Saturday, December 28, 2002
Church of the Brethren officials again have stated that the denomination is not a cult. Steve Van Houten, former cult hero, stated that no human cloning happened on his watch at last summer's National Youth Conference. "We are not The Brethren, nor do we have any connection to the Raelians," said one COB spokesperson. "You can't even begin to play the name game with 'Boisselier'," he continued. "We do not endorse cloning; in fact, at least sixty percent of us are not that progressive. Stick around, later on we're going to go out and bust up some looms."
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Or maybe proof of psychic powers... On Friday, December 13th at 12:49am, Craig Alan Myers posted a rebuttle to James Lehman's "large assumptions", which were not posted until 2:32am later that same morning. (Hum the Twilight Zone theme song here.)
Another possibility is that this is a conspiracy to stir up both political/theological sides of the spectrum within the church by posting orchestracted and almost carefully coordinated arguments and counter arguments on the web and thus foment dialog.
Readers will not be able to purchase issues of the refurbished Rawhide Kid from Brethren Press when it becomes more widely available early next year. BRF leaders have expressed their support for this decision while those in support of VOS have expressed concern over the exclusion of fictional characters in the life of the church.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Participants of the "Degradation and Recovery: Backpacking to an Abandoned Mine Site" trip which was co-sponsored by Outdoor Ministries Association and the Brethren Witness office in 1998 are today mourning the loss of one of their own. Well, practically one of their own.
Ray Wallace (1918 - 2002) was rugged rogue with a big laugh and generous heart. Born in Clarksdale, Mo., Mr. Wallace came West as a boy. He spent much of his adult life taming the country. He built part of Highway 1 in coastal California, he cut trees when they were so big that trucks carried one-log loads, and he made hiking attractive to Church of the Brethren members.
Mr. Wallace was preceded in death by son Gary, who died in a logging accident. Besides his wife and son Michael, Mr. Wallace is survived by sons, Larry, of Winlock, and Richard, of Toledo; 10 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Remembrances may be donated to Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle
Friday, November 29, 2002
Why did the Mutual Kumquat break up? --Kevin
Brace yourselves, friends--this may well be the first discussion of the Mutual Kumquat's break-up that doesn't include a cheap Yoko Ono joke. Really, the answer is simple. They broke up for the same reason they were successful--they were all extremely talented musicians interested in trying new things. We can argue about whether that describes Seth or not, but I think in general it's true. The breakup really began in 2002 at National Youth Conference. After National Youth Conference, Chris Good tried to step into that role and act as group leader. Unfortunately, Chris's first decision was to involve the group in the Chris Brown film Magical Mystery Tofu. While the associated album did well, the film was a disaster financially and artistically. Liz mocked Chris for the failure, and while Chris still ostensibly led the group, none of the others paid much attention to him. Meanwhile, the members of the group began moving in different directions. Eric Stalter became more interested in the avant-garde art scene. At an exhibit in London, he met artist "Yoko Ono" (name has been changed to protect the identify of the daughter of a famous Brethren individual). They fell in love and planned art projects together. In the beginning, Eric tried to get the other Kumquats to join in, but they had little enthusiasm for these projects, and eventually Eric worked with Yoko on their artwork without them.
At the same time, Rob Seward was chafing at his role within the group. He felt that he was as competent a song writer as either Eric or Chris, but the fact that he was only allowed two songs per record--and no tracks on any of the singles--relegated him to a supporting role. In retaliation, Rob began working on solo projects--including the album Wonderwall, released in August and arguably the first solo record of any Kumquat--and playing guitar with other recording artists such as Jackie Lomax and Jack Bruce.
Things really began to go downhill after the formation of Kumquat Corporation. Kumquat was, in essence, a tax dodge--if the Mutual Kumquats didn't spend a large portion of their income on "significant ventures," the government would hit them up for more taxes. It acted as a kind of hippie venture capitalist group, offering money to poets and songwriters and fashion designers. Unfortunately, poets, songwriters and fashion designers don't often give as good a return on investment as, say, General Electric. While Kumquat Corp managed to discover some new talent such as James Taylor and Badfinger, it bled money.
Running Kumquat Corp was a nightmare--none of the Mutaul Kumquats were businessmen, and they preferred to use Kumquat Corp to further their own goals, whether it was Kyle sending acorns to be planted as "peace trees," Drue sending some Hell's Angels over to sort out the mess in Czechoslovakia, Chris hiring brass bands, etc. Word got out that nearly anyone could show up and, with a plausible enough story, get handed a check; without a plausible story, you could just pick something up and walk away. The Kumquat Boutique lost 50 pounds a week in petty theft. Items stolen from Kumquat Headquarters, according to Andrew Male, included "four television sets plus numerous CD players, electric typewriters, adding machines, cases of wine, wage packets, movie cameras, speakers and fan heaters plus an electric skillet from the kitchen and all the lead off the roof." Accusations of wasted money and incompetence were rife. Seth and Michael nearly got into a fistfight after Michael publicly stated that the company would be broke in six months.
With disaster looming, the Mutual Kumquat agreed that they needed to hire a real manager. Unfortunately, they didn't agree on who that manager should be. Liz, Eric, Justin, Rob, Kyle, Drue, Ben, and Nate wanted Allan Klein. Chris, Michael, and Seth didn't trust Klein and wanted to hire his father-in-law Lee Eastman. Chris was outvoted, and Klein was set to two Herculean tasks: fixing Kumquat Corp and turning the Mutual Kumquat' latest recording project--several tapes of them belittling each other--into a record. The recording sessions for what would become Let It Ripen had been a disaster--nearly every member of the group fought with every other member over which songs to include, how to arrange the songs, etc. When Eric brought Yoko in to work on songs and insisted that she be treated as an equal, the others resisted the idea, and Eric and Yoko got the cold shoulder for the rest of the sessions.
As time went on, it became obvious that even new manager Klein couldn't stop the fighting. Chris was incensed that Klein had hired Phil Spector to work on the tapes and accused Spector of ruining his songs. Eric was furious that his song "Cold Kumquat" had been dropped from the Manchester Road album, and recorded it on his own as a protest, crediting the writing to "Stalter," and not "Stalter/Good," the first such song in thirteen months. Eric's insistence on working with Yoko--and the rest of the band's insistence on not working with her at all--drove a wedge between Eric and the others. Rob was furious that Kumquat Corp was falling apart, and that he still wasn't going to be allowed more than two songs per album.
On October 31st, 2002, Chris Good sued the other ten Mutual Kumquats for a dissolution of the partnership, and talk of another Mutual Kumquat album ended--except, of course, among the group's fans, who hoped for days for a reunion that never came.
The good news is that you can get the complete works of Mutual Kumquat by getting their one and only CD "Feel the Vibe". You can try contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Will you like this CD? Mutual Kumquat is a St. Elmo Fire like ensemble of talented musicians having fun and you should have fun listening to this CD as well. You are bound to find something on this CD you like as it jumps from one musical style to the next. From Hip-hop, Emo, Indie, and Doowop to Instrumentals. The CD starts with "Funk Interlude" which reminds me of another band with ten members Poi Dog Pondering. With ten musicans in the band, you have to expect some layers of sound. "Listen to the Beat", a tasty hip-hop treat or is it something more Puff the Magic Dragonish? - you have to listen and decide for yourself. You can hear a surreal peace studies influence on the neo-psychodelic "#54". "Didn't Really Know" switches gears once more for a Retro-Swing sound of Squirrel Nut Zippers. One of the best songs on the CD is "My Life My Love" a cross between Doowop and Tracy Chapman.
So my recommendation is have some fun and get yourself a copy of "Feel the Vibe" by Mutual Kumquat, because I've got blisters on my Kumquat.
1. Funk Interlude
2. Listen to the Beat
4. Summer Rain
5. In My Eyes
6. Never Quite Knowing
7. Didn't Really Know
8. Fingerpaint and Ice Cream
9. My Life My Love
10. Fairy Tale
11. One World
12. Feel the Vibe
Saturday, November 23, 2002
What's everyone biggest complaint about Annual Conference year after year? If it's not the liberals' agenda or the conservatives' unhappiness with change, it's definitely the walking. Oh so much walking. And with the campus location for the Brethren in Boise, we think we've found a solution.
Saturday, November 16, 2002
Kirk Stiffney has confirmed reports that a leading candidate for the head position of the Church of the Brethren General Offices has withdrawn from negotiations. "We were just unable to reach an agreement over the salary," said Stiffney, "and our prime candidate accepted an offer from another organization... the General Board was unwilling to meet his demands."
Contact the Messenger subscription department now to order your special edition copy of the November 2002 issue. Printed on archival quality paper and hermetically sealed in moisture resistant packaging, this commemorative "Issue issue" will only increase in value over the years. This edition historically recognizes the officially unrecognized first ordination of an openly gay minister into the Church of the Brethren clergy. Beware of imitations (there are reports of copies with an asterisk in the listing).
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
In an attempt to stem the homosexualization of their own households, Brethren farmers have been called on to examine the brain structures of their sheep to search for signs of same-sex attraction. "We have encouraged our members to identify and separate their queer sheep," said Jerry St. Kilda, spokesman for the Brethren Congress of Orthodox Sheep Farmers (BCOSF). "It is important to confront this threat quickly before entire flocks are lost." A gay detection kit, complete with a four-color brochure on the hypothalamus, will be included in the next BCOSF Source Packet.
Monday, November 04, 2002
The Church of the Brethren figured in a "Jeopardy!" question in an October broadcast of the popular TV game show. The contestant who got the question, related to the denomination's early nickname of "Dunkards," answered it correctly.
A reader recieved the following crank mail:
From: "Mary D. Nolen"
Subject: Your religion
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 23:28:38 -0600
If this is the Church of the Brethren that I saw on one of the hour news shows on TV (ie. 20/20, 60 minutes), you were depicted as taking in young adults, especially college students, and brainwashing them, and keeping them from contact with any of their family, etc. I am a Christian washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray for you and your church. I got a horrible feeling about your organization when I watched the show and I plan to spread this bad news whenever I can. It may be until the end of the world that the truth about you is revealed. Many will come in Jesus name but Jesus will say at the last judgment, "Away from me, I never knew you." Please do not communicate with me as I think you are wolves in sheep's clothing! If you are guilty of the accusations I saw on TV, God have Mercy on your souls. You would be just another religion, and religion is man trying to reach God. Christianity is God reaching down to man. Many are called but few are chosen. It would help for you to have a study of the five points of John Calvin and read C.H. Spurgeon and Arthur Pinck's writings along with the scriptures.
--- Mary D. Nolen
In spite of the speaker's values, which we hope liberals and conservatives alike can both agree are not fitting with the Church of the Brethren's pacifist history, there have been no calls from any corners to boycott the presentation at Colorado State University's Moby Arena on November 6th.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Dunk the dead by lightning in a cold water bath for two hours and if still dead, add vinegar and soak for an hour more.
Long story short, I imagined the Inglenook Cookbook to be almost unobtainable; yet when I started looking, I found the 1911 version still being published, unrevised. My copy finally came today and looking through it is like trip, trip, tripping through a long, dead past. Not only does the cookbook have recipes for things that need animal feet, whole-split calf heads, something called 'prune whip', and from what I can tell, a dessert called Silver Pudding with Gold Dressing which is nothing more then beaten egg whites covered in yolk, it also has a recipe section for taking care of the sick. Need a recipe for toast soaked in hot water and strained to help settle your stomach? I got it. Need something to dab on that nasty rattlesnake bite? Got that too. The amazing part of this book is it's history as a collection of recipes from the sisters of the Church of the Brethren, a liberal offshoot of the German Baptist faith. Anyway, there might not be any cures for death by lightning in it's pages, but the book is an honest to god, real thing. The closest we have, I think, to some actual witchy juju. I'm so cooking diner this weekend.
Facing present realities, the General Board turned to a "Reduced Resources Program Scenario" in constructing its comprehensive plan at its October 12-15 meetings in Elgin. An operating deficit of nearly $800,000 through September was reported; a plunge which could drain away nearly a third of the agency's General Programs net asset reserves. Treasurer Judy Keyser termed the financial situation for 2002 and coming years as "not a rosy picture" meaning that the financial situation was akin to a submarine with a screen door. Meanwhile, to help shore up any leaks, the board has approved expenditures of up to $1.4 million. And in other news, the general secretary search committee hopes to call a candidate in time for consideration at the March board meeting, allowing a new general secretary to be in place in time to witness the "resource reductions."
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When you visit this website, we do not bother to collect general information such as your browser type, operating system, and the domain from which you came. With any luck, you're able to read most of what we have posted. Such information would have only been used in aggregate and could help us better manage the site, but we have day jobs.
Also, attending events which are routinely covered by denominational communication staff gives permission for the Church of the Brethren and its related agencies to use your photograph in online coverage. It is this coverage which we here at the Gospel Messenger tend to exploit.
Monday, October 14, 2002
|Inspired by the success of the Rally Monkey for the Angels baseball team, members of the Church of the Brethren are being encourage to bring "Mission Monkey" stuffed animals to Church on Global Mission Sunday. Imagine your congregation filled with people swinging monkeys around showing their support for our brothers and sisters in Brazil, Sudan, and Costa Rica.|
There is nothing wrong with our mission program that a good gimic won't cure.
Saturday, October 05, 2002
|Anyone who grew up in the 70's surely remembers those hilarious Slim Whitman TV commercials...as kids we had never heard of Slim Whitman, but here was this yodeling cowboy who claimed to have sold more records than anyone in the world! According to Slim Whitman Collector's International he "has sold 70,000,000 records world wide and has wall to wall gold, platinum and double platinum records. His television marketed LP "All My Best" sold 4,000,000 units which is a TV marketing record. Slim is noted to be one of the world's greatest yodelers and has a range of over 3 octaves." That's so weird, because in all our years of collecting, we've never met one person who admits to owning a Slim Whitman album!|
Slim most recently gained national attention in Tim Burton's sci-fi comedy remake of Mars Attacks. Slim's rendition of "Indian Love Song" was found to be the only weapon that would destroy the alien invaders. Playing this song in the presence of aliens caused their heads to explode!
And need we mention it? Slim is Brethren!
Thursday, October 03, 2002
NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF THE MICHIGAN COB CONGREGATIONS HAVE CHOSEN TO WITHHOLD CONTRIBUTIONS to the District. Michigan District, already in difficult circumstances, has 22 congregations. The "power of the purse" often has a sobering effect on those who would take the Church of the Brethren in unbiblical directions.
It's also been said that a delegate to another District Conference spoke of how much money a specific congregation has given to the District. Is this what it has come down to ... money?
"A friend of mine calls this 'lawlessness.' Why should any congregation heed the larger denomination?"
[Ah... the irony - The Editors]
When I read the response to Dr. Laura I was offended at the mockery aimed at the writings in Leviticus. Apparently the writer didn't realize that these rules were written for a specific people at a specific time in history when these people needed these laws to bring them closer to their understanding and obedience to their God. Of course, those kinds of standards don't apply to us today. Why make fun of them?!
If one follows this logic sent in to Dr. Laura, we would belittle the 10 Commandments and we would all be "doing it to one another before they do it to us"! We would be ridiculing the beauty of the creation story. We would be laughing at the prophetic statements of Isaiah. We would be calling Jesus' statement of coming to fulfill the law a bunch of hogwash. Need I say more?
This philosophy of ridicule is destructive to a philosophy which has held people together for generations.
Thank you for letting me "voice" my feelings!
[The note above wasn't written in response to our posting - The Editors]
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Laura Schlessinger is a US radio personality. Recently, she said that as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned in any circumstance.
The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet:
Dear Dr. Laura
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them.
- When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
- I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
- I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev.15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell ? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
- Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
- I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
- A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
- Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some room for negotiation here?
- Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
- I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if wear gloves?
- My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
Your devoted disciple and adoring fan,_______________________________________________________
After much hand wringing and hair pulling and with much fanfare, the Gospel Messenger announces that it has no plans to change its name.
However, you can watch for changes and new postings by using the ChangeDetection monitor found in the right column of this web page.
Sunday, September 22, 2002
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Once again the Southeastern District Board is calling on their district youth to boycott a Brethren event. This time around, they've asked the district's youth to boycott District Conference at "inclusive" Mars Hill College because Conference planners moved the location away from the conservative Johnson Bible College.
Friday, September 13, 2002
The issue of homosexuality is not the only issue of disagreement in the Church of the Brethren. While the national General Board staff invoke Luke 10:25-37, and wail for an end of sanctions against the people of Iraq, the Brethren Revival Fellowship appear to be saying that our government should continue to cause suffering for the Iraqi people until such a time as Saddam Hussein's compassion for his people should become more apparent than our own.
(And when's the last time that the national staff had a biblical reasoning behind their actions and the BRF didn't? - the Editors)
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Jim Yaussy Albright, District Executive of the Illinois/Wisconsin District announced today that congregations that forfeit leadership within the district of South/Central Indiana District would be invited to join the Illinois/Wisconsin District. "Due to the closing of several congregations over the past few years we could use some additional leadership here." When concerns were raised about the ability of these new leaders to attend meetings, Jim pointed out that most people don't go to most of the meetings anyway.
Those who think that the Illinois/Wisconsin District should stay within it's geographical boundaries are reminded that the district is following the lead of the Atlantic Northeast District which includes a congregation in Maine, and the Pennsylvania Southern District which includes a congregation in Vermont.
The Illinois/Wisconsin District is also claiming Kentucky, which will be an issue at the Ohio Southern District Conference, October 11 and 12th.
The Gospel Messenger would like to remind you to sign up for next spring's Young Adult Conference.
May 23-25, 2003
Camp Eder, Fairfield, Pennsylvania
"Being Brethren in Today's Culture"
Leader: Shawn Replogle
Register early, as only the first 2,000 registration will be accepted. Shawn Replogle indicated that the sudden popularity of YAC is not due to his leadership, and that he doesn't expect many of the conference attenders to join BVS unit #255 which has been renamed the "Replogle Unit" after the amazing demand for units with ties to famous Brethren leaders. Shawn insists that his fifteen minutes of fame are long over, and that today's young adults are the real hero's within the church.
Friday, September 06, 2002
Tired of having to check our site every hour to see whether we've posted something new? If you'd like to get an email message notifying you when something's been posted, enter your email address in the box on the right and click the OK button. We're using a service provided by ChangeDetection, and initial tests have shown it to be useful. And once you've started monitoring this web page, you can add other pages to your watch list too.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
The following is the Gospel Messenger's paraphrase of a column in the San Franciso Chronicle:
Now, we can't avoid it any longer. It appears the elephant in the living room isn't going away; he's ordering pizza and settling in.
Should [we] have a [questionable] member? In an egalitarian world, yes. It is the 21st century, in case [anyone] has failed to check [their] Farmer's Almanac. And the spread of diversity, in a newsroom, classroom or boardroom, has never hurt life experience. Usually, it enriches. Moreover, as a fellow journalist pointed out, in the ledgers of social history, intolerance has never fared too well. Some have said that including an inevitably rich and well-connected [questionable person] to an already rich and well-connected membership is not worth debating, pointing out this is not about Rosa Parks trying to sit in the front of a bus. True enough. But symbols are important. [The larger group] invites the world to its [calling] and its [big event] every year. The idea that a [child] of mine [might] never have the chance to join the [larger group] that hosts it is, frankly, a tad irksome.
All that said, consider the issue. Voting rights and domestic partners' health benefits are issues of considerable weight. But is this? There exists underneath [this liberal] battle cry a hint of forced morality that feels dangerous.
America has taken on a homogenous tone of late, the undercurrent being: If you don't think the way I think, I will browbeat you until you do. Force-feeding social ethics is a risky business. The great writer Bob Verdi wrote that if a [group] can't choose its own members -- old, young, male, female, [straight, alternative] -- then where can you go to get away from everybody? Precisely.
What was it a great American once said? I may not agree with the prevalence of men's rest rooms at your golf club, but I will defend to my death your right to have them.
Brian Murphy, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
VOS vs. BRF
In the far left corner we have "Voices for an Open Spirit", represented by James H. Lehman.
And in the far right corner we have the "Brethren Revival Fellowship", represented by Craig Alan Myers.
Both views are online, but are the sides talking to each other or just reacting to each other? In either case, it's entertaining.
Boy, all I can say is I'm sure glad I'm not from the Southeastern District! This will be my first NOAC (at age 50 years and 2 weeks), and I certainly don't plan to go to all the sessions. I mean, after all, I have to take naps sometime, since I'm old now.
Speaking of boycotts, we just learned this evening where the usage of that word comes from. You can find it at http://www.web.net/~procott/page5.html.
Monday, September 02, 2002
I am writing to protest the Gospel Messenger's reporting of the flawed Princeton Review. We are not homogeneous. Only 91% of us are Caucasian. Juniata is also host to many foreign exchange students who are fun to hang out with and make daily life interesting. We are a diverse group and I defy you to find anybody at Juniata who would say any differently.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Please let the GM editors buy a few indulgences and present some thoughts. Judy Mills Reimer's resignation could just be the financial shot in the arm that the denomination so sorely needs. Don't get us wrong; it's not that we think that giving has been withheld because of her leadership. Instead, it's the vacancy that's been created that could prove to be a boon. It is a vacancy which just cries loudly for the attention of every special interest group in the denomination.
It's the well known "Golden Rule." Those who have the gold make the rules. If a group wants to peddle their influence they are going to have to show they've got clout, and it's going to be the financial clout that carries the most weight. So there is an opportunity on the horizon and when it comes knocking, it could very well have its wallet out. The General Board just needs to take its time in its search for a new General Secretary. And each group that tries to influence the search process with threats of withholding should be shown another group that has given significantly and has its own agenda. Ideally, we'll have givers scrambling over each other to see who can be the most generous in order to prove their influential ability and, as a result, the denominations coffers will be filled.
And let's not stop with the search for the next General Secretary. We can extend this to Annual Conference and base congregations' representation on their denominational giving. After all, why should a congregation that does not give money to the programs of Annual Conference have an equal voice in how those programs are run as a congregation that supports them generously? Rather than making decisions based on what might be lost, Annual Conference and the General Board would be able to make decisions on what's actually been given.
The Princeton Review annually ranks colleges across the country in several categories. Each of their rankings will give you an unbiased and uncensored view of each school profiled. They can guarantee that their candid profiles will seldom be found in any admissions office glossy view book. The important thing to remember is that each ranking is based on what the real experts, current college students, tell the Princeton Review about their schools. What could be more useful to students choosing a college than the opinions of current students?
Their list of the top party schools recently garnered a lot of press coverage. And, while none of the Brethren affiliated colleges made that particular list, one of them made it to the top 20 of a couple of their other lists. Juniata College ranks 8th on the "homogeneous student population" list and 14th on the "alternative lifestyles not an alternative" list.
As a service to our readers, the GM staff have gleaned the Princeton Review statistics for the Brethren schools and done some ranking of our own.
Most Comfortable Brethren College: Elizabethtown College (% Living on Campus: 85)
Least Comfortable: University of LaVerne (% Living on Campus: 35)
Smartest Brethren Faculty: Juniata College (% of Faculty with PhDs: 81)
Dimmest Brethren Faculty: University of LaVerne (% of Faculty with PhDs: 49)
Most Organized Brethren College: Juniata College (Registered Organizations: 97)
Least Organized: Manchester College (Registered Organizations: 38)
Note: McPherson College numbers for this statistic were not available.
Most Affordable Brethren College: McPherson College (Annual Tuition: $12,500)
Most Expensive: Juniata College (Annual Tuition: $21,160)
Brethren College with the Lightest Reading: Juniata College (Average Annual Book Expenses: $450)
Heaviest Reading: University of LaVerne (Average Annual Book Expenses: $846)
Best Brethren College to Find a Woman: Elizabethtown College (% Mail/Female: 38/62)
Best Brethren College to Find a Man: McPherson College (% Male/Female: 49/51)
Brethren College with the Happiest Freshman: Juniata College (% Freshman Returning for Soph Year: 90)
Least Pleased Freshman: McPherson College (% Freshman Returning for Soph Year: 45)
Most Generous Diploma Mill: Juniata College (% Freshman Graduating in 4 Years: 69)
Stingiest with the Sheep Skins: McPherson College (% Freshman Graduating in 4 Years: 30)
Easiest Brethren College to Get Into: Bridgewater College (Accepted as % of Applied: 87)
Hardest Brethren College to Get Into: Elizabethtown College and McPherson College (Accepted as % of Applied: 69)
Brightest Brethren College Students: Juniata College (% Freshman in Top 10% of HS Class: 39%)
Dimmest Bulbs: McPherson College (% Freshman in Top 10% of HS Class: 7%)
And, for the record, only one of the six schools we looked at does not list any religious affiliation with the Church of the Brethren.
Saturday, August 17, 2002
WHEREAS the Southeastern District Youth, meeting at National Youth Conference (NYC) in July 2002, having been asked to violate a signed covenant;
AND WHEREAS such a violation prohibited participation if the full NYC experience;
AND WHEREAS the youth do not wish the elders of their district to have similar, partial worship experiences;
AND WHEREAS the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) is a program of the Association of Brethren Caregivers;
AND WHEREAS the NOAC attempts to provide a NYC like experience to the elders of the denomination;
BE IT RESOLVED:
That the District Youth affirm NOAC;
That the District Youth encourage elders to attend National Older Adult Conference;
That NOAC attendees be encouraged to sign a covenant that they will attend each and every one of the presenters' sessions.
This the 21st day of July 2002.
Thursday, August 01, 2002
Mutual Geritol joins the list of performers at this fall's NOAC where they will be performing at Thursday evening's late night concert in the Stuart Auditorium at 9:00pm. Mutual Geritol is a five person band from the Timbercrest Retirement Community. The group plays a wide variety of music, including folk, polka, acapella, jazz and gospel. The MG combines rich harmonies, high energy, a sense of humor, and a welcoming spirit. Song lyrics explore such topics as spirituality, love, community, justice, and play. Band members have a passion for music and believe that it can be a creative force for social change. When they're not rocking on the road or rocking in chairs at Timbercrest, you can catch their act at North Manchester's Firehouse.
Monday, July 29, 2002
Artist: Brett Clark, Angie Eubank, Joseph Helfrich, Shawn Kirchner, Brian McCullough, and Gloria Ruemping
Album Title: For Such Time As This
Styles: Way Cool
This disc contains 12 songs sung at the 2002 National Youth Conference, chosen by the NYC Music Coordinators (Joseph "The Guitar Man" Helfrich, and Shawn Kirchner) while under the influence of the holy spirit. These selections are some of the most meaningful, memorable, and spiritually fulfilling songs from conference worship celebrations. What a pleasant surprise to find a CD in your registration package the first day. It didn't look like much living simply in a 100% recycled fiber with over 70% post-consumer content packaging. As quick as you can say "N'nung Yeh Dah" the word got out that you had to check this CD out. The Breman Church of the Brethren Youth Group sound terrific on the theme song. The story goes that one of the members of the youth group that was responsible for writing a major portion of the theme song was unable to come to NYC and lead the song, because they are too young and are just going into high school.
This CD is so much more useful than the "Plan a Day" calendar that was the free throw away at the last NYC. People who were not at this conference are going to be jealous that they do not have their own copy. It is that good.
Next time I hope they can do a double CD, because you did leave off some of my favorites like "Great Spirit in the Quiet", "N'nung Dah", and the "Peace Pilgrim's Prayer". But I can't think of a single track that I would want to remove from this CD to make room for those songs. One of the neat things about the selections on this CD is that they are the spiritual songs that remind you of the times at NYC when you were connected with God. The sound on this CD is excellent and you can easily hear the different parts of the songs. I would write more about the CD, but I want to go off and listen to it again and again.
- For Such Time As This Page 8
- Gathering Chant Page 14
- Teresa's Prayer Page 31
- Enviado Soy De Dios Page 13
- Spirit of Life Page 35
- Fluye Espiritu Fluye Page 14
- Brethren We Have Met to Worship Page 7
- Take O Take Me As I Am Page 35
- Give Me Jesus Page 16
- Come All You People Page 12
- And When I Rise Page 7
- Guide My Feet Page 18
Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross Bob Gross
“My Mother just loves the Gospel Messenger. She likes how you mention my Dad so often.” -Heidi
We are happy to please (and just as happy to upset).
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Julie Garber has announced her resignation as editor of books and study resources for Brethren Press effective August 9 in order to accept a new position at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind. This leaves a vacanct position for someone who will be able to promote our distinctives of peace, noncomfority, and community. Spell checking is optional.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
The five-person study committee of Ben Barlow from Faith Church, Jeff Carter from Neighborhood Church, Alberto Gonzalez from Circle of Peace, Shawn Kirchner from Open Circle Fellowship, and Shirley McCracken Spire from Church of the Living Savior has started a "a denomination-wide dialogue" on the denomination's name by rejecting "Church of the Siblings of the Same Mother" suggested by our sibling* denomination in Nigeria, and proposing "Church of the Bickering". The positive aspect of this name is that we can hold on to the familiar "COB" three letter abbreviation, and "BVS" will not need to change their name. While some have objected that this may cause some problems when engaging in evangelism, the committee pointed out that we really don't do evangelism anyway.
The committee recommends that this official name only be used at the national level on legal documents. It was discovered that the articles of incorporation are out of date and still use an old order name. It was written in German so the committee is not sure what version of "German Baptist Dunkers" was used. Brethren Press was going to be instructed to use their skills at inclusive language to remove any references to the "Church of the Brethren" in Sunday school materials and just use generic references to "The Church", but it turns out that we share materials with other denominations and all of the offensive mentions have been long gone. Local congregations can use whatever name they think will draw in the most members, without being forced to use a centralized name. Local congregations have always had the power to name themselves. Congregations that want to hold onto "Church of the Brethren" can continue to do so, while other congregations who want a more inclusive name can do that too.
Rumors have it that an addendum will be offered from a Brother in the east to change the name of the denomination to "Church of the Heterosexuals." "It is important that Annual Conference speaks very clearly on this issue and does not allow the liberals in our church any wiggle room. With a name like that, we can be sure not to have any of those people among us."
*Next year at Annual Conference delegates will be encourage to substitute "Sibling Moderator" for the offensive "Brother Moderator" language.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
Refreshed by attending Annual Conference, the National Youth Conference Coordinators lamented the presence of a large cloven foot, horned animal hanging at the back of Moby Arena. "At a time such as this when we focus on the kingdom of God, these become confusing symbols."
The National Youth Cabinet has decided to suspend the conference until this symbol of the devil is gone. Districts are advised to call into the NYC office before loading their buses and sending their kids. The cabinet indicated it was speaking from a precedent set by the 1966 National Youth Conference which suspended the 1970 youth conference for a full year.
Annual Conference has indicated that "It is our understanding that the conduct expectations of the general membership, as stated above, should most surely also be expected of those licensed or ordained. Therefore, we consider it inappropriate to license or ordain to the Christian ministry any persons who are known to be engaging in homosexual practices, and will not recognize the licensing and ordination of such persons in the Church of the Brethren."
Since their licensing and ordinations of openly gay/lesbian/or transgendered pastors are not recognized, your baptism may not be valid. Check the date of your baptism and the pastor who officiated at your service. You also need to check the name of the pastor at your wedding, and your parent's wedding. In preparation for future Annual Conference decisions, you should also check whether any of your clergy have been divorced, receive substance abuse counseling, are overweight, or have coveted their neighbor's ox.
New business expected to be brought before the 2003 delegates is the question of the validatity of rites performed by openly gay/lesbian pastors who were not out of the closet at the time the rites were performed.
Just to play it safe, and who wants to risks eternal damnation, we recommend getting baptised multiple times.
I believe the recommendation stood because of the power individuals still have over their congregations and the delegates, and over purse strings. I heard more than one voice express the concern of what would happen if individuals and congregations withdrew their financial support from the denomination over this issue. [a post on the COB-L listserv]
A financial analysis has shown that $30 goes to mission work for every ordination which doesn't happen. Open and affirming congregations hope to provide $50 per ordination to prove the worthiness of their purse strings, if not their hearts.
Monday, July 08, 2002
Hmmm... is it any coincidence that the Brethren Revival Fellowship put up a weblog soon after our site went on the air?
One may rightly ask, is this not the result of decades of liberalism, telling our young people that the Bible really isn't trustworthy, that human beings "evolved," that Heaven and hell aren't really real? [Craig Alan Myers]
The GM has not been presenting liberal ideas for decades, but we're working on our first 10 years.
By all means, trust the bible. But the literal interpretation thing gives us pause.
Human beings evolving? By all accounts, things looked pretty stagnant for our race in Louisville.
The reality of heaven and hell become a concern dependent on your views of salvation.
Monday, July 01, 2002
As part of today's Conference business, On Earth Peace presented their new logo as displayed on its web home page. "We wanted to show that peace is patriotic," said OEP co-Director Bob Gross, addressing concerns about the bold color choices. And in another funding coup, OEP has joined a major soft drink corporation for future product branding. In exchange, the Ministry of Reconciliation will do its part to resolve the "soda" versus "pop" debate.
Saturday, June 29, 2002
In an initiative being funded by the Ministry of Reconciliation, Bob Gross will be handing out cell phones to all of the delegates at Annual Conference. "The old model of having delegates talk at microphones is not serving us well in this modern age. We need more communication to resolve the differences between us. It is important that we go beyond listening and truly hear what the other person has to say," says Gross. So after each delegate is done speaking they will confirm that the other person they are talking to actually understood where they were coming from by asking, "Do you hear me now?" The cell phones will all be a conservative black.
Dennis Kingerly, General Board Contoller, announced that the General Board's new relationship with the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen is not only saving money (since they are desperate for clients their rates have become very Brethren), but also generating new funding ideas. The latest idea is to borrow large sums of money from BBT and then pay it back on "Nigerian time". The General Board will put up some "found" property in India for collateral which they just realized that they still can control.
Friday, June 28, 2002
The Annual Conference premier of Dave Sollenberger's latest video documentary was met by rave reviews. The film examines all aspects of the Old Order Brethren, from their plain clothes to their unique perspectives on theology.
During the course of the 19th century, Brethren had to interact with American culture to an ever greater measure because the artificial barriers of a different language and insulated life on the frontier were steadily eroding. As a result, the Brethren brought increasing numbers of questions to their Annual Meeting for deliberation, on issues as diverse as the allowance of carpets and flowered wallpaper in homes, to the proper style of plain clothes, to the acceptance of higher education and Sunday Schools. By the 1860s, two quite divergent views were developing in the church about such issues. One group, the Old Order Brethren, was reluctant to make full use of such practices as Sunday Schools, evangelism, higher education, and foreign missions that would move the church in the direction of worldly Christianity and away from the old order or faith of the church. An opposite position was taken by the Progressive Brethren who felt that such innovations would enable the church to spread the beliefs of the church more widely and to move more quickly into the mainstream of American culture.
Please check with Brethren Press about the availability of “Men in Black”.
“MIB II,” a study of the Progressive Brethren, will be available at next year's Annual Conference.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
- "I just spent a half an hour reading the GM. THANK YOU."
- "Thank the good graces, you all finally got together and put this together. I needed the laughter this morning."
- "Thank God, there is hope for the Church - Gospel Messenger is back!!"
Monday, June 24, 2002
Album Title: Spark the fire
Styles: Contemporary Folk, Gospel, & Sadcore
For the dedicated Kindling fans (I guess I should call them Match Heads, since they follow this group like Dead Heads follow the Greatful Dead), it has been a long wait for their sophomore production "Spark the Fire". Get the clever title? Do you remember when Andy and Terry Murray stopped singing about Grandma's feather bed, and started singing songs that were nothing more than sermons put to Guitar? That is the feeling that this latest album has left me with.
Some think that Kindling is the Brethren answer to the Weavers. Good old fashion folk music with a message. Where the Weavers got black listed for having communist friends, Kindling is banned from Brethren gatherings. Like NYC - Right Shawn? This album has the prettiest music for the most depressing topics. Songs about discrimination, Auschwitz, Columbine, the killing of Mathew Shepard, middle age angst, Apartheid, and death. Throw in a couple of songs based on the writings of some dead Saints and you have a real party album for 2002.
Oh how I long for the anthems of their first album that would get the whole crowd singing. I guess you can't go home (or to Cincinnati) again.
1. Where Everything is Music 5:31
2. Wade On In 6:27
3. Separate Rooms 5:03
4. Kaddish 3:04
5. Rain Come Down 4:43
6. Chains of Hate 4:55
7. New Ways to Praise 4:47
8. Living in the Between 4:36
9. Hand of the Artist 4:00
10. Child of God 4:20
11. Christ Has No Body But Yours 3:10
12. All That Remains is the Love 6:35
Steve Kinzie vocals, banjo, guitar
Shawn Kirchner: vocals, piano, melodica
Lee Krahenbuhl: vocals, guitar, bouzouki
Peg Lehman: vocals, mountain dulcimer
Contact email@example.com to order your copy.
As one faithful reader asked, "would the Jim Myer bobble-head actually wear a tie?"
We've corrected our mistake and the Jim Myer bobble-head is now sans tie. If you got ahold of one of the early models, hang onto it. No doubt it will soon become a collectible. It will be worth even more if you've left it in the original packaging.
Friday, June 21, 2002
This year's Annual Conference marks Duane Steiner's last as its Executive Director. His illustrious career in the lay ministry of the denomination has spanned 20 years and has included administrative positions at Bethany Seminary as well as the past 10 years as Annual Conference's Executive Director.
Of Annual Conference, Duane has said “Annual Conference statements are intended to teach us how the Brethren should be, not how the Brethren are”.
To honor Duane's career, the Gospel Messenger is offering
commemorative Duane Steiner bobble head figures to
the first 1000 registrants at this summer's Annual Conference.
Other Brethren bobble head figures will be available
at the Brethren Press Bookstore in the Conference
Will Don Vermilyea be making walk on appearances at Annual Conference, National Youth Conference, and NOAC? Maybe, but who cares. The real questions is whether anybody's arranged a drive by with Sam Hornish Jr., the Brethren's answer to NASCAR.
The unique event was co-sponsored by Brethren Service Center, New Windsor Conference Center, On Earth Peace, and the General Board's Small Membership/Rural Church Advisory Committee.
The day began with a challenge to the small, rural churches from Congregational Life Team staff member Jim Kinsey.
Throughout the day workshops were offered on topics includingthe group's identity and function, the pressing needs of small membership and rural churches, the best ways to process these needs, and changing rural paradigms. Participants also had the opportunity to meet with agency staff from the General Board, On Earth Peace, and the Washington Office.
Representatives Ray Barkey, Northern Indiana District, and Mary Jane Button-Harrison, Northern Plains, called it “a marvelous event which exemplifies the impact church agencies can have when they utilize their partnerships to bring people together.”
In light of the fact that membership (although the decline has slowed) is still declining, the General Board has announced the creation of a new Director of Evangelism staff position. “We realized that the Church of the Brethren is just not as popular as most of the main stream denominations, and we needed someone who can bring people to the denomination in spite of our poor performance,” said General Secretary Judy Mills Reimer. Barring a miracle, Andy McPhail will assume evangelism duties for the Church of the Brethren this October
Thursday, June 20, 2002
The Brethren* are no longer plain dressing, tobacco farming simpletons. Today's Brethren* are college educated, hip members of society. We are poets, famous musicians, and Indy race car drivers. If you liked the Cooking with Less cook book, you're going to love us.
Come and join us (before it is to late).
*name subject to change
Saturday, June 15, 2002
Is the Methodist church taking aim at our youth? As noted in the June issue of Messenger, it's not a Brethren leader exposing Brethren youth to the dangers of marshmallowdom.
Methodist comedian Chris Danielson has Jenna Lamb
of Vandalia, Ohio, and other "contestants" try to pronounce
Old Testament city names with a mouthful of marshmallows.
The Gospel Messenger thinks that there might have been a mix up at the post office due to the anthrax scare, but we are happy to publish whatever mail we get (or make up).
My dear Wormwood,
Nephew, at first I was skeptical of your plan. The Church of the Brethren has been a thorn in my side for hundreds of years. Their constant good doing have kept countless souls from joining me in Hades. Who would have thought that their annual meeting would be such a perfect instrument of their undoing? I was especially nervous when I heard that a man of such spirituality as Paul Grout was elected to be their moderator. His message of renewal and turning all things over to God could have been devastating to us. How in the world (or under the world) did you manage to get so many queries, whose intention are clearly to tear apart the church of North America, through the standing committee? The format of Annual Conference is perfectly designed so that people will attempt to get their positions off is 30 second sound bites that are sure to push the other delegates' hot buttons. You have managed to break the heart of their top leader by burying him in business. Keep up the good work.
Friday, June 14, 2002
All youth attending National Youth Conference have signed a covenant to attend all of the worship services. The Southeastern District Board, however, is encouraging the youth of their district to ignore that covenant and boycott worship services which are being led by some "open and affirming" individuals.
The Gospel Messenger now offers a solution to this moral conundrum. We will be selling ear plugs at each NYC worship so that all youth may attend each and every worship and stay committed to the covenants they have agreed upon without fear of having their leadership influence their impressionable young minds.
The ear plugs will also be available at Annual Conference business sessions for any delegates who feel they might be influenced by outside forces. The ear plugs would have been available to youth at District Board meetings if the timing of our marketing efforts had been more advantageous.
Reports of the death of a RYC participant are "unfounded", according to the national Youth and Young Adult Office.
Perhaps there has been confusion between the activities at the Midwest Regional Youth Conference held at Manchester College and the marshmallow game known as "Chubby Bunny". Chubby Bunny is a dangerous activity and, in this day and age, you will scarcely find it employed at Brethren Camp talent shows. See: "The Chubby Bunny Game" May Be Hazardous To Your Patients' Lives
While the activity at RYC involved marshmallows (check your June 2002 issue of Messenger magazine), it also involved the recitation of Old Testament city names and so it had to be perfectly harmless.
And besides, we're sure that the youth attending RYC all signed waivers beforehand.
Rumors persist that Southeastern youth attending National Youth Conference this summer will be forced to stay in same-sex housing. The Elgin NYC Office insists that there is not a hidden agenda behind their housing arrangements.
There are also unconfirmed rumors that the NYC Office is arranging for Southeastern District youth to share housing with youth from the Michigan and South/Central Indiana Districts.
This year marks the end of the moratoriom on speaking to the issue of gay leadership in the Church. The current Annual Conference positition is that practicing, non-celibate homosexuals should not be ordained. On June 1st, the Michigan District ordained an openly gay man. (Newsline, June 14, 2002)
Additionally, the South/Central Indiana District is struggling with the Manchester congregation which voted in October to permit same-sex covenant services as part of the congregation's overall stance of treating same-sex couples the same way it treats others. (Newsline, March 8, 2002)
Related to the Manchester issue, the Southeastern District Board has called for its youth to boycott two of the National Youth Conference worship services which are being led by individuals who are "open and affirming".
To round out you access to all sides... Brethren Revival Fellowship's viewpoint, which includes a link to the Skyridge (Michigan District) congregation's post. BMC - the Brethren/Mennonite Council for Lesbian and Gay Concerns - who have nothing about these issues on their website.
This "Gospel Messenger" being the humor/satire parody of the Church of the Brethren "Messenger" magazine. This first edition of the Gospel Messenger was published on 4/1/1994 and appeared annually on April 1st for the years of '94 through '98.
It was a lot of work to put together this hardcopy parody and difficult to garner submissions from writers and so it went out of press.
But controversy breeds satire and the church is rife with controversy. And so, this incarnation of the GM. Thoughts will be posted and if you find the seeds for further writing, have at it and send your submissions. Maybe they'll be posted.