Seattle's Plymouth Congregational Church could be described as an "old first church." Founded in 1869 when the population of the city was 1,000, the church conceived of its mission as one of civilizing this rough-and-tumble city on the nation's western edge. Members of the congregation have served at one time or another on the City Council and school board and as mayor.
The issuing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification last year by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church elicited great rejoicing. It appeared that an historic consensus had been reached on the central issue that has divided Protestants and Roman Catholics since the 16th century.
Sitting on the four corners of an intersection in the town where I grew up are the public school, the library, the town hall and my home church. Every morning an American flag is raised in front of each of the four buildings. The church, however, sits on a hill above the other public buildings, as if presiding over all of them.
The Death of Raymond E. Brown, S.S., on August 8 in Redwood City, California, came as a thief in the night--unexpected, unwanted and unwelcomed. It robbed him of a life full of writing, research, teaching, travel and play. It robbed the Christian community of a giant and a genius who did justice, loved mercy and walked humbly with his God.
The riots that struck Jakarta, Indonesia, in May, forcing President Suharto out of office, were in part politically motivated; Suharto's 32-year reign was anything but democratic. But the civil turmoil that sparked fires in the streets stemmed principally from economic discontent.