This is not a Sunday for soft-pedalling the gospel. Moses and Jesus
portray the life of faith as a "yes" or a "no" to God with lives that
obey or that disobey. It is little wonder that it is common to summarize
Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount with one verse, the "Golden
Rule" (Matthew 7:12).
I've said before that celebrating communion via Twitter (to make "a
statement that we're prepared to embrace the technological revolution") seems
like an especially poor use of technology. But Lisa Nichols Hickman brings up a techno-sacramental innovation
that's at least somewhat more compelling.
Although I was raised in a preacher's household and have been a preacher myself for three decades, my own conversion happened gradually. I didn't even realize what I was going through until one of my parishioners told me that the congregation had been watching my conversion one Sunday, one sermon at a time.
Eugene Peterson's new memoir, The Pastor, will be out in February (Century subscribers can read the excerpt from the book
in the February 8 issue.) If any pastor has claimed the vocation, it's
Peterson, who has grounded and inspired pastors for many years with books that
include Under the Unpredictable Plant
and The Contemplative Pastor.
For the first time in centuries, church bells didn’t ring and no mass was celebrated the last Sunday of June in Mosul, the Iraqi city overrun by the radical Islamic group called ISIS. Christians in Mosul have been forced to pay a tax for their non-Muslim status. When one Christian family said it didn’t have the money, the mother and daughter were raped. The husband and father was so traumatized by the event that he committed suicide. By tradition, Mosul is the site of Jonah’s burial. Most Christians have fled from Mosul, some going to Kurdistan (Daily Beast, June 29).