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.
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.
At St. Peter's, the font beckons Detroiters to wade into freedom—while the bottled water around it brings to mind the principalities and powers.
Few secrets are as devastating as those that make us rethink our identity. Heidi Neumark discovered one when her daughter Googled their name.
The controversy over Rodney Kennedy’s decision to baptize a baby has been fascinating. The prominent American Baptist pastor told RNS that he is “no longer interested whether confession of faith comes before or after baptism,” given the larger issues facing the church. Many other Baptists, especially Southern Baptists, very much disagree. “The Christian community needs to have a conversation about baptism,” said Kennedy. We’ve had one, actually.
Alyssa Rosenberg makes a smart point about the FX show The Americans, a drama about a married pair of KGB agents working undercover in early-80s metro D.C. Their two teenage children are unaware of what their parents do, and the older one, Paige, becomes a devoted churchgoer.
Curtis Freeman's book addresses primarily Baptists, but his concern matters to all Christians who live in denominational separatism but are summoned to embrace the richness of catholic faith.
It was my first winter in rural South Dakota, and despite the worrisome weather, I was planning a road trip. On Sunday morning, one of my parish members came up to me and solemnly handed me a coffee can. It contained a roll of toilet paper, a candle, some matches, and a candy bar. “Put this in your trunk,” she said. I had no idea what this was. “Thank you,” I said.
We had not one but two baptisms the other day. What absorbed me most was the way the little kids edged toward the event like wasps to a picnic.
The dirty river in Jesus' neighborhood and the one in mine
In a crucial scene of Marilynne Robinson’s new novel, Lila spends the morning thinking, has lunch, then thinks some more. Why isn’t this boring?
So, Sarah Palin said this thing the other day about waterboarding and baptism. I wouldn’t bother bringing it up just to say that I, like so many others, find this disgusting. What’s more interesting to me is the diversity of people who are similarly appalled.
Jesus descends into the baptismal waters as an opening act of messianic obedience. Obedience may not be the most glamorous of the Christian virtues, but it’s the one that I’d like to highlight in this Sunday’s account of Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan.