Like red wine, which we biblical literalists are commanded to take now and then, coffee, unanticipated in the scriptures, offers both an enhancement of and a threat to health. A recent issue of Time summarizes coffee’s contradictory potentials.
Recently Yale Divinity School organized a conference to mark a major ecumenical event of the last decade (some would even argue, the major ecumenical event of the last century). It was the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church.
Bishop Mark S. Hanson, the outgoing president of the Lutheran World Federation, appealed to delegates at the LWF gathering in Germany to hold together and avoid splits in the face of differences over issues of sexuality.
Three months before a major assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, church leaders in Tanzania and Ethiopia—who represent the two largest Lutheran constituencies in Africa—have expressed opposition to “same-sex marriages and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage.”
Two global groupings of Protestant churches have urged the African Union to intervene in the crisis in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe’s government has cracked down on opposition protests as the country faces economic collapse.
Lutheran church membership soared in Africa and Asia between 2005 and 2006 but continued its steady decline in the West, according to the Lutheran World Federation, whose total constituency rose .71 percent to just under 66.7 million.
World Council of Churches officials have welcomed word that after 2010, the Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches will no longer hold global assemblies of their own under current plans.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).