WE TOOK THE BAIT
No doubt you've all read about the Vatican's new Ten Commandments for driving a car (formally "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road"), issued this week. It's proof that the Vatican knows how to attract the attention of the theologically unsophisticated media -- give them a cute story they can't resist. What's next? How about the Ten Commandments for holding a marriage together? Or the Ten Commandments for getting your PR releases published all over? For another blogger's take on this, click here.
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A DAY TO CELEBRATE A MISSOURIAN
From time to time, I like to take note of people from our area who have made historic contributions to the field of religion and ethics.
Today is a good day to do that because it was on this date in 1892, in Wright City, Mo., that Reinhold Niebuhr (pictured here) was born. He turned out to be one of the major 20th Century American theologians, and he's still worth reading. Although he was born in Wright City, he grew up mostly in Lincoln, Ill., quite close to where my father grew up in Delavan.
Niebuhr was, as you may know, not the only famous theologian in his family. His brother, H. Richard Niebuhr, also attained wide recognition as a theological thinker. Their father was a pastor, also.
Reinhold Niebuhr's on-the-job theological training happened in Detroit, where he served as a parish minister from 1915 to 1928 and where he watch the difficult lives of auto workers in a capitalistic system he came to conclude exploited workers unfairly.
Niebuhr came to adopt socialism as one answer to all the misery he saw in Detroit, even supporting at least one socialist candidate for president, though he later modified his politics.
Later Niebuhr taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where great teachers were everywhere. And a couple of years ago, the late Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., wrote a piece for the New York Times bemoaning the fact that we seemed to be forgetting Neibuhr.
Well, with the links I've given you, you can explore Niebuhr's life a bit and unshelf some of his writings. Or you can just wish his ghost happy birthday.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.
Today's religious holidays: First Nations Day (Canadian Native People); Litha (Wicca/Neo Pagan, Northern Hemisphere); Yule (Wicca/Neo Pagan, Southern Hemisphere).