Faith in the County Center

There promises to be a lot of prayer at the Westchester County Center in White Plains over the next few days.

Tonight from 6 to 10 p.m., a Dobbs Ferry congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses will hold a “celebration of the Memorial of the Lord’s Evening Meal.”

Tomorrow, a coalition of churches called Westchester One in Praise will hold its 10 annual Good Friday service at the WCC at 7:30 p.m. More than 5,000 people usually attend. This year’s featured speaker will be Grammy nominated gospel singer Marvin Sapp, Senior Pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church of Grand Rapids, Mich. Doors open at 6.

And on Saturday at 7 p.m., the Turkish Cultural Center of Westchester will hold a celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. There will be Sufi music, art, a Turkish calligraphy exhibition, and poems and songs by a children’s chorus from Bosnia and Turkey.

Jonas Brothers, Christian brothers

My kids watch a lot of stuff on the Disney Channel, so I’ve been aware of the Jonas Brothers for a while.

Three sweet kids who sing sweet pop songs.

They have apparently became a Pop Culture Phenomenon, and are now making surprise visits to movie theaters where their 3D concert film is showing.

They popped up at the Palisades Center on Saturday, causing young girls to swoon.

They also did a quickie press conference at the Westchester County Airport. And they were close to their hometown of Wyckoff, N.J.

I feel it is my duty to note that the Jonas Brothers are committed evangelical Christians.

Their dad, Kevin, is a former minister who managed Christian music groups (and now manages his sons).

The brothers wear “purity rings” that symbolize their commitment to wait for their wedding nights.

They are not an overt “Christian band,” but their faith is apparently right there. Joe Jonas: “Even songs we write today, if you really listen to the lyrics, it can be about love songs, but it’s also about our relationship with God. It’s simple. We’re Christian guys in a rock ‘n’ roll band.”

A review of their most recent CD by Christian Music Today summed up:

*****

Like most albums, A Little Bit Longer will depend on the listener’s tolerance of teen pop conventions, both musical and lyrical. Don’t go into this album looking for deep Christian truths, because they’re not here. But those who appreciate pop for pop’s sake may be pleasantly surprised—tweens, teens, and even adults. Honor is due to the Jonas Brothers because these guys have come a long way in a short time. But it’s all too clear where they need to grow next. Imagine how much better the Jonas Brothers would be if they applied their fun sound to something more meaningful, and perhaps even spiritual.

*****

Joanne Brokaw, who writes about Christian entertainment, has her doubts about how the Jonas Bros are marketing themselves:

*****

And the last thing I hate is that their heart throb, teen idol status sends mixed messages about their stance on purity. I love that the guys wear purity rings and I believe they believe in what the rings stand for. But when you see them posing seductively on the cover of Rolling Stone (really, who thought that was cute?) and talking about their first kiss in Tiger Beat (or Bop or PopStar or whatever teen magazine you pick up), without an explanation of what purity really means, there’s the danger that what they share with their peers is simply a message that says, “Wear a purity ring but still be consumed with lusting after hot guys.”

*****

Jonas Brothers. Christians. So noted.

Taking a lead from Rome, NY Archdiocese to offer conference Saturday on the Bible

On Saturday, the Archdiocese of New York will present an all-day catechetical conference at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.

A few thousand people are expected to come from across the 10 counties of the archdiocese.

I have an advance in today’s LoHud/Journal News.

You can get all the info and see a schedule of events here.

newlogo-yellow-copy.gifThe theme will be “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” If that sounds familiar, it is the same theme that Pope Benedict XVI has set for the upcoming Synod of Bishops at the Vatican (Oct. 5-26).

Sister Joan Curtin, director of the archdiocese’s Catechetical Office, which is putting on the conference, told me: “Once that synod occurs in Rome, the word will go out around the world, to the universal church. We wanted to be on the cutting edge here in New York.”

The Catechetical Office has long offered teach-ins for educators. But last year, to celebrate the bicentennial of the archdiocese, the office decided to have a broader convocation that could provide spiritual education and sustenance to Catholics from all walks of life.

They’re sticking with that approach this year. Attendees can take part in a number of workshops about the Bible from a Catholic point of view. There will also be programs aimed at those who do teach children in the faith.

If you want to know the Vatican’s rationale for promoting the study of Scripture, go the Vatican website here. The document you will find there includes this:

The purpose of this Synod is primarily pastoral, namely, spreading and strengthening encounters with the Word of God by thoroughly examining its doctrinal underpinnings and allowing them to show the manner in which this is to be done. This will lead to experiencing the Word of God as the source of life in everyday circumstances and devising true and readily available ways in which Christians and all people of good will can listen to God and speak with him.

In a concrete sense, the Synod intends among its many objectives: to help clarify the basic truths of Revelation as the Word of God, Divine Tradition, the Bible and the Magisterium, which prompt and guarantee an authentic and effective living of the faith; to spark an appreciation and deep love of Sacred Scripture so that “the faithful might have easy access” to it; to renew listening to the Word of God, in the liturgy and catechesis, specifically through lectio divina, duly adapted to various circumstances; and to offer a Word of consolation and hope to the poor of the world.

This Synod desires to give the Word of God as bread to the People of God. Its aim is to foster a proper approach to biblical hermeneutics and to correctly direct the process of evangelization and inculturation. It also intends to encourage ecumenical dialogue, which is closely linked to listening to the Word of God and to promote an encounter and dialogue of not only Christians and Jews9 but also those engaged in interreligious and inter-cultural dialogue. The synod proposes to achieve this task by treating the following three areas: