Jul 01, 1998
Media coverage of the Southern Baptist Convention’s declaration that wives should “submit graciously” to their husbands has been surprisingly extensive. After all, for the past several decades, in SBC pulpits, Wednesday evening prayer meetings, marriage seminars and Christian counseling sessions one could hear sermonettes urging wives to engage in “gracious submission” to their husbands’ “servant leadership.” Previous SBC votes to boycott Disney or blast lesbian actress Ellen DeGeneres might seem more newsworthy.
Washington is devoting an unusual amount of attention to Africa this year, and this provides an opportunity to help reverse the trend toward more widespread hunger on that continent. President Clinton’s 12-day trip to Africa made us all more aware of promising economic and political developments there. He listened to Africans and made some promises.
Few topics are as divisive in churches these days as homosexuality. The debate touches upon a variety of issues that are contested throughout the culture--sexual ethics, the meaning of marriage and the shape of the family. Within the church, the discussion of homosexuality has involved reflection on scriptural interpretation, ecclesial authority, and theological understandings of creation and sexuality.
How free are churches in China? Are they subject to rigid government control? While these questions are much debated, people who have worked or studied in China know that it’s difficult to generalize about Christian life in China. In conducting my own research in China, I’ve encountered a wide range of responses from local officials and have found that Chinese Christians are remarkably effective in dealing with the government’s Religious Affairs Bureau.
It was Memorial Day, and I was sitting in the church of General George S. Patton. Well, it was not quite his church, but his family had erected a monument to him in the churchyard and smuggled in a stained-glass window depicting an object or two dear to the general’s heart and indispensable for the general’s trade.