Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ascension Sunday

Some of the relevant Scripture verses for Ascension Sunday start with the transition from Luke to Acts and Hebrews and are excerpted below. The Ascension is also described in Mark 16. 19-20 more briefly but equally powerfully: Jesus' ascension is of critical importance because it means that Jesus is alive, present, engaged, loving us and ruling along with God the Father, sitting at the right hand.
Luke 25.49-53
49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
Acts 1. 6- 11
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Mark 16: 19-20
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

Hebrews 1.1-4
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

State of the PC(USA)

Figure 1: The Presbyterian Family and the History of Divisions
The State of the PC(USA) is a detailed report by Rev. Dr. Jerry Tankersley written in June 2013. A personal story of his experience as a Presbyterian the report marks the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a PC(USA) pastor. A compelling reading of 15 pages from a thoughtful and authentic pastor.

Two of his points for the purposes of our discussion - why leaving the denomination is not a great idea - hit me right away from his first page:

1) Since he was a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary the Presbytery of Los Angeles required him to take an additional year at a Presbytery Seminary so he would "understand Reformed theology and polity and would be faithful leaders and not promoters of schism."

2) What the Presbytery did not realize was that Fuller had become a seminary committed to the integrity of all faithful expressions of the Christian faith... At Fuller we were encouraged to enter the mainline denominations with the purpose of loving and serving them, even though they were not perfect. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Reasons to #StayPC(USA)

A few links to churches who went through discernment and decided NOT to join ECO. Also included is a church in our Presbytery of Los Ranchos which has decided to #stayPC(USA). Articles are arranged in chronological order with the most recent articles first. But before you read any of them, I encourage you to watch the very first video link to Dr. Mark Labberton on Discerning vs.Voting. Discerning is all about listening, listening in community, waiting on God together as we pray and share together, not just individually. "Life is not very wisely lived when it is a vote practice... A vote should be the last step." This is why I am blown away by the speed (less than 30 days) and timing (end of School year, prior to VBS, a huge trip to South Africa) of our Session racing us through the process of congregational discernment. I have also included in the list below the blog post advice for at least 3 to 9 months of congregation discernment by former IPC Pr. Mark Roberts. God is faithful and will help us to be faithful too. Thank you.

Video (above) of Labberton, Mark. Discerning vs. Voting.  URL:

PC(USA) Pastors' Study

The IPC Discernment Guide: "As a result of a 2011 survey of its own pastors, the PC(USA) reported that over half of our pastors could not affirm that Jesus is the unique and only Savior."

Is this really true? They seem to be quoting from this PC(USA) report (p. 6):

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tuning into the Spirit and Sorting out the Truth: About the Authority of Scripture

The Spirit is urging me to patience and forbearance and led me to refresh myself with the promises I made at my Deacon Ordination and Installation. As I read the Scripture this phrase - "Let deacons be married only once" - caught my attention. I had not noticed this restriction before. I am aware that many fundamental churches will not ordain women, even as deacons, nor will they allow divorcées to teach the Bible. Does this mean that churches which ordain those who've been married more than once as deacons don't respect the authority of Scripture? (That is, they interpret the Bible as it suits them.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Irvine #StayPCUSA

The Session in my church, Irvine Pres., has made the recommendation to leave the PC(USA) to join ECO. The announcement was made on May 18th and the congregation has been given less than a month to make their decision. There will be two town halls on May 27th and 28th and three small group meetings on June 3rd, 4th and 5th. A straw poll vote will be taken June 15 - 22. Session will review June 24th and the results will be announced June 25th.

How do I feel?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Owl Sight: Smart Love And Witness Data (Part 1 of my Book Notes)

Change is the only constant, I learned from one of my management (Organizational Theory) classes when I was a graduate student. Competence in change is a characteristic of successful organizations and libraries, I like to think, fall into this group. There were certainly many great shifts in libraries during the 26 years (1980-2006) I was in the field: Electronic resources, for example, became predominant in libraries and the organization of digital and traditional libraries was no longer based on philosophical or pragmatic systems of classification but included social and semantic technologies such as metadata among other things. The identity crisis exacerbated by the computer revolution and fast growing new information and communication technologies had led, in the 1970s, to many accredited graduate library schools closing their doors. Surviving schools quickly transformed themselves. Thus, from 1980 through 2010 jobs in technical librarianship (cataloging and systems) and tenure-track faculty positions in the library schools (I-schools, Information schools as some re-branded themselves) continued to exceed the number of applicants. However, the first ten years of the 21st century saw a further dwindling of public support for libraries and by 2010 ~10,000 libraries, mostly public libraries and in impoverished school districts, closed. And, not all librarians, library faculty or the users of libraries willingly embraced the changes needed to survive, and make libraries relevant to people. Almost every library in which I worked had a lot of conflict and unhappy, dissatisfied nay-sayers. Therefore, when I began to volunteer in my church, I was not surprised to hear the "Everything is changing, I hate change" lament.