Century Marks

Century Marks

Bar none

Last month the regional council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America approved “Church-in-a-Pub” in Fort Worth, Texas, as a synod­ically authorized worshiping community. “I’m not interested, frankly, in making more church members,” Pastor Philip Heinze said. “I’m interested in having people have significant relationships around Jesus. And if it turns out to be [over] craft beer, fine” (NPR, November 3).

A problem with Jesus

Some Swedish Christians tell about an aged and pious church member who was always quoting Jesus and was sharply critical of her fellow church members for drinking wine. If her congregation ever started serving wine for communion instead of grape juice, she said she’d have to leave the church. When others reminded her that Jesus drank wine, she replied: “You know, that’s the one thing about Jesus that I never liked” (Martin E. Marty, Sightings, October 14).

Solar powered

To fulfill a 2010 pledge, President Obama had American-made solar panels installed at the White House last summer. This is not the first time the White House has had solar panels. President Carter installed some in the late 1970s to produce hot water, but President Reagan had them removed. In 2003 President George W. Bush had a photovoltaic system with two solar panels installed on a maintenance building to heat the White House swimming pool (Washington Post, August 15).

Saving souls

The Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School is helping veterans deal with the moral injuries sustained in war. “If there’s one thing that is truly hurt when you go to war, it is your soul,” said Stacy Keyte, herself an Iraq war veteran. “I think we have to stop talking about whether the war is just, and we have to start looking at what war does to people.” The center estimates that a third of war veterans experience moral injury, which it describes as the result of “having to make difficult moral choices under extreme conditions, experiencing morally anguishing events or duties, witnessing immoral acts or behaving in ways that profoundly challenge” their own values. Treatment involves getting veterans to open up about their experiences, forgive themselves, engage in nonmilitary service to others and form long-term plans rather than focusing on the past. Moral injuries are distinct from posttraumatic stress, which is an identifiable brain injury that can be diagnosed and treated (Fort Worth Weekly, October 9).

Catholic wit

Comedian Stephen Colbert, keynote speaker at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in Manhattan, joked that he’s “proud to be America’s most famous Catholic.” With New York cardinal Timothy Dolan sitting next to him on the dais, Colbert said, “And I’m sure the cardinal is thinking, ‘Stephen, pride is a sin.’ Well, cardinal, so is envy, so we’re even.” Colbert even took a poke at the modest Pope Francis, saying that if the pope had planned this black-tie event, it would have been held at the local iHop restaurant (AP).