In October, a
newly formed Right to Life group sponsored a week-long conference, entitled
"Abortion and Feminism," on the campus of Yale Divinity School. The
pro-choice posters posted by the Students for Reproductive Justice made it
clear that seminarians are not of one mind on the issue.
The soaring modernist chapel at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, built in 1962, was intended to symbolize America's embrace of religious diversity and interfaith harmony: different spaces for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish services each "accommodat[ed] within a single enclosure," as one architectural review put it. Alas, the design's messages about religious equality were decid
The ancient church fathers struggled with the physical implications of the incarnation—the mother’s womb, the birth and afterbirth. God gets a human body, orthodoxy has always proclaimed: a human body rife with bacteria, hormones and phlegm. Tertullian insists that God became fully human, though he recounts the details with some distaste.
Our hearts may sing as we hear the glorious prophecy of Isaiah, as repeated in Matthew’s Gospel: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” But as we listen to the epistle a nagging voice suggests that the Corinthians have been remarkably busy in their attempts to put that light out.
The world is full of walls. Everywhere we go, there are fences, gates, partitions and other ingeniously constructed barriers—all aimed at keeping something or someone in and keeping something or someone else out. We need walls.
Talk about unity amid diversity in the church can seem hollow, especially as people confront deeply controversial issues. The gossip in the halls of denominational assemblies recently has been about possible schisms over the issue of homosexuality. Fragmentation, not unity, seems the experience of our times.
A recent editorial in Christianity Today suggested that “it may be time for mainline churches to consider an amicable divorce.” The editorial cited a proposal floated informally at the United Methodist General Conference in May to “explore an amicable and just separation” that would free the church from its “cycle of pain and conflict.” Similar talk is heard regularly in Presbyterian circle
In 2001, representatives of the Confessing and the Good News movements and representatives of the Reconciling Ministries Network and the Clergy Alliance for a Professing Church came to DePauw University, where I was chaplain, to discuss homosexuality and the church.
This is the season when church bodies convene and contend over the issue of homosexuality. It is usually a wearisome struggle for all parties, and the struggle usually generates questions about whether there is a better way for Christians to deal with their differences.
A person’s final words are important. When they are out of character or trivial, we remember them with some embarrassment. Elvis Presley, for example, supposedly said, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” Well-spoken words, on the other hand, provide a fitting conclusion to a life and encouragement for those who remain.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.