For Jesus, unity among his disciples is an instrument of the evangel itself. Presbyterians
have a great evangelical opportunity to show a fractured world that it
is possible for people to disagree and yet remain in
When the great theologian Karl Barth was charged with being a
universalist, he reportedly denied it, but then quoted 1 John: "Christ
died for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the
Martin Marty laments the moment when you realize you are not going to read all the books you hoped and planned to read—and you will have to depend on what others are saying about books you will not get around to reading.
On Ash Wednesday, Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed a bill banning capital punishment. A member of my congregation offers a powerful Lenten lesson for the year the death penalty was abolished in Illinois.
Amy Frykholm's article "Double belonging" took me back to my first encounter with double belonging. A young man in my congregation returned from working with the Peace Corps in Vietnam. He made an appointment to see me.
During the past year, Chicago has experienced a disturbing spate of murders of police officers. Just a few days ago a 20-year veteran of the Chicago police force, a husband and father of four, was killed during a routine investigation, along with a former police officer for the Chicago Housing Authority whose car had been burglarized.
The birth of Jesus contradicts the idea of a God who "lay above the earth like a layer of icy cirrus." The birth means that we encounter God, not only in elegant theology but in work and in our enjoyment of beauty, friendship and love—in love particularly.
I've recently read and I highly recommend the following four books. Each is different and satisfying. Each is hefty, which is satisfying in its own way—it always feels like something of a statement to travel with a hardback book that's hard to fit into an airplane carry-on bag.
I don't know what I'm going to do without Context: Martin E. Marty on Religion and Culture. Earlier this year Marty and the Claretians, who have published Context 12 times a year, announced that it was closing down. I've been in a mild depression ever since.
Carlyle Marney said that each of us is like a house, with a
living room where we entertain and a dark basement where we store the
trash. And each house has a balcony with all the people
who have influenced and inspired us. The way to
celebrate All Saints Day, he said, is to step out onto the front lawn
and salute the people on your balcony. One of my balcony people
I used to sit on the front porch with my grandmother, otherwise the
gentlest, most unconditionally loving person in my young life, while
she regaled me with stories about what was going on under the dome of
the Roman Catholic cathedral one block away. They're storing guns in
the basement, Grandma assured me, and I imagined that the windows in
the dome were gunports through which "they" planned to fire on the rest
of the city.