Category Archives: Along the Journey

From our Center of Lifelong Learning.

Liturgical Gimmicks (or why you maybe should not wear red on Pentecost)

By Andy James, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens, NY

This past Sunday, as I scrolled across my Facebook and Twitter feeds populated with what could best (and very lovingly) be described as “church geeks.” I quickly lost count of all the pictures posted by people of their red pants, ties, hats, and even shoes worn in celebration of Pentecost. We do it in the church I serve as pastor, too—in the announcements in worship and the weekly e-newsletter, we dutifully encourage our members and friends to wear red to worship on Pentecost Sunday to join in the celebration.

But what good does all this red do one Sunday out of the year? Is it a way people really began to internalize the coming of the Holy Spirit? Or was it an excuse to pull some otherwise-ignored clothing out of the closet once a year? Is wearing red on Pentecost really a helpful way to get people engaged in the cycles of the liturgical year, or is it just another liturgical gimmick? Continue reading Liturgical Gimmicks (or why you maybe should not wear red on Pentecost)

On Missing the Obvious

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Some things should be obvious, but often we require someone to point out the obvious to us. A man walks into a doctor’s office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear.

“What’s the matter with me?” He asked. Continue reading On Missing the Obvious

Lack of Curiosity Might Be a Sin

By Jan Edmiston, DMin ‘01

I can’t think of examples of Jesus being curious (because he already knew what was going on cosmically or in other people’s minds? I don’t know.) But being curious seems to be an excellent way to help us live our lives.

  • Instead of dismissing the person so unlike us that we automatically hate them or judge them, consider why they are the way they are. We don’t have to like everybody, but we are called to treat everybody with dignity.
  • Instead of engaging in small talk at parties, risk asking something more interesting: Do you like to sing? What’s your favorite place to hang out? Do you like art? What kind?
  • Instead of connecting to get something out of somebody (i.e. trying to befriend a person who can help you get a job, be cool, etc.) learn from that person and consider that learning the gift.
  • Instead of talking about ourselves, ask questions that help people share what they do well, what they’ve accomplished, what they’d like to achieve.

Continue reading Lack of Curiosity Might Be a Sin

For the Bookshelf: Religion in the New Millennium

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

The collection of articles that comprise Religion in the New Millennium: Theology in the Spirit of Paul Tillich, are from presentations given at the gathering of international scholars of religion meeting in New Harmony, Indiana in June 1999. The writers were challenged to address current issues of faith and culture through the lens of Tillich’s theology, especially as developed in his classic work The Religious Situation (1926). Not all presenters and writers were students or experts on Tillich or his theology, and that makes for a frustrating sense of unevenness in reading through this volume. Continue reading For the Bookshelf: Religion in the New Millennium

Journey from Isolation to Community

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

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of hearing the stories of a number of parents whose children have special needs. Stories of pain and stories of joy; stories of brokenness and stories of hope. One recurring theme is isolation. Participation in social settings, even with extended family, is made difficult by the effort of continual caregiving. Parents advocate for their children as they navigate healthcare systems, education options, and even family birthday parties. It’s no wonder they find community among others whose lives have similar challenges. Parents get to know one another at Special Olympics events, in the waiting rooms of clinics and emergency rooms, and at meetings to explain changes in the “med waiver” requirements.So how can we, as the body of Christ, offer community to families who may feel as if they don’t belong? Continue reading Journey from Isolation to Community