Recently, I prayed for someone to die. She wasn’t an enemy. She was the beloved teenage daughter of two exceptionally fine church friends. Sarah’s frail body, once so vivacious and spry, was failing, fading away—sucked of its verve and substance by a fierce internal rapacious monster: Ewing’s sarcoma, bone cancer.
Last January President Bush announced that he was building on “a magnificent, courageous and compassionate response to terrorism” with the creation of the USA Freedom Corps, an initiative that combines the AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Peace Corps. Then he added a new organization, the Citizens Corps, which will focus on prevention of and emergency response to terrorism.
Scholars can be like children in a schoolyard. We push one another around, turn our noses up and have our cliques. On the terrain that I know best, the writings of Søren Kierkegaard, today’s Gettysburg is the struggle between readers who see play and misdirection everywhere in Kierkegaard and those who are inclined to read him as a philosophically and poetically gifted evangelist.
On the long climb to Jerusalem I notice two kinds of trucks. One kind is carrying huge battle tanks still muddy from combat in the West Bank. The other is carrying tents sent from America for Palestinians who have lost their homes in the fighting.
Christians throughout history may be justly accused of many failures, but it appears neglecting evangelism is not one of them. Observers of Christian growth have been suggesting over the last few decades that the faith is experiencing a significant migratory moment, not unlike the first explosive venture outside the tribe of the Jews into the unfamiliar world of the gentiles.