Because we must eat in order to live, a considerable part of our life is spent at table.Apparently, our first parents, Adam and Eve, were vegetarians (Gen. 1:30) until they took a big bite of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:17).In any case, food customs are deeply embedded in every culture today, and food preferences identify many ethnic groups.
This ongoing exploration of what covenant renewal would look like in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the early years of the 21st century has followed many threads of our corporate existence, demonstrating how things have changed in the last 50 years or so, and lifting up some possibilities for collectively, intentionally and prayerfully re-envisioning our life together and the shape of our mission.
For the last 17 years it has been my privilege to work closely with, and indeed to be partially "on loan," first to the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, part of the Church of England, now to a diocese of the American Episcopal Church. At a recent diocesan yearly convention that I attended, there was an extended debate on (what else?) the Trinity, inclusive language, the authority of Scripture and the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals. I really couldn’t believe it — the sense of deja-vu was so strong I could taste it.
Christian education is not just about telling the stories of the Bible or delving into the meaning of a particular passage. It is not just about helping children to know they are included in the body of Christ or adults to understand the theology of the church. I believe it is also about helping each of us, whether eight or 80, to find our spiritual grounding.
In times of crisis as well as tranquility, public dissent is the conscientious conservator of democratic freedoms. As Rear Admiral Gene LaRocque, retired Navy, recently said, "Where there is no dissent, there is no democracy."
He was speaking in dissent and opposition to the "Bush Doctrine" of "exceptionalism" which has flouted the judicious wisdom of historic international principles for waging war, including the classical Christian bases of a just war.
Cincinnati Presbytery’s Judicial Commission has found minister A. Stephen Van Kuiken guilty of participating in same-sex marriage ceremony at Mount Auburn church and issued a rebuke.
The censure says he should perform marriage ceremonies "only for a man and a woman." If he performs "holy union" ceremonies for same-sex couples he is "directed to take special care to avoid any confusion of such services with Christian marriage."
Here is the simple thing that I did. I opened an envelope that contained a hospital bill. It was 19 pages long, an exact tabulation of every syringe, every test, every pill, every process that had occurred. It was the concrete, specific inventory of everything that had happened to my mother. It was the ritual of her last days, a medicinal rosary, one bead after another of failed instruments and procedures. Each one, listed here, rested now in my hand nine years after her death.
I have recently read and susequently re-read Robert Bullock's carefully crafted series on the current state of the denomination and those elements that have had an effect on our present malaise. Following this process I have also read articles in Presbyterians Today and The Layman, all dealing with elements of the same concern.
By Katherine Paterson Dutton. 2001. 266 pp. $24.99. ISBN 0-525-46482-4
— Review by Freda Gardner, Princeton, N.J.
The subtitle could be: What Makes Katherine Tick? What are the thoughts, experiences, loves, concerns that make this author so prolific, so admired around the world; so ready to speak to and with children and to care about them with a passion that marks the decades of her life? Who are the people that called forth that passion and keep it burning today? And what of God, who continues to call Katherine Paterson to many ministries, to the use of the gifts that are hers?
Change is a human constant. In recent weeks the idea of covenant renewal in the Presbyterian Church has been discussed extensively, toward the end of suggesting an overall framework in which 21st-century American Presbyterian Christians in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) might reclaim the past and recommit to a new vision of the church and its work, that we might move beyond the paralysis which has descended upon us in recent decades.