Apr 19, 2000
British theology: Movements and churches: A web of conversations
Having surveyed in previous articles the variety of theological conversations in Britain—ranging across patristics, history, philosophy, biblical interpretation, literature and the arts, the natural and social sciences, ethics and politics, and other religions—it probably occurred to some readers to ask: But what about the classic topics of Christian theology? What about the doctrines of God, creation, human being, providence, sin, Jesus Christ, salvation, Christian living, church, Holy Spirit and eschatology?
Elephant at the quadrennial: United Methodists confront gay issues
When United Methodist delegates take their seats at the church’s May 2-12 General Conference in Cleveland, they’ll be facing decisions on 2,500 or more pieces of legislation, including a far-reaching proposal to restructure the denomination. But during the 11-day marathon of “quadrennial madness,” the top governing body of the 8.5-million-member denomination won’t be able to ignore “the elephant in the living room”—the escalating disputes over the church’s stance toward homosexuals. Most other mainline Protestant denominations are also struggling with the issue.
Dealing with homosexuality
At least two other denominations are dealing with issues related to homosexuality at meetings this summer.
The Episcopal General Convention, meeting in Denver July 5-14, will receive a response to an assignment it gave its Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music at the 1997 convention. The panel was to study the theological impact of rituals of same-sex blessing in order to provide a background for the writing of such liturgies. The committee, which wrote no trial liturgies, proposes that the question be left up to each diocese.
A time to keep kosher: Faith at work
To the best of my knowledge, the early church dispensed with the kosher food laws of Judaism for two distinct but closely related reasons.
The first was that “all things were clean” to those who, through Jesus Christ, had been made “a new creation.” The second reason followed logically from the first. The absence of food restrictions would make it easier for gentile converts to become a part of that “new creation.” After all, they too had once been regarded as “unclean.”
Ups and downs of the Religious Right: Divisions and personalities
It’s a puzzle: the Christian Coalition is fighting off extinction, but the Religious Right seems as powerful as ever. “Christian Coalition losing clout” headlined the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot on February 19, the day of the pivotal South Carolina Republican presidential primary.