“You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd.” So begins “Christus Paradox,” a hymn penned by Sylvia Dunstan more than three decades ago. According to notes on the hymn text, Dunstan first scribbled down the lyrics--rich with paradoxical, tension-laden images of Jesus--while she rode the bus home after a difficult day of prison chaplaincy.
Nussbaum, a psychiatrist who labels himself a “bad Catholic,” delves with religious fervor into the mystery of his calling to serve people who suffer. Guided by mentors like Basil of Caesarea, Hildegard of Bingen, and Stanley Hauerwas, he envisions medical care as a precious craft honed by the development of virtue.
Although in the final chapter of Luke the ascension occurs on Easter Day, in the Acts of the Apostles the imagery of 40 days intensifies the story line. It is also mythically alive, a time pregnant with a religious future.
“No religion” is now the single largest group in England and Wales, according to British Social Attitudes data. Consisting of nearly half of the population, this group is twice the size of those who identify as Anglicans and four times the size of the Catholic population. A similar pattern prevails across Europe. The decline of Catholics in Britain would be more severe were it not for Christian immigrants from Africa and Asia. The data show that the church is poor at making converts and at keeping cradle believers. The Anglican and Catholic churches lose at least ten members for every convert (Guardian, May 27).