Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest of the Historical Jesus is one of the most important books on biblical theology in the modern period. Many people don’t realize that Schweitzer published a greatly revised edition—an edition that didn’t appear in English until 2000. Theologians in the U.S. often quote a passage from the original text without realizing that Schweitzer excised it in his revision: “the coming Son of Man lays hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution which [will] bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and He throws Himself upon it. Then it does turn; and crushes Him. Instead of bringing in the eschatological conditions, He has destroyed them.” Another famous section, “He comes to us as one unknown,” was retained in the revised version (Early Christianity 3 ).
Mar 29, 2013
The wealthiest Americans—those in the top 20 percent—give 1.3 percent of their income to charity; those in the bottom 20 percent give 3.2 percent of their income, even though many of them can’t itemize their contributions as a tax deduction. One theory about why the rich give less is because they are more isolated from and therefore have less empathy toward truly needy people. Lower income people may give more because they are more acquainted with the challenges of meeting basic human needs. Rich people tend to give to the arts and education, whereas poorer people tend to give to social service and church organizations (Atlantic, March 20).
Mar 14, 2013
Rising levels of stress are causing more depression among pastors. Stressors include declines in membership and contributions, personal financial worries (often due to educational debt), and discord in congregations. One of the top predictors of depression is social isolation. Pastors moving from hospital visits to funerals to weddings experience a range of unpredictable emotions—another indicator of depression. On the positive side, some pastoral counselors see an increase in the number of pastors who are willing to seek professional help and are open with their congregations about their emotional difficulties (ABP).
Mar 14, 2013
At about 10 percent of the population, Christians make up one of the largest religious minorities in Syria. The people of the village of Yacoubiyeh in northern Syria are getting a glimpse of what life in their country might be like if the rebels take over. It is one of the few minority-dominated villages controlled by the rebels, who have mostly taken over Sunni-dominated areas. The rebels are trying to assure the Christians that they’ll continue to have relative freedoms. They may drink alcohol in their homes but not in public. Christians in Syria are concerned, though, about the increasingly extremist Islamic rhetoric coming from some of the rebels (AP).
Mar 14, 2013
Debates about the minimum wage usually overlook the religious roots of the concept. John A. Ryan, an Irish Catholic priest from Minnesota, coined the term “living wage” and based it on Catholic social teaching. In 1894 he wrote in his diary: “We must have a more just distribution of wealth.” In 1906 he published a book called A Living Wage. In 1937 he became the first Catholic to give an invocation at a presidential inauguration (Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second). A year later FDR signed the first national law requiring a minimum wage law—25 cents an hour (Tikkun, February 26).