Faithful responses to work, family, and everyday life
There are some very important national conversations taking place these days. Few people seem to be saying anything grounded in theology.
In the midst of a procession of well-known stories is an image marking what's been forgotten. That's most of history, isn't it?
Here are some projections and assumptions I face in my current context—and responses that reflect what the church I serve is called to be.
It's 2016 and the problem of evil is still unsolved. It's found a megaphone in Stephen Fry, who offers more rhetorical power than originality.
You knew about weakness before you took the vows of ordination. Yet something in your soul made you get out of the boat and try to walk.
Those who heard the disciples preach on Pentecost comprehended the message in their own language. But that was only the beginning.
Pentecost offers a vision for Europe: not one megastate or one system for everything, but a model of diversity as peace.
Each year I ask my students to devise arguments for God. They respond less like well diggers than like beachcombers, gathering bits of evidence.
If the church is the bride of Christ, then Jesus is married to both Rachel and Leah—to the church he wants, and to the church he has to take.
At the least-visited museum in Rome, a marble cross caught my attention. It depicts the Madonna and Child and the warm tangle of their intimacy.
The exiled people of Judah turned to their stories—and found the belief that God would save them as before. Centuries later, Christians did the same.
Every New Year's, every Easter, every anniversary of his wife's death, Samuel Johnson took stock and prayed for the grace to try again.
The mainline Protestant church has to stop fretting about its future and sacrifice itself to mission.
Learning a language requires us to focus our attention on something outside ourselves. It's a lot like learning to pray.
One Sunday, I invited people to talk to us pastors about whatever troubled them. So after the service, I had no one to blame but myself.
In Fra Carnevale’s Annunciation, Mary’s face signals she is pondering the angel’s message in full consciousness of the joys and terrors it will bring.
At a reunion of our seminary's class of 1965, I talked to pastors who grieve that they have not left the mainline church better than they found it. They were faithful to their moment, but that moment blew away.
My Italian is rusty. When I go to church in Rome and try to follow along, I'm reminded of Woolf's "incessant shower of innumerable atoms."
Stephanie Paulsell teaches at Harvard Divinity School.
Carol Zaleski is professor of world religions at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Samuel Wells is the vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London and author of Learning to Dream Again and A Nazareth Manifesto.
M. Craig Barnes is president of Princeton Theological Seminary and author of The Pastor as Minor Poet.
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