More than 1,000 members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America met in Mahtomedi, Minnestota, to organize against a requirement of the denomination's alliance with the Episcopal Church of America. The controversy, which centers on how bishops are ordained and the beliefs behind the practice, has been a longtime thorn for the union. The protesters, whose organization is called WordAlone, say they like the union with Episcopalians, but want the understanding of a historic episcopate to be nonmandatory.
"That's past, I hope," Daniel P. Coughlin tells the Chicago Sun-Times. "Let's move on." Speaking of the past, The Associated Press ran an excellent history of the chaplaincy and the controversy.
As noted in yesterday's Weblog, the Canadian Jewish Congress is pressing the Ontario Legislature to open its meetings with the Lord's Prayer. The organization is now joined by the United Church, the country's largest Protestant denomination. "I certainly don't want some unbelieving member of the legislature saying my prayer or a Jewish prayer hypocritically," Bonnie Greene, director of the denomination's mission division, tells The Toronto Star.
Jason Sokol's article for the online magazine Feed is a bit of a latecomer to the "sports and religion" article frenzy that occurred around the Superbowl (Christianity Today ran not one but two articles, while Slate and Beliefnet's James Fallows looked at whether God even cares about sports.) Sokol's main point: "More often than not, and despite the players' best efforts, an athlete's faith goes largely unnoticed." Any other year, maybe. But the media ChristianityToday.com Weblog had its eyes and ears on this year—particularly around the time of the NFL playoffs and Superbowl—covered religion plenty.
Much more relevant than Sokol's questions over whether sportswriters should cover which players attend church is whether public high schools should be allowed to start their football games with a prayer. The issue is before the Supreme Court this week, and the outcome will be at least as contentious and as unpredictable as any sporting event.
Worldwide attention focused on Pope John Paul II and his trip to the Holy Land last week. As many articles noted, the pilgrimage was a fitting microcosm of John Paul II's papacy: trying to erase the church's sins of the past, trying to build bridges between Christian traditions and between other faiths, addressing injustices, and encouraging believers. A fitting swan song all around. But the Pope isn't done yet. As Time's Robert Sullivan writes, "He will create additional Cardinals and canonize new saints. He will keep up his push for warmer relations not only among Christian denominations but also among Christians, Jews and Moslems. He will publish a new social catechism that addresses inequities between rich and poor countries. And he hopes to keep traveling the world." The article accompanies this week's cover story on the pilgrimage.
"If the minister's work is defined as getting people into church and keeping them there, then one's electronic messages (e-mail and Web sites) would be designed to strengthen and build upon an existing physical community," writes OJR columnist Stephen O'Leary. "However, if the task is defined as bringing the church to a new congregation online, then the minister's work is drastically different. … How do you entice people into your church … but also create a meaningful experience of wired worship?" OJR is a fine Web site sponsored by the University of Southern California.
Ease up on homosexuality, says Church of England leader—and drugs and prostitution while you're at it.
Prostitution mitigates child abuse and rape, says John Elford, Canon Theologian of Liverpool Cathedral. Legalizing drugs would bring addicts out of their "shadowy underworld." And homosexuality—do you even need to ask his opinion? "We must put … righteousness aside and begin afresh," he tells The Times.
This week, the newspaper's Patrick Comerford looks at the battle over Arianism and its lasting effects on the early church.
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