The Power of National Repentance

The word “repentance” has an antique ring to it. To many it belongs with top hats, sailing ships, and snuff boxes. To others it sounds as psychologically unhealthy as self-flagellation, hair shirts and the shaming of children. But most people will agree that even today, if someone’s done something really bad, they should admit it and express sorrow for it. Repentance is essential because it increases the chances that a behavior won’t be repeated, and it helps the healing and reconciliation process for everyone involved.

But do only individuals repent, or can whole nations? Suppose Americans reach a consensus that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a wrongful use of its superpower. Might it help for the United States to repent?

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Is God Green?

Our planet is in peril. Christianity is the world’s largest religion. A crucial question of our times is whether this faith will have a constructive or destructive impact—or end up an indifferent factor—in how the global environmental crisis will play out. So far, when it comes to ecology and environmental care, Christianity is sending very mixed messages. It is proving to be an ambivalent religion.

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Liturgy of the Rolling Stones

Shine a Light, a film about the Rolling Stones, opened last week. It’s a rollicking tribute, by Academy Award winning director Martin Scorcese, to one of the most legendary rock groups ever. For over two hours viewers are in the front row of a high-decibel Stones concert in New York City. I may not know a lot about rock and roll, but I know a liturgy when I see one. And this was a liturgical celebration of the raw vitality of life.

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Our Current Worship Crisis

Our worship problems have been looming for awhile. But they aren’t looming any more. Churches in America are into a full-blown worship crisis. This is serious, because worship is the God-directed, soul-nourishing center of the Christian life. When worship is not functioning well, it’s like a deep-sea diver getting a kink in their oxygen supply line. It’s not good.

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