Anthony Siracusa came to First Congregational UCC in Memphis in 2002. A legally emancipated 17-year-old and a high-school dropout, he came with sadness and anger but also with ideas and hope. He was living in an anarchist commune and working as an apprentice at a local bike shop. He had heard that First Congregational had space to share.
If church leaders had the chance to fashion a seminary from scratch, what would it look like? Would it have its own campus? Would it be tied to a denomination or be fully ecumenical? Would the classical academic subjects be taught and, if so, how would that learning be correlated with the work of forming spiritual leaders and training them in the practice of ministry?
In 1998, when he was 22, Eboo Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core (spelled “core” because it seeks to be the heart of a larger movement), which now has a presence on 140 college campuses. When the IFYC held its first national conference, 60 people attended.
Even after a century of Christian expansion worldwide, Europe still matters immensely in the map of the faith. According to the World Christian Database, Europe—including Russia—has 580 million Christian believers, which is more than a quarter of the global total.
Religious leaders of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation have urged President Obama to use the purchasing power of the federal government to change the firearms industry. Noting that the federal government is the nation’s top gun buyer, they say it can pressure gun manufacturers to sell only to dealers that sell guns responsibly. The government can also press gun makers on gun safety technology. Smart guns should be manufactured that can be fired only by authorized users. Manufacturers who refuse to cooperate should be denied government contracts (New York Times, July 17).