“Most politicians represent an interest group, a community of people who vote for them and whose interests they serve. Nelson Mandela was different; he represented a community that did not yet exist, a community he hoped would come into being.” —Rowan Williams
John Wesley once wrote that “Unity and holiness are the two things I want most among Methodists.” The Church’s fights over homosexuality are robbing Methodism of both.
The United Methodist Church has been in the news recently, and will be again soon, because of the Church trials of the Rev. Frank Schaefer and Bishop Melvin Talbert, two United Methodist Clergy who have officiated at same-sex wedding ceremonies.
Women Bishops – long overdue vote goes through!
No doubt much will be written about what has just happened at the Church of England’s General Synod meeting this week. The vote in favour of pursuing the legislation which will, in due course and all being well, enable women to be consecrated bishops was passed with 378 in favour, 8 against and 25 abstentions.
. . . In other words, disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan confront us with the sobering reality that the deepest, deadliest and most intransigent problems we face today are social problems, not technical problems. We continue to deceive ourselves with the hope that if we can but increase our knowledge of the world, our technical know-how at problem-solving the riddles that nature poses for us, we can defeat death and disease.
As it was with Haggai, the real test of leadership is not necessarily the capacity to motivate people to action, but rather to keep them fixed on that same goal when it becomes clear that the rhetoric that moved them in the first place bears little resemblance to the actual situation in which they have to act.
Last night in his second national address on the global response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, President Obama asserted: “If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. . . . As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them.”
On Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, Catholics, Christians of other denominations, and women and men of good will observed a day of prayer and fasting in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, at the invitation of Pope Francis.
It is impossible for me to watch the footage of the children killed by chemical weapons in Syria without feeling a lack of coherence with the world. We were not meant for this. They … they were not meant for this. Their parents were not meant for this. The world was not meant for this. Breath, the source of life, was turned against these children. Their lungs were filled with death.
In his When War Is Unjust: Being Honest in Just-War Thinking, theologian John Howard Yoder asks, “Can the criteria function in such a way that in a particular case a specified cause, or a specified means, or a specified strategy or tactical move could be excluded? Can the response ever be ‘no’?” (Orbis 1996, p. 3) In my judgment, the present crisis in Syria is indeed a particular case where a just war response is “no.”
In the public debate surrounding the U.S. Senate’s bill proposing the reform of the immigration system, and now the House of Representatives’ efforts to craft its own bill, one is bound to encounter the argument that falls under the label of “enforcement first.” The argument goes that before the illegal immigrants who are already present in the U.S. gain any sort of legal status, we must first put in place measures that will ensure that in the future, further illegal immigrants do not enter the country in the hopes of an inevitable legalization process at some point in the future. This argument is flawed, and if it were put into practice would prove costly and harmful to immigrants without solving the illegal immigration problem.