It's one thing to profess; another to do. Christians put a lot of
emphasis on professing—belief, repentance—but we also know that without
doing, those words are just so much hot air. Still, how do you know how
to be what you believe? Paul says, "Work out your own salvation with
fear and trembling.” This suggests to me that Paul didn't have an easy
I got a delightful report from a colleague's gregarious seven-year-old
the other evening about summer church school. When the little girl
asked what my favorite Bible story is, I hemmed and hawed. She quickly
confessed that hers was Ruth and then dashed outside to demonstrate the
There are always far more books than there are hours for reading, so I try to strike a balance between what I think I need to read and what I know I’ll simply enjoy. In the former category this summer is Lamin Sanneh’s Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity.
Sometimes liberation is not enough. When the Hebrew people finally
escaped Egypt, they might have shaken off their shackles, so to speak,
but they still weren't done. Pharaoh and his army came barreling after
them. So they had to keep going as hard and fast they could, and their
faith had to keep going too.
Like it or not, our lives inevitably intersect with the lives of
others. Sometimes these intersections are happy ones, with people who
support and sustain us and whose full humanity and potential we
likewise respect and encourage. But some are full-on crashes with all
the hurt and destruction of a vehicular collision.
Michael Bransfield, Catholic bishop of West Virginia, seems to be taking his cues from the coal industry when interpreting Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato si’, which calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels. Bransfield says the pope’s call for ending fossil fuel use is qualified: it should happen “only after” greater progress is made in using alternative fuels, and only where economically feasible. In fact, Pope Francis makes no such qualifications. Bransfield is also promoting the idea of “clean coal.” A spokesperson admitted that the Wheeling-Charleston diocese has “energy related investments” (National Catholic Reporter, July 1).