Those weathering Katrina’s aftermath see no end in sight. “It's going to go on for years,” says United Methodist bishop Hope Morgan Ward. "For years and years." “We’re not back to normal, and I don’t know what that would be like,” says Nelson Roth, pastor of Gulfhaven Mennonite Church in Gulfport, Mississippi.
There are 3,700 known species of cockroaches alone, and they will outlive us all. This statistic ought to disturb literalists who recall that Noah’s family caught and brought on the ark “of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female” (Gen. 6:8). Noah also had to avoid the hazardous secretions of these creatures, some of which produce repugnatorial secretions containing compounds that generate hydrogen cyanide.
In the mid-1980s I attended a church that still honored “Money Sunday,” a practice begun in the 1950s. Once a year members of the congregation gathered to make financial pledges to support missions efforts. As the pledges were collected, the minister would read the amounts aloud from the pulpit: “Here’s one for $50. . . . Here’s another for $100 and one for $1,000!” Occasionally a pledge came in for, say, $10,000, eliciting all sorts of approving oohs and aahs from the congregation.
The closest I get to the kind of religious experience the apostle Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 12 is the occasional Sunday when the music and the congregation merge in worship that is unrestrained praise. I especially enjoy communion, since the Eucharist itself is designed to anticipate heaven. With our sins confessed and forgiven, peace made and prayers prayed, we experience an unusual unity with God and with each other. It’s a taste of paradise.
God squad:The Colorado Rockies baseball organization wants players with character, and that appears to mean they are looking for evangelical Christians. At least three major league teams are sponsoring promotional "faith days," appealing to church groups with discounted tickets and the prospect of entertainment by Christian musicians and speakers (www.thenation.com, June 2).