Century Marks

Century Marks

Pastor as theologian

The separation of theological scholarship from pastoral ministry has led to two unfortunate outcomes, says pastor and writer Gerald Hiestand: the theological anemia of the church and the ecclesial anemia of theology. Hiestand suggests that the pastoral vocation and theological scholarship need to be reunited by resurrecting an almost extinct role: the pastor as ecclesial theologian. Doctoral students in theology could be encouraged to make pastoral ministry the context for their scholarship (Expository Times, March).

Church collateral

With banks in Cyprus on the verge of collapse and the government unable to come to agreement with the European Union over a bailout plan, the head of the Cyprian Orthodox Church offered to help. Archbishop Chrysostomos II offered to mortgage the church’s assets to help get the country out of its financial bind. Although the church is be­lieved to be the biggest landholder in the country, it does not have enough assets to bail out Cyprus by itself. The archbishop urged his country’s leaders to find solutions within Cyprus, and he was highly critical of the European Union’s plans to make bank depositors give up some of their assets. He called on Cypriots to make sacrifices to help pay off the country’s debts (ABC News, March 20).

Ordinary living

In a tribute to outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Stanley Hauerwas said that what Williams taught us is the art of ordinary living. This means giving up notions about grand gestures or heroic actions. It involves learning to live without fear of the complexity of ordinary life. Williams confessed that he longed for a church that was more true to itself. Yet, said Williams, the art of ordinary living means he “must also learn to live in and attend to the reality of the Church as it is, to do the prosaic things that can be and must be done now and to work at my relations now with the people who will not listen to me . . . because what God asks of me is not to live in the future but to live with honesty and attentiveness in the present, i.e., to be at home” (Religion and Ethics, Australian Broadcasting Cor­poration, March 20).

Occupy success

Critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement say it failed largely because of a lack of organization and focus. Jeff Madrick argues that the movement was a success not so much in changing policies as in raising public awareness of inequities. “We are the 99 percent” will remain a political slogan every bit as galvanizing for its time as “Hell no, we won’t go” was for the antiwar protesters of the 1960s and 1970s, he says. Civil rights demonstrations and antiwar movements were criticized in their day for being unfocused, but they led to enduring change (Harper’s, March).

Papal powers

Liberal Catholic theologian Hans Küng points out the Ro­man Catholic Church got along without the papacy as we know it today for a millennium. It was Pope Gregory VII in the 11th century who gave Catholics three enduring elements of the Roman system: “a centralist-absolutist papacy, compulsory clericalism and the obligation of celibacy for priests and other secular clergy.” Küng argues that the church needs a pope who knows how deep the church’s crisis is and how to lead the church out of it. He calls for the church to hold another council along the lines of Vatican II, this time gathering a “representative assembly of bishops, priests and lay people” (New York Times, February 27).