I see the people I'm protesting against when I get my mail, or sort my laundry.
Here in Cambridge, England, I pray in the mornings, read St. Paul, walk in the afternoons—sometimes through soft English rains—and sip hot tea with cream.
“Make America Safe Again,” said the signs and speakers on the first night of the Republican National Convention. The desire to feel and be safe crosses political boundaries; it informs a litany of human actions. Yet the very concept seems unexamined. What makes for safety? Is it the same as feeling safe? Is it the same as comfort?
What’s a miracle? How can we (frail human creatures that we are!) separate contingency—what’s possible but unpredictable, an event that seems unlikely or unintended—from miracle?
American civil religion is dead, to paraphrase Nietzsche. We have killed it.
Nice, on France’s Mediterranean coast, now joins a long list of cities, on four continents, where Islamist terrorists have perpetrated gruesome attacks, mercilessly killing hundreds of innocents. And those are just where some of the highest-profile outrages have occurred, the ones that attract headlines.
America does not have a problem with racial tension. Racial tension is simply the fever indicating the disease. America has a problem with racism.
I had work to do the other day, but I set it aside to reread Elie Wiesel’s Night as a way to mark the great man’s death and remember his life. While I was struck by passages I anticipated, like his account of how his belief was shattered upon seeing the furnaces of Auschwitz—“Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever”—it was an unexpected line that caught me, given a current news story I’d been following.
Elie Wiesel has died. Reading the obituaries, the thing that astounds me is the thing that has always astounded me: how young he was. Eighty-seven now, in 2016. I’ve been burying World War II veterans throughout my years of pastoral ministry. How could Wiesel only be 87?
The Great and Holy Council of the Eastern Orthodox churches concluded Sunday (June 26). There was no shortage of controversy leading up to the council. The churches of Bulgaria, Russia and Georgia didn’t attend. The Ukrainian Church asked for independence from the Russian Church. Many wondered if the council’s decisions would be valid. In the end, cooler and more charitable heads prevailed.
The Century invites readers to submit first-person narratives (under 1,000 words) on the topics surprise and character.
As our country asks how to protect itself from the terror of more mass shootings, elected leaders who call themselves Christian might look to the LGBTQ community for inspiration. Queer people have a weapon in our arsenal that no gun will ever defeat.
We were away at a family funeral when the news broke about the shooting at Pulse in Orlando. We went through the motions of our last day in Maine—visiting the beach, eating dinner with loved ones—but we carried with us the rising number of deaths we saw in news alerts on our phones. When we got home the next day, I started doing laundry.
When I parked the minivan in the church lot, it still sounded like the type of horror we have had no choice but to become stoic about: 20 dead in a bar, as many more wounded, a dead shooter and a thicket of questions. By the time I returned it had become something different.