Since starting seminary I've had the opportunity to read
through the Old Testament with a thoroughness I haven't used since my
evangelical youth group days. While building biblical literacy is something
evangelicals do very well, reading the Old Testament now reminds me how my context
shaped how I read the Bible. And it all had to do with sex.
I grew up around evangelical church leaders who were hardcore
about spiritual fasting, sometimes going a week on just water or 40 days on
just fruit juice. (I never made it more than a day.) When I started running in mainline
circles, I was thrown by the way people used the word "fast" to mean giving up
chocolate or beer or television.
On Ash Wednesday, Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed a bill banning capital punishment. A member of my congregation offers a powerful Lenten lesson for the year the death penalty was abolished in Illinois.
FedEx donated an old wide-body MD-10 plane to Orbis International, whose mission it is to fight blindness. A team of FedEx employees and retirees from FedEx and McDonnell Douglas refurbished the plane as a hospital for treating the eye—the only such plane in the world. There are 39 million blind people and 285 million visually impaired people around the world. Eighty percent of visual impairments can be avoided or cured (Ophthalmology Times, June 7).