Part of the fabric of public life in America during the post–World War II years, perhaps the cross-stitch that held the symbolic boundaries in place, was anticommunism. Most mainline church editors were part of it.
In Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut (1997) David Shenk tells of “technostress” researcher Philip Nicholson’s practice of asking his audiences, “Pretend that you were forced to make a choice between giving up one of your fingers and giving up use of your computer for the rest of your life.
I have learned over the years that students, wearily carrying out a writing assignment, often have recourse to the dictionary. Assigned to write on a specific topic, they will begin with a dictionary definition. Let it never be said that I have learned nothing from reading their papers all these years.
Those of us who preach or teach preaching are always looking for the right words to convey biblical truth. How do we do it? How do we invite congregations to “Bibleland,” that ancient world where we go week after week, and then connect them with the good news, news that is supposed to inform the way we live our lives here and now?
We are gathered here in a Christian church as participants in a Christian memorial service to honor the life of Richard, a man who said that he did not believe in God. What right have we to do this? It would certainly be an affront to his memory were we, by this service, to deny him the right to have been the man he was. We cannot pretend or even suggest that he really was somehow, despite his insistence to the contrary, a Christian believer. Indeed, it would be a scandal if we who claim to honor Richard’s memory did not allow him, by his unbelief, to call into question our Christian belief.