Living with contradiction: As a youth Garret Keizer was troubled with contradictions in Paul's letters. He raised the issue with his pastor, who pointed out a contradiction that Keizer hadn’t noticed: in Galatians 6 Paul says both that we are to bear one another’s burdens and that we are to bear our own burdens. But Keizer now doesn’t think this is a contradiction. We need both imperatives, Keizer says—self-reliance and social responsibility. “The trick is to get them to kiss” (Harper’s, April).
Theology for buffaloes: Donald Shriver Jr. recalls when a publisher sent the library at Union Theological Seminary in New York a copy of Kosuke Koyama’s ground-breaking book Water Buffalo Theology. “The book landed on a discard shelf outside the library door," says Shriver. Soon afterward, Union named the book's author its professor of world Christianity. Koyama died last month at age 79 (ENI).
First parishioner: Aides and friends of President Obama have been quietly visiting churches in Washington, D.C., to help the first family find a spiritual home. The Obamas are looking for a church whose beliefs match theirs and one that has a youth ministry suitable for their daughters and is active in helping the needy. Security logistics are also a factor (Boston Globe, March 22).
Thanks to Darwin: Mark A. Throntveit and Alan G. Padgett of Luther Seminary argue that Darwin’s work frees us to read the Bible on its own terms and helps us to realize that science and the Bible have different, and not necessarily conflicting, agendas. “Science seeks answers to questions of what and how, while biblical interpretation seeks answers to questions of who and why.” The Genesis accounts of creation are less about the origins of creation and more about the ordering of chaos and forming of relationship with us humans (Word & World, Winter).
Forget retirement: Because no one can afford to retire, says columnist Gail Collins, we should get used to the idea of a 75-year-old person fixing our car or removing our tonsils. In fact, we should start thinking of everyone as 20 years younger than they actually are. “Then you will feel much better when the 80-year-old postman delivers your mail and it includes a request for money from your 38-year-old offspring doing post-post-post-doctoral work at Ohio State” (New York Times, February 12).