Dec 23, 1998
On the morning after the November elections, pundits announced the death of the Religious Right as a political force. Fortunately, such obituaries are environment-friendly: they are recycled every few years. The movement's prognosis actually is better than advertised, although the campaign certainly disappointed Christian conservatives, who failed to elect some of their favorite candidates.
For its 50th-anniversary assembly, the World Council of Churches considered returning to Amsterdam, the site of its founding. But in the end the WCC decided to look to the future, not the past. "The future of Christianity and the future of the ecumenical movement is likely to be shaped and influenced more in regions like Africa and Latin America than in the northern regions," declared General Secretary Konrad Raiser at the opening session of the Eighth Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe.
December 10 marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nation's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I believe that the continuing impact of this historic document is changing the world for the better, even though doubters can point to considerable contrary evidence.
A seminary student and I were walking around the lake on a beautiful evening. We had begun the walk in part for exercise, and in part because he wanted to talk about his vocation. He had begun to think seriously about his ministerial identity, his spiritual formation, and the oscillating sense of excitement and apprehension he felt about how others would perceive him as "the minister."