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Good news on security of appointment in the UMC!

The Judicial Council of the UMC released a crucial ruling today. It upheld security of appointment and fair process as absolute rights of the clergy that could not be eradicated by legislation, and it also found that the General Conference violated the third and fourth restrictive rules.  I am grateful for and inspired by all you DDS UMC grads who, for years, have been willing to be pains in the patooky for the sake of the annoying truthy truth.  (That is NOT to encourage our being annoying just for the heck of being strange.)  Final word for this Sunday night? Praise God!

A postcard from the Virginia International Raceway

At the VIR, my first car race!  These guys drive for 13 hours!  This is for the chapter [in the Muscular Christianity book] on motorsports ministry.  Feels like one giant potluck dinner, with lots of men with really cool, fast cars.  The Mazda Miata seems the biggest favorite overall.  Learning lots about the significant differences between specific forms of car racing.  One memorable quote:  “NASCAR is all about money.  This is about the love of racing, because we are a family!”

By the way, please do note the VIR photographer *insisted* I do “bunny ears” behind Dave and Tim, two of the volunteer fire fighters who serve this race.  It was not my idea!

[Kara Slade] Send us your binder full of women!

If you watched the presidential debate this evening, or if you were on Facebook or Twitter, you probably heard about Mitt Romney’s ‘binders full of women’ remark.  (Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with Mitt Romney.)

Several friends and I had the idea to use this now-viral phrase to acknowledge the ways that women writers and/or scholars have contributed to how we think, live, pastor, do theology, etc.  We’re asking folks to find a way to show some of the women that have formed you intellectually and to create your own binder/box/shelf/other container.   

As one of my co-conspirators said, let’s show the world what awesome women do.  And if you’re wondering why this matters, take a look at this alarming article on gendered responses to women writing about religion.

If you’d like to participate, send your image in to me (Kara Slade) at (or tweet it to @KaraNSlade) and I’ll add it to the gallery.

Why I Support “Family Planning”

Editor’s note:  Yesterday, the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good released a statement entitled  ‘A Call to Christian Common Ground on Family Planning, and Maternal, and Children’s Health.’  The NEP document defines family planning as ‘the freely and mutually chosen use of a variety of contraceptive methods to prevent or postpone pregnancy.  It does not include interventions that take place after pregnancy is established.’ (p. 5)  Professor Hall was a signatory to this statement, and we hope that you will click over to read it as well as her comments here.

When Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good wrote to ask if I would sign this document, I agreed.

I knew that I would need to explain myself to some beloved friends.  Of course, I also have other beloved friends who are sad that I still even have friends who do not support family planning.  Friendship is complicated.  But the NEP press release is out, so here goes my explanation.

Read more

Restless Heart Syndrome: When Bad Movies Happen to Good People

Restless Heart is quite obviously a labor of love. Someone really, really loves Augustine. Writing critically about it, which I must do, feels a bit like complaining that someone’s terribly earnest, harp-accompanied wedding was tacky, and too long. Criticizing a wedding for lack of good taste is just churlish, because to evaluate aesthetically a service about love is a category error. Love is patient; love is kind; love doesn’t snicker when the caged doves inconveniently crap during the marital vows.

But I knew I was in trouble from the first scene of this movie. The vandals are set to sack Hippo, a wizened Augustine looks out onto the smoke-filled horizon, his raven-haired niece by his side, and a flock of migrating storks fly over. Only the birds look like puppets, or badly digitized drawings—something not realistic, anyway. Groan. Also, although film dubbing has obviously progressed since Godzilla, not only do the lips not match the words, but the voices don’t match the actors. The movie is in no small part about WORDS (all-caps), and so this flaw is painfully ironic. I really wish someone had insisted on subtitles.

… and you can go read the rest here at Religion Dispatches!

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