In January 1990, as Operation Desert Storm was lighting up the skies over Iraq, I was asked to preach on Romans 13. When people refer to Romans 13, they are usually thinking of the first seven verses, which suggest that submission to the authorities, who have been placed there by God and given the “sword,” is the duty of every Christian.
Like an artist sketching in broad strokes on a huge canvas, Paul in the first 11 chapters of Romans has traced with great intensity God’s patience and persistence at making peace with humanity. The strokes get broader, the colors ever more vivid, until Paul is himself overcome at what he sees.
Isaiah gives us a vision of what the new anointed one will be like, what gifts he will have and how he will be someone run by Elsewhere—not by the criteria of groupthink, of lobbying groups. His criteria will give voice to the meek who have no voice and don’t know how to use a voice. His words will become the criteria for everything, much to the dismay of the wicked.
When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran visited Columbia University, he was introduced as a “a petty and cruel dictator” by his host, the school’s president, Lee Bollinger. When he addressed the General Assembly at the United Nations, the U.S. delegation walked out.
A couple of months ago in the Century, Thomas G. Long discussed temptations faced by anxious preachers who must preach week after week, sometimes for several services each Sunday. “What can I say this time?” is the angst-filled question of many of us. In an earlier day one could find Harry Emerson Fosdick’s sermons collected in his books, and Ernest T.
A delegation of 13 officials of American church-related and peace groups who recently traveled to Iran and met with that nation’s president for more than two hours have urged members of Congress to help defuse tensions over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
A green-dyed spray of grass seed and chemical fertilizer is all that marks the site where, on the morning of October 2, 2006, 10 children were shot in their Amish schoolhouse at the edge of a field outside Nickel Mine, Pennsylvania.
In Wendell Berry’s novel Jayber Crow, the main character works to come to terms with who he is. At midlife, after going through a crisis, he says, “Now, finally, I really had lost all desire for change, every last twinge of the notion that I ought to get somewhere or make something of myself. I was what I was.
Election season 2006 is over, and we can say goodbye to the negative media ads and stories. Opposing sides fought one another with reckless abandon. Yet they never once thought of turning their struggle into a civil war. So why is the Bush administration claiming that it’s pushing for democracy in the Middle East while it is taking steps that encourage a civil war between Hamas and Fatah?