An organization was leading a training seminar for professionals. At one point the leader asked participants to imagine themselves setting out on an adventure with only ten items in each of their packs. A few minutes later, they were told that an imagined mishap had occurred and that it was necessary to leave behind five items and keep five.
I didn't refer to my godson as my godson until I heard one of his
parents do it first. They asked me to be a baptismal sponsor but didn't use
godparenting language at first, so I wasn't sure what name(s) they were giving
the relationship. I was glad when, just before the baptism, the baby's mother
said to him, "These are your godparents!" It's pretty awkward calling a kid
your "baptismal sponsee." Really drains the cute right out of the moment.
As pastors, we spend a great deal of time sharing in the
ongoing lives and adventures of our congregants and community members. We are
also called, literally, to come to love and suffer with them when
disappointments, disasters or deaths occur.
Our August 23 cover story on monogamy and Dan Savage has
gotten a lot of feedback, both positive and negative. Benjamin Dueholm offers a
nuanced take on the ways the popular sex columnist is beating pastors at their
own game--and the ways Savage's ethical worldview falls short. Some readers
seem too stuck on the first point--"the Christian
Century believes we should be instructed by an advice columnist," crows Joe Carter at First Things--to hear Dueholm out on the second.
A study of HIV-positive men and women showed that those who engaged in spiritual practices had a two to four times greater chance of survival than those who didn’t. The researchers began interviewing people at the mid-stage of their disease. The researchers asked participants whether they prayed, meditated, went to religious services, were grateful to God for what they had, or believed that God could forgive them for wrongdoing. The findings showed that the way people focus on the meaning of life and relate to God can affect health, even in the case of HIV. Roughly one-fifth of the participants engaged in “positive spiritual reframing” of their disease, seeing it as a way God was using them, for example. These people had a survival rate four times greater than that of the others (Atlantic, May 6).