When Sister Raphaela Händler arrived in Namibia in 1996 to coordinate the country’s Roman Catholic hospitals and health-care clinics, she realized that AIDS was a “time bomb” about to burst. She had worked previously in Tanzania, and had seen the AIDS pandemic spread there. Although Namibia was years behind Tanzania in the spread of this disease, the pattern was similar.
I have been writing recently about the connection between our Christian faith and the workaday lives most of us lead, and I have sought to strengthen that connection. But now I want to weaken it some, because often in our zeal to make a point we wind up making an idol.
The greatest difference between now and 1964, when I began teaching, is that public policy has pretty much eradicated the dream of Martin Luther King. In fact, the public schools today are every bit as segregated as they were in 1964.
The Consultation on Church Union (COCU), pronounced dead more than once over the past 40 years, is indeed about to die. On January 20, 2002, COCU’s member communions will stop being a “consultation” and enter into a new, far more substantive relationship called Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC).
On January 1 the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden began a new era of independence from the Swedish government. Though the new arrangement is far from realizing an American-style separation of church and state, the enactment of this reform represents an important new step in a long process of changing relations between state and church in Sweden.