Mess of Pottage Blog

Luke's "Pro" Blog

Religion News

Here, without comment, other than the names I give them, are some interesting stories in the news:

Why did Westside Presbyterian Church of Englewood shut down?

Why “In Christ Alone” isn’t in the new PC(USA) hymnal.

A huge Presbyterian church in Dallas voted overwhelmingly to leave the PC(USA) and join the ECO. Why? Read and wonder.

Did mainline churches lead or follow the culture?

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Church is Good for You

Not long ago, I blogged the news that it’s better to give than to receive. Now comes the news that going to church is good for you. It’s almost like there was some kind of supernatural agency that wanted us to know how we could have better lives. (I blogged this on the web site at my church, but the original article was in the NY Times.)

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The Seminary Bubble

From the Aquila Report, but I heard a UMC Bishop making essentially the same point 10 days ago:

Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian Church and her seminaries.

Read the whole article. (Its title of the piece is a reference to the “Higher-Education Bubble,” the broader problem of which seminaries appear to be a piece.)

To complaints in this article I would add another. While I understand and approve of an educated clergy, the period of seminary education necessarily removes the student from the context in which his or her gifts for ministry were first manifested. Since we’re all about contextualization, a key aspect of the missional church movement, it hardly makes sense for the normal case to enforce decontextualization.

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Stained Glass in a Small World

I don’t know who did the stained glass at Turnagain United Methodist Church in Anchorage, Alaska:

Woman at the Well

but it looks a lot like the stained glass at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church in Yucca Valley, California:

Roadrunner
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Religious News Blog

I stumbled on Kate Shellnutt’s Believe It Or Not blog at the Houston Chronicle. She’s doing a good job of curating interesting articles, albeit with a Texas emphasis.

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Brad Pitt and Christianity

Brad Pitt announces that he has “issues” with Christianity, but doesn’t explain why, in a brief article at the Christian Post:

“I got brought up being told things were God’s way, and when things didn’t work out it was called God’s plan,” he said. “I’ve got my issues with it. Don’t get me started. I found it very stifling.”

While he’d rather avoid talking about the topic because “so many wars are spawned by it,” Pitt told Time he feels “comfortable playing within the religious iconography, because I lived that.”

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Pew Religious Knowledge Survey

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life just published the results of a survey they conducted to gauge people’s level of general religious knowledge. I’ll post more about the survey later, but first, let me invite you to take the survey yourself.

P.S.: the question I missed was about an eastern religion, and I didn’t know which one it was. Like Reverend Lovejoy, I had to file that question under “miscellaneous.”

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