In years and decades to come, we’ll remember the last two weeks. The Emanuel A.M.E. massacre, the sudden shift away from the Confederate flag, the Supreme Court’s reaffirmation of the Affordable Care Act and its extension of same-sex marriage to every state. Last Friday there was an awesome funeral service for Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel and one of the victims in the shooting. And all of it while once again black churches have been burning, some under suspicious circumstances.
For all of America’s secularization, actual and expected, each event was resonant with religious significations—and each prompted a wave of public theology.
My Presbyterian granddaughter hasn’t heard about 500 years of conflict over “the real presence.” At her cousins' Catholic church, she washed down the wafer with a large gulp from the cup—and then another.
Paul Dafydd Jones of the University of Virginia argues that patience should receive a starring role in theology—the patience of God, first of all. This move would help to dispel some negative images of God: God as a control freak, God as a puppeteer. It would help people see that God grants human beings time and space to make sense of themselves and to grow. It would encourage people to be patient with themselves and others. There is a place for impatience—the Hebrew prophets and Jesus demonstrated an impatience for injustice—but impatience must be marked by patience for people to live into the future that God hopes for them (Theology Today, April).