Published by Dwight on 01 Mar 2011
A handful of news articles have caught my eye this week, and I thought I’d pass them along:
If the leader of the free world can do it . . .
An article in Monday’s New York Times, “White House Sweats, and He’s the Cause,” introduced the first family’s personal trainer, Cornell McClellan, and described the emphasis on good health in the current White House. Turns out White House staff are required to work out and get in shape, and the boss himself keeps track of who’s keeping up and who’s weaseling out. But here’s what grabbed me: according to the article, President Obama does cardiovascular and strength training for at least an hour every day. So if the leader of the free world can find an hour a day to keep in shape, what excuse do the rest of us have?
Al Qaeda: watching itself become irrelevant . . .
Another article from the Times analyzed the momentous changes taking place in the Middle East from the perspective of Al Qaeda. Here’s an excerpt:
“For nearly two decades, the leaders of Al Qaeda have denounced the Arab world’s dictators as heretics and puppets of the West and called for their downfall. Now, people in country after country have risen to topple their leaders—and Al Qaeda has played absolutely no role.
“In fact, the motley opposition movements that have appeared so suddenly and proved so powerful have shunned the two central tenets of the Qaeda credo: murderous violence and religious fanaticism. The demonstrators have used force defensively, treated Islam as an afterthought and embraced democracy, which is anathema to Osama bin Laden and his followers.”
Kind of nice to think that Al Qaeda might be becoming irrelevant, isn’t it? To read the whole article, click here.
(And by the way, if you’re really interested in keeping up with events in the Middle East, you can’t go wrong by tuning in to Al Jazeera’s English language network.)
The lengths to which Bible scholars will go . . .
Here’s an article about the color blue–or, more specifically, the mystery surrounding the “exact shade of blue represented by ‘tekhelet,’ which the Bible mentions as the color of ceremonial robes donned by high priests and ritual prayer tassels worn by the common Israelite.” Turns out that what scholars have always thought was a pure blue may actually have been more of a bluish-purple. If you find yourself instantly fascinated by this biblical mystery, click here to read more.
And finally . . .
News from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
One of the controversial issues that the presbyteries of the PC(USA) have been voting on this year is whether to replace paragraph G-6.0106b of our Book of Order with an amended version. First, the proposed change: the current text reads as follows:
“Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.”
The proposed new text goes like this:
“Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”
Our own presbytery, the Presbytery of Western North Carolina, voted to approve the new language. How are the votes going in other presbyteries around the country? Click here to read a recent summary from The Presbyterian Outlook.