On a journey through North America, my wife and I
attended many churches. At one the pastor insisted repeatedly that "the meaning and purpose of life is to have a
personal relationship with Jesus." The claim irked me.
In modern imperialism, race, colonization and Christianity have historically been so intrinsically embedded with one another that the connections between them have seemed natural, and Christian theologians have participated in the geographical and geopolitical construction of this imperialism. Willie James Jennings's book is a genealogy of their participation.
When documentaries explore Christianity, they have little
difficulty finding diverse manifestations of faith and practice. A global survey also reveals a surprising diversity when it comes to the content of the Bible.
In the midst of today's rancorous politics and the
trivialization of religion in the public square, the death of Mark O. Hatfield calls to mind a different kind of political style and a different
kind of Christian witness.
When ISIS threatened last year to overthrow Baghdad, Andrew White, Anglican vicar of Baghdad, invited the leaders of ISIS to his place for dinner. ISIS responded by saying they’d accept White’s dinner invitation, but they’d chop off his head. He didn’t invite them again. White—who was raised Pentecostal, was trained as a doctor, and has multiple sclerosis—has engaged in mediation efforts in some of the riskiest places in the world. “If you want to make peace, you can’t just do it with the nice people. Nice people don’t cause the wars,” says White, who now lives in Jordan (Independent, November 2).