Spong on Seminaries

John Shelby Spong served as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001.  In retirement, he has been a prolific writer and speaker.   After teaching a weeklong intensive course at the Pacific School of Theology, he reflected on how that school has changed to more effectively meet the demands of preparing people for ministry in the early twenty-first century.  He is hopeful that this institution's current intentions will serve its students well and may Read More …

A New Day in the PCUSA

The Presbyterian Church (USA) or PCUSA has been in the news more this past week than any time this year.  The denomination officially amended its constitution earlier this year to allow gays and lesbians to serve as ministers and lay leaders. Last Saturday, the Rev. Scott Anderson was ordained as the denomination's first openly gay pastor.  He told CNN: "It's an exciting time for me personally to be the first openly gay person ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and it's a big moment Read More …

Seminaries Are Failing Us

Sky McCracken is the new Paducah District Superintendent in the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church. In June, he blogged about his frustrations with the current seminary system.  This material was published a month later as a commentary by the United Methodist Reporter.  His most thought provoking remarks follow: The most sobering thing I’ve learned is that there is no correlation between education of clergy and clergy effectiveness. I am convinced more than ever that Read More …

Imagine an Institution

A short illustration, posted on April 20 by Jerry Bowyer on the forbes.com blog, was printed in the May 31, 2011 edition of the Christian Century: 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 Read More …

One Big Step for the PCUSA – Many Opinions

After many years of debate and movement toward change, this denomination has now reached the point at which it is certain that effective July 10, 2011, "a person in a same gender relationship can be considered for ordination as deacon, elder, or Minister of the Word and Sacrament."  This news comes after many years of discussion and attempted change. So What? I grew up in a Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregation.  It was at First Presbyterian Church in Arlington, TX that I was confirmed, sensed Read More …

The Women Preached it First

The United Church of Christ‘s Still Speaking Campaign is the most well-known marketing campaign undertaken by a mainline denomination in recent years.  The campaign started in 2004 with television ads, which can be viewed here.   In April 2010, the campaign moved online with an ad designed to spread via social media called The Language of God (read my thoughts) and continued with Uniquely UCC (read my thoughts).  For Easter, the new ad, The Women Preached It First, is an Easter greeting set to Read More …

Review of New Feminist Christianity

Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu, eds.  New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views.  Skylight Paths, 2010.  ISBN: 9781594732850. Meet the Editors and Authors Mary E. Hunt (pictured on the left) and Diann L. Neu (pictured on the right) are co-founders and currently serve as co-directors of WATER (Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual), which is an an international community of justice-seeking people who promote the use of feminist values to make religious and social change. Read More …