Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Frosty the Sermon

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

It wasn't only Frosty the snowman that was sticking out during the recent Christmas eve service broadcast on CBS. In this carefully crafted service with each person on screen selected to to represent the diversity of our denomination, the Gospel Messenger has to wonder are there no Mandolin players in the Church of the Brethren?

Jacob Jolliff, mandolin, has played since he was seven years old. He and his dad began playing shows together at coffee shops, churches, bluegrass festivals, and camps when he was nine. Jacob also plays the piano, and enjoys lots of different kinds of music, but up to this point has mainly played bluegrass. He has been mentored by David Grisman, and has also had lessons with Chris Thile. Jacob lives in Newberg, Ore., with his mom, dad, and two sisters, and has been home-schooled his whole life. Says Jacob of the CBS Christmas special: “It was tons of fun being a part of this project!”

In other CBS Event news, perhaps one good brother could use some glasses. We, at the Gospel Messenger do have televisions and took time to watch the entire program. And we counted a fairly even gender division among the primary participants. Of course we may be weighing the female side too heavily since we credit the fine contribution of the 6 and 8 year old girls. While there may not be an abundance of women ministers, perhaps those performances give hope for the future to some in spite of others' dread.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Weather Forecast

Expect an extreme cold snap in the near future. Perhaps due to the freezing over of the netherworld as the Dunker Journalist has agreed in principle with a recent NCC statement defending churches' access to network airtime.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Moo in Our Midst

Moo in Our Midst

The cover feature of our sister publication this month takes a look at the wide-ranging ministry of Heifer International, which grew from the small idea of an Indiana Brethren to a global enterprise with a huge budget and projects in more than 50 countries.

Messenger editor and writer Walt Wiltscheck, while harboring an aversion to all manner of vegetables, has a certain fondness for bovines. Perhaps this explains his affection for Heifer International and their mission.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Q & A

  1. What do unwelcoming churches and steroid using ball players have in common?
  1. Just about no one admits to being one while just about everyone knows that they're out there.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Jesus didn’t turn away

Jesus Didn’t Turn Away People, Neither Should We

A Welcome Home Project for soldiers is being coordinated by On Earth Peace and the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). The Welcome Home Project began when it was recognized that military personnel returning home from combat zones "should experience a loving, compassionate response from the church to help them re-acclimate and heal from their experiences". As part of the project an insight session for "Receiving People Returning from Military Service" will be held at the 2005 Annual Conference in Peoria, Ill.

Extravagant Welcome

Advertising Controversy

A TV commercial which allegedly does not uphold dignity or cultural respect may remain unseen by over a billion people. Already, the ad has received an indignant response from viewers.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

CBS Special

Christmas Special

CBS is reportedly having doubts about airing the program recently recorded at Bethany Seminary. Originally scheduled to air on Christmas Eve during the late night slot normally filled be David Letterman, CBS may air a holiday service presented by the United Church of Christ.

A source close to CBS reports, “Because of the Church of the Brethren's peace position, and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed an increase of the number of troops in Iraq, this program may be unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks.”

Various groups within the Church of the Brethren are at odds about the apparent CBS decision. On one hand, it would be nice for the Church of the Brethren to have a chance to appear before a national audience. However, is it valid to support CBS with its policies about what is acceptable programming. And the UCC does deserve its chance to be seen.


Review: To Kill A Mocking Bird

Perhaps the best book ever written by a person. Some call it the timeless classic of growing up and the human dignity that unites us all.
Ignatius of Taiwan

Ignatius of Antioch was thrown to the lions as a Christian martyr in 107 CE. He wrote, "Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God's wheat and bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God." He was devoured completely by the beasts.

Perhaps Christian doctrine regarding the afterlife will have to be re-examined, because apparently Ignatius was reincarnated in China, as reported in November: A man leaped into a lion's den at the Taipei Zoo on Wednesday to try to convert the king of beasts to Christianity, but was bitten in the leg for his efforts.