Category: Features

Help Puerto Rico

The island has been devastated by Hurricane Maria and needs the help from others to bring life back to some type of normalcy.  A family that has been helpful all along on the island with young people and the poor are the Clemente’s.  Vera Clemente and her sons carry on the legacy of her late husband Roberto Clemente with Sports City but now they need our help with much more for those in need.

Inspired by Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh steps up to help hurricane victims

When in a crisis, what would Roberto Clemente do? He would step up and pay it forward, that’s what Duane Rieder, curator and executive director of the Roberto Clemente Museum says. Pittsburghers had this in mind Sunday as it came together at the museum to gather donations to aid Puerto Ricans struggling to recover after Hurricane Maria.

 

The Clemente family has always been about helping others.  Listen to Roberto Jr. tell about his dad’s dream of Sports City helping young people on the island in giving them hope for the future.  The late Roberto Clemente, a great baseball player and humanitarian helped Pittsburgh become well known for sports. Listen to Roberto Jr. share about his dad and family on Passages stories of hope and inspiration.  Click on the audio button below.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is helping in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico that got impacted by the recent hurricanes.  To help click on the link below.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.


Relationships trumps Symbols

What about symbols in our lives?

Do you know that early Christians used the Good Shepherd as their symbol to guide them?

The cross was used as a form of execution by the Roman Empire. How could a Christian feel comfortable in the cross being used for a symbol of their faith at that time? So for the first three-hundred years of the Christian movement it was the Good Shepherd as the symbol. Watch the late Dr. Kenneth Bailey share about the Good Shepherd being the symbol for early Christians.

 

What makes you uncomfortable or comfortable with the symbols in life?

How does symbols draw us together or divide us?

Can symbols be used inappropriately?

How do symbols help us in relating to one another?

When I studied one summer in Salzburg , Austria at the university there we traveled to Dachau the Jewish concentration camp. It was explained to us that the Allies required that the camps never turn the stark human tragedy that happened here into beautified museums or parks. They are to be harsh reminders, a symbol to help with the Holocaust never happening again.

How are symbols part of a consumer oriented society and what impact does that have on symbols?

There are a number of people who recognize the cross only as a piece of jewelry, tattoo or artwork in society today. One person said, “there are buildings with those on but I don’t know what goes on there.” Another person simply said , “I don’t know what the cross stands for!”

In marriage rings symbolize the love between two people.

Where are you at with the symbols in your life?

Are the symbols so central to who you are that they stand in the way of the common good?

Lots of questions you and I can struggle with to find an answer to the issues around symbols. The answer or possible answers will no doubt raise more questions.

The Apostle Paul and the Statue to an Unknown God  Read Acts 17 for more reflection.
Scripture: “Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination. of mortals.”


Racism, the Internet and Society

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”- Malcolm X

Two years ago Theo Wilson, a Black man, created a fake online profile to find out what happens in the life of a white supremacist as a digital troll. He learned where they get their misinformation and revisionist history lessons from.

Theo Wilson on TED Talk about his experience of going undercover as a white supremacist.  Click on the link below.

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/25/theo-wilson-undercover-white-supremacy/

“White folks created white supremacy which is perhaps the greatest evil of our time, then out of greed and fear proceeded to openly support it by pretending it’s not there. And it is exactly that profound neglect of us not addressing white supremacy as to why people of color are still being lynched and receiving social, psychological, economical and institutional injustice and inequality. As white folks we have to realize that we need to address this for our interest as well. The cost to all involved is enormous. We will never be a peaceful or functional society living out lies. Everything has a way of coming back full circle and realistically how much longer do you think our society can tolerate this great evil called white supremacy? Isn’t it about time as white folks we stop being racially selfish and lazy and stand up and do something about it? Remember Ignorance is bliss until it bites you in the ass.” excerpt from writing by Dixon White

(Dixon D. White is an anti-racist video blogger, activist, actor, and essayist. Dixon was raised as a racist in the Deep South but learned to reject his white supremacist programming because of his personal life experiences.)

Football Player Racially Profiled by Police

Seattle Seahawks star defensive end Michael Bennett has accused police officers of racial profiling, saying they pointed guns at him and used excessive force during an incident in Las Vegas last month.
Bennett, 31, told reporters that the incident was “a traumatic experience for me and my family.” Earlier in the day, he announced he is considering filing a civil rights lawsuit.
“It sucks that in the country that we live in now, sometimes you get profiled for the color of your skin,” Bennett said in a news conference. “It’s a tough situation for me. Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that. Do I believe there’s some people out there that judge people on the color of their skin? I do believe that.”
ESPN Story on Michael Bennett …

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20604486/michael-bennett-seattle-seahawks-accuses-las-vegas-police-excessive-force-considering-civil-lawsuit

Young peoples voices reflecting on what makes America special!  Insight from Jim Wallis on growing up and knowing what’s right.   Press on the audio tab below ….

Romans 2:11 “For God does not show favoritism.”


Waking Up White

“One of the most important books on race in recent memory.”

Presbyterian Outlook article … the experience of two congregations with the book …

http://pres-outlook.org/2017/06/learning-one-another-two-churches-write-way-waking-white/

 

Waking Up White the book

http://www.debbyirving.com/the-book/

 

A reflection from Lafayette Richardson on Passages about prejudice and racism ….

 

 

What are your inner most feelings about people who are different?

Where, when and how do you believe these feelings were formed?

When does your inner most bias towards another race or person with a different skin color than you come out?

How has racism changed for you and those around you on this passage known as life?


Babies Born into Addiction

Addiction involving newborn babies and infants has hit the stories appearing in various media in communities everywhere.

The problem … (click on the link below to view a recent story on the news)

http://www.wtae.com/article/fentanyl-found-on-pittsburgh-babys-clothing-pacifier-and-toys/10277996

There is help for children and parents in getting clean.  One such story comes out of Latrobe in Westmoreland County.

 

Latrobe nonprofit director aims to help mothers, babies coping with drug withdrawal

She raised six children and worked in counseling, including addiction recovery, but Dawn Hennessey was unprepared to meet the needs of an infant exposed to opioid drugs in the womb. Hennessey is the legal guardian of a boy born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a drug withdrawal condition.

Pray for the children and their families caught in the horrendous cycle of addiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Malawi Prison featured for Music

60 minutes features prisoners and a guard in Zomba Prison who enjoy singing.  One woman prisoner says that all she has is music and God.  She is in prison for life.  Click below on video button to watch this interesting segment hosted by Anderson Cooper.     The prison singers and musicians were nominated for a Grammy Award.  Music is the universal language and they know it in Malawi, Africa.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/topics/60-minutes/

 


Remembering Chris Cornell

Tribute to musician & singer Chris Cornell overwhelms social media!
Billboard Music Awards provided a moment of silence for Cornell last night.

U2 and Bono Pay Tribute to Chris Cornell – Running To Stand Still at the Rose Bowl May 20, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwL0i9BECb0

 

Cat Stevens Wild World performed on stage with help from Chris Cornell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRffjC4B75U

 

Chris Cornell performing Marley’s Redemption Song on Tonight Show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5SZVmsFxxY

 

Major League Baeball pays tribute to Chris Cornell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sws7n3r7F40

 

Remembering another rock legend gone to soon!


Why? Take Your Life

The mystery around why someone would commit suicide strikes many of us unfortunately at different times in our lives. It can be a family member or a close friend possibly and there are those we have grown to appreciate from a distance but at the same time feel like they are part of our lives. Sports figures, TV celebrities, movie stars, singers, politicians, and musicians all can feel like they are part of our lives in someway.. Why would he or she take their own life?

Chris Cornell, Soundgarden singer, 52 years old, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a hotel room at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit early this past Thursday. He was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene, according to The New York Times.

“When the units arrived they were met by a gentleman who indicated that Chris Cornell had been found in his room,” police spokesman Michael Woody told the AP Thursday morning. “When officers went to the room they found Chris Cornell laying in his bathroom, unresponsive and he had passed away.”

 

As and accomplished musician, singer, and songwriter, Cornell is best remembered as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as lead vocalist and songwriter for the rock supergroup Audioslave. He was also known for his numerous solo works and soundtrack contributions since 1991, and as founder and frontman for Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood.

Our prayers are for his wife and family.

 

Chris Cornell’s Cause Of Death Ruled A Suicide

A medical examiner in Wayne County, Michigan, determined Thursday that singer Chris Cornell’s death was a “suicide by hanging,” the county announced on its Facebook page. The Soundgarden singer, 52, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a hotel room at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit early Thursday.

Passages = Gail “A Mother Tells of the Struggle in the Loss of Her Son”

 

Survivors Ann’s Story – “Loss of a Friend”

 

May God be with you as we live in a Good Friday world but have experienced Easter and discover the hope found in Jesus Christ!


Honesty in Music

U2’s lead vocalist Bono gives some advice to young Christian artists. Thanks to PMM Leadership Team member Dave Roberts who is a guitar player for pointing to this story.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bono-has-a-message-for-young-christian-artists_us_591b0b63e4b07d5f6ba62fc8


Commonsense and Fairness

Jimmy Kimmel returned to late night TV after being with his newborn son with heart issues and his wife.  His response to his sharing about health care concerns and those who criticized his appeal were featured in the opening of the show.

Watch what Kimmel shared by clicking on the link below ….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SToeM55KMzU&t=8s

Presbyterians concern about health care for all those living in the community goes back to John Calvin and his living in Geneva.

A 1988 statement by the Presbyterian Church (USA) summarizes the importance of health this way: “Good health—physical, mental, and spiritual— is both a God-given gift and a social good of special moral importance, one that derives its importance from our biblical and theological heritage and from its effect on the opportunities available to members of society. Good health is a basic need and an essential purpose of human and societal development” (PC (USA) 1988, 524). The Reformed tradition holds that God alone has the power to heal, and that [God’s] instruments encompass the medical sciences, including nursing, pharmacy, surgery, and psychiatry (Vaux 1984, 121). This perspective is firmly rooted in the thought of John Calvin, who championed community hospitals and criticized those who taught that physicians and medicine were instruments of evil: “Anyone with an ‘ounce of brains,’ even a pagan,” he wrote, “knows that these are gifts of God” (Smylie, 212).2

For more information on Presbyterians on Health Care click on the link below …

http://www.advocatehealth.com/documents/faith/presbyterian_4.pdf

Prayers for everyone in seeking quality health care for all Americans no matter what station in life they find themselves.