My grandmother died in 2005, on the eve of the feast of Saints Mary and Martha of Bethany. The next day I went to the weekday eucharist at St. James Cathedral in Chicago, and the story of Martha and her sister brought me instantly to tears. Like so many women of her generation (and not only hers), my grandmother was deeply identified with her hospitality and service. She was a lot like Martha, and I loved her for it.
I am more troubled now than I was then at the way this story is gendered in our reading.
Rule Britannia! Finally the old country sits atop the tennis throne. On Sunday, Andy Murray became the first British male to win Wimbledon in 77 years—not since Fred Perry won his third straight crown in July 1936.
Last week Pew released some more data from its spring survey on the rise of the nones. They asked people if they thought the growing number of "people who are not religious" is good, bad or neutral for American society. One interesting finding: while most of the nones said neutral, nearly as many said "bad" as "good." Almost a fifth of the nones think the growth of the nones—of their own group—is bad for society.
A few years ago, I was invited by a Lutheran friend of mine to take part in a group of church planters. I knew these folk came from an evangelical background, and my shields went up. Would these people accept me? Did I have to go into the closet here?