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Responding in a Time of Need

Recently I watched on television as President Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, making airport security a direct federal responsibility. A week earlier, Congress seemed to be deadlocked regarding airport security, with neither party willing to compromise on their own strongly held positions. But, within days, the Senate and House had both agreed to a bill which the Senate passed without opposition and the House passed by a vote of 410 to 9.

Task force members contemplate the job ahead

Before they gathered for their first meeting, the members of the Theological Task force on Peace, Unity and Purity wrote down some of their thoughts about the task force -- what they hoped for, what they were concerned about, what they expected. Here are a few excerpts from those statements, which were distributed without the writers' names attached.

Introducing Feminist Theology

By Anne M. Clifford
Orbis. 2001. 287 pp. Pb. $21. ISBN 1-57075-238-9

— reviewed by by Isabel Rogers, Richmond, Va.

The goal of Christian theology, says Anne M. Clifford, "is to bring faith to understanding for a Christian community" (p. 179). That is what she aims to do in this book -- to help the Christian community understand its faith, especially in light of the experience of women.

Task force encouraged to think in terms of managing – not resolving – conflict in church

DALLAS -- A task force charged with leading the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in spiritual discernment was encouraged at its first meeting, Dec. 6-8, to think in terms of managing conflict rather than resolving it -- recognizing that the Christian church has had conflict almost from its beginning -- and to stop equating conflict with combat, in which some other person or idea has to be destroyed.

The Need for Constitutional Reform

Among those efforts that can be undertaken by the denomination to address our current malaise and drift toward fragmentation, none is as important -- or as elusive -- as the need for a major overhaul of the Book of Order.

Rethinking the Beloved Community: Ecclesiology, Hermeneutics, Social Theory

By Lewis S. Mudge
WCC Publications and University Press of America, Inc. 2000.312 pp. Pb. $27.50 ISBN 2-8254-1332-1

— reviewed by Louis Weeks, president, Union-PSCE, Richmond.

This collection of articles and essays by Lewis Mudge -- which have previously appeared in a variety of publications during the past 30 years -- offers a good summary of his thought. He believes that the whole church needs to think fresh thoughts about its identity as the body of Christ. More, it must develop its identity in the world. Ecclesial life for Mudge is a reality, and social theory can illumine its existence.

Wheeler tells Moderators Conference that church needs evangelicals

LOUISVILLE -- Barbara G. Wheeler, the president of Auburn Seminary in New York, calls herself a liberal and strongly believes that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should not deny ordination to sexually-active gays and lesbians, and shouldn't cite the Bible as its reason for doing so. But here's some of what she has to say about evangelical conservatives, the people she says she disagrees with "strenuously" in the painful and continuing battle over homosexual ordination.

Presbyterians Expose THeir Buts!

In their proper place, I have long, and roundly, maintained a lowdown admiration for nice, big Presbyterian buts.  To close and appreciative observers like me the fundaments of Reformed dogmatics are both ample and shapely with lots of wiggle room.  Being generously endowed (and with intelligence, too), Presbyterians are aware that many theological affirmations are so complex the only proper response to them is, "yes, but...."

GAPJC hears case of gay Connecticut elder

ATLANTA -- How far must a session go in inquiring into the sexual practice of candidates for elder? If a person has acknowledged that they live in a committed, same-sex relationship, but refuses to answer the direct question if they are sexually active in that relationship, can the session proceed to install them? Or is the examination incomplete?

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