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.
An increasing number of people are practicing meditation techniques while commuting to work. They focus on their breathing or on sights, sounds, and physical sensations to help keep them in the present. Denise Keyes takes the train to her job at Georgetown University. She says meditating prepares her for work. “I want to be compassionate and really listen to people. This helps me do that” (Washington Post, October 19).