Divestment dialogue:good for the church

What has the church learned from the explosive response to our actions last summer in Richmond on divestment? Granted this is not everyone's concern, yet by its action -- intentionally or not -- the General Assembly opened the door to widespread public discussion in every place where Jews and Christians have significant contact. We both initiated and contributed to a dialogue that has been sadly lacking in American political life. The General Assembly took heat for these and subsequent actions, one of which resulted in the firing of folk in the Louisville office.

The Children of Abraham: An interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Abraham went, and his children followed.

Forty-five “Children of Abraham”— 14 Jews, 15 Christians, 15 Muslims, and one Unitarian-Universalist participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land, February 10-21, 2005, sponsored by the Wilshire Center Interfaith Council of Los Angeles. The pilgrims were led by Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple;

Why I support the PC(USA) selective divestment policy

The PC(USA)’s Divestment Policy is a protest of thirty-eight years of Israel’s illegal military occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. The policy is not anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, or anti-Semitic. Its purpose is to promote the end of the occupation.

“Minimum Salary”

Text: John 16:16-33

One of the best commentaries on the Gospel of John is Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, a novel which also has a good deal to say about theological education. I want to begin by quoting at length a passage from that novel that has to do with a novice priest who has recently graduated from a theological school of sorts and who is struggling to discern the particular shape of God’s call upon his life.

Institutional courage and integrity

Presbyterian and Davidson Colleges have been much in the news in the New South states of South and North Carolina respectively. Leslie Scanlon's article delineates the issue at Presbyterian for the OUTLOOK. We covered the controversial proposal one year ago this month (the June 7th issue). That proposal led to the appointment of a commission to study these matters, chaired by Allen McSween of 4th Presbyterian in Greenville, SC. Since religion is big news everywhere, the secular press has given this college conflict extensive coverage.

In the meantime, this past February, Davidson's trustees amended its statement of purpose (see Rob Spach's Oped piece for the Charlotte Observer, which defends the action) to allow (not recruit but allow) 20% of its trustees be of faiths other than Christian, or of no faith. That action has provoked dismay and heated criticism, even though there are by now scores, if not hundreds, of Davidson alumni/ae who are persons of other faiths.

Davidson’s decision and Reformed tradition

Davidson College’s Board of Trustees recently decided that people who are not active members of a Christian church may serve on that board. Some have criticized this as a move away from our Christian heritage. I would like to offer a different interpretation, as I see the change as a forward-looking expression of how we want our particular understanding of Christian faith to be embodied.

When we were yet speechless

Saturday night, the night before Easter, about 45 of us gathered in the dusk in the narthex outside the sanctuary doors. We settled ourselves and began to gather our hearts for worship - a new service - a kind of modified Easter Vigil for us to try. The sanctuary doors opened to reveal a path of light - tiny votive candles perched on the side of each pew - making a pathway of light through the dim and dark sanctuary.

Ordinary time: Romans 6:1-11

“Do you not know?” Paul asks the Romans, and then twice firmly announces, “we know,” “we know.” The language hints that something has been misplaced.

We know—unless we have forgotten. We know—unless we assume it didn’t apply in this case or under these particular circumstances. We know—unless we haven’t calculated the fullest consequences of what we have come to know. We know—unless, of course, we don’t know at all.

Respiratory Filure in PC(USA)

I am a Presbyterian Jedi. At least that is what some seem to think. Last year I was elected to the Presbyterian Jedi Council (aka General Assembly Council.) I am now “in the know” and the fate of the denomination is in my hands. Depending on whom you ask, I could be either Obi-Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader. Either way, I get the same questions. Membership is declining and there is financial difficulty. What am I going to do to save the denomination?