Retired bishop Melvin Talbert of the United Methodist Church, who shared a jail cell with Martin Luther King Jr. and whose ministries included leadership in national ecumenical bodies, became in late October the first UMC bishop to bless publicly a same-sex union in a church.
It’s tough enough for aspiring clergy to take on a student loan to finance three years of M.Div. studies at a seminary. For the applicant (and perhaps spouse), it might mean quitting a job and facing added financial problems.
Bucking popular opinion and a decades-old IRS policy, a group of conservative evangelicals is urging that pastors be allowed to endorse political candidates in church without risking their congregations’ tax-exempt status.
Robert N. Bellah, an eminent sociologist of religion most remembered for defining the interplay of U.S. religion and politics as a civil religion and for describing Sheilaism, a forerunner of today’s “spiritual but not religious” individualism, died July 30 of complications related to heart surgery at an Oakland, California, hospital.