At Thursday morning’s program (Jan. 15, 2009), attendance was down significantly from yesterday. Is it just me, or could the smiling positive pietism be wearing on the patience of many?
The morning’s panel, entitled “Speak Truth to Power,” was another “surprise” lineup, not identified until we showed up. Yet in fact it was utterly predictable, made up of church lobbyists, all based in Washington.
The conference speaker Wednesday night was a welcome improvement. Alexie Torres Fleming’s story is easy to summarize: born and raised poor in the south Bronx, she escaped from a collapsing neighborhood into middle class respectability, but then was drawn back to live and work in her home turf. She now operates a youth program.
I’m here in Philadelphia, at a conference entitled “Heeding God’s Call” . It started on Tuesday Jan. 13, 2009 and will extend into Saturday the 17th.
It’s supposed to be about strengthening the peace witness of churches and other faith groups, but especially that of the so-called “Historic peace Churches,” namely Quakers, Mennonites & Brethren. These three groups, especially the first, made up the large majority of the 270 or so persons I counted present in the opening session.
[Reprinted by permission from The Best of Friends, Vol. 1, a collection published by the Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts, in 2000. A lot of interesting mysteries have been published since then, but this is a good starter.]
I know no better relaxation than curling up in my favorite chair with a nice cup of tea and good murder mystery. Make it a well written religious, murder mystery that delves into spiritual, theological, and social concerns, and you have my perfect afternoon; my Sabbath from the cares and drudgery of my personal and professional life; a time and space suspended from reality. Yes, a virtual time and space in which I can exercise my mind trying to determine who done it and why! Continue reading Reading Religious Murder Mysteries For Relaxation, Fun and Sometimes A Bit of Spiritual Growth→
A good friend of mine from college days is a member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian church in Knoxville that was shot up on Sunday, July 27. She was there with her husband, but thankfully was not hit.
(Thankfully. I feel a twinge of survivor’s guilt writing that; but there it is.)
The reports Monday about the rantings of the shooter, wanting to kill all liberals and gays, and the targeting of this particular church, well-known for its welcoming stance and other progressive views, brings a lot of things home to me.
The short essay below is by a Friend who has spent much time in Africa, working with the Africa Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) project.
I believe Dave makes some cogent points. In particular, I agree that “engaging” Friends United Meeting (FUM) over the issues of homophobia, and the other matters listed in my post below, “Wrestling With a Roomful of Elephants,” is the best course.
[See the response linked below from Patrick Nugent, former head of the Friends Bible College, Kenya.]
Current Quote: “While somewhat less colonial, the [Friends United Meeting] work in East Africa is still structured around economic disparities that promote patterns of dependency. FUM has made a lot of progress in this area, but old patterns die very hard. Impoverished Kenyans and Ugandans expect all help to come from outside, in the form of U.S. dollars.
A response by Patrick Nugent, who is soon to complete his work as Principal of Friends Theological College.
Introduction: I’ve long admired Patrick Nugent for the high quality of his theological scholarship and reflection (see this essay for a fine example: http://www.quaker.org/quest/issue7-2-nugent01.htm . I also bow to his commitment to putting that theology into practice, as in his service in Kenya.