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.
Sarah Coakley came to Harvard in 1993, hired as part of then-dean Ronald Thiemann’s plan to bring more religiously committed faculty to Harvard Divinity School. (Jon Levenson, an Orthodox Jew, was hired at about the same time.) If Thiemann wanted someone who embodied the soul of Anglicanism—both its theological commitments and its style—he could hardly have chosen better.
Mark's account of the beheading of John the Baptist is a sordid tale of anger and revenge, resentment and death. Jesus is never even mentioned. The key to understanding why this sorry saga shows up where it does in Mark's Gospel is its relation both to the growing fame of Jesus and the success of his disciples. John's death foreshadows Jesus' death and the deaths of many of the early followers.
Yielding to increasing pressure to show the Arab and Islamic worlds (and much of Europe) that he is sensitive to the plight of the Palestinian people, President George W. Bush recently declared his commitment to implement a “road map” to an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Meanwhile, a powerful domestic countermovement capable of undermining the U.S. initiative is well under way.