In 1908 the Olympics were held in England for the first time. The norms for what we like to regard as the “Olympic spirit” had not yet been established in the renewal of the ancient games. As it turned out, nationalist pride took over in those games and they were tainted by several controversial actions.

We will never know why, but the English did not display the United States or Swedish flags at the stadium prior to the games. The Swedes packed up to go home, but did finally compete. The U.S. team stayed, but in the opening ceremony ignored the custom of dipping the national flag to the head of state of the host country. The American carrying Old Glory made it clear that this was not an oversight.

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Children of “A Wandering Aramean

(Deut 26:5)


The three great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share common roots. These go deeper than the texts that are accepted by two or more of the faiths, such as the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, and the traditions that are commonly claimed, such as the prophetic. The cultural impetus that gave rise to each of the three faith communities is strikingly similar, and this is so even though they blossomed in very different cultures. The time has come for each community of faith to recognize in the commonality of their origins a common religious mission to society and culture and a common challenge of reform.

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by Donald Schell

If I’ve framed this question as I mean to, it will probably sound nonsensical to two quite different groups –

            – One group includes post-Christian atheists, agnostics, apathetics, and “spiritual but not-religious” people, many of them my friends.  To them, the question will sound nonsensical coming from me, a priest of forty years, now an itinerant teacher and workshop leader, but still going to church every Sunday and happily covering as a supply priest in a variety of church settings as I’m invited.  They might tell me that they don’t have a clue what church is for, but don’t expect me to be asking the question, though maybe not.  Maybe knowing I don’t mean to provide an abstract doctrinal answer would make the question interesting to them.  Maybe it would get them wondering how church compared with other purposeful organizations and gatherings.  I hope so. Read More…