Jun 17, 1998
In a recent search to fill a position in New Testament, the search committee at my seminary had difficulty finding candidates who could integrate learning with faith. Of the more than 140 candidates considered, few had served full time in ministry, however broadly defined. A trustee on the search committee, a person with a Ph.D. who had both taught in a seminary and served as a Christian educator in a parish, held our feet to the fire as we interviewed candidate after candidate.
When 1 Corinthians 13 crosses my path, I don’t greet it with a great deal of enthusiasm. Beautiful, lyrical, significant though it may be, all I need to hear is: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels” and I’m gone. I am usually deep in the midst of my own thoughts by the time the speaker reaches “Love is patient and kind.” This passage is lost in the netherworld of those things we hear too much; for me it is clichéd, trifling and lifeless.
Nearly all of Guatemala’s political murders, massacres and disappearances have been double violations of human rights: first the act of violence, then the impunity for the murderers. And it appears that the April 26 assassination of Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Gerardi Conedera will be no exception.
What does it take to break the cycle of homelessness? Can churches that are stretching to provide homeless shelters and soup kitchens do anything to pull people into self-sufficiency? Some answers are emerging from DuPage County in Illinois, where a few people who would not tolerate homelessness combined their fervor with business experience and asked a church community for support.
Naim Stifan Ateek, who recently retired after 13 years as canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, is the author of Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation. He is the director of the Sabeel Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, an educational institution which aims to strengthen the faith of Palestinian Christians and to share the life and witness of the Palestinian Christian community with those outside the region.
Ronald White does not state the precise problem to which his proposals are addressed. From comments salted through his article, I take his thesis to be something like this: The central purpose of a seminary is the theological education of religious leaders. In traditions like ours (Presbyterian), professional leadership is exercised primarily (though not exclusively) through the ministry of word and sacrament, which is usually (but not always) conducted in local congregations.
All good things must come to an end,” Mother used to intone whenever, as a small girl, I balked at leaving off some delightful activity or grieved at the departure of a favorite guest.
Ours is a family given to truisms of this sort: handsome is as handsome does; it never rains but it pours; the apple never falls far from the tree; in the dark all cats are gray. These once maddened me, but now I can see that some do actually hint at cosmic truths. All things good and bad--life itself, that ultimate mixed blessing--must indeed come to an end.