Christine A. Scheller is a widely published journalist and essayist. She lives with her husband at the Jersey Shore and in Washington, D.C., where she helps facilitate cross-community dialogue.
Posts By This Author
In Camden, Signs of a City, and a Church, Moving Forward
For the better part of 50 years, when I thought about Camden, N.J. — if I thought about the city at all — I’d envision driving as quickly as possible through a blighted urban wasteland to get across the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia.
I didn’t envision young people building boats in a deconsecrated church, or designing websites in a beautifully remodeled house whose walls are covered with original art, or being guided by caring adults through the traumas they’ve experienced and into health, wholeness, and academic achievement.
What a gift, then, to be reintroduced to the city through ministries that bring Camden’s human vitality to the surface, where it shines far above the daunting statistics upon which the city’s troubled reputation is built.
'God Is Not Finished With This World'
If we who are Christians participate in the political process and in the public discourse as we are called to do — the New Testament tells us that we are to participate in the life of the polis, in the life of our society — the principle on which Christians must vote is the principle, Does this look like love of neighbor? If it does, we do it; if it doesn’t, we don’t.
We evaluate candidates based on that. We evaluate public policy based on that. And that has nothing to do with whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, liberal or conservative. It has to do with if you say you’re a follower of Jesus, then you enter the public sphere based on the principle of love which is seeking the good and the welfare of the “other.” That’s a game-changer.
Michael Curry Installed as Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church, Urges 'the Way of Love'
Curry’s landslide election in June — 10 days after nine black congregants were shot to death by a white supremacist at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. — is notable for a denomination whose membership is only 4 percent black.
"After the Charleston shootings, it became really important to send a signal about race in the Episcopal Church," said the cathedral’s retiring dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, in an interview last week.
Curry’s election is not only a symbol of the church’s need to engage with racial justice issues, but also its need to become “a more hospitable place for people of color,” said Hall.
A 2014 denominational survey found that only 17 percent of black Episcopal churches are growing — and that while black congregations engage in more lively worship and have “clearer purpose,” their congregants tend to be older and are less engaged in evangelism than the denomination’s white churches. Latino, Asian, Native American, and multi-racial/ethnic Episcopal churches were too few to sample individually, though their collective growth is significantly stronger than predominantly white or black churches, the report said.
Disarming Our Speech
I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations With Truth and Love. IVP Books.
Pursuing Grace, Onstage and Off
Laughter is Sacred Space: The Not-So-Typical Journey of a Mennonite Actor. Herald Press