"The finest Christian poet alive today is the Welsh poet R. S. Thomas. Our century has produced some magnificent Christian poetry, but R. S. Thomas has written the most convincing.” So commented poet Mark Jarman in a 1998 interview from the Writer’s Chronicle. We can no longer claim Thomas as a major living poet: he died on September 25 at the age of 87.
After 30 years of teaching Christian ethics, I decided that I needed to express myself in something besides words. I wanted a fresh start and a fresh form, something that would go beyond nostalgia, some new symbolic form that would be congruent with my deepest convictions and aspirations. I decided to build a communion table.
The participants at the church retreat had been talking about their families, new grandkids, vacations and pending retirements. The facilitator had asked us to share something personal. I’d shared personal stuff in church groups before. But this time my heart sank and my shoulders slumped. I could feel a shroud of fear and disgrace coming over me. Share something personal? Why? How?
Forty years after Harvest of Shame, Edward R. Murrrow’s great documentary on the exploitation of migrant workers, the shame endures. Now overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking, the nation’s estimated 1.5 million farmworkers, are the most vulnerable laborers in the U.S.
Science writer Margaret Wertheim suggests in The Pearly Gates of CyberSpace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet that cyberspace has become for some a technological substitute for the heaven of Christian aspiration. “The Heavenly City of the New Jerusalem was the great promise of early Christianity,” she writes.