Sidling up to difference

American Public Media featured a proposal for dealing with diversity and difference - especially among and between groups that have mutual suspicion and even hostility:

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Tom Ehrich on the Grand Rapids LipDub

Tom Ehrich reflects on the viral video of Grand Rapids,

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Introverts need care, too

How do we care for introverts? Jonathan Rauch writes about this "little-undertood group" in The Atlantic:

Caring for your introvert
The habits and needs of a little-understood group
From The Atlantic online

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The south is rising

Mallory McDuff writes:

Dallas church hosts photo shoot for NO H8

Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas hosted a photo shoot for the NO H8 campaign:

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There are no barriers to God's love

Mark Pinsky discusses accessibility and churches at Alban Institute this week:

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First gathering of Episcopal "ethnic" ministries

Due to a long time desire for a consultation, missioners working with predominantly Latino/Hispanic, Native American, Asian and Black congregations were able to come together in Oklahoma City to study the Bible, and share experiences of mission, leadership and theological training in their settings. Lelanda Lee of Executive Council reports some findings at a Facebook group:

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Why we need diversity

An old Candid Camera video, using the Asch experiment, shows the power of "group-think" but Brain Pickings reports that having just one colleague express a different opinion made others eager to share their opinions.

Having just one peer contravene the group made subjects eager to express their true thoughts. Surowiecki concludes:

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Breaking: Washington state approves marriage equality

UPDATED: see below

The Washington state House of Representatives "voted to approve gay marriage Wednesday, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed" according to USAToday

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How does a nation of individuals collectively care for itself?

A member of the House of Bishops/Deputies list points to a New York Times column by David Brooks in which he tries to sketch out some major differences between life a few generations back in our history versus today, and what the implications might be.

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Presiding Bishop on Doctrine of Discovery, Indigenous Peoples

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori today issued a pastoral letter.

On May 7, Jefferts Schori joined other religious voices in repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery at the 11th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The theme for the UNPFII meeting is “The Doctrine of Discovery: its enduring impact on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests (articles 28 and 37 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).” In 2009, General Convention repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery.

The text of the letter follows.

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Living at a slower pace 'off the grid'

At the On Being web site, a story of someone who unplugged herself from the grid to work in Ireland, in the L'Arche system of community-building ministering to someone with Down Syndrome, and being ministered to.

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No gay families in the pool?

UPDATE: Just minutes after we published our item news flashed on twitter that the club had reversed itself:

BREAKING NEWS: The Carilion Clinic announced they will change their family policy so children with gay parents can swim in the pool!

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The church that welcomes everyone

Update: The church mentioned below is in Daytona Beach, Florida. Fr. Phil Egitto at Our Lady of Lourdes says he adapted this from text originally used at a Lutheran Church, where the pastor was happy to give him permission to reprint.

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New religious diversity on Capitol Hill

Hawaii is sending the U.S. House of Representatives its first Hindu member, and the U.S. Senate its first Buddhist. Huffington Post reports:

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Interracial relationships less likely among churchgoers

David Briggs writes at Huffington Post that while believers played a major role in the civil rights movement, "the voluntary segregation still found in houses of worship on Sunday mornings appears to limit the likelihood non-Hispanic white Americans will date, much less marry, a black, Hispanic or Asian partner."

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Q&A with transgender chaplain Cameron Patridge

From Lauren Markoe for Religion News Service:

The Rev. Cameron Partridge lives outside Boston with his wife and two young children in what looks like, to those who don’t know them, a typical suburban marriage.

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Christian inclusivity - The introvert's challenge

Katharine Welby writes compellingly about the challenge she and other introverts face when it comes to being as inclusive as Christ commands:

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Churches becoming more gay-friendly, study shows

Ordaining gay clergy and embracing new liturgies to celebrate same-sex unions, the Episcopal Church is part of a growing movement in American churches toward more active acceptance of gay and lesbian members. A new study out of Duke University shows that more than half of the country's houses of worship are gay-friendly, a 10 percent increase since 2007. From the Huffington Post:

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WorldVision changes hiring policy

World Vision, one of the largest Christian charities in the world, announced today that it would now be open to hiring gay people, representing a change in their employment policy.

Up until now, World Vision required all employees to sign a policy requiring them to observe certain moral practices, including fidelity in marriage, and celibacy outside of marriage--marriages which were explicitly defined as one man, one woman. Now, in a letter to Christianity Today, the head of World Vision has announced that people in legal same-sex marriages will be accorded the same recognition from the organization.

The letter stresses that this decision is based on a desire for Christian unity, "not a compromise", and it's worth noting that over 50 denominations contribute staff to World Vision, including both The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Each of us has his or her own views on a wide range of potentially divisive issues, and the board and I are not asking anyone to change their personal views. We are asking, rather, that you not let your differences on this issue or others distract us from our work. We are asking you to unite around our sacred and urgent mission in the world and to treat those who don’t share your exact views with respect. If we cannot love one another, how will we show Christ’s love to the world?

Read more here.

Raising funds for accessibility project

Trinity Episcopal Church in Kirksville, MO, is raising funds for their accessibility building project. They made this video to show why they need a more accessible building.

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Executive order protecting LGTBQ will not have religious exemption

Today, President Obama is expected to sign an executive order to ban discrimination of LGTBQ individuals by companies that do government work.
Significantly, it will contain no exemption for religious groups who do not agree with the order.

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How LGBT students are changing Christian colleges

Philip Francis, a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, and Mark Longhurst, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ in Williamstown, Massachusetts, both graduated from Gordon College over a decade ago. Gordon’s President D. Michael Lindsay was one of a number of prominent evangelical leaders who sent a letter to President Obama, asking for a religious exemption in the Non-Discrimination Executive Order. They write in The Atlantic about what's happening now:

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Black clergy of Ferguson write a protest letter

The Huffington Post reports the National African-American Clergy Network wrote a letter, late last week, decrying the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Since then, it has grown exponentially, collecting signatures from folks as diverse as the head of the National Council of Churches to the head of the Seventh Day Adventists.

The statement reads, in part:

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Is it segregation on Sunday or safety?

Tom Ehrich wonders of the most segregated hour in the week might not also be a search for a safe space, where people can just be themselves without reproach, glares or the fear of violence.


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Washington Football team owner now suing native Americans

As you may recall, the name of the Washington DC football team has come under fire for being a racial slur. The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has joined the bishop of Washington, President Obama and most of the various tribes within the US to ask owner Dan Snyder to change the name. So far, he has refused, despite mounting political pressure..

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