In years and decades to come, we’ll remember the last two weeks. The Emanuel A.M.E. massacre, the sudden shift away from the Confederate flag, the Supreme Court’s reaffirmation of the Affordable Care Act and its extension of same-sex marriage to every state. Last Friday there was an awesome funeral service for Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel and one of the victims in the shooting. And all of it while once again black churches have been burning, some under suspicious circumstances.
For all of America’s secularization, actual and expected, each event was resonant with religious significations—and each prompted a wave of public theology.
As long as people have been praying, they have also been asking for prayer from one another. In the Bible, the New Testament is full of requests from Paul and others to pray for them; contemporary places of worship often offer time in their services to pray for the specific needs of their parishioners.
A new app called Instapray makes sense as a digital heir to that tradition.
Some of us clergy couples struggle with jealousy. Some of us don’t. And sometimes we’re split on the matter. It took my partner seven and a half years before she felt the envy. Then (finally!) the other month the Rev. Jamie looked me in the eye and said (for the first time), “I am so jealous of you. If one more person says they’re going to give you a stole, I’m going to scream.”
As we reel from the horrific news out of Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine people were killed and others wounded after a gunman opened fire during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church, the details we’re gathering in the aftermath all suggest that this was a hate crime.
On a recent Saturday I worked beyond the point of exhaustion. Not to. Beyond. Never mind exactly on what. I like to think it was for a good cause, though that is debatable and not the point here. The point is: I so believed outcome xneeded to happen that I was willing to do violence to myself to make it happen.
Last week the Nebraska legislature abolished the state’s death penalty, overcoming the governor’s veto to do it. First Things editor Matthew Schmitz, writing in National Review, adds a salutary note of caution to the celebration that followed: viewing abolition as moral progress allows us to “overlook the countless cruelties of our criminal-justice system as we congratulate ourselves on the elimination of a relatively rare punishment.”