Thinking the Faith, Praying the Faith, Living the Faith is written by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship.
Thinking, praying, and living the faith is at the core of ministry in the Office of Theology and Worship. In the following videos, learn more about what thinking, praying, and living the faith means to the leadership of the Office of Theology and Worship. Discover why it matters and what difference it makes in our lives, work, and worship.
I read about the Boston Marathon bombings over Twitter before the news hit media outlets. As someone who promotes peace through interfaith relationships and engagement and has a deep respect and love for the North American Muslim community, my gut instinct -after my initial grief - was to join the silent and not so silent cry of this now widely read Washington Post article: “Please don’t be Muslim.” I remembered all too well how much the Muslim, Sikh, and wider immigrant community suffered from hate crimes following 9/11. In fact, they still suffer, which is why a potential re-escalation of anti-Muslim rhetoric was something that made my heart ache. Like many others I felt at a loss while trying to process what has happened and the implications what what may be coming. Peace and peacemaking seemed like a distant concept, an abstract thing.
When I saw #muslims trending on Twitter just hours after the bombings I cringed expecting the worst, until I realized that the many of the tweets were reminding people to shy away from generalizations about Islam and Muslim Americans. Suddenly, I was reminded why peacemaking is so important in the aftermath of tragedy; why it is something we practice communally. In the midst of sitting with our grief and sitting with others in their grief, (I am reminded of Jesus’ words in the Garden, “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?”-) we also need to work towards peace, step by painful step so all of us can heal. It is crucial that we speak words of healing just as powerfully and effectively as others speak words that wound.
Throughout the search for the Tsarnaev brothers and the eventual confirmation that Dzokhar Tsarnaev was in custody, I followed – and am still following- the voices speaking out jointly against growing anti-Muslim rhetoric, hate crimes, and acts of terror. Just this morning, I opened my Facebook account to see Muslim American adolescents speaking out against terrorism and inviting their friends to dialogue with them about the misrepresentation of Islam’s message of peace. I opened emails that connected me with peacemakers from around the country working swiftly to engage their local communities in efforts of interfaith solidarity. I watched the news and heard about schools joining with their local faith communities and law enforcement to advocate for interfaith learning and relationships. I listened to pod-casts from pastors who urged their congregations to stand against all forms of discrimination and violence. I was reminded that yes we are devastated and yes, hope lives.
So, lift up hope where you are today. Speak words of love in response to words of hate. Grieve but do not despair. Remind yourself and others in your community that there are people everywhere working to put the pieces back together. When we do not, we suffer and our neighbors suffer. Blessed are the peacemakers.
Engage, a new curriculum based on the well-loved Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) program of the same name, is being celebrated by church leaders and Christian educators looking to build disciples in their congregations.
In this 23 minute video, Dr. Hansen explores the hows and whys of the new translation, how it compares to the earlier translation and the original German and Latin, and the catechism can build the faith of individuals and congregations.
“Our kids are smart. They picked up on the message we unwittingly taught. If church is simply a place to learn life-application principals to achieve a better life in community… you don’t need a crucified Jesus for that.” --from website Marc5Solas
As many of us were taught, the root meaning of the word tradition is handing over for safekeeping. We pass on to others the best of what we have; we pass on the tradition. In a really nice column on Huffington Post, Derek Penwell, in effect, asks the question, "what is the tradition which we hand over?" What if the next generation doesn't want what we think is treasure. My kids don't really want this sofa. What will they want from my church?
Like many of my fellow Presbyterians, I have been following the story of the resignation of Benedict the XVI and the election of Francis.
The Reformed and Roman Catholics appear to interpret biblical and patristic "sources with hermeneutics conditioned by confessional and dogmatic assumptions held a priori. This is most especially true in the reading of central texts from the corpus of Augustine’s works on baptism, faith, justification, sacrament and original sin. . . . Indeed, the reconciliation of approaches to the reading of Augustine may open a path for exchange and understanding between both churches in a way never before achieved."
Introducing Christine Hong
In a recent review of a book that traces the life of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah,” John J. Thompson questions whether the popularity of the song is a way for a secular world to have a religious feeling without any serious commitment—as in, we can mess life up all we want as long as we stand before God singing “Hallelujah!” at the end.
That may be true enough, but I think that we may be missing something as preachers, teachers, and evangelists if we dismiss people’s connection to this song too quickly.
Cohen’s theology of this ...
It’s a complicated time, a time of deep mystery as all of life is gathered in and prepares to live in the cold reality that we’re not there yet, pilgrims. So we continue to watch and pray.