Faithful, effective Christian congregations make a difference. They touch people’s lives, address profound questions with insight and wisdom, and offer places where the ingredients of a flourishing life can be discovered and nurtured in relationship to the God of Jesus Christ.
Macedonia became an independent nation without firing a single shot. For a time it seemed that this small country of about 2 million might avoid the kind of interethnic warfare that marked the destruction of the former Yugoslavia, a federation that once included such now independent republics as Croatia and Slovenia.
The people who have the best background for becoming pastors in today’s church are high school foreign language teachers,” Stanley Hauerwas declared during a recent discussion between Duke University faculty and seminarians.
What? Do you want them to commit suicide?” That was the response of Sis Levin, a Columbia University specialist on finding alternatives to violence, when asked if Palestinians should be encouraged to engage in nonviolent demonstrations against the Israeli military occupation.
In exploring the minister’s public obligations, it would seem sensible to bypass the activity of worship and concentrate on the minister’s social service, on the grounds that the latter bears most directly on politics. Politics seems far removed from the liturgical.