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.
A statistical projection is not a prediction, but if the number of Christians in Britain continues to decline at the current rate, there will be no more British Christians by 2067. Between 2001 and 2011 the church lost 5.3 million members—about 10,000 each week. The rate of decline in the Church of England is higher than that of other denominations. In one survey the numbers dropped from 40 percent of the population in 1983 to 29 percent in 2004 and just 17 percent last year. The decline in the Catholic Church is not as precipitous because of the influx of Catholic immigrants. Sometime in this century Muslims will outnumber Christians in Britain (Spectator, June 13).