Aug 02, 2000
Among the means of grace John Wesley lists “Christian conferencing.” Summer is always a popular time for Christians to congregate at denominational meetings, and this summer has been particularly so for me. After two weeks in Cleveland as a delegate at the United Methodist General Conference, a week at my area’s United Methodist Annual Conference, and another week at the church’s Jurisdictional Conference, I’m questioning Father John’s high theology of church meetings. On this issue, he could be wrong.
This summer thousands of high school and college-age Jewish youth have been descending on Israel. These students are participating in the Birthright Israel program, established by philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt. Inaugurated during the past winter vacation, Birthright Israel was set up to combat assimilationist trends within Western Judaism, represented most poignantly by intermarriage.
The expansion of Christianity: An interview with Andrew Walls: Gospel, culture and the missionary movement
A former missionary to Sierra Leone and Nigeria, Andrew Walls taught for many years at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He is founder-director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh, and founding editor of the Journal of Religion in Africa. He recently wrote The Missionary Movement in Christian History (1996). He is currently guest professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, and also teaches regularly in Ghana.
According to articles in the New Yorker and Business Week, churches are leading an urban renaissance. The media have celebrated the churches’ role in prompting economic development in distressed areas as well as the social services that churches offer to low-income residents. Presidential candidates are supporting measures to increase charitable giving so that churches and other nonprofit organizations can enlarge their role.
In the waning days of the Episcopal Church’s July 5-15 General Convention in Denver, a weary sense of déjà vu descended on the bishops and the lay and clergy deputies who make up the church’s highest legislative body. Twenty-four years ago the General Convention made headlines by permitting the ordination of women as priests. That decision came only after acrimonious debate throughout the church, fueled by the “irregular” ordinations of several women conducted by four bishops who risked their own prestige by the unauthorized laying on of hands.
When I bought the land where I now live, there was nothing on it but trees, cows and fescue. The first question the builder asked me was, “Where’s your well?” I tried to hide my surprise. I had temporarily forgotten that water comes from the earth, not the sink. Of course there would have to be a well.