Shriver and God’s big family

If someone truly wants to understand R. Sargent Shriver, all they need to do is reflect on his last public appearance three months before his death at age 95.Although weakened by his long struggle with Alzheimer's disease, the founder of the Peace Corps and other projects for the needy attended the first Archdiocese of Washington "White Mass" for children and adults with disabilities. One last time, he stood with those touched by the Special Olympics and the work of his wife, the late Eunice … [Read more...]

Voices of unbelievers, in pulpits

On Sunday mornings, you will find him leading hymns in one of the independent Church of Christ congregations somewhere in South Carolina.Call him "Adam." He is a church administrator, a "worship minister" and a self-proclaimed "atheist agnostic." That last detail is a secret. After all, his wife and teen-aged children are devout believers and he needs to stay employed."Here's how I'm handling my job. ... I see it as playacting. I kind of see myself as taking on a role of a believer in a … [Read more...]

Our political high holy day, part I

EDITOR'S NOTE: First of two columns on President Barack Obama's inauguration.As Aretha Franklin finished singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," the queen of soul did what she has done for decades -- she improvised.The result was a soaring bridge between the inauguration of President Barack Obama and a sermon 45 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial."Our fathers' God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, with freedom's holy light, protect us by thy might," sang … [Read more...]

Presbyterian alphabet soup, again

To follow Presbyterian news updates, outsiders need to learn a few key facts.The Presbyterian Church in America is not the same thing as the American Presbyterian Church. Also, Orthodox Presbyterians are not to be confused with Bible Presbyterians, Cumberland Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, Associate Reformed Presbyterians or Evangelical Presbyterians.This Presbyterian alphabet soup became less complicated in 1983, when the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. joined with the … [Read more...]

Why eulogies have changed

Seconds after American Airlines Flight 11 passed overhead, another Franciscan brother ran to Father Mychal Judge's room in the friary to let him know the World Trade Center was on fire.The veteran chaplain quickly changed out of his simple brown habit and into his fire-department uniform -- pausing only to comb and spray his hair. Judge was heading into danger, but he was also ready to face the cameras. Soon, a photographer captured unforgettable images of firefighters carrying the priest's body … [Read more...]

A vote for the resurrection

The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Thomas Wright believes in the resurrection.The bishop of Durham, England, doesn't think the disciples who said they saw Jesus after his death were describing his spirit dwelling in their hearts. The former canon theologian of Westminster Abbey doesn't believe that Jesus swooned on the cross and woke up three days later. He doesn't believe robbers stole his body, leaving the grieving apostles to explain away an empty tomb.No, the famous New Testament scholar -- author of 30 … [Read more...]

Watching the religious left pray

Anyone watching the annual March for Life will see all kinds of people saying all kinds of prayers as that river of protest against abortion flows toward the U.S. Supreme Court.But as a rule, the Baptist marchers do not pray the rosary with Catholics. Orthodox Jews do not chant the same dirges as Orthodox Christians. It would be rare to see Methodists pray with Mormons, or Presbyterians lifting their hands with the Pentecostals. They are united by a cause, but it is hard to blend their … [Read more...]


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