What is a healthy congregation? For some clergy and laity, health is simply the absence of conflict. But we may be confusing a healthy congregation with a placid one. While conflict is seldom fun, its absence may be less an indication of health than of an insufficient sense of urgency or challenge about being the church.
Dear Derek: In my last letter I commented on how casually I said yes when Mom asked whether we should agree to have you come into our home as a foster child. A simple decision on a busy day, and it has shaped the rest of my life—and yours. This is worth our thinking about together.
What is a great church? For many Americans, great is synonymous with large, volume equals vitality, quantity means quality. But a countertradition is quietly emerging. As more churches grow to stadium proportions, small congregations are coming to see their diminutive size as an asset for mission.
The attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, constituted an attack not simply on America but on the modern world order. One of the proud towers of the modern world is confidence in reason—not in the human power for reason (the ancient world celebrated that power) but rather the powers acquired through reason. Modern science yields technologies that benefit humankind.
The news from Colombia is mostly bad. The number of people forced to flee from their homes and find makeshift shelter has increased from about 2 million in 2001 to nearly 3 million today. They flee both from the armed conflict and from having their farms sprayed with poison from airplanes—a futile attempt to eradicate the production of coca, from which cocaine is derived.