May 3, 2012
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The New York Times printed a fascinating report from William Grimes on May 27, “Something Happened on the Way to Bountiful: Everyone Sang Along.”
A few weeks ago I promised some more thoughts on the religious problem behind too much stuff.
The Western Wall, one of the most sacred and prominent sites for Jewish and Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem, was the locale for anger, rock tossing and controversy last week when several hundred Jewish women exercised their legal right to pray at that prominent locale.
Almost two months ago Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected by his fellow cardinals to serve as the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Last week country and western artist George Jones died. He was a hard-living kind of a fellow, according to the reports, carousing so hard and heavy that he was often too sick or bleary-eyed to appear at his concerts.
Earlier this week I had the privilege of conversing with a Boy Scout executive who is a friend and fellow Rotarian. As an Eagle Scout and Explorer who received my God and Country Award, I have a deep, lifelong appreciation for Scouting.
Yesterday an interfaith worship service was held in Boston to begin the process of healing across our nation in the aftermath of the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon.
It is disconcerting to contemplate the amount of stuff that middle class Americans own. Whereas the average size of an American home in 1960 was 983 square feet, that average home had mushroomed something like 250 percent in 2011 to 2,480 square feet, even while the average number of people living in the home shrank. My own family history closely mirrors this trend. My parents raised four children; the six of us lived in a three-bedroom, one-bath house with incredibly small closets. I could not imagine now living in such a home. It couldn’t contain all our stuff.
Before we rush to Easter — and with good cause the Christian world anticipates that glorious day with its splendor, pomp and elation — let us tarry in other places with Jesus.
Headlines continue to announce the paranoid, bellicose behavior of the isolated and impoverished nation of North Korea, truly one of the pariah nations in our world. This rogue nation, erratic and unpredictable, now apparently has nuclear weapons of at least a primitive nature with which they threaten to incinerate the United States.
How can one dwell on anything other than issues of Catholicism this week? The cardinals of the church gathered in Rome at the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope and this Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day commemorating one of the great saints of the church.
I’m suffering through the third day of a miserable head cold with the consequent aches, stuffy head, puffy eyes and runny nose. I catch this stuff rarely, but when I do I am convinced I may not survive.
The newspaper headline regarding the desired skill set for the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church intoned, “Charisma, Management Skills Sought in New Pope”. I’m sorry, but this headline and the article itself was less than groundbreaking.
Earlier this week, the 40-day season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday when worshipers gathered in churches to receive from priest or pastor a smudge of ashes on the forehead signifying godly sorrow, repentance and one’s mortality.
Americans are addicted to second guessing. Did Mark Richt make the wrong call at the Alabama-Georgia game? Should Mitt Romney have run a different election campaign? Should we have better protected the Benghazi Embassy? There’s no topic immune from second guessing, including public prayer. I refer to the invocation offered prior to President Obama’s inauguration last Monday.
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A couple of weeks ago I watched Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit at an IMAX cinema with Dolby sound and 3-D glasses. It was a pretty powerful movie if you like non-stop action where good wins out. As you might know, The Hobbit was written by J. R. R. Tolkien, author of the trilogy Lord of the Rings, too.
In the shadow of the fiscal cliff, Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid and Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl are cooperating to introduce a law to expand online gambling and create an Office of Online Poker Oversight.
One hears the phrase “fiscal cliff” so often these days that I now find myself looking for guard rails on every street and avenue, even though here in Savannah there’s no such thing as a cliff within a good day’s drive.
The recent revelation of adultery by retired four-star General David Petraeus is tragic. Confessing to the betrayal of his wife of 40 years General Petraeus submitted his resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He not only tarnished his family, career and reputation, but he could potentially — because of his sensitive role — have placed our nation in a vulnerable position.
Hubris has been in abundant supply at both presidential debates and one suspects that the honking sounds at next week’s third debate will be both candidates tooting their own horn. If this election is as close as polls indicate, the first candidate displaying any sincere evidence of humility might gain the advantage with that dwindling group of undecided voters.
Although Methodism have been established in Georgia for at least 225 years, its continuing presence in Savannah, where I serve the church, is 200 years old this year.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, opened in August 2012 after enduring two years of controversy, perhaps bringing to a close the vandalism and violence that has roiled both the structure itself and people of this middle Tennessee city of 100,000 citizens.
I’m not sure whether to file this column under the sports page or the faith and values section, but there’s an intersection here, as there so often is, between sports and religion. I’m referring to the “replacement referees” now being employed by the owners of the National Football League (NFL).
The Republicans have had their week in Tampa, Fla., and the Democrats will have theirs next week in Charlotte, N.C., a back-to-back prospect prompting all but the most hardened political junkies to pray that the deity might send hurricane winds to cancel both political pep rallies.
How does a Christian relate to his or her culture in the Muslim world? I’ve been thinking about this after reading a recent Wall Street Journal article (Saturday, Aug. 11-12) about the struggles of the Christian faithful in Syria.
What would you do if a group of punk musicians rushed to the altar area or claimed the pulpit in your church and began singing protest songs in the middle of a Sunday morning worship service?
Being a pastor means one is never caught up with pastoral care. At least in the United Methodist Church, people place a fairly high priority on pastoral visitation, and Methodists can sometimes be heard yearning for a pastor who knocks on doors more frequently.
A nation-wide leadership search is taking place in the United Methodist Church this week in three locations where church delegates are electing eleven new bishops.
The Rev. LeeAnne Watkins, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minn., wrote a thought provoking article describing how the church continues to invest in activities that no longer produce results. (“This Just Isn’t Working,” Christian Century, June 13, 2012, p 10-11).
Here are some things I’ve been thinking about the relationship between church and state:
Have you ever sung the words of a hymn while simultaneously thinking about something else?
This week in New Orleans, La., delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention made history by electing the Rev. Fred Lute as the first African-American pastor in their long history to serve as their president. Luter, the charismatic pastor of a New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward mega-church, ran unopposed.
I recently reflected on the importance the church practicing the highest standards of honesty and transparency by citing public allegations of influence peddling in the Vatican.
The headline in the Wall Street Journal caught my attention: “Facebook and Twitter Postings Cost CFO His Job.” Rachel Emma Silverman reported (May 15, 2012, B-1) that 63-year-old Gene Morphis was fired because he showed no restraint on Facebook and Twitter.
The most valuable possession the church has, something so invaluable it could never be insured, is the trust of its church members and the larger society.
When Charles Colson died in April, age 80, it was the first time in 34 years that he did not spend Easter Sunday preaching to prisoners.
Pastors struggling with proper attire.