Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, has said he’s canceling a presidential forum with President Obama and Mitt Romney because he doesn’t think they can have a civil conversation. It appears that neither candidate had agreed to participate and that such an event was never scheduled. Warren held a forum with both candidates in the 2008 campaign (TNR.com, August 23).
Election night worship
Aug 30, 2012
A grassroots movement is encouraging churches to do something together on election night to signify and embody their oneness in Christ: gather at church to hold communion around the Lord’s Table. Called Election Day Communion, this effort aims to build unity in Christ in spite of theological, political and denominational differences (electiondaycommunion.org).
Aug 16, 2012
According to a fable, St. Francis of Assisi told Brother Leo that true joy comes not from success but in rejection and suffering, which cause us to reflect on Jesus’ pain and rejection. St. Francis compared it to coming back to the friary on a cold winter night and being told by the person who came to the door that he was a simpleton, that he couldn’t come in and should go away. It’s not that suffering is good for us. The point is that pain is a reality of life and that God is present in all reality, including pain and suffering (Weavings, August/September/October).
In the fishbowl
Aug 16, 2012
Episcopal priest Barney Hawkins says that parishioners take an interest in the personal lives of priests and pastors and their families. He recalls that in one parish he didn’t want to call attention to the car he drove, so he didn’t trade in his cars until necessary—and then bought replacements that were much the same as the previous model. When he was roasted before leaving that parish, some members put on a skit—with photos for documentation—about the three gray boxy station wagons he had owned while serving there. Hawkins says that church members look at ordained leaders for their authenticity and their flaws (Episcopal Etiquette and Ethics, Morehouse).
SK and FDR
Aug 16, 2012
The late Howard A. Johnson, an Episcopal priest, theologian and Kierkegaard scholar, was invited to the White House near the end of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s life. Roosevelt picked his brain about Kierkegaard, since he had been told that Kierkegaard’s later writings helped to explain the rise of totalitarianism and Nazism. Frances Perkins, Roosevelt’s biographer, said that the hour-long conversation made an impression on Roosevelt, as he spoke of it often afterward. “I have never been able to make out why people who are obviously human beings could behave like that,” Roosevelt said, speaking of the Nazis. “They are human, yet they behave like demons. Kierkegaard gives you an understanding of what it is in man that makes possible for these Germans to be so evil” (Anglican Theological Review, Winter).