Wise men from afar, angel visitors to shepherds in the night, a child cradled in a manger — through what lens shall these stories be viewed? Are they to be placed in the same mental file with "The Legends of King Arthur" or are they events with names and places that occurred in human history? Are they viewed as fact or fiction?
Note — Since this story was posted on Oct. 21, we have received an e-mail from Alex Metherell, whom we attempted to reach last week but did not receive a reply. His response is as follows:
"Your report gives the impression that we have the 50 signatures needed to call the special meeting of the 214th General Assembly. In fact, we have 25 signatures (13 elders and 12 ministers) representing 19 presbyteries and 11 synods. All of these came from the e-mailing I made to about 70 commissioners. We still need to get another 12 elder commissioners and 13 minister commissioners. I have now sent out via regular mail a call to all 554 commissioners," wrote Metherell.
It’s been a distressing, violent year since hijacked planes plunged into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The months since then have brought a whole crop of pain around the world — suicide bombings in the Middle East, retaliation in Palestinian villages, war in Afghanistan, Hindus and Muslims attacking one another in India, a Russian plane filled with children falling from the sky, to name just a few. And, in the United States, economic news so bad that almost everyone knows someone who’s lost a job.
When Norman Blessing retired and moved to Florida about four years ago, he joined First church in Sebastian because it was the closest Presbyterian church around. He had no intention of launching what one observer has characterized, in a letter posted on the Internet, as "the last great battle" of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
This is the gist of what 14 trips to Cuba have taught Bill McAtee, a retired presbytery executive from Kentucky. In Cuba, where for decades the practice of Christianity was discouraged, "they have done so much with so little. And we have done so little with so much."