Century Marks

Century Marks

Just enough

Marilyn McEntyre was at first wary when congregants were asked in a worship service to “write your spiritual autobiography in six words.” Then these words came to her: “Eat the manna. More will come.” To McEntyre this was an expression of her ongoing anxieties about “saving and spending, keeping and letting go, prudent stewardship and the practice of generosity.” Her six-word autobiography reminded her of the way her mother lived—not far from poverty yet “rich in trust and stories about just the right amount of food, money, help showing up just when it was needed” (What’s in a Phrase? Eerdmans).

Enough already

Congresswoman Janice Hahn of California stormed out of a National Day of Prayer event, saying she couldn’t stand to hear James Dobson, former head of Focus on the Family, engage in a rant against President Obama. In his speech Dobson referred to the president several times as the “abortion president.” Hahn said, “Dobson just blew a hole into this idea of being a nonpartisan National Day of Prayer. It was very disturbing to me.” She is cochair of the weekly congressional prayer breakfast (dailykos.com, May 2).

But is she running?

Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton has not declared herself as a candidate for president, a Faith Voters for Hillary website has been launched on her behalf. The group behind the website is in the process of filing to become a PAC (political action committee). “The teachings of her faith, the principles of the Methodist church, and the examples of her family have been the guiding light throughout her life,” the website says. Clinton recently spoke at the United Methodist Women Assembly meeting in Louisville (Washington Post, April 25).

Real world

General Theological Seminary, in announcing a shift in its curriculum, issued an apology to the church for its past. Kurt H. Dunkle, dean and president, said the seminary was partly at fault for the decline of faithful members within the Episcopal Church and that the school’s approach to education had alienated it from the local church. “We find that we can no longer articulate how our disparate disciplines and specialties hang together or offer to our students or supporters a cogent vision of theological education as a vital and essential aspect of the Church.” Using the theme of wisdom as the core of a new curriculum, third-year students will shift from the classroom to the “real world.” Students will be paid for working and learning in churches, and the classroom will be the locus of integrating theory and practice (Living Church, April 3).

Amend the amendment

For over 200 years it was understood that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for military purposes. It limited the power of the federal government in that respect, but didn’t limit the regulation of firearms by state or local governments. That understanding has changed, most dramatically in two 5-4 Supreme Court decisions, which protected a civilian’s right to own a handgun in the home for self-defense and limited the right of the city of Chicago to outlaw handgun ownership by private citizens. To restore its earlier meaning, former associate justice John Paul Stevens is suggesting that five words be added to the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed (Stevens, Six Amendments, excerpted in the Washington Post, April 11).