TAKE, EAT -- WAIT, NOT YOU
The question of which Catholic politicians have a "pure heart" (Pope Benedict XVI's words) that allows them to take Communion goes beyond the United States. As this report notes, it also involves Italy's prime minister. I like what the former bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese once told me, which is that he found it impossible to judge the heart of anyone coming forward for Communion.
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TELLING A THEOLOGIAN'S STORY
Are you familiar with Howard Thurman (pictured here)?
He was one of the great 20th century Christian theologians, and the other evening I met Arleigh Prelow, who is making a documentary movie about him, to be called "Howard Thurman: In Search of Common Ground."
Arleigh, who lives in California, was in Kansas City to speak about her project and to try to secure some final funding to assure the project's future.
Thurman was born in Florida and, even at an early age, began to search for ways to bring people of diverse backgrounds together, Arleigh told me. That is, bring them together without sacrificing a commitment to one's own faith.
I feel I share some common ground with Thurman, who was born in 1899 and died in 1981, because -- at least in a geographical sense (and later in a philosophical/theological sense) -- our paths crossed. He attended seminary in Rochester, N.Y., where I first worked in the late 1960s for three years after I was graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
In the 1930s, Thurman spent time in India, where I lived for two years in the 1950s. Thurman went to meet and learn from Mahatma Gandhi, who already had been murdered by the time I got to India. Arleigh said that even though Gandhi and his nonviolent approach to social change already was known to some extent in the United States before Thurman visited India, Thurman helped to popularize that approach after he returned to the U.S., and such later civil rights leaders as Martin Luther King Jr. learned from what Thurman had learned.
There's also a Howard Thurman Center at Boston University, where he once taught and where many of his papers are archived.
I'll try to keep you posted on the progress of the film production but you also can follow it for yourself on the movie link I've given you above.
The Rev. Robert Lee Hill, pastor of Community Christian Church, who invited Arleigh to Kansas City, hopes to get her back here when the film is ready to be viewed. That would be an event worth seeing for sure.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.