The day after Valentine’s Day, the BBC offered the world an unexpected and unusual love story. Nearly 40 years ago, two Polish-born philosophers began a correspondence, one that continued for more than 30 years and ended with a visit the day before one of them died.
Theological schools occupy a unique place within higher education. With relatively small enrollments and modest endowments, seminaries feel the cutting edge of change. Online learning, new degree programs, and nontraditional scheduling proliferate. And rumors abound that one school or another might shut down.
Lent is early this year, so it coincides with Black History Month for a full 18 days.
This overlap of sacred and secular calendars proves doubly sacred for Christians in the U.S. The sacred journey of Lent leads us to the cross—at the end of Jesus’ life of healing ministry and preaching good news to the poor. The sacred journey of Black History Month leads us to the lynching tree—as well as to African American innovators such as the man who developed modern blood storage and transfusion.
Something subtle and remarkable has happened in American politics—and, it seems, in democracies across the developed world. The big arguments over what the state owes the people, in terms of services and public welfare, have been somewhat eclipsed. Now the focus is on who counts as people in the first place.
My American history teacher spoke in a monotone as he read a few paragraphs from the textbook about the Nazis killing six million Jews during the Holocaust. The boy sitting behind me leaned forward and whispered in my ear: “Kike. My grandfather was in the KKK.”
The first time it struck me, I was reading Henri Nouwen’s Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring. “It seems fair to say that between the ages of one and thirty, people are considered young; between thirty and sixty, they are considered middle aged,” Nouwen writes. I was 29 and a little terrified.