Jesus, Bombs, & Ice Cream

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Explorations Media sent photographer M.W. Scheller to cover this variety show that was co-hosted by activist/author Shane Claiborne and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen. See the whole photo set here. Christine A. Scheller talked to Claiborne earlier in the week for Urban Faith. This is a bit of what he said about the event:

We planned Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream before we realized it was the tenth anniversary of 9/11, but then when we realized it was, we decided that there’s no better way to honor those who died on September 11 and those who are continuing to die now than to try to celebrate the possibilities of another, better world.

Here’s what Claiborne had to say about the event at The Huffington Post.

What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: September 5-9

Hitchhiker, NYC

  • How Did 9/11 Change Urban Ministry? With the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in mind, Christian leaders Jeremy Del Rio, DeForest Soaries, and Shane Claiborne reflect on how 9/11 changed urban ministry in America.
  • Clergy Excluded from 9/11 Ceremonies: Clergy are being excluded from government sponsored 9/11 memorial events at Ground Zero and the National Cathedral and believers are protesting. Should they?
  • Shacking Up or Sacrament? More couples are living together without a marriage license. Is it time for churches to adjust or do cohabiting couples need to make their “marriages” legal?

Jersey Shore Faithful to Commemorate 9/11 Anniversary @NJShorePatch

Faith at Ground Zero

Sacred remembrances dominate the weekend calendar.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have excluded clergy from the 9/11 10th anniversary ceremony at the memorial site in New York City, but there are plenty of opportunities here at the Jersey Shore for sacred remembrances. Here are a few of them:

Saturday, September 10

At 8:00 pm, Father Alphonse Stephenson will conduct the Orchestra of St. Peters by the Sea in a “Salute to Civilization” at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove. …

For a list of Sunday’s events, go to Manasquan Patch.

Listening to 9/11 Stories at @NJShorePatch

Two women recall their close encounters with those devastated by the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks.

Mary Mick Davis

The first time I saw Mary Davis in the spring of 2002, she was wearing a hard hat and overseeing a group of volunteers at a respite center at St. Peter’s Church near Ground Zero. She clearly had a lot on her mind and she was clearly in charge of the smoothly running operation that provided a place of rest and sustenance for those who were working at the site.

When I saw Davis again, it was at the mega-church in Southern California where we had both taken jobs. It was early 2003 and she had just been diagnosed with Shingles, which can be induced by stress. She was exhausted, burnt out, and in need of respite herself.

Davis lives in Kentucky now, with the husband she met and married in California and their young son Mickey. I talked to her last week by phone about her memories of working at Ground Zero. Some of the details have grown fuzzy, but the people she served are etched into her heart and mind. …

Paula Griffin

Paula Griffin, Pt. Pleasant, worked for Don and Jean Peterson when the Spring Lake couple was killed on Flight 93, but she also considered Jean a friend.

“That was a true relationship, because she gave so much of herself to everybody,” Griffin explained.

The Petersons were on their way to California to visit Jean’s mother, Griffin said, and called her before they left to tell her to take a paid day off. Griffin was at home that morning when her husband came in from 7-11 and told her to turn on the TV. She watched the second plane fly into the World Trade Center.

“I knew right away something was wrong and then it clicked. Immediately it set in: ‘Oh, my gosh, what flight were they on?’” said Griffin.

The Petersons had arrived at the airport early and had taken Flight 93 instead of the later one that they had booked.

“I just didn’t know what to do at that point. I just knew that I needed to go over there,” said Griffin. …

Read the rest of their hopeful stories at Manasquan Patch.

Allan Josephson: Integrating Faith & Psychiatry, Part 1 @TheHighCalling

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When Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Allan Josephson, M.D. decided to study psychiatry 30 years ago, persons of faith often wondered how he would fare as a Christian in the field. The influence of Sigmund Freud’s atheism has waned, Josephson said, but it was pervasive then.

Josephson not only survived, but flourished and became an agent of change. Today, he is Vice Chairman for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Services at the University of Louiseville School of Medicine in Louiseville, Kentucky, and author of three books. One of them is the Handbook of Spirituality and Worldview in Clinical Practice, a text he edited and contributed to that is used in psychiatric residency programs to help psychiatrists understand the diagnostic and therapeutic implications of their own and their patients’ worldviews. …

In this series we’re going to tap into Josephson’s wisdom to explore this theme as it relates to:

  • How healthy child development mirrors Scriptural principles.
  • What children need in the contemporary family for healthy development.
  • Why there is an increase in people, particularly children and adolescents, who exhibit narcissistic behavior, and what can be done about it.
  • The psychological effects of technology.
  • How work defines the self.

Both psychology and theology have much to say about these topics. We hope you’ll join us for the discussion.

You can read more about Dr. Josephson’s journey at The High Calling.

Cross-Country Bike Ride to End in Toms River Brings Light to Brain Injury @NJShorePatch

Doug Markgraf’s cross country fundraising and awareness bike ride will end in Toms River August 21.

The finish line is in sight for Doug Markgraf, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor who is due arrive in Toms River August 21 after cycling across the country alone to raise money and awareness for TBI. Markgraf chose the location to highlight the work of Health South Rehabilitation Hospital of Toms River.

“Ocean County is very lucky to have an acute rehabilitation hospital,” said Denice Gaffney, director of Marketing Operations at Health South. “Not everyone has that level of care available to them locally.”

“We’re hoping to connect Doug with our brain injury survivors and our therapy team,” she said.

Markgraf, of Philadelphia, has been meeting with TBI survivors throughout the trip and was five miles outside Smyrna, Ohio when Patch talked to him Thursday afternoon.

“It’s blown me away that people who need that extra boost are getting it by me riding and meeting them,” said Markgraf.

Read the whole inspirational story at Toms River Patch.

Only a Number Takes Top Prize at Jersey Shore Film Festival @NJ Shore Patch

Steven Besserman shares his ailing mother’s Holocaust memories in award winning documentary.

“A17855: This became my only identity. This was Auschwitz,” Aranka Besserman says in the film tribute to her memories Resa, Steve, & Eleanor Besserman at Only a Number Screening, Deal, NJof the Holocaust that her son Steven Besserman directed.

Only a Number premiered at the Garden State Film Festival in March and won the Best Feature Documentary prize in a field of about 100 documentaries at the Jersey Shore Film Festival last week.

“This is where my mother lost her mother. This is where she lost all human dignity. This is where she became only a number,” Steven says as he narrates her story from the fairytale-like places where it unfolded.

Hers is an unlikely story of finding lasting love amidst unspeakable evil. …

Read the whole thing at Manasquan Patch.

Faith at Work, Part 7: Putting It All Together @TheHighCalling

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Figuring out how to integrate our faith with our work is a primary interest for the High Calling community. In our series about the work of Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow David W. Miller, we learned about four ways people do this and about a Hebrew concept that Miller says undergirds the Faith at Work movement.

Investigating the Sunday/Monday Gap

In the first article, we learned that Miller was flourishing in his career as a senior executive and partner at a London bank, and felt called to that career. But he seldom, if ever, heard clergy talk about how to integrate faith and work, even as he intuitively viewed work as part of God’s created order. If work mattered to God, why weren’t clergy talking about it?

To his surprise, Miller gradually discerned a new calling to attend Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned an MDiv. and then a PhD. in Social Ethics, focusing almost exclusively on the question of integrating faith and work. This question continues to be central to his teaching and research at Princeton University, and to his consulting work with CEOs and businesses.

“I suppose people are drawn to study things either because they’re really good at it or because they’re not really good at it. I was drawn to this subject of integrating faith and work because of my own professional experience of asking how to overcome the Sunday/Monday gap,” said Miller.

A Theological Foundation

In the second article, we learned that the Hebrew concept of avodah provides a theological foundation for Miller’s work. …

Read the whole rest at The High Calling.

Faith at Work, Part 5: Drawing Enrichment from Deep Wells @TheHighCalling

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Dale Jones is a vice chairman and partner at Heidrick & Struggles, one of the nation’s top executive search firms. He advises boards and CEOs on human capital issues such as leadership, recruiting and succession planning, but a few years ago, Jones sensed a calling to do something about the problem of global water. Together with the founders of America Online, Steve and Jean Case, he pursued an innovative plan to bring clean drinking water to rural villages in sub-Saharan Africa. The plan involved installing merry-go-rounds that pumped water from the ground as children played on them.

“Villages get water for the first time, and to see the rejoicing of families and children is pretty incredible,” said Jones in an interview with Laity Leadership Senior Fellow David W. Miller this spring.

“It was really a time in my life when I needed to do something that would feed the soul, but it was also a chance for my family to be on a journey that we were part of something that had a greater sense of mission and serving people’s needs,” said Jones.

Eventually the PlayPumps project was folded into a larger water project and Jones returned to his work atHeidrick & Struggles. As enriching as the experience was, Jones sensed that his real calling was to the search business. He realized he is most effective connecting people with particular skills and character to organizations that have matching needs and he speaks of  leveraging people with resources to take action. One third of his work at Heidrick & Struggles is devoted to the firm’s social enterprise practice.

Figuring out how to integrate his faith and his passion for humanitarian projects into his daily corporate work is “the crux” of who he is, Jones said.

“I wake up everyday thinking about it,” he said. …

Read the rest at The High Calling.

Exuberant Hospitality at First Baptist Church @NJShorePatch

First Baptist Church of Manasquan, NJExuberant hospitality. That’s how I’d describe Sunday morning worship at First Baptist Church of Manasquan.

The worship band was playing before the service began July 17 and soon after I sat down Rev. Joseph Gratzel came over and gave me a tote bag that held a travel mug, a Bible, and information about the church.

“Have you been mugged?” he asked with a smile.

The service began seamlessly with modern worship and two “Pandamania” songs led by Vacation Bible School students. Associate Pastor Martha Bevacqua asked for prayer requests and the congregation called out a host of personal concerns before saying the Lord’s prayer together.

A sign language interpreter translated the service for hearing impaired worshipers and Senior Pastor Joseph Gratzel’s son Gavin called out questions from the back of the room until his dad gently instructed him to be quiet. …

Read the rest at Manasquan Patch.

What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: July 11-15

Hitchhiker, NYC

  • Foreclosures Hit Churches Hard: A troubling increase in church foreclosures, especially among African American congregations, has us wondering whether too many churches have jeopardized their witness for the sake of an extravagant new building.
  • Was Slavery Better for Black Children?  After presidential candidate Michele Bachmann signed a traditional marriage pledge with potentially racist elements, the pundits piled on. But is their behavior any better than hers?
  • Death Row Inmates Want Pastoral Care: Where should justice and mercy meet when it comes to the lives of prisoners who are facing the death penalty?

I also began work on a story about a black led Tea Party group’s plan to protest the NAACP national convention. Look for it soon.

Faith at Work, Part 3: Uncompromising Ethics @TheHighCalling

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Jimmy Dunne is, by his own admission, a man who sees the world in black and white. In a time when shades of gray are increasingly admired, this is not always a popular perspective. But Dunne’s singular vision became a bright light for others to follow after his workplace was decimated by terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Dunne is Senior Managing Principal for Sandler O’Neill, an investment banking firm that  suffered the loss of one-third of its 171 member workforce on 9/11/01.

At a 2010 Princeton University event, “Faith & Work Ethics in the Executive Suite,” Dunne spoke at length with Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow David W. Miller about his decision making process in the first harrowing days after he learned that his partners, friends, and coworkers had been killed. Nine-and-a-half years after suffering those losses, Dunne was still emotional about them.

He had survived the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, but was on the golf course the morning of September 11, 2001, when he learned of the second attacks. Thinking about the needs of spouses and children left behind, he quickly decided that these grieving families would receive salaries, medical benefits, and bonuses owed to their missing loved ones. …

Read the rest of this inspiring story at The High Calling.