The nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination has decided not to redefine marriage as a contract between “two persons” instead of between a woman and a man. And the nearly 700 delegates, or “commissioners,” at its General Assembly in Pittsburgh which ended July 7 also did not favor allowing clergy to perform same-gender marriages in states where those marriages are legal.
A national official for the United Church of Christ says she applauds the courage of the large group of U.S. Catholic nuns under heavy criticism from the Vatican. “I pray for their wisdom, eloquence and continued confidence in working toward change which must come,” wrote Susan A. Blain, a UCC minister who was a sister for 11 years before deciding not to take final vows.
New Testament theologian Walter Wink, noted for relating the biblical phrase “principalities and powers” to the dominating sociopolitical structures of the modern era, died May 10, leaving a legacy of books, teachings and nonviolent resistance to apartheid in South Africa. Diagnosed with dementia, he died at home in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, at age 76.
John H. Hick, a prolific author renowned on British and U.S. campuses for his forthright approach to major questions in Christology and interfaith relations, died at age 90 on February 9 in Birmingham in his native Great Britain.
A task force that studied whether the nationwide Southern Baptist Convention should drop its regional name tag may have encouraged advocates for change after its own polling agency showed high negative responses to "Southern Baptist." Proponents for a change have reacted with reserve.
More than half of the graduates at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary this year borrowed an average of $20,600 to earn their master's degree—not an uncommon handicap for seminarians today as they await a call to ministry or seek other employment.
About the same time the National Council of Churches' governing board, meeting in Chicago, announced with sadness November 9 that it will lose general secretary Michael Kinnamon for medical reasons, it also raised up two talented volunteers.
Michael Kinnamon, a longtime ecumenical leader who has headed the
National Council of Churches since 2007, announced that he will leave
his post as general secretary of the New York–based NCC, following the
advice of his cardiologist.
Whenever a new Bible translation comes out, questions arise about
changes to familiar passages. I was pleased to see the CEB use the word
"disciple" to refer to the mysterious young man who appears in Mark 14:51-52,
after the 12 disciples desert Jesus and run away.
their careers or standing in the United Methodist Church, at least 164 clergy and six
congregations from Long Island to the Catskill Mountains and southern
Connecticut are vowing to marry same-sex couples.
The Common English Bible, the newest Bible on the block, is what the name suggests—a translation into commonly spoken English. It is not the first edition to move in that direction. But it's probably the first to use contractions so extensively—whether it's King David, Jesus or Paul speaking.
A United Methodist group of large-church pastors, joined by hundreds of petition-signing clergy and laity, are urging the denomination's bishops to issue a collective warning to some 900 "defiant" clergy who have declared their intention to bless same-sex unions or marriages.
I lament biblical illiteracy as much as anyone,
but I think surveys sometimes load the dice against scripture when illustrating
the public's unfamiliarity with the Bible. A recent example was noted by the
American Bible Society as it released The
Freedom Bible in connection with the 9/ll anniversary.
It's been rather quiet
on the Presbyterian battlefront since May 10, when the Twin Cities presbytery
in Minnesota became the 87th to vote to lift the ban on LGBT
ministers, elders and deacons. That was the decisive vote, and by July 10 the
historic change was official.
Unlike my Century
colleagues, I am not an avid book reader; I have no new history, novel or
memoir to commend for our summer reading list. My spare-time reading consists
mostly of seeking research gems or insights in critical biblical journals. Yes,
sounds like work.
A member of the Harvard Divinity School faculty for more than three decades, Gordon Kaufman, who died July 22 at 86, had a profound influence on rethinking theology in naturalistic terms, arguing for a vision of God as the "profound mystery of creativity," according to his colleagues. He died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
political leaders fight about the federal budget and the debt ceiling, some
religious leaders are certain that the poor are in peril from funding cuts.
They've signed petitions, held vigils and sought audiences with legislators.
One group took the next step yesterday to get attention--a sit-down protest in
the Capitol rotunda.
As British authorities look into the cellphone
hacking scandal surrounding the global media empire of Rupert Murdoch,
questions have reappeared about the 1998 award of a papal knighthood to
Murdoch--and how his family may have used its riches to appear in a fa