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.
Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, remembers Vincent Harding coming up to him at a church in Denver and suggesting that they work together. Patel declined, saying he thought the mission of his own organization didn’t mesh with Harding’s. After Harding died, Patel read his obituary and learned Harding was an unsung hero of the civil rights movement and a speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr. Later, at an event attended by Patel and Harding’s widow Aljosie, Patel confessed that he had passed up a great opportunity. Aljosie said to Patel: “You should know that Vincent followed your work, and he loved you, and he forgives you” (OnBeing.org, June 9).