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Mark
Hamilton, NJ
Interests: weblogs, church, religion, science fiction,hockey, reading, consumer electronics
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That's a good question. Though I do know of some Executive Presbyters who THINK that they're Bishops. :-) As I said initially, it's a question of if and when our polity becomes less important than our theology for defining us. Is it our polity that connects us? Or has it become our theology?
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I believe that there may be more to it than this. I believe that the lines that divide us into denominations and the lines that divide us WITHIN denominations are about to flip. I believe that the progressive wings of the Reformed denominations will ultimately unite (ELCA with PC(USA) progressives), and that the conservative wings of the Reformed denominations *may* unite. We'll reach the point where being defined by our governance (and the theology behind it) takes a backseat to being defined by our Christology and theology of the authority of Scripture. We used to be Presbyterian because our theology drove us to be structured in a certain way - strong presbyteries over congregations, equal representation of clergy and lay. But that division from other denominations seems to be becoming less important than the way we interpret the Bible and the place of fundamentals in our theology, which are dividing us within denominations. So in essence it's the GRAND reshuffling of deck chairs. Or maybe you look at it as taking apart the Legos from two creations and putting them together in different combinations to create new creations. The Presbyterian Church was created as a gathering of like-minded people. It will ultimately die and/or transform into something new which will also be a gathering of like-minded people. The only question is exactly what they'll be like-minded about.
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Age 42, and yes. Some other artifacts: 1. dial telephone (btw - I have one at home and it still works) 2. punch card checks (from jobs, mostly) 3. Betamax video 4. Where were you when you heard: a. John Lennon died b. Elvis died c. the space shuttle blew up (either time) 5. Music on AM radio, particularly in metro areas
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I stand with you. I wish it could be physical, but it'll have to be virtual. (and I thought you were AWESOME at Triennium too :-)
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Oh, and instead of a Children's Message on Youth Sunday, we have an Adult Message. The adults fill the steps down front and spill out into the aisles, and several are over 70.
Toggle Commented May 18, 2010 on Down with Youth Sunday! at Bruce Reyes-Chow
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Our youth have done a service in Lent the last few years. Innovative, but without the high spirits that usually accompany Youth Sunday. We do both/and. We had two Youth Sundays this past year - one at the alternative service in Advent and one during the "main" service in Lent. At the same time, we have some youth who participate in "regular" services as liturgists and musicians. And our youth who are a Deacon and and Elder serve communion and greet and perform other such functions. Here's what would be lost if we didn't have Youth Sunday. Our sermon for the Main service is usually done by 3 youth for 5 minutes each. This time around, after working on the sermon, 2 of them expressed interest in the ministry as a possible vocation. Without a designated Youth Sunday, that exposure might happen to one youth, but more than likely would not happen to two.
Toggle Commented May 18, 2010 on Down with Youth Sunday! at Bruce Reyes-Chow
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My "Letting Go" struggles ... I guess it's time to come clean. After a 20 year IT career, I'm very close to going to seminary. My Session has approved me and my first meeting with CPM is in late August. I'm mentioning it here publicly because I'm not quite ready to put it out there on my own blog. God's call has gotten very loud. The process of getting here has involved a lot of Letting Go. I've had to let go of my old persona - one that was linked to my job and what particularly that job was. I've had to let go of the idea of making a relatively high salary. I've had to let to of the idea that I can direct my path, rather than living into it. One of the problems I've found is that letting go is not an individual activity. My wife needs to let go of some things too. We're working on that. And I'm scared of what will exist in the 4-5 years it takes for me to get through seminary. Will there even be jobs? Will I be able to meet basic financial needs? I journey on, in the faith that something new is happening and with the belief that I am called to be a part of it. Scared, but moving. Something big is happening, and in the end we'll all have to consider these ideas. What is truly essential, and what is just tradition?
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Mar 15, 2010
1. I've enjoyed it at times, and I like to be in worship with my virtual peeps. Holding it on Sunday, for 12 hours, makes it almost impossible for me to intentionally participate with my In Real Life responsibilities. And 12 hours is way too long - it becomes a series of worship events rather than a worship service. 2. I don't know that it's run it's course. I think it is perfect for special events like the memorial service in December. 3. I'm not ready to step up, at least not at this moment.
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Thank you for this. It resonates with my recent life, though for entirely different reasons.
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We have a few rules regarding Facebook, but we haven't set any for Twitter yet. 1. An adult youth advisor may not friend request a youth, unless the youth asks for it in person (such as to find the right Mark Smith :-) 2. Adults are asked to be cognizant of what they post on Facebook, and to remember that youth can see it. 3. When we post pictures on our website, we never post the youth's names. On Facebook we allow adults to tag youth because the security is reasonably strong (but we may be changing that). We've also found that being friends with youth on Facebook is an EXCELLENT tool for ministry. I've discovered incipient issues with a youth early, and I've done some Facebook chat ministry. Like any other tool it can be used for ill or for good, and you need to use good judgment. Most of our youth ignore e-mail, and we'd NEVER be in contact with them except for Facebook messages. I read the Episcopal Diocese paper above, and I have one counterpoint to make. I was VERY hurt when an associate pastor de-friended me on Facebook before her resignation was announced to the congregation. I'm not sure that requiring de-friending of former congregation members is right - some relationships that are formed are actually life-long friendships.
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I'm registered, and we're talking about a viewing party at the church. Projected on the big wall in the youth room, maybe.
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We just recently went through this with the abrupt departure of our Associate Pastor. She de-friended a lot of church members on Facebook the night before the church announced her resignation. She remained friends with only a handful, mostly staff. I can tell you that it hurt me personally to have that happen, with no warning. I don't think that a clean Facebook/Twitter break is required for a pastor leaving a call, anymore than an expectation that they'd run the other way in the supermarket if they ran into a former parishioner. Instead, I think that the pastor needs to be cognizant of the relationships that they've formed and to be careful not to get caught in the middle on church issues. A pulling back, instead of a cutting off. We expect our pastors to have lives after leaving us, and we want them to prosper (at least we want those we'd friend on FB to prosper). Hiding the new life does nothing but cause an abrupt end to real life friendships.
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Matt, While you may find the PCUSA liberal, I think that if you ask the unchurched - particularly the young unchurched - you'll find that in many ways the PCUSA is considered conservative. The political positions may be liberal, but compared to no faith at all, Robert's Rules and sitting in rows listening to organ music with a bunch of gray-haired folks in suits is very conservative. That's not all the PCUSA is, but that's what it looks like to those who haven't experienced it.
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Bruce, If those are the only 3 theories that you're hearing, then you have to go incognito and visit some churches without a schedule or an invitation. I'm afraid that you may be getting insulated within the institution. Those who are speaking of the 4th theory - that we're shrinking because we are failing to include/inspire the new generations - are right on the money. And more than that .... one thing that I learned at the Princeton seminary on Emerging Adulthood (18-29) was that we need to give young people real responsibility AND let them fail a bit while backstopping them. We have become risk-averse and afraid to try new things - or we try them with a top-down huge investment in a "program". This is why things like Beau Weston's "Re-building the Presbyterian Establishment" paper give me fits. They are trying to solve the opposite problem to the one that we have.
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Matt, Is there a specific circumstance that you're wrestling with? If so, I'd urge you to contact a local Stated Clerk, or even someone from the GA ACC. I've written on my blog what I think the current situation means - with fictional case studies and analysis of each - but then I'm not qualified to make a binding interpretation. If you aren't facing a specific circumstance, then why are you asking? Mark
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I'm feeling a little Devil's Advocate-y today. So I'll start with what I like about our traditional service. 1. Jeff and Mary Alice have been giving me sermons that I needed to hear more often over the past year. I suspect that's due more to my increasing needs than their ability to pick the right thing for everybody (which is of course impossible). But the quality of their sermons is generally very high. 2. I like some of the old hymns. It's what I grew up with and therefore comforting. I have to remember to borrow a hymnal from the church to list my top 10 for PCOCS. 3. The staff makes an effort to incorporate more than just auditory experiences while sticking to a very traditional order of worship. We'll have readings from different parts of the sanctuary. We have VERY moving music. We also have VERY moving special day services (Tenebrae, etc). What I like most about our new less-traditional service: 1. Very personal testimony. 2. Broader music styles (jazz, blues, some "contemporary"). 3. More intimate seating in a circle. 4. Communion every service.
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stushie - Can God read twitters? Can He not? Is He unable? I'd suggest that you actually read some Twitter pages for people that you know, including Bruce. LOTS of prayer going on there. And Pastoral Care. And community. God is in Twitter. Mark
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At the Princeton conference on Emerging Adulthood, somebody asked the question (related to 18-29 adults): Who decided that our response to worship is to sit still and be quiet? Rodger Nishioka gave us a list of best practices for worship for this age group: Narrative theology - tell stories Passion Meaningful Music Self-Disclosure - personal contact with theology Participatory & communal Experience = engaging more than one sense (olfactory important) Authenticity = spontaneity Wonder, awe, mystery, connecting to both transcendence (out there) and immanence (with us) Twitter is just one way of being participatory. And it is unique in that other than the clicking of cell phone keys (or computer keys) it doesn't disturb anybody other than other twitterers. It's just as disturbing as a knitter or note-taker. I believe that many of these complaints about technology in worship are just railing against something that isn't understood.
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"When conflict rages, and doors close, the lizard-brain side of us panics at the thought of not surviving. We either fall into trying to appease those who we give more power because we fear their threats or we become what we fear-- fighting fire with fire." This statement resonates with me, and the issues that I've seen (from the other side) with pastoral leadership. I find that control and power are the biggest problems. Either a pastor tries to take too much control - over actions, people, or image. Or the pastor abdicates control and chooses not to address problems of power politics because of the fear of the chaos that needs to be worked through to resolve those issues. Along with that is a lack of transparency and openness, causing people to speculate on what the pastor is or isn't doing.
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Done. For me, reading a newspaper is a sensual experience. I like to sit on the couch, with the TV on for noise, cat in my lap, and read local and national news and the comics. Doing it on a phone just wouldn't be the same.
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If you're going to start sounding like Obama, do we need a teleprompter for The God Complex radio show?
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An entry from Carolyn (my wife): The God Complex: It's More than Church
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Here are the ones I submitted on Twitter: The God Complex: Catch It! The God Complex: No Longer A Gated Community The God Complex: It's only a Neurosis if the majority think it is The God Complex: We Tried The God Simple and that didn't work The God Complex: If Years of Theologians didn't confuse you, we'll give it a shot. I kinda like Sami's #4.
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