In an unusual turn of events, a Palestinian Authority committee of inquiry has cleared Irineos, the deposed Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, of accusations that he was involved in leasing church property to Jewish investors.
Contrary to some expectations, the United Church of Christ convention over the Fourth of July weekend in Atlanta reaffirmed traditional Christian claims and rejected financial divestment tactics against Israel as a way to work for Mideast peace.
Resisting efforts to eliminate organizational havens for congregations that welcome gays, American Baptist leaders and delegates meeting in Denver maintained an open stance on homosexuality—even if that means living with a “paradox,” as it was put by the denomination’s top executive.
After two years of acrimonious debate, Canada’s House of Commons on June 28 passed a controversial same-sex marriage bill. If approved as expected by Canada’s Liberal-dominated Senate this month, the bill will allow same-sex couples to marry, making the country only the fourth in the world to recognize homosexual marriage.
The surprise was palpable in the nation’s capital when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a crucial swing vote in many of the Supreme Court’s most controversial decisions of the past 24 years, announced on July 1 that she would retire to care for her husband.
Putting behind them a controversial document, Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of the World Council of Churches June 16 and reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s “irreversible” commitment to the search for Christian unity.
Malcolm Gladwell, author of the popular book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, was born in Canada to an English father and a Jamaican mother. He did not look black until he let his hair grow out Afro-style. With the Afro he started getting “stopped and frisked on the streets of America for no other reason than looking like a black American.” This experience of racial profiling was the inspiration for his most recent book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, which delves into the psychology of the “unconscious mental processes we all use to size up a person or a situation with just a few telling details” (Black Issues Book Review, July-August).
The choice of Uganda-born John Sentamu as archbishop of York, the second most senior post in the (Anglican) Church of England, has been hailed in both countries, with a leading Ugandan newspaper describing the move as “a reverse evangelism.”
United Methodist Church officials have restored the good standing of Iliff School of Theology in Denver after the seminary addressed recommended reforms on ethnic diversity under the threat of losing $900,000 in funds.
The preferred form of worship in many congregations consists of a welcome, 20 minutes of singing contemporary music, then a special musical performance and a sermon. Whatever else happens is secondary to “disseminating information people need in order to gain more control over their lives” and to ensure that they achieve “individual happiness. (Never mind that control is an illusion and happiness is transitory. See Ecclesiastes.)” Sally Morgenthaler (Theology, News & Notes, Spring).
The interim president of Baylor University, Bill Underwood, quickly acted on his first day on the job, replacing provost David L. Jeffrey, who last fall had taken up Underwood’s challenge to debate academic freedom during the Texas school’s contentious effort to redefine itself.