Preachers have often imagined an anguished Abraham staggering toward
Moriah as he leads his son to his death. But the biblical account
contains no anguish, no heated arguments with Sarah (“Yahweh told you what?”),
no teetering on the edge of faith.
Last month the United Church of Christ invited its congregations to conduct a “sacred conversation” about race in response to the controversy swirling around Trinity United Church of Christ and its now retired pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
I can’t remember the last time I read much about hell—the topic of a symposium in this issue—but those of us who recite the creed weekly do include “he descended into hell” as part of what we believe about Jesus Christ.
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).