THE HEADACHES OF CHURCH LEADERSHIP
If you become leader of a big organization you can expect to be handling trouble. Take Pope Benedict XVI, for example, who now has to figure out what to do about two nuns who chained themselves to the Vatican on Sunday to protest their treatment by their convent. Is there a particularly religious or even Catholic way he should handle this versus the way a the CEO of a secular company might? I think he has some obligations to truth and compassion that should mark his handling of this case. It'll be intriguing to see if we learn what he did.
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IN MEMORY OF ST. COLUMBA
I've been to Scotland only once in my life, when I was a boy. But I mean to go back and, while I'm there, I mean to visit the Iona Community on the Isle of Iona.
Some youngsters from my church had a chance to spend some time there a couple of years back, led by our senior pastor, who came to us from a pastorate in Scotland, though he's actually a native of Northern Ireland.
Today is just the right day to dream about going to the Isle of Iona because it was on this date in 597 that St. Columba (depicted here), the pioneer missionary to Scotland who used Iona as his base, died. From Iona, Columba, an Irish native, evangelized Scotland's mainland as well as Northumbria. He was established his monastic outpost in the 560s.
Today the Iona Community is home to the Wild Goose Resource Group, which produces new music, liturgy and other worship aids for churches around the world. One of the leaders of the group, John Bell, has spoken at my church.
The conventional wisdom says the church in Europe is dead. But Europe also is the source of such renewal efforts as the Wild Goose group, which is having an effect around the world. So the picture is more complicated than just large, empty European cathedrals.
Have a look at the Iona site today. And then let's picture ourselves there in person within the next few years.
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P.S.: Ask.com recently did a check of how often people on its site searched for Pope Benedict XVI and how often they searched for the Dalai Lama. Guess what. People searched for the Dalai Lama 18 percent more than they searched for the pope. The question is what this means. I have no idea. Do you?
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Today's religious holiday: Shauvot (9th and 10th; Judaism)