Rahila Muska, a teenage girl, lived in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold. Muska was known for regularly calling into a radio program on which women share landays, a traditional Pashtun form of poetry. Like most women who do this, Muska shared other people’s poems, not her own—to acknowledge authorship would have endangered her life.
When I posted about evangelicals and the death penalty the other day, I didn't note Samuel Rodriguez's piece at Time. Not because he's a controversial figure, but because the piece doesn't go very far: while evangelicals should be outraged by "the details" of howClayton Lockett died, it's clear Stephanie Neiman's killer "needed to be permanently removed from" society (an artfully ambiguous phrase). They should be outraged by these details "regardless of how you feel about the death penalty." And how does Rodriguez himself feel about it? He's studiously noncommittal, that's how.
What should clergy do when asked to offer public prayers at various events? My colleagues tend to have strong opinions on opposite sides of this question. Some feel that they are being used—or that it is part of an old Christendom model of being church to offer invocations and benedictions at public gatherings. Others feel it is a time to proselytize; so they will only pray if they can do so in the name of Jesus.
For my own part, whenever I can accept such invitations I say yes.
What do we think of when we think of touch? Of hugging a loved one, of caressing a child’s cheek, or of intimacy with a partner? Or do some of us know touch only as something horrid—an act of aggression or invasiveness?
If you look around at most denominational meetings, you will see that Baby Boom retirements will have a massive impact on our denominations. Boomers make the majority of those in the pews, in the pulpits, and in power. The first wave of Boomers is in the midst of retiring, so what can we expect? How will this affect us?
I can’t say for sure, but let me look into my crystal ball and tell you what I see.
Earlier this year I attended an ordination service for a good friend. During the course of that worship service she went from being a faithful lay member of the United Church of Christ to an ordained UCC minister.
The movie Heaven Is for Real—based on the book by the same name—tells the story of minister Todd Burpo and his four-year-old son Colton. The main plot revolves around Colton’s near-death experience and his claims that while undergoing surgery he visited heaven and sat on Jesus’ lap. Burpo struggles to define what happened to Colton for himself as well as for the community of faith to which he ministers.