The leader of the Western world stands before his compatriots and outlines a list of atrocities allegedly committed by a demonic and militaristic Muslim power. He warns that even more horrendous crimes are imminent, perhaps this time to be committed on home soil.
Are old animosities to blame for the recent rise of religious and ethnic violence around the world? To believe that they are, we would have to believe that rivalries between Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Muslims, and Muslims and Jews characterized earlier times.
I am weary of parish consultants who offer pronouncements of doom, demise and decline; forecast futures based on generic assumptions about generations of people or styles of worship; or describe some congregation that is doing things so right that it is worthy of adoration and praise.