Woman of the cloth, woman of the belt
Finding the spiritual in the physical
By Donna Elia
A doctor of ministry degree would be easier than this for me.
I told that to myself many times as I took three arduous 2½-hour tests, as well as a black belt practice test, all leading up to a final exam. This was over and above four years of rigorous classes, color belt tests and a binder full of requirements toward the rank of "1st dan," the first-degree black belt in tae kwon do, a Korean martial art that emphasizes kicking techniques.
I say this not to diminish the considerable effort a doctor of ministry entails, but as recognition that I'm much more comfortable in an academic environment than in a gym filled with jumps, spins and kicks.
Thankfully, the tae kwon do requirements also included written essays and exams. It's an understatement to say that these came more easily to me than the physical requirements that included 3,600 pushups, 3,600 situps and 30 miles of running.
Stated Clerk looks to challenges, opportunities facing the church in 2019
The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson says change is needed for 21st century church
By Rick Jones
Office of the General Assembly
For two and a half years, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, has listened to the heartbeat of the church. The Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been on the road for most of his tenure, meeting with presbytery and synod leaders and listening and worshiping with churches facing difficult times.
Nelson says one of the challenges is the continued need to lift the spirits of those who have been through trauma over the past 30 years in the life of the denomination.
"Congregations that are representative of splits from larger congregations that existed and the struggles that we've had in becoming an all-inclusive church are among those challenges," he said. "There have also been struggles in addressing or not addressing some of the contextual realities that we are dealing with in the world."