Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bishop Sklba on the Vatican Document

The Most Rev. Richard J. Sklba, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee of the Roman Catholic Church, was one of several distinguished guests who spoke in honor of Secretary Lowell Almen when he received the Servus Dei Medal at the recent ELCA Assembly. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel interviewed him on August 3, 2007, noting that just one month after the publication of the recent Vatican document asserting that the Catholic Church is the one true church, Sklba "is about to find himself in what some might assume would be an uncomfortable position - addressing more than 1,000 Lutherans. Bishop Sklba, who is the co-chair of the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue, noted that the tenth round of the dialogue (The Church as Koinonia of Salvation, 2004) proposed that "Catholic judgment on the authenticity of Lutheran ministry need not be all or nothing." The report quoted a 1993 letter from then Cardinal Ratzinger: "I count among the most important results of the ecumenical dialogues the insight that the issue of the Eucharist cannot be narrowed to the problem of validity. Even a theology oriented to the concept of succession . . . need not in any way deny the salvation granting presence of the Lord in the Lutheran Lord's Supper."

George Tavard, 1922-2007

George Tavard, a giant in the ecumenical movement, died expectedly on Monday, August 13, 2007. He was named by Pope John XXIII to attend Vatican Council II as a "peritus conciliaris" and he served on the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue from the beginning. Many of my colleagues from Trinity will remember George from his tenure at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio here in central Ohio, from where he retired in 1990. I was privileged to serve with him on the latest round of the dialogue ("The Hope of Eternal Life"). His gentle spirit and deep wisdom will be missed by all who knew him.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Racism, Classism, Sexism and Heterosexism

In one of my first posts, I wrote about racism and the need for white theologians to deal with it. This January, I will be leading an interim seminar that is a study of the issues of racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism in urban ministry with a focus on the city of Detroit. The class will meet for two days at Trinity where I will introduce the students theoretically to these problems and then we will spend approximately 10 days in Detroit where they will be instructed by pastors engaged in city ministry in Detroit -- "Acts in Common" -- and myself.

I have been doing some research in order to determine what the students should read for this course. The pastors of Acts in Common will help shape the reading list. I probably will show most (if not all) of the excellent PBS series, "Race: The Power of an Illusion" during the two days in Columbus.

Students who took the course previously read The Autobiography of Malclom X and White Women's Christ, Black Women's Jesus by Womanist theologian Jacquelyn Grant.

I just came across this interview in The Other Journal in which second generation Black theologian Dwight Hopkins offers an excellent (and at times personal) introduction to Black Theology [as an aside, his piece, "The Religion of Globalization" appeared in a previous issue of The Other Journal]. He also discusses his latest book (which has since been published by Fortress): Being Human: Race, Culture and Religion. I will probably use at least one chapter from his book in the reader I put together for this new course.

I also hope to include readings by White theologians who are addressing racism and White privilege, such as James Perkinson (who teaches at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit) who has written White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity. On-line articles by Perkinson include "Theology and the City: Learning to Cry, Struggling to See" and "Like a Thief in the Night: Black Theology and White Church in the Third Millennium."

I welcome suggestions with regard to resources (books and other media) from those of you who have taught (or taken) courses on racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism.