Our service ended with a Eucharist, celebrated at an
imposing altar. I
learned to make my gestures big, to open my arms wide, to lift the cup
above my head. What I never quite got the hang of was the chanting.
Vogan is one of the most dedicated church members I know. Every Sunday, 15
minutes before the prelude begins, he climbs up into our soaring, Gothic tower
with one goal: to set our 2,020-pound church bell into full swing. Then, for
ten whole minutes, the Old South bell calls all of Boston to pray.
When the great theologian Karl Barth was charged with being a
universalist, he reportedly denied it, but then quoted 1 John: "Christ
died for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the
Rob Bell fights every impulse in our culture to domesticate Jesus, reminding
readers that Christians do not believe in Christianity; they believe in
the Christ who wants to "draw all people" to himself.
Randy Beckum, chaplain and vice-president of community formation at MidAmerica Nazarene University, was relieved of some of his duties for a “controversial sermon” he preached in chapel at the Olathe, Kansas, school. His audience was riled by the suggestion that Christians should take seriously Jesus’ injunction to love one’s enemies and by his questioning of Christians’ use of violence. MNU’s president issued a statement intended to protect academic freedom, but which had the effect of distancing the college from the teachings of Jesus: “At MidAmerica Nazarene University we encourage the exchange of ideas and individuals are free to express their individual perspective and opinions, even when those opinions may not reflect the official policy or practices of our university, our core values or our affiliations” (Patheos, March 6).