grief, anger, alienation, helplessness -- all triggered by their experiences of the destruction of God's creation? There are so many places where that painful reality can come upon us. A stark new subdivision replaces an open field that used to grace your day with spacious views and glimpses of wildlife. Or you are ambushed with a disturbing news report about expanding deforestation in the Amazon, or an oil spill that fouls the ocean. It can come from the sudden hurt when chainsaws level a grove of trees, or it can be found in the constant ache that that is carried by those with an awareness of accelerating global warming.

In our churches, do we let it be known that we understand and that we care about those sorts of hurts? Do we provide a setting where the often-hidden grief and anger can be shared? Do we offer a place of …

CNN.com - Mandela: Rich must feed the poor / Make Poverty History

from CNN.com - Mandela: Rich must feed the poor - Feb 3, 2005. Found this article via Social Gospel Today. Also, check out the Make Poverty History campaign, the campaign for which Mandela was speaking. They're selling white bracelets with the "make poverty history" slogan on them - like the Lance Armstrong LiveStrong bracelets, but more in the style of the WWJD bracelets that were once all the rage. You can order singles or sets, be quite trendy, and the money goes to help a really important campaign. :)

ps to bloglet users - I think my settings have been screwed up, and hopefully now you will actually be receiving the e-mail subscriptions you signed up for! apologies...

more quotes from Peter Singer's Animal Liberation

here are some more interesting facts from Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. I've been vegetarian for over seven years, but this book is what convinced me to make the switch to vegan on the first of this year. I don't consider my self a "proselytizing vegetarian" like my brother, but sometimes the facts can just speak for themselves!

"How much of the protein in [its] food does the calf use up, and how much is available for human beings? The answer is surprising. It takes twenty-one pounds of protein fed to a calf to produce a single pound of animal protein for humans. We get back less than 5 percent of what we put in." (pg. 165)

and again...

"one pound of steak from steers raised in a feedlot costs five pounds of grain, 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about thirty-five pounds of eroded topsoil. More than a third of North American is taken up with grazing, more than half of US croplands are planted with live…

MSNBC - Christian bookstore sells Harry Potter

I found this story via mugglenet.com, the Harry Potter site I visit from time to time:

MSNBC - Christian bookstore sells Harry Potter

I'm a big fan of series like C.S. Lewis' The Chonicles of Narnia and Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings. I could never figure out what sets Christians off so much about Harry Potter, when most of them will read (and love) the Narnia books, which also have witches and wizards and magic in them. Obivously, C.S. Lewis was a theologian, and his books were laden with theological imagery, but they still had witches and wizards, which the Bible would seem to condemn in a literal reading just as much by someone using them to alude to Jesus as by someone just writing about themes of good and evil as J.K. Rowling does. So kudos to this brave bookstore for carrying the Harry Potter books. Read them! They're well-written. I've even used them in a sermon! I only had one person suggest afterwards that Harry Potter books were evil and unfit for church,…