Dear Congregation of the St. Pachomius Byzantine Orthodox Church: Pursuant to our contractual agreement dated August 1 of this year, I have completed my evaluation of your church. I have, as you requested, assessed your worship as to its compatibility with contemporary sensibilities.
Though it is hard to imagine the situation in Colombia getting much worse, church leaders and human rights groups are warning that the violence is in fact increasing, and that a “dirty war” like the one in El Salvador in the 1980s and in Chile and Argentina in the 1970s is likely to erupt.
The numbers of Christians living in Iraq, mostly Catholic and Orthodox, have been dwindling for more than two decades. One exodus of Christians began during the prolonged Iran-Iraq war that stretched from 1979 to ’88. The short, violent gulf war of 1991 was followed by 11 years of United Nations economic sanctions, which church leaders say have made life miserable and survival tenuous for many.
Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!"And God granted what he asked. (1 Chron. 4:10, NRSV)
"I have become all things to all people,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians, apparently not foreseeing how we would regard his wry boast. Today his efforts to ingratiate himself with very different people sound inauthentic, phony—and impossible. “You can’t be all things to all people,” is how one of my seminary professors put it.