Several years ago, in the midst of one of its well-publicized battles about sex, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) proclaimed, "Theology matters." At first glance, this was a slogan to warm the heart of a theologian. But then I started to wonder why our denomination even had to say such a thing.
I was doing 60 and thinking about my boss, who's been on my ass lately, when the doe bounded out of the cedars and onto the highway. The red Jeep ahead of me caught her rear end just as she was about to jump clear of our lane and she tumbled, legs every which way, across the other lane and into a wide ditch.
I am a storyteller whose themes are informed by faith, but I do not preach it. In fact, one reader mailed back one of my novels complaining that it was filthy; with a magic marker she had blacked out everything she found offensive. When I saw that the first casualty was the mere mention of Jack Daniels bourbon, I knew there was no need to look any further. I mailed her a refund check.
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.