If Barbara Kingsolver's masterpiece The Poisonwood Bible has formed your image of Christian missionaries in the 20th century, you need an equal and opposite set of characters to round out (not replace) your historical, theological and literary imagination.
I have returned again and again to Letters and Papers in search of insight into what it means to do
theology today, especially in my own South African context. Whether my
interest and inquiry has focused on theological issues, on the renewal
of the church and its public responsibility or on history, literature,
art and aesthetics, this remarkable collection has always provided much practical wisdom for people living in tough and
I'm beginning to think that Luke suffered from Macular Degeneration or
some other disease that slowly took away his ability to see. I have no
historical evidence to support this except for the importance of seeing
in his gospel.
Jesus asks Simon the Pharisee, "do you see this woman." The priest and the levite see the man laying broken and battered in the ditch.
Many of the recent articles about clergy burnout suggested that it's a symptom of cognitive dissonance: pastors think their job ought to be a particular kind of work and are frustrated when it ends up involving something else. None of the media coverage, however, offered a compelling description of the call to ministry itself.
The conventional wisdom has been that going to college leads people away from organized religion, and that was true for those born in the first part of the 20th century. But it’s not true for recent generations, says sociologist Philip Schwadel at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. In fact, it’s the least-educated members of Generation X—people born roughly between 1965 and 1980—who are most likely to leave religion. “Americans born in the late 1920s and ’30s who graduated from college were twice as likely to drop out of religion than people who didn’t graduate from college,” said Schwadel. However, for the generation born in the 1960s, there’s no difference between those who did and those who did not go to college in their likelihood of religious affiliation. Among those born in the 1970s, “those without a college education are the most likely to drop out.” Schwadel did not include millennials—Americans roughly between the ages 18 and 30—in the study because, he said, it’s too soon to tell if they will settle on a religious identity (RNS).