MORMONISM AS A TARGET
Mitt Romney says he's troubled by the continuing criticism of his Mormon faith. My guess is that we'll hear such criticism for as long as Romney is a candidate -- and for even longer, if he's elected.
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MUSLIMS SEEK A PLACE IN AMERICA
The Chicago Tribune reports on a festival this weekend that has to do with the way Muslims are seeking to find their way in American culture. The question is whether non-Muslim Americans are willing to let them do that without insisting on a particular outcome, which is to say without insisting that Muslims wind up looking, sounding and acting no different from Baptists or Lutherans or Reform Jews.
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A GOOD LONG LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Sometimes it's good to take a slow, careful look at who you have been, who you are now and where you are headed.
A section of the United Methodist Church has spent some of the last year doing just that and has produced a "State of the Church" report that should give Methodists a reasonably good picture of themselves.
This weekend I invite you to have a look at the report as well as some of the related material -- not because I imagine that all of you are United Methodists (I'm not, though one of my daughters and her family belong to a Methodist church) and will care deeply about this but because it may serve as a useful example of a way to assess the condition -- theological, social, spiritual, financial and otherwise -- of your own faith community.
Sometimes I think those of us in congregations and/or denominations simply drift along and don't notice that we've wandered from positions and practices we inherited from those who came before us. Or we may not be paying attention to views of newer members in our congregations, so we are surprised and alarmed when we divide as a people when we never imagined there was any disagreement.
The Methodist survey, for instance, found that nearly everyone was on board with a commitment to the triune God but began to divide over the importance of mission and service as they relate to salvation.
So have a look at what the Methodists have done and tell us whether you think something similar would be of any help to your community of faith, if any.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (In my Saturday column this weekend, I ask where the passion is in faith communities on issues of racial harmony and poverty.)