• Editorials 5 hours ago

    Why are we surprised?

    Why are we surprised?

    by John Wimberly
    What is surprising about the tragedy in Ferguson is that we are surprised. Week after week, we see stories and statistics that reveal deeply rooted systemic racism in our nation. A few examples: When it comes to marijuana, a recent study demonstrated that it is used at similar levels in the white and African American communities. However, the arrests for marijuana use are as much as 10 times higher for African Americans than whites in some large cities such as Chicago and New York. If current trends continue, one in… continue reading...
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  • Movie Reviews 1 day ago

    Film in review – “Rosewater”

    Film in review – “Rosewater”

    by Ronald P. Salfen
    There are a couple bothersome things about this film that get in the way of its working well as a “true story.” It’s about a journalist, Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal), born in Iran but writing for Newsweek as an American reporter, being arrested and imprisoned in Iran while covering their 2009 elections. Kept mostly in solitary confinement for 100 days, the movie is about Bahari’s struggles to remain sane while continually protesting his innocence, even as he was forced to sign documents that in fact admitted that he was… continue reading...
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  • Movie Reviews 1 day ago

    Film in review – “The Theory of Everything”

    Film in review – “The Theory of Everything”

    by Ronald P. Salfen
    The story of Stephen Hawking is a compelling one, and this film does a very credible job of developing it. Of particular interest is the way they depict the early days of Hawking’s Cambridge career when he was just another student – a promising one, sure, but somewhat intermittent in fulfilling his homework obligations (depending on whether it challenged/interested him). He spends most of his time with his fellow science majors drinking in the pub, talking, and yes, occasionally going to dances. Which is where he met Jane (Felicity Jones),… continue reading...
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Worship Christ’s majesty (December 7, 2014)

UNIFORM LESSON FOR DECEMBER 7, 2014 Scripture Passage and Lesson Focus: Hebrews 1:1-9  “So what's the big deal about Jesus?” The question came from a talkative Jewish teenager, an occasional visitor at the youth group meeting and the boyfriend of one of the girls in the group. I was proud of the way the group members responded. “We believe he was the Messiah.” “He died to save us from our sins.” “He taught us how to live.” “We believe he is the son of God.” The questioner's response indicated he was intrigued and perhaps impressed by their answers. “Wow, that's a lot of heavy-duty stuff,” he said. The author of the book of Hebrews has a lot to say about Jesus, and it too is “heavy-duty stuff.” We do not know who wrote Hebrews or when it was written, nor do we know much about its first readers. They were probably second generation (2:3) Jewish Christians quite possibly living in Rome. They had suffered for their faith (see 10:32-36) and were now discouraged almost to the point … [Read more...]

The new age of ad hoc connections 

Tom Ehrich new

For many years, churches used the language of “belonging.” Now we find ourselves in a world where “belonging” has changed and, for many, ceased to be a value. Churches offer rituals of joining and belonging, such as confirmation, membership classes, celebration of new members, and membership privileges such as voting on leaders and budgets. This worked for many years. People wanted to self-identify by naming their church affiliation. After the dislocation of the Depression and World War II, people were joiners. They joined service clubs, like Rotary, Kiwanis and the Junior League. They joined swim clubs and country clubs. Joining was a way to find a place and a friendship circle. Church joining was an important part of this settling down and fitting in. Then it began to end. Service clubs struggled to attract new members. Country clubs closed. People were too busy for membership meetings and conventions. In the face of this, churches have largely clung to membership … [Read more...]

Triangle of family faith 

Ted Foote

OCCASIONS LIKE THANKSGIVING can bring to mind varied thoughts of persons who have been present in years past. November includes the birthday of my maternal grandmother (the 11th) and my father (the 25th), plus my parents’ wedding anniversary (the 22nd). The preceding month of October includes my maternal grandfather’s birthday (the 4th). The four of these have not “been around” together since 40 Thanksgivings ago, but memories of them still come to mind. My maternal grandmother (by example and instruction) taught me how to milk a cow, churn butterfat milk, make cornbread, and respect others. Her “work for pay” was in an elementary school cafeteria. Most often she had a smile on her face. When she did not, it was an occasion for serious conversation and adjusted behavior. From a Christian faith perspective, my maternal grandmother wanted everyone to be able to avoid two categories. She hoped no one would be classified as an infidel (a non-believer as she understood saving … [Read more...]

Why are we surprised?

John Wimberly

What is surprising about the tragedy in Ferguson is that we are surprised. Week after week, we see stories and statistics that reveal deeply rooted systemic racism in our nation. A few examples: When it comes to marijuana, a recent study demonstrated that it is used at similar levels in the white and African American communities. However, the arrests for marijuana use are as much as 10 times higher for African Americans than whites in some large cities such as Chicago and New York. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. Since these undebatable indicators of systemic racism are widely covered by the media, again, why the surprise when young African Americans are unjustly shot or beaten? Why do we, as Americans, choose to ignore what we see? Why do we refuse to name the obvious? In a country that remains in such deep denial about its discrimination against people of color, what is the role of the … [Read more...]