This past Saturday, I attended John Stackhouse’s
lectures on faith, reason, and the new atheism down at the Vancouver
Island Conference Centre. Evidently, there is still some interest in
this topic as the event sold out—even in hyper-secular Nanaimo!
Some of the most difficult challenges confronting Christian commitments to an inclusive vision of human well-being involve the effective disclosure of well-established, taken-for-granted practices that unjustly subordinate, marginalize or exclude selected groups of people while reinforcing the interests of those in positions of power and privilege.
If you share my concern about the theological thinness of much of the
current craze of construing Christianity as a practice, get Roger
Owens's book. Even more, if you care about the theological identity of
the church, you will find The Shape of Participation to be this decade's finest work of ecclesiology.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer has become
an almost mythical being, whose legacy everyone seems intent on claiming. From death-of-God
theologians to evangelicals to radical antiabortionists, partisans of all
stripes have remade Bonhoeffer in their own image.
Creation has long been a neglected child in biblical-theological studies; it is ground often left to creationists and naysayers. Only in recent years has the Bible's creation theology been addressed in a major way, not least because of the impact of the environmental movement.
Compassion & Choices, a death with dignity group, recently polled a representative group of likely California voters, asking how they’d vote on a measure to give terminally ill people who are of sound mind the right to request a life-ending medication. Nearly two-thirds said they’d vote in favor of it, including 53 percent of Republicans. Ignacia Castuera, a United Methodist minister and a Compassion & Choices board member, believes baby boomers are going to want that choice when they reach the end of life. Previous death with dignity efforts in California have been defeated with the help of religious groups, including the Catholic Church. Five states now have provisions for assisted suicide or assisted dying (Los Angeles Times, September 30).