Monday, April 30, 2012

Interfaith Dialogue and Vatican II

Interfaith Dialogue and Vatican II from Bruce Prescott on Vimeo.

Excerpts related to interfaith dialogue and Vatican II from Dr. John Borelli's Plenary Address on "Vatican II at 50" for the 2012 National Workshop on Christian Unity.

This address and the ensuing question and answer session took place on April 17, 2012.

Here's a link to Borelli's entire 55 minute Plenary Address on"Vatican II at 50: Preparing the Catholic Church for Dialogue."

Video of Borelli's question and answer session and the luncheon panel discussion will be posted in a few days.

White House Issues Faith-Based Guidelines

Melissa Rogers, chair of President Obama’s first Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School, has posted a blog on the White House website to announce that the Obama administration has issued guidelines for implementing President Obama’s Executive Order 13559.

That Executive Order set forth fundamental principles and policymaking criteria for the social service partnerships the government forms with religious and other neighborhood organizations.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spong on Interfaith Relations and Religious Pluralism

Bishop John Shelby Spong answers a question about interfaith relations and religious pluralism during a question and answer session (link to entire 62 minute session).

The session was at the conclusion of Spongs lecture on "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" (link to entire 56 minute lecture) at the Museum of Natural History on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

Spong's lecture was hosted by the United Church of Norman (UCC) on April 20, 2012.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II

Opening Worship 2012 National Workshop for Christian Unity from Bruce Prescott on Vimeo.

The opening worship session of the 2012 National Workshop for Christian Unity. The session celebrated the 50th anniversary of Vatican II.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of the Oklahoma City diocese gave a homily reviewing the Spirit and theology of Vatican II.

Special music was provided by the choir from the Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church in Oklahoma City.

The service was held at First United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City on the evening of April 16, 2012.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Religious Liberty vs. Secularism in Modern Turkey

Excerpts from Mustafa Akyol's 4-13-2012 lecture at the University of Oklahoma about his book "Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty."

During his lecture Akyol talks about the "secularism police" that, until recently, made sure that women DID NOT wear a head scarf in Turkish universities.

During the question and answer session a student asks for clarification and he explains the difference between French secularism (the model for Turkish Kemalism) and the American ideal of separation of church and state.

Finally, he responds to a question as to whether Turkey is becoming an Islamic state.

Link to video of the complete lecture and dialogue session (54 minutes).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Anadarko Preaching Symposium

American Baptist Churches Central Region held a "Preaching Symposium" in Anadarko, Oklahoma on March 31, 2012.

John Williams (linked above), Executive Minister for the Central Region of the American Baptist Churches, led a seminar on "Biblical Preaching as Story Telling." (36 minutes)

Wil Brown, pastor of First American Baptist Church in Hobart, OK and Moderator of the Oklahoma Indian American Baptist Association (OIABA), led a seminar on "Expository Preaching." (43 minutes)

Jerry Seabaugh, Associate Executive Minister for the Central Region of the American Baptist Churches, led a seminar on "Giving the Invitation." (44 minutes)

John Williams closed the seminar with some "Brief Remarks on Lectionary Preaching." (13 minutes)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Sunday at NorthHaven Church

The 4-8-2012 Easter Sunday service at NorthHaven Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Kelly Miller, Interim Minister of Music, leads the choir and orchestra. Dr. Mitch Randall, pastor, preaches a sermon entitled "Empty Caves and Pots of Gold" based on the scripture texts of Mark 16:1-8 and I Corinthians 15:1-11.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter Sunrise at Spring Creek

The April 8, 2012 Easter Sunrise service at Spring Creek Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Birds chirp, geese honk, and humans sing as all nature participates in this unique worship experience led by Preston Clegg, pastor of Spring Creek Baptist Church.

The service was held on the banks of Spring Creek which is on the border of the church property.

Good Friday at Spring Creek

The April 6, 2012 Good Friday service at Spring Creek Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

The adult choir and orchestra, under the direction of Music Minister Susan Clothier, present "Footprints in the Sand" by Joseph M. Martin.

Preston Clegg, pastor, and Joey Pyle, Associate Pastor serve as narrators.

The service concludes with the congregation following the cross from the sanctuary to Spring Creek which is at the boundary of their property.

The Easter sunrise service, posted in a different video, was held at the cross by Spring Creek.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Cutting Oklahoma's Income Tax "obviously insane"

I attended the tax forum sponsored by the Oklahoma Policy Institute yesterday. OPI enlisted an impressive group of economists and business leaders to speak against legislative proposals to eliminate the state's personal income tax. Personal income taxes comprise around 30% of state revenues. Around 50% of the state budget is allocated to education. The JRLR Insider's Report has published an outstanding summary of the presentations.

In my opinion, the most accessible and succinct arguments were provided Dr. Alexander Holmes, Regents Professor of Economics and Department Chair at the University of Oklahoma. Here is the Journal-Records summary of his presentation [with a clarification of my own within parentheses]:

OU economist Alexander Holmes, a former state finance director, said that if doing away with the income tax produced a job that paid, say, $50,000, the state would lose $2,500 in tax revenue. In order to make that up, he said, the person who got the job would have to spend all of his or her income [on items subject to sales tax] to generate enough sales taxes to make up for the lost income tax money.

“It can’t work,” Holmes said. “The math is so obviously insane.”

And if the thinking behind the tax elimination does turn out to be wrong, he said, state law throws in a complication.

“If it doesn’t work, you can’t fix it,” Holmes said. “That’s what keeps me up at night.”

He was referring to the fact that, under the Oklahoma Constitution, if lawmakers wanted to increase taxes to close the revenue-loss gap, they would have to achieve three-fourths majorities in both houses, something highly unlikely to happen.

Holmes also said that no-income-tax Texas, which tax-reduction support[er]s like to point out as a good example when advocating for eliminating the tax, has suffered massive deficits and relies heavily on a state property tax. That will not work in Oklahoma, where residents absolutely hate property taxes, he said. He also pointed out that in Oklahoma the property tax is a county levy, not a state tax, and one that cities cannot access.

“Look out cities, here it comes,” he said.

Handout materials and powerpoint presentations by other speakers at the forum have been posted online at this link.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

NorthHaven Choir Sings "At the Ninth Hour"

The choir at NorthHaven Church in Norman, OK sings "At the Ninth Hour" in the Palm Sunday worship service on April 1, 2012. The musical is described as "A Lenten Musical Journey." Lyrics by Tom S. Long. Music by Alan Pote. The choir is directed by Kelly Miller. Dr. Les Downs is the pianist. The solists are Andrew Perrine, Stephen Jones, and Lauren Robertson. The narrators are Dawson & Sandi Lasseter. Guest musicians are Stephen Babcock & Kristell Sallee on violins, Jillian Coker on Viola, Rachel Ridenour on Cello, Laura Kellogg on Flute, Caitie Bunch on Oboe, Logan Fish on French Horn, Jenny Lawless on Percussion, Emily Miller and Angela and Kathy Paganoni on Hand Chimes.

IGNITE! Kids sing "Brethren, we have met to worship"

IGNITE! Kids, the children's choir at NorthHaven Church in Norman, Oklahoma, sing "Brethren, We Have Met to Worship" in the Palm Sunday worship service on April 2, 2012. The choir is directed by Lauren Robertson, a music major at the University of Oklahoma.