I saw the stranger across the crowded room. My eyes were drawn to him like a dog to a raw steak. He looked lonely. I could tell that he needed a friend. I smiled broadly at him. He smiled back, and that was my cue.
If you wrestle with this Matthean parable through the night, it'll leave
you limping by morning. Martin Luther didn't like preaching on it, and
worshipers in early October won't be in the mood for its judgment.
In time for Holy Week, this issue features David Cunningham’s essay on the destiny of the “other thief” who was on the cross beside Jesus. It also contains William H. Willimon’s witness to the radical news of Easter.
I can’t remember the last time I read much about hell—the topic of a symposium in this issue—but those of us who recite the creed weekly do include “he descended into hell” as part of what we believe about Jesus Christ.
Hell is talked about cautiously, if at all, in mainline churches. Yet the notion of a divinely ordained place of punishment for the wicked after death is deeply embedded in the Christian imagination. How should we think and talk about hell? Why don’t we talk about it? We asked eight theologians to comment.
Halloween has come and gone in Habersham County. I cannot remember when I have seen so many houses draped with spider webs and strings of pumpkin lights. A faux graveyard appeared in one front yard, with clusters of leaning tombstones that glowed like psychedelic mushrooms in the dark. Skeletons sat in front porch rockers.
A street preacher works a corner just blocks from the Christian Century office, loudly warning passersby of the wrath to come. It’s always tempting to wonder, If that is the Good News, what’s the bad news? Nevertheless, there is logic to this man’s ministry. If he truly believes that most people are going to hell, then it makes sense for him to warn as many as possible.
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