I’m in a high school classroom talking to “Lisa.” Her hair is dyed black and purple, and the piercing in her lower lip bounces as she talks. “I broke up with my boyfriend because of this class,” she says. The class is Introduction to Psychology, and the teacher is Char Kamper, who developed a curriculum called Connections to teach students about dating, relationships and marriage. “When did you break up with him?” I ask. “Three days ago,” Lisa says, and then she looks me straight in the eye. “I realized he only called me when he wanted one thing.”
Tables were set for the third annual interfaith Passover Seder meal, a "bring your own wine" event at University Congregational Church in Seattle. There were place settings for 300, fresh flowers, two kinds of charoset (a blend of fruit and nuts), two kinds of horseradish and baskets of matzo. The participants at this event came not only from University Congregational, led by pastor Don McKenzie, but also from Bet Alef, a “meditative synagogue” led by Rabbi Ted Falcon, and from an experimental congregation known as the Interfaith Community Church, led by Sufi Muslim teacher Jamal Rahman.
During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, George Dardess, an English teacher in Rochester, New York, watched on television as the U.S. dropped “smart bombs” on Baghdad. He felt anger and self-reproach. He turned to his wife and said, “I am complicit in this war through my ignorance. I don’t even know if I could find Iraq on a map.
In June, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor in the justice and peace studies program at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis, ended his bid for the U.S. Senate after Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party picked Al Franken as its nominee.
Do you see your writing and ministry as connected?For me, my writing and my ministry are joined, and I think they are joined for many of my readers, who are looking for some kind of spiritual nourishment as well as entertainment. Usually they've had some kind of religion in the past, at least enough background to know what is going on. They get the fact that Atticus is the story of the prodigal son.To entertain and to educate are the dual functions of any writer. I want people to notice God’s actions in their lives and in the lives of others and to have sympathy for other people. I want them to see that there is something going on here that matters. You can’t do that by hitting people over the head; you have to slowly draw them into it.In a sense, I am trying to proselytize by means of entertaining fiction. Fiction is ideally suited for this because it involves people in other worlds. It lets them see that world through a character’s eyes. Then they find themselves making judgments about whether a character is acting properly or improperly.Fiction, by its nature, asks ethical questions. As you are reading, you are constantly asking whether a character has done what you would have done or if the character has gone awry in some way. When you are reading, whether you are aware of it or not, you are offering advice to the character, and thus offering advice to yourself.
China’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet has brought attention to China’s record on human rights—unwelcome attention for the country that hopes this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing will bolster its image in the world. Protests have accompanied the travels of the Olympic torch as it makes its way to Beijing.
The presumptive Republican nominee for president, Arizona senator John McCain, has for 15 years attended North Phoenix Baptist Church, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The pastor of the church for that same period has been Dan Yeary.
At first glance, Sudhir Venkatesh’s Gang Leader for a Day looks something like a spin-off television show. Venkatesh was featured in Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s bestselling Freakonomics as the sociologist who befriended gang leaders and got revealing economic information from them.
A breakfast frequently served at my son’s school—where over half the children receive government-supported meals—consists of commercially produced French toast sticks and syrup. The list of ingredients on the package for this meal is as long as this paragraph. It includes not only partially hydrogenated soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup, but also more mystifying additives like gelatinized wheat starch, calcium caseinate, lecithin, guar gum and cellulose gum. The story of how these items arrive at a school cafeteria and are designated as food is a long and complicated one involving the interaction of farmers, government policy makers and the food industry. The modern story of why we eat what we eat begins in the 1930s, when President Franklin Roosevelt faced the challenges of the Depression. He saw that many farmers were poor and that one in every five people in the country was undernourished. Farmers and other Americans were too vulnerable, he believed, to the cycles of boom and bust.
Rachel Laser is senior policy adviser at Third Way, a “nonpartisan strategy center for progressives” based in Washington, D.C., that seeks to locate middle ground between progressives and conservatives on issues of security, economics and culture.
While controversies over evolution continue to arise in some sectors of American Christianity, most mainline Christians have made their peace with Darwin. We may not grasp all the nuances of the scientific debate, but we have concluded that evolutionary theory is good science and therefore must be compatible with good theology. Darwin’s name doesn’t send chills up our spines.
Ausma Khan is the editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl magazine, a bimonthly journal designed to reach Muslim teens in the U.S. "We are a values-based publication—we translate principles of faith into action; we make faith relevant and applicable to everyday life. . . .Of course, the girls who read our magazine are also interested in fashion, entertainment and sports, and we try to address those interests as well. But we are working to enlighten and empower girls to reach their full potential, to go out into the world with no limits as to what they can achieve in academics, sports and the arts. The only limits are those imposed by faith."
In June, Bradley Schmeling was officially removed from the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for being in a same-sex relationship. ELCA policy excludes from ordained ministry gays who are in a relationship. However, the parish that Schmeling has served for over six years, St.
A self-described “bootleg preacher,” Will Campbell got into lots of trouble as a minister and advocate for economic justice and racial equality in the South. The iconoclastic Baptist minister was director of religious life at the University of Mississippi in the late 1950sand was later a field officer for the National Council of Churches.
"What is going on in the U.S. military right now, in effect, is people with religious Geiger counters holding them up to you, trying to determine if you are 'unchurched' enough for them to evangelize you. . . .Our constitutional framers were so careful to keep religion out of the function of the state that they put it in Clause 3, Article 6. . . .They said that we would never have a test for religion for any position in the federal government. Right now, we have overwhelming evidence that tests for religion are happening all the time." —Michael L. Weinstein, author of With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military
In the final installment (For the Time Being, 1999) of her wide-ranging trilogy that started in 1974 with Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard asked the reader to consider grains of sand, numbers of stars, and the scope of both universal and human time.
This fall Sharon Kugler began her first academic year as chaplain at Yale University—the first woman, the first layperson and the first Roman Catholic to hold that position. When Yale president Richard C. Levin announced Kugler’s appointment, he called her “one of the nation’s most creative university chaplains.”
According to many Christian groups, pornography is a disturbing and increasing problem. A Promise Keepers survey found that 53 percent of its members consume pornography. A 2000 Christianity Today survey found that 37 percent of pastors said pornography is a “current struggle” of theirs.
In June, Esperanza USA, a national network of Hispanic ministries and churches, sponsored its fifth annual National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington. The breakfast, which focused on immigration reform, was attended by President Bush as well as several prominent leaders from the Democratic Party.