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Segregated Sundays

Sunday mornings are still very segregated. The United Methodist Church is short on strong black congregations. If we're to find a place for ourselves and survive as a church that's making a strong witness in the world, we need to make some changes.

— Tim Tyson, visiting professor of American Christianity and southern culture, quoted during a dialogue on race and civil rights on Dec. 5, 2005, by United Methodist News Service

Bearing Witness as Christians

In an increasingly post-Christendom culture, Christians in the United States have an opportunity and a responsibility to recover a robust catechetical approach to baptism and discipleship. It is an opportunity because many people are curious about what would be involved in becoming Christian. And it is a responsibility for us to bear witness to and with them about the life-transforming, life-giving character of Christian discipleship.

— Dean L. Gregory Jones commenting on the need for Christians to put their identity in Christ before other allegiances in the Dec. 13, 2005, issue of Christian Century

Church: Academy Tensions

There is always going to be tension if you try to be faithful both to the church parent that founded you, and the pursuits of these academic disciplines. Does the church finally say to the science faculty, 'You can't teach anything that conflicts with the Book of Genesis?' Or does the science faculty say, 'We're not going to listen to the church at all?

— Curtis Freeman, research professor of theology and director of the Baptist House of Studies, quoted in a story about the growing divide between Southern Baptists and historically Baptist universities, in the Nov. 20, 2005, issue of The Telegraph of Macon, Ga.

Guilt by Association?

The association of sin and punishment is longstanding. It goes back more than 6,000 years, all the way back to Mesopotamia and the earliest recorded history. It's silly to think that New Orleans is the wickedest city in the world. So these assumptions are very troublesome.

— James Crenshaw, Robert L. Flowers professor of Old Testament, commenting on whether Hurricane Katrina was a divine punishment of New Orleans in the Oct. 9, 2005, issue of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C.

Christmas on the Sabbath

By staying home, people are buying into a very individualistic consumer version of what it means to be a Christian in today's society. And that's too bad. Something in these Christian communities is missing if they don't want to be in church on Sunday.

Stephen Chapman, assistant professor of the Old Testament, quoted about the decision of some megachurches to close on Christmas so families may stay home, in a Dec. 17, 2005 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer

In Praise of Sleep

The unarguable demands that our bodies make for sleep are a good reminder that we are mere creatures, not the Creator. For it is God and God alone who 'neither slumbers nor sleeps.' Of course, the Creator has slept, another startling reminder of the radical humility he embraced in becoming incarnate. He took on a body that, like ours, was finite and contingent and needed sleep. To push ourselves to go without sleep is, in some sense, to deny our embodiment, to deny our fragile incarnations-and perhaps to deny the magnanimous poverty and self-emptying that went into his Incarnation.

— Lauren Winner, visiting lecturer, commenting on sleep as a part of faithfulness in the January/February issue of Christianity Today's Books & Culture magazine  

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