Even before the invasion of Iraq had begun, the cry went forth through and from the churches: Pray! Pray for the soldiers, pray for the civilians, pray for peace. So I preached, and so I did. I wonder, though, if God didn’t answer our petitions with one of his own: Vote!
Six years before he died, American philosopher William James filled out a questionnaire about religious experience. He was asked, among other things, “Do you pray?” His answer was forthright: “I can’t possibly pray.
A contemporary reader of the New Testament letter we call 1 Corinthians is likely to be a little puzzled by the amount of attention it gives to whether the Corinthian Christians could eat meat that had been offered to pagan idols. Chapters 8-10 treat this question, though not in a straight line entirely free of digression. By the time St.
Public prayer with non-Christians is risky business, at least if you’re a Missouri Synod Lutheran. Pastor David Benke of the LCMS is going through a disciplinary process for having prayed at the interfaith “Prayer for America” service held at Yankee Stadium in September 2001 following the terrorist attacks. That event included Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.
Anniversaries of traumatic events carry an emotional power. A clinical psychiatrist I know says that remembering and even reliving such traumas, as painful as that is, can be an important part of healing. We mark the anniversary of September 11 in this issue with a series of reflections and remembrances.
I find the return to school every fall very exciting. I like the start-up rituals. I still have to have new stuff—pens, notebooks, calendars, and of course new shoes. I am glad to see the faces of my friends and colleagues again and to hear what they have been doing since I saw them last. I love to see former students again and meet new students. I’m eager for classes to start.
Now that the war against terrorism is well under way, things have eased up a little in Clarkesville. A month ago, you could not walk into a room full of people without someone trying to pin a flag on your lapel.
Some time between World War II and the Second Vatican Council a small-town church in northeastern Vermont was destroyed by fire. The congregation immediately launched a vigorous fund-raising campaign to erect a new building. One of the members carried his canvassing so far as to ask the local Roman Catholic priest for a donation.
Campus chaplains are reporting that special worship services have been filling their sanctuaries these days. Pews that often gather dust have been crowded with students who usually pass the churches by. They meditate, cry, pray.