Oct 20, 1999
Violence and illness: Treating the mentally ill
When violence breaks out and murder occurs, we want an explanation, a reason, and preferably someone to blame. After Buford Furrow shot children at a Jewish day-care center and then a Filipino-American postal worker in Los Angeles, the media trained its sights on the Idaho-based Aryan Nations, to which Furrow belonged. Full-page stories with color pictures took us into the lair and the mind of Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler.
Whatever happened to liberation theology? God's "option for the poor": God's "option for the poor"
Not long ago, a retired pastor and theologian who had lived and taught in Buenos Aires in the early 1970s came back to visit. He had some pressing questions: What does liberation theology mean to you people today? What authors do you read in your seminary classes? What aspects of liberation theology still seem relevant to you?
Mainline faith, with passion: Cultural immersion of the good kind
Thirteen years ago I became the pastor of a downtown church that had once been a major force in the community. At one time, 2,000 people filled its huge sanctuary on Sunday mornings. Young people from across the metropolitan area flocked to its midweek services, and the pastor's sermons were frequently printed in the newspaper.
But by the time I became pastor, only a few doors were open on Sundays for the parishioners to make their way to the worship space. Visitors were not expected. Outreach programs had long been abandoned.
American Beauty (1999), directed by Sam Mendes
Extreme times demands extreme art, and American Beauty is extreme. It is an extremely funny, extremely touching, extremely disturbing look at the dysfunctions of suburban America. But it does not wallow in dysfunction. It dares to find hope amidst the horror.