Aug 15, 2001
Although ministers like to think of themselves as members of the professional middle class, they are hanging on to that status by their fingernails. Male clergy especially are pursuing their vocations despite a strong “fear of falling,” to use Barbara Ehrenreich’s phrase. They worry that they won’t be able to sustain a middle-class lifestyle or meet middle-class expectations for their children’s education or their own retirement years.
At last the biggest fish in the Balkan pond—former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic—has been snagged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The catch presents the first international criminal court since Nuremberg with its greatest opportunity and greatest challenge: Will the man most responsible for the carnage in what was once Yugoslavia now be fairly tried, credibly convicted and duly punished? Or will his trial confirm the claims of critics who dismiss the tribunal as a judicial facade for NATO power?
In this new millennium, globalization and pluralism are preoccupying themes. Theologians across the spectrum struggle with both, as do businesspeople who work in global markets, executives who wrestle with “spirituality in the work place” and parents who care about preparing children to live in this globalized and pluralistic world.
At a recent Rose Garden ceremony, former President Jimmy Carter presented President George W. Bush with the final report of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform. This high profile event took place only a few weeks after the release of the Constitution Project’s report on election reform and a Cal Tech/MIT study on election technology. Many hope that the combined weight of these reports will help spur Congress to action on election reform legislation when it reconvenes in the fall.
A Christian who leads a Bible study for his teammates as well as pregame prayers with the opposing team, Charlie Ward of the New York Knicks recently raised hackles with his comments about Jews printed in the New York Times Magazine. “Jews are stubborn,” he proclaimed to Times reporter Eric Konigsberg, adding, “Why did they persecute Jesus unless he knew something they didn’t want to accept?” Citing Matthew’s Gospel, Ward noted, “They had his blood on their hands.”