I had work to do the other day, but I set it aside to reread Elie Wiesel’s Night as a way to mark the great man’s death and remember his life.
While I was struck by passages I anticipated, like his account of how his belief was shattered upon seeing the furnaces of Auschwitz—“Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever”—it was an unexpected line that caught me, given a current news story I’d been following.
Elie Wiesel has died. Reading the obituaries, the thing that astounds me is the thing that has always astounded me: how young he was. Eighty-seven now, in 2016. I’ve been burying World War II veterans throughout my years of pastoral ministry. How could Wiesel only be 87?
The Great and Holy Council of the Eastern Orthodox churches concluded Sunday (June 26). There was no shortage of controversy leading up to the council. The churches of Bulgaria, Russia and Georgia didn’t attend. The Ukrainian Church asked for independence from the Russian Church. Many wondered if the council’s decisions would be valid.
In the end, cooler and more charitable heads prevailed.
In the latest issue of the Century, I profiled a family awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and its extension to DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). On Thursday, the Supreme Court voted in a 4-4 tie, which means that the case reverts to the lower court ruling, against the program.
As our country asks how to protect itself from the terror of more mass shootings, elected leaders who call themselves Christian might look to the LGBTQ community for inspiration. Queer people have a weapon in our arsenal that no gun will ever defeat.
We were away at a family funeral when the news broke about the shooting at Pulse in Orlando. We went through the motions of our last day in Maine—visiting the beach, eating dinner with loved ones—but we carried with us the rising number of deaths we saw in news alerts on our phones.
When we got home the next day, I started doing laundry.
I’m in Greenwood, Mississippi today for a rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of an event that marked a major turning point in the civil rights movement: a speech by Stokely Carmichael in which he called on his fellow African Americans to demand and achieve “Black Power.”
When I parked the minivan in the church lot, it still sounded like the type of horror we have had no choice but to become stoic about: 20 dead in a bar, as many more wounded, a dead shooter and a thicket of questions. By the time I returned it had become something different.
The satisfaction theory of the atonement centers on debt, humanity’s debt to God. It’s often criticized for its gruesome picture of God. But it also paints a weird picture of Jesus: Christ the Debt Buyer.