judicialsupport

Legal Writing for Legal Reading!

Archive for the tag “pastor”

Suit Claims High School Extensively Promotes Evangelical Christianity Through Activities With Church

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“A Jewish teacher in a southern Colorado school district filed suit yesterday in federal district court alleging that the Florence, Colorado High School extensively promotes evangelical Christian activities through arrangements with a church, The Cowboy Church at Crossroads. The complaint (full text) in Basevitz v. Fremont RE-2 Schol District, (D CO, filed 5/26/2015), alleges in part:

The Cowboy Church at Crossroads is lead by Pastor Randy Pfaff, and meets every Sunday in the cafeteria of the School. The Church is advertised by two large signs that are hung on school property and are clearly visible to motorists….

The cornerstone of Pastor Pfaff and the Church’s “mission work” at the School is daily morning prayer in front of the School, at the flagpole.  Either Pastor Pfaff or another member of the Church has been present for this ceremony every day for the last three years. With the School’s support, Pastor Pfaff has led these services, ministering to the School’s students and staff while holding a bible and using a public address system to preach his evangelical Christian messages…. Numerous faculty members, in including Principal Schipper, participate in services…..

… Pastor Pfaff and the Church, with the support of the School’s administration, routinely minister to staff and students through the distribution of flyers promoting their evangelical Christian views…

Through the Fellowship’s front group, Pastor Pfaff and the Church also hold weekly lunches at the School. The students refer to this event as “Jesus Pizza.” This meeting is promoted to the School’s students and staff through the presence of a large sign in the hallway that reads “God loves you and has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11.” ….  During these “Jesus Pizza” sessions, which are led by Pastor Pfaff, he preaches to and prays with Florence students….

Denver Post reports on the lawsuit.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

Making Sure Children Actually Hear the Gospel and Not Just a Bunch of Bible Stories

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

We must not only teach children the stories of Scripture. We must teach them the Story of Scripture.

Children have a faith that is ready to go. Let’s not waste that opportunity by delivering a humanistic Gospel.

We talk a lot about contextualization Gospel communication. How do we share the eternal truth of God in specific locations for specific people who have a specific shared experience?

The Gospel does not change. So the message should remain the same, even as the methods are adjusted for effectiveness.

But how well do we proclaim the Gospel to children? I’m not asking how well we teach children Bible stories, or how well we have taught the moral truths of Scripture.

Are we contextualizing our Gospel communication for children as well as we are for the hipsters in Brooklyn or the tribes in Tanzania? ”

You can learn more about this issue here.

The Incarnation: Its Relevance

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“To call the incarnation “relevant” almost sounds patronizing. But we need to recognize the intimate connection between this important doctrine and personal piety.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

Three Questions, Three Fault Lines in America’s Churches

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“If the goal was to map the evolving landscape of American religion, the late George Gallup Jr. once told me, it was crucial to keep asking two kinds of questions.

The first kind attempted to document things that never seemed to change, or that were changing very, very slowly. Thus, Gallup urged his team to keep using the old questions his father and others in the family business began asking in the 1940s and ’50s, such as how often people attended worship services, how often they prayed and whether they believed in God.

The second kind of question, he said, tested whether these alleged beliefs and practices affected daily life.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

 

American theology in disarray, survey shows

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“A recent survey by Ligonier Ministries shows how inexact the label “Christian” can be. Among Americans, 77 percent say they are Christian. But what does that mean?

To try to answer that question, Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of popular theologian R.C. Sproul, conducted a benchmark study to try to discern “The State of Theology” in the United States.

Ligonier notes that, while more than two-thirds of Americans agree on a few biblical truths, often more than half of Americans disagree with many statements expressing orthodox Christian doctrine. One such statement is the scriptural belief that humans are, by nature, sinful and under the judgment of God for sin. Read more

From a historic Anglican viewpoint as well as an Anglican Reformed perspective the theology of the Anglican Church in North America is also in disarray–at odds with the Scriptures and the Anglican confessional formularies in a number of key areas.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

 

 

Unchurched America

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

They pray, own Bibles and are ‘spiritual’ but nearly half still see no value in attending church

New research by the Barna group paints an interesting picture of those who are aware of the church and even think positively of the Christian faith, but who, for whatever reason, feel that actively being a part of church is not for them.

‘Churchless’ is the title of Barna’s latest research into understanding today’s unchurched and how to connect with them.

The research reveals that the number of churchless Americans has risen sharply since the early 1990s, when only around two out of 10 adults were churchless.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

Ministers Can Continue Using the Housing Allowance Per Court Ruling

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“A federal appeals court has upheld the tax provision that allows ministers of all faiths to continue receiving housing allowances. As many had predicted, the court rejected an atheist group’s lawsuit seeking to strike down the law that had been in effect for 60 years.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said the atheist group lacked standing, the legal right to sue, because they were not seeking an allowance for themselves. The court panel did not address the constitutionality of the housing allowance since the plaintiffs did not legally qualify to bring the suit.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

Book Review: A Certain Kind of Affection by the Rev. K. Brewster Hastings

I have recently finished reading the latest work by the Rev. K. Brewster Hastings entitled A Certain Kind of Affection (you can find this book on Amazon here).  This is his second published book of fiction, his first is a novel entitled The Only Way Out for Henry Clatt, and is a collection of short stories.

I have known Father Hastings for many years.  He is an Anglican Christian priest and the rector of Saint Anne’s Church in Abington, PA, and was my pastor for the years I spent as a parishioner there.  As it turns out, Fr. Hastings is the only published author of fiction whose works I have read that I have known personally.  I believe that this affords me a unique view and perspective of his writing that another reader may not have.  While another reader may appreciate his writing in his own way, I find Fr. Hastings’ words a little more intimate and personal than I would of other writers.  I have spoken with Fr. Hastings many times and have been blessed to hear many of his sermons over the years.  As a result, when I read his fiction, I cannot help but recognize many of his word choices or turns of phrase or descriptions of people, places, and/or things as something that can only be described as “very him.”  Indeed, my internal ears heard many of the lines of his books in his voice while I read them.  Perhaps knowing Fr. Hastings personally colors my view of his writing, but rather I think it allows me to appreciate his writing in a deeper way.

This brings me to A Certain Kind of Affection.  The book is a slim volume which consists of several short stories.  As one reads through the stories of the book, each story presents a main character different from the previous story, ranging from a monastic novice, to a disabled man, to a little girl, to a thirty-something woman, to a bishop.  Perhaps expectedly, considering Fr. Hastings is a clergyman, each main character encounters with God/spirituality in his or her own way in his or her own circumstance; through this device, Fr. Hastings draws out the reality that, whether one wants to admit or acknowledge it or not, God will meet someone where he is no matter who or where he is in a way that speaks to him.

The real strength and attraction of the stories lies in the emotional and spiritual depth of the characters.  It would seem Fr. Hastings’ experience in pastoral contexts over his many years in ministry helped him understand and really bring out the emotional and spiritual reality of the characters.  Further, if I may say so as someone who was once in Fr. Hastings’ spiritual flock, one of his strengths as a pastor is his ability to empathize with the emotional states in which people find themselves, and this strength is on display in this book in how the characters are presented.

I found it interesting that the stories did not preach or judge the characters regarding their spirituality.  In other words, the flaws and/or imperfections and/or misunderstanding (or whatever term one wishes to use) the characters have regarding God and/or spirituality is presented merely as the reality of that person at that moment without a judgment on it.  Instead, the stories present people, in their individual context and extent of spiritual development, honestly and realistically wrestling with his or her own spirituality in his or her own way, each revealing God intervening in their lives in ways unique to each character.

Interestingly, the various stories do not really come to a tidy conclusion that ties up all of the loose ends of the plots.  Instead, each shows a window into someone’s life at a specific moment in a person’s spiritual development, but leaves the reader to wonder how the characters will wind up at the end.  This seems intentional as the purpose of the book, and its stories, seems to be, as implied above, simply giving a vignette of various people of various types in various times and situations encountering God and spirituality and working through it in those brief moments.  It allows the reader to identify with the characters as, I would think, most people have found themselves with the thoughts and feelings presented in each of the characters at one time or another.  The stories, I think, help the reader identify the moments of his own spiritual life and development in those of the characters in the stories.  The encounters with the divine in the stories are sometimes obvious and other times subtle, but always identifiable and relatable.  At the end of each story, the reader is often left with a knowing recognition of the spiritual component in each story as something he can identify with in his own life as well.

Ultimately, I would recommend this book of short stories to anyone who is interested in reading short, compelling, punchy stories which involve realistic people encountering God in ways that should seem familiar to us all.  May God have mercy on us all that when he does encounter us, we respond to him with acceptance and surrender.

Post Navigation