Recently I learned that the word “Lent” comes from the Old
English ‘lencten,’ which sounds a lot like “lengthen” and, not
incidentally, was the Old English word for Spring–-that time when the
days, well, lengthen.
Why are we losing congregations? There are many factors. If
I’m painting with a broad brush, I’d say that it is because we are largely rural, white and older. What can we do to ensure a vital future? Focus on urban
About 15 years
ago I was a guest at the annual meeting of theAssociation of Christians Teaching Sociology. In one session a professor reported on a
student's project. Taking the Century as a barometer of mainline Protestantism and Christianity Today as a barometer of evangelicalism, his student
compared the respective responses to the civil rights movement. The student
found that the Century was very hospitable toward the movement and that CT was critical of
it. (Full disclosure: At the time of this ACTS meeting, I was working for
Since ACTS is comprised
largely of evangelical scholars, there was some hanging of heads in the room.
Evangelicals, they agreed, had been on the wrong side of history, not to speak
of the wrong side of justice.
Like a lot of Protestants, I've never been one to take the fasting element of Lent all that literally. But while I never set out to intentionally do the opposite, it sometimes seems to happen.
morning, I ate half a bag of jelly beans. I haven't done that in years.
Then, with my brain exploding with sugar and my mouth with fantastic
artificial flavor, I remembered what day it is. It's as if I got the Fat
Tuesday memo a day late, and also missed the part about using up perishable bad-for-you food, not junk you couldn't spoil if you tried.
have a life that is rich in experience, and is now rich in spirit." This is how
Bob DeMarco opened the new year on his blog.
At 61, DeMarco is sole caretaker of his 96-year-old mom, Dotty.
one time he was an institutional salesman of derivatives, futures, options and
mortgages; at another time he was chief executive of a small software company.
He was once married and is now divorced. But according
to Jane Gross, DeMarco always knew he would drop it all to
care for his mother when the time came.
The new Century editorial
offers that if the Republicans nominate Rick Santorum for president,
his regular rhetoric about poverty might challenge President Obama to
engage him on it--giving voters a chance to hear two different analyses
of the problem instead of, you know, not hearing about it all.
Somewhat more quixotically, I've found myself wondering whether there's an opportunity as well in Santorum's recent claim that environmentalism amounts to a "phony theology." Stephen Prothero's reaction is to challenge Santorum's desire to draw who's-a-real-Christian lines; Rachel Tabachnick's is to trace the "phony theology" line to the influence of the Cornwall Alliance.
points both, but what interests me here is that Santorum's comments
point to one of the basic theological questions for Christian
eco-engagement: Is the emphasis on human membership in the wider
creation or on human responsibility for it?