I noticed a disheveled and unshaven man in his early fifties a few barstools down from me. Something about him seemed uninviting. Soon an attractive 40-something woman arrived in a crisp little black dress and perched on the stool next to him. She seemed nervous.
For seven splendid years (1953-1960) I studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Someone told me that visitors to the seminary were occasionally brought around to the tutors' office, where I worked as a graduate student, in order to glimpse "the Barthian"—of which species I was apparently the only one in captivity in that place.
The paradox of being a writer is that you are more likely to get outcomes when you let go of getting outcomes: it frees you from the ego's grip. There is a parallel here to the faith journey: seek your life and you will lose it, lose your life and you will find it.
John Calvin grounded our need to know God in our createdness: "What is the chief end of human life?" he asked, and answered, "To know God by whom we were created." This yearning is not the same as our need to "know" other human beings.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced recently that the city’s public school system would add two Islamic holy days to the number of religious holidays recognized. Why stop there? asked Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University. Why not mark the winter solstice for Wiccans or celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights? Adding more religious holidays would recognize the nation’s diversity, but it would not be practical, said Prothero. He urged a move in the other direction: no religious holidays on the school calendar (Wall Street Journal, March 10).