Episcopal News Service (ENS) posted “After presidential power shifts, Episcopalians ask: How should we pray” on January 23, 2017. It had the subtitle “Debating purpose, intention of praying for Donald Trump in church.” As internet posts go, this is a long post. It presents reasoned answers for both “yes” and “no.” What follows are a few quotes from the article. I encourage you to read the entire article here.
A man dressed as one of the Three Kings greets people during the Epiphany parade in Gijon, Spain, on Jan. 5, 2017. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Eloy Alonso
A baby in the cake, shoes left out for candy (or coal), a polar bear dip to retrieve a cross: these are a few of the customs explained in a Religion News Service (RNS) “‘Splainer.” Epiphany was celebrated on January 6th, but the RNS post “What is Epiphany?” is still timely. Enjoy the read.
You thought the holidays were over. Technically, no — not until Jan. 6, when Christians all over the world celebrate Epiphany. In some places, the day is known as “Three Kings Day” after the wise men, or Magi, who, the Bible says, brought the infant gifts and proclaimed him the Son of God. In other places, the day is known for giving gifts, for extremely cold baths and for biting into babies. Let us ’splain …
JERUSALEM (RNS) The tens of thousands of Christians who visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre this month got a special Easter treat: the chance to view the newly cleaned and restored mosaic that covers the ceiling and walls of a Franciscan chapel dedicated to Calvary, or Golgotha, the hill where Jesus was crucified.
They might also pause to marvel at this: the work of restoring those mosaics involves a joint effort of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.
If the story of the Garden of Eden is such a common cultural reference point, what more can be said about it?
Plenty, at least judging by a new exhibit at the Museum of Biblical Art, which is affiliated with the American Bible Society.
The famed narrative of Eden in the Book of Genesis has been the subject of “New Yorker cartoon after New Yorker cartoon,” said guest curator Jennifer Scanlan, noting the enduring power of the Eden narrative.
Couples solely wearing fig leaves remain “instantly recognizable as Adam and Eve and fruit trees inhabited by snakes as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil with the serpent,” she writes in the exhibit catalog.
RNS: You list the Bible as one of the essentials of “being Christian” but various people have diverse views about the Bible. Do you think every view of the Bible is equally “Christian” or is there some baseline?
RW: It’s always been true that Christians have had differences over reading the Bible. But it remains the text we have in common. And so long as one believes that the Bible is a gift from God and tells us what we need to know about God for our well-being here and hereafter, it’s still possible to think we have something seriously in common.
Things get difficult if you hold that the Bible is only a human product; but they also get difficult when the Bible is treated only as a set of timeless instructions from God, irrespective of the actual process by which the texts arose. The Bible needs to be read, prayerfully and discerningly, in the company of as many other believers as possible, so that we can learn some wisdom from each other as to what exactly God does want to tell us. Hearing the truth in Scripture means expecting the Holy Spirit to be at work both in the text and in the community that reads it.