PC(USA) Presidents: Affirming the Call for Racial Justice

Recently, The Huffington Post published “An Open Letter to Presidents and Deans of Theological Schools in the United States.” More than thirty African American deans and presidents of Theological Schools signed the letter regarding racial justice issues including Dr. Deborah Flemister Mullen, our Dean of Faculty and Executive Vice President. You may read the letter here.

The Presidents of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries, including our Interim President Bill Scheu, wrote a response affirming this call “to arise from the embers of silence and speak up and speak out as the prophet of old, ‘let justice run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream’ (Amos 5:24).” Their response is below: Continue reading PC(USA) Presidents: Affirming the Call for Racial Justice

For the Bookshelf: The Gospel According to Tolkien

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

The plethora of books with a variant of the title “The Gospel According To …” continues to fill bookshelves and entice the unwary buyer into reading some attempt to shoehorn popular culture into the biblical message. The earliest of this genre that I can recall was The Gospel According to Peanuts (still in print since 1965), after the popular cartoon strip by the late Charles Schultz. Being a confessing Christian, Mr. Schultz did on occasion openly present a Christian message through his syndicated strip—the most famous and endearing being the rendition by the blanket-hugging Linus of Luke’s birth narrative in Schultz’ animated Christmas television feature. Today we have our choice of The Gospel According to Dr. Seuz, The Gospel According to The Simpsons, The Gospel According to Harry Potter, The Gospel According to Disney, and The Gospel According to The Sopranos (I’m not making that last one up, really).

Ralph C. Wood, professor of theology and literature at Baylor University, has now added to that collection The Gospel According to Tolkien (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003. 169 pages. $14.95. ISBN 0-664-22610-8). It is arguably the only volume that can legitimately make a claim to that title, for as Wood ably demonstrates, Tolkien’s corpus is implicitly, but authentically, Christian. Tolkien’s Middle Earth trilogy has experienced a rediscovery, if not a revival, among a wider audience due to Peter Jackson’s brilliant movie interpretation of The Lord of the Rings, so the timing of this publication could not have been more strategic. Continue reading For the Bookshelf: The Gospel According to Tolkien

Pastoral Leadership and Social Media

By Adam Walker Cleaveland, Associate Pastor, Winnetka Presbyterian Church, Winnetka, IL

For as many years as I have been writing or talking about social media and the Church, I have been pretty adamant that pastors should only have one Facebook account.

There were a variety of reasons I took this hardline approach and even taught to other church professionals. For one thing, I personally think it would be too confusing to try to manage two accounts. And there is always the possibility of forgetting which account you’re signed into, and posting something to the wrong account. It just sounded like too much work to me. Continue reading Pastoral Leadership and Social Media

Growing Into Ministry: Advice from a Veteran

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Lynn Turner is Senior Associate Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Richmond, VA. Some time ago Lynn shared her thoughts about ministry with the seminarians in one of my courses. Here are her thoughts about “Growing Into Ministry: Nine Tips I Have Learned”: Continue reading Growing Into Ministry: Advice from a Veteran

Recalculating the Routes: Journey of Changing Attitudes

By Dr. Evelyn Worth McMullen, Director of Bright Threads Ministries

Parents of children with disabilities who come to church for the first time want the same thing all parents want: for their child to feel welcomed into the church family and for them to be known as an individual child of God. Even in the most welcoming of congregations, however, children and adults with disabilities are often known first by a label: “the child with autism,” “the woman in a wheelchair.” Our challenge as leaders in ministry is to help congregations move from labeling someone who is on the margins to drawing them into the church family as a valuable child of God—a person who has a purpose in God’s Kingdom.

Continue reading Recalculating the Routes: Journey of Changing Attitudes

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