AN EVANGELICAL CALL FOR CLARITY
A group of evangelical Christians yesterday issued a "manifesto" that suggested many followers of their branch of the faith have gotten too involved in partisan politics. To read it, click here. This, by the way, is one more indication of how diverse evangelicals are in the U.S. For the Baptist Press version of the story about the manifesto, click here. It's interesting to note that among the non-signers was anyone officially representing the Southern Baptist Convention. And for thoughts on the manifesto from Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics, click here.
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BROC -- BIG RELIGION ON CAMPUS?
Speaking of evangelicalism, is it rebounding on college campuses? A piece in the Chroncle of Higher Education, cited on this Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog, suggests that it is. What's your experience of faith on campuses these days? I don't spend enough time there to know first hand.
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SEEING OURSELVES THROUGH OTHERS' EYES
A faith community's home often tells people a lot about the congregation -- even in ways that members of that congregation haven't thought about a lot.
Last weekend, for instance, when author and scholar Diana Butler Bass spoke in the sanctuary of my church, she looked out toward the fabulous stained-glass window (pictured here) that depicts the parable of the Good Samaritan.
She first said that it's too bad that only the preacher gets to look at the lovely window during a worship service because it's on the back wall of the sanctuary. So she jokingly suggested we might want to turn the pews around so all of us could look at it each Sunday morning.
But, she said, the window almost certainly tells a lot about who we are as a congregation -- one devoted to looking after the needy. And that's true in many ways. But probably not many of us have thought about the window being a sign pointing to the nature of our congregation.
Later Diana noted the stained-glass window in the back of our transept, off to one side of the sanctuary, and said that it, too, talks about who we are because it depicts a woman named Dorcas, or Tabitha, "who," Acts 9:36 says, "was always doing good and helping the poor."
No doubt all of us in my congregation should pay better attention to all of our gorgeous stained glass and the stories they tell because partly they tell about us.
What is there in your church, synagogue, mosque or temple that speaks a word about the nature of your congregation? And does it accurately reflect who you are now?
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P.S.: Yes, the world's focus this week has been on Burma, or Myanmar, because of the devastating storm and the way the foolish government there has stalled relief efforts. But let's also not forget the needs in Darfur. You have an opportunity in Kansas City on June 12 to hear John Prendergast, author of Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond. He'll be at Unity Temple that evening. The link I've given you will give you what you need to know to go.
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ANOTHER P.S.: For Mother's Day this year, the Memory-of.com site is offering to donate a dollar to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure group that works against beast cancer for each new visitor who comes to this site. Seems like a charitable gesture.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.
Today's religious holiday: Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Judaism)