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.
I was away on a retreat recently when the mirror surprised me. Normally, I can hardly bear to see my own face in the mornings, so it was only by chance that I happened to glance into the mirror as I turned on the light switch. There was my face looking back at me. My wet hair was sticking up every which way, and water was trickling down the side of my nose. And I was smiling.
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.