When I was in Croatia this past May I went on a hunt for kulen, a specialty sausage found in a region of Northeast Croatia called Slavonia. You can’t buy kulen in any store, of course. To get it you’ve got to have friends in very high places—in backwater villages of Slavonia where people raise their own pigs and prepare kulen according to recipes passed on in families for generations.
I write this near the end of a doctor of ministry class at Columbia Seminary, where 16 pastors are exploring virtues for preaching. We are exploring virtues instead of skills because most of us recognize that scholarly exegesis, narrative flair and good eye contact have gotten us about as far as they will.
Calvin says somewhere that each of us is an actor on a stage and God is the audience. That metaphor has always interested me, because it makes us artists of our behavior, and the reaction of God to us might be thought of as aesthetic rather than morally judgmental in the ordinary sense.”
Infertility—a gift!? Poison and a curse—that’s how this unexplained infertility of ours felt to me for what seemed like an eternity. Nine years of trying to have a child of our own was like having to drink bitter waters from a poisoned well month after month.
Fighting for the poor and disadvantaged isn’t an aberration for the nuns on the Nuns on the Bus tour, led by Sister Simone Campbell. Their order, the Sisters of Social Service, was founded in Hungary in 1923 with a commitment to social justice. Their founder was the first woman elected to the Hungarian parliament. Another member was executed by the Nazis for hiding Jews in her hostel and was beatified by Pope Benedict in 2006. The order is credited with having spared the lives of at least 1,000 Jews during the Hitler era. From their beginning they’ve worn a simple gray suit that ordinary women might wear, not a habit (Harper’s, August).