Lectionary readings in a new context

Over the last year, I’ve been attending services at The Church of the Redeemer in Pittsburgh and more recently, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley.  I have found  much needed refreshment in the worship services, leavened as they are with the  solemn beauty of written and spoken word, from the Bible and from the Book of Common Prayer.  The scriptural readings are scheduled according to a lectionary (the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), I believe though I’m still a tad confused on these matters.) As a practical matter, this means that I have a ready-made schedule of texts to study:  either to look ahead (so I can prepare this coming Sunday) or to review (so that I can reflect on what we meditated on last Sunday).

Happily, I have found online sources for the Sunday lectionary readings, including:

Ultimately, I’d like to find sources of daily readings too. In the past, I’ve overreached in my Bible reading ambitions.  Now I plan to start with the Sunday readings but then add daily readings as I get more regular and proficient in my Bible reflections.  So when I’m ready, I should take a look at Book of Common Prayer Daily Office Lectionary (ESV Bible Online).  I took a quick glance at Reading Plans – YouVersion.com, hoping to find lectionaries tied to this online Bible and community. I’ll want to figure out how the Episcopal order of reading relates to that of the PCUSA for which I can get daily readings provided by the PCUSA (e.g., today’s reading is  PC(USA) – Devotions – Daily readings for Friday, January 29, 2010)

P.S. A post on the lectionary won’t be complete for me if I don’t mention how I can ultimately geek out on it. The Lectionary points to a spreadsheet that “has the RCL, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist lectionaries keyed to Bible passages.”  With this key, I’ll be able to computationally generate multi-denominational Bible readings for different days in different forms.  Lectionary mashups, here we come!

What exactly is an “abolitionist church”?

My church First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, CA has supported the work of the Not For Sale Campaign, a self-described “abolitionist” organization aimed at ending trafficking in human beings. (See for instance, a talk by David Batstone, the leader of Not For Sale at FPCB.) I’m generally supportive of the work of Not For Sale. One concern I do have with Not For Sale is its use of the word “abolitionist”, especially as applied to churches. I have been hoping for a stronger definition of what an abolitionist church actually is from Not For Sale than what is currently there (at least as of the end of June.). The page describes “Action Steps” that a church might take to become part of a “movement of Abolitionist churches” but does not define the term “abolitionist”.

Westminster House in the NY Times

It’s nice to see an implicit mention of Westminster House, a Presbyterian campus ministry on whose board I served for six year, in Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus – New York Times:

    At Harvard, more students are enrolling in religion courses and regularly attending religious services, Professor Gomes said. Presbyterian ministries at Berkeley and Wisconsin have built dormitories to offer spiritual services to students and encourage discussion among different faiths. The seven-story building on the Wisconsin campus, which will house 280 students, is to open in August.