Sunday, February 25, 2007

Annual Meeting Resolution

This afternoon St. Mary’s held its 184th Annual Meeting. At the meeting I said:
We are an Episcopal Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Last week the Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and issued what is in effect an ultimatum to the Episcopal Church – do not ordain any more partnered gay priests to be bishops, and do not authorize any services of blessing for same-sex couples.

Partly because we are in North America, we in the Episcopal Church have led the Anglican Communion in extending full participation to women and girls. (Not so long ago, women could not serve on vestries.) St. Mary’s was situated so as to play a visible part in the struggle for the right of women to be ordained – but there are places today, even in the Episcopal Church, where the ministry of women is not accepted and is treated as unscriptural and even unchristian.
The ministry of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer people is now an issue in the wider church. We at St. Mary’s have played a role in this struggle too – a less visible role. We have enjoyed the ministry of both out and closeted LGBTQ folks in all areas – as priest, deacon, acolyte, crucifer, organist, choir member, usher, warden, vestry member, and ordinary parishioner.
I propose the following motion:
We at St. Mary’s, Manhattanville, call upon our Bishop, the Presiding Bishop, and the House of Bishops not to draw back from the commitment the Episcopal Church has made to LGBTQ people – in particular not to make any pledge in advance about denying ordination to the episcopate on the basis of sexual orientation and not to make any promise not to authorize blessing same-sex unions. All are welcome.After discussion, the motion carried and will be forwarded to the Bishop of New York, Mark Sisk, to Presiding Bishoip Katharine Jefferts Schori, and to the House of Bishops.

In putting this posting together I recalled that at the 131st annual meeting 33 years ago on April 28, 1974, our congregation passed a resolution urging our bishop, Paul Moore, to ordain two of our deacons, Carter Heyward and Emily Hewitt, to the priesthood at the same time as our third deacon, Doug Clark, was being ordained. I had the privilege of conveying that action of the congregation to the bishop. Needless to say, Bishop Paul Moore did not accede to our request. This time we are not asking the bishops to do anything extracanonical.


On Friday morning, February 23, 2007, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schorri spoke to the staff at the Episcopal Church Center here in New York. An audio of the talk is available here. My previous post was in response to discussion in the blogs of both the Friday talk and an earlier statement called A Season of Fasting.

Both of these statements were about the recent meeting of Anglican Primates in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and in particular about the communique and its ultimatum to The Episcopal Church. Tobias Haller posted a satirical paraphrase of the communique which is all you need to know except that it is in fact quite clear what nature of the unspecified consequences of non-compliance will be. As Bishop Katharine puts it, compliance means we "are asserting our desire to remain as a full member of the communion" and we will "retain our position in the councils of the Anglican Communion."

In listening to Bishop Katharine’s remarks to the staff at 815, I was paricularly struck by this almost afterthought:

“The reality, I believe, is that the Archbishop of Canterbury will respect whatever the Primates decide, whether or not that accurately reflects the polity of the Anglican Communion.
There was great attention paid to the teaching role of bishops and therefore of primates at this meeting and that this conflict in their minds is about an official teaching of Anglican Communion.
The reality is that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York decide who is in communion with them and that is really all that matters.”

There is a lot of meat here. I was first drawn to transcribe these words by the part about the “teaching role of bishops.” Bishops are seldom, if ever, chosen for their skills as teachers.
In the words of educational philosopher Oscar Hammerstein II,
It's a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you'll be taught.

I’m not at all sure that the average bishop is open to being taught by his “pupils.” Yet that is what is called for, surely.

I still have a backlog of posting about two bishops who I have recently heard -- first, the rest of of my post on Gene Robinson and then a post about Catherine Roskam's visit to St. Mary's last week.

Am I Missing Something?

This has been a hectic week for me. Last Sunday morning Bishop Catherine made her first visitation to St. Mary’s. I read the epistle (“I will show you a more excellent way”). Ever since, I have been itching to post – both on this blog and in comments elsewhere. So much to say, on events near and far, and updates due on previous posts And so much happening in my own life that I truly haven’t had the time to keep up with reading the blogs and the statements, let alone write down my own thoughts.

Saturday morning I listened carefully to Bishop Katharine’s talk to the 815 staff. Frankly, I found it hard to see what the fuss was about. I wrote a thoughtful response to a post by Grimakin at Father Jake’s and then I had problems connecting to the internet. Life intervened again and by the time I got back to the computer the thread at Jake’s had moved so far along that I decided to post my thoughts here.

As I said, I listened carefully to Bishop Katharine’s talk to the 815 staff. This is what I did not post at Jake’s:

I found Bishop Katharine's talk helpful.

Unlike Grimalkin, I didn't hear “platitudes delivered in a motherly tone." And I didn't hear a speech to the whole Episcopal Church. I heard a report to the staff at 815, which the entire TEC (not to mention the world) has the privilege of overhearing.

It occurs to me, and I hope no one takes this as snarky, that we are so used to "spin" that we find it hard to interpret a talk that cannot be completely candid -- KJS is, by virtue of her office, constrained from revealing everything that she is personally thinking about this matter.

She said more than once that she didn't know what response the church (TEC) would decide to give to the primates.
She hinted at some of the downside of saying NO and at some of the possible upside of saying YES. Both of these were expressed in terms of effects within the AC and not in terms of effects within TEC. I think it would be helpful if she would also address the upside of saying NO and the downside of saying YES, both on the AC and within TEC. Yet I am heartened that she did not try to preempt the conversation that must now take place within TEC.

In the short term, I am not terribly hopeful. It seems to me that the costs of a either a NO or a YES are very high. And that is the source of much of the anger and depression I have heard this week.
(I apologize for the format of this post – preserving my early drafts and all – but this is a blog after all, not an essay.)

Then I finally read A Season of Fasting. I still couldn’t really put my finger on what others were hearing that I wasn’t hearing. Late Saturday afternoon, ENS sent out a story on KJS’s talk to the staff. In looking at what Mary Frances Schojnberg lifted up in that article, I began to see more clearly what is bothering people. Unless I’m wrong, people are more bothered by what isn’t there than by what is there. But that is precisely what she doesn’t say that I find heartening about her statements.

It would be improper for Bishop Katharine to say to the other Primates “We cannot comply with this request.” She would be pretending to an authority TEC does not give to our Presiding Bishop. But it would be equally improper for her to say to us in TEC “Let’s tell the Primates we cannot comply with this request,” or, God forbid, "Let's give them what they want." At least at this point, that is not her role.

I do not see Bishop Katharine as advocating for either a YES or a NO. And so I remain hopeful about her leadership.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Support Fr. Luis Barrios

Fr. Luis Barrios, an associate priest at St. Mary's, is in need of your prayers, and if possible, your presence.

Here is a release from Not in Our Name.

Fr. Luis Barrios, activist, Episcopal priest and professor, will be in Municipal Court on Tuesday, 8:30AM, February 13, at 100 Centre Street. He is on trial on multiple charges for a September 19 protest at the United Nations. He was arrested along with 16 others (UN16) in a non-violent protest on the day that President Bush was speaking at the UN. Fr. Barrios was the first one arrested and was thrown to the ground by the police.

In a new development, on Saturday night, February 10, Fr. Barrios was arrested again upon leaving an event in the South Bronx. In what appears to be an act of intimidatio n, the New York Police did not reveal the reason for the arrest, but Fr. Barrios was held overnight and not released until Sunday.
Fr. Luis Barrios is an associate professor and chair of the Puerto Rican/Latin American Studies Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct during the September 19 protest.
During that protest, the UN 16 stated, "We have come to the United Nations today to engage in non-violent civil disobedience. We demand the war on Iraq end immediately. We oppose any attack on Iran. We declare to the world that President George W. Bush has been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He does not speak for us!"

This picture was taken at a demonstration last May and is from an article by Ethan Vesely-Flad in The Witness last June.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Elegy and Epithalamion - A Reflection on Prime Mates

This picture was taken at the Twelfth Night Party in 1973 at St Mary's Episcopal Church, Manhattanville, on West 126th Street in Manhattan. At that party, the people who find a bean in their cake are designated the King and Queen. This morning after church, I mentioned to my friend Janet that I was going to post this picture today and she said she remembered that party well, but she did not recall the picture. When I described it, she said something to the effect that “that just about sums it all up.”
This picture is laden with significance for me and for people who were at St. Mary’s at that time and even for others. First let me get the personal significance out of the way.

The King and Queen were Rex Slauson and Jane Dudley. Rex is holding a just off the press copy of Women Priests: Yes or No? by Emily Hewitt and Suzanne Hiatt.

Rex was my partner (we called it "lover" then) and had been since November 1958. Rex brought me to the Episcopal Church and to St. Mary's. Five weeks after that party, on February 11,1973, Rex was the intercessor at St. Mary's. (That was 34 years ago today.) The next day Rex had a massive heart attack and he died on the operating table on February 13. Rex was 46 years old.

Jane was 10. Two years later, Jane's mother Liz and I were married at St. Mary's. Our reception was held in the same undercroft where this picture was taken. We celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary this past Thursday.

Emily Hewitt was one of two women deacons then at St. Mary's. Emily and Carter Heyward (the other one) were two of the Phildelphia 11 who were ordained to the priesthood in July of 1974. Carter, whose book A Priest Forever I mentioned in an earlier post, later became a colleague of Sue Hiatt at EDS. (Liz had been a year behind Sue Hiatt in college.)

Now, 34 years later, Jane is my daughter and has been for 32 years. She was married just before this past New Year.

The St. Mary’s significance is harder to define. Everybody at St. Mary’s at the time knew that Rex and I were partners. I suspect most people there didn't think very much about the fact that we were partners meant that we were gay – or “practicing homosexuals.” But I’m sure a lot of St. Mary’s people were surprised when Liz and I announced our engagement.

In 1973 some St. Mary’s people had trouble with women’s ordination – and I know there were also folks there who had difficulty considering gay behavior acceptable. Around that time, our rector Neale Secor conducted a seminar on homosexuality. I don’t know how many minds were changed or how many people at the time connected the -isms.

Now fast forward. After she graduated from college, Liz had gone to Union Theological Seminary for one semester. Liz went back to Union in the early 1980's and completed her MDiv. She went into ecumenical work and now in her retirement she is chair of the board of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, which was founded by Arlene and Leonard Swidler. Leonard Swidler is still the edtitor of JES today. One reason I did not go to the Urban Caucus in North Carolina last week was that Liz had a Board meeting in Philadelphia on Friday.

As I was researching via Google for this post today, I discovered, first that Arlene and Leonard Swidler were the editors of a 1977 book Women Priests which can be found here. Then I discovered a remarkable and powerful open letter written in September 2004 to Josef Ratzinger by Leonard Swidler. MadPriest might call Swidler’s letter LENNY TELLS OFF the future BENNY. The letter is in response to a Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World. I want to lift up one paragraph:

I have to say that you have made the most fundamental mistake possible in writing this letter, namely, that you, a male, write it, telling women what they should and should not be. One of the first things I learned from Arlene decades ago was that, because the essence of being human is the freedom and responsibility of defining oneself, that essence includes women and paramountly so, because for eons they have suffered the oppression of being defined by men.
I submit that everything Leonard Swidler says about men speaking of women applies to straights speaking of LGBTQ people. People have the right to define themselves.

On Friday, Mimi at Wounded Bird asked ”Why is it that GLTB Christians are repeatedly called to defend their desire for full inclusion in the life of the church by their fellow Christians?”
In the comments, Tim Chesterton said “I have read and considered very carefully the arguments of those who believe that the church's traditional interpretation of scripture on this issue needs to be changed. I personally would be a lot more comfortable if I could make myself believe it. But I can't. I'm not convinced.” The whole thread is worth reading.

And on Wednesday, Josh Oxley asked for help because “I cannot in good conscience yet assert homosexual relationships to be the ideal of human sexuality in the eyes of God. I can't deny it, but I still can't assert it. “ Josh goes on to say ”I find it tough to entirely skim over the few mentions in Scripture of homosexual activity as sinful, to throw away a part of Scripture I'd like to entirely forget exists. It does, and I think chalking everything up to "culture" that we don't favor in both Old and New Testaments is a dangerous cop-out.” In the comments MadPriest called him on that word “ideal.” and Josh gave a good answer. Again, the whole thread is worth reading.

As I was thinking out how I might contribute to the thread on Josh’s questions I was reminded of Bishop Gene Robinson’s words last Monday about “us” and “them.” If you have ever experienced being one of “them” I think you have a built in predisposition to understand and empathize with other outsiders. As I didn’t post in response to MadPriest’s Thought for Today, this empathy is why we get upset over things that don’t directly affect us – of course we are indirectly affected by injustice to others (because all isms are connected), much as John Donne, in Meditation XVII, wrote “Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”

The Gospel for this year C is Luke. Today we heard the beatitudes and woes from the Sermon on the Plain. Three weeks ago we heard Jesus say, after reading from Isaiah, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” In next week’s psalm we say to God, “O mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed righteousness and justice in Jacob.” I believe the primary message of Jesus is about justice. In today’s epistle we heard in a message to the first century Corinthians,“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.” I believe that the message to twenty first century Christians is “If the Incarnation and Resurrection are not about justice, our faith is futile.”

That accounts for some of the trajectory that has led me to the struggle against injustice based on race, gender, religion, and other isms. But that is not all of the story, for I am still a gay man. So here are some further thoughts. (This is a little rough, but I feel some urgency to get this out today):

A question many gay and lesbian persons ask themselves is “Is there something wrong with me?” I’m 70 years old – when I was a teenager the word “gay” had not yet entered the general vocabulary. I was attracted to other boys and not to girls. The words I knew were “queer” or “fairy” and later “faggot.” At some point I learned the word ”homosexual.” It’s hard to recapture the thoughts of my youth, but anyway...

1. I feel that I am basically acceptable. (Of course I had bad moments but I know now that I was fortunate that as a teenager I had an intact sense of self worth.)
2. The Bible says that certain behavior is not acceptable.
2a. The Bible says that I may not have sex with another male.
2b. The Bible says I may not masturbate.
3. It is not possible for me not to masturbate. I cannot overcome the desire to have sex with another male.
4. Finally, I do have sex with another male. I am fortunate in that I quickly find a life partner. At that point I know for sure that I am acceptable and that I do not have to act contrary to my nature to be acceptable.
5. This leads to an inescapable conclusion – I must reject the biblical teaching the I may not have sex with another male – and indeed the teaching that I may not masturbate.

If I reject those biblical teachings, where does that leave me? It doesn’t help that the text that seems to condemn masturbation is not in the New Testament, because of the New Testament texts that seem to condemn homosexual behavior. So now I have a different problem – a problem of hermeneutics. How should I read and interpret scripture? That’s a big question, but one for another post. MadPriest has a simple answer having to do with the words attributed to Jesus in the gospels, but I have problems with that too – but I repeat, that’s another discussion for another time.

I hope these thoughts are of help to people on the journey towards full acceptance of LGBTQ people without reservation.

Back to St. Mary's Undercroft
This morning our resident punster, Jim White, asked "Why do the Primates make so much ado about a person's prime mate?" With Jim's permission I pass this on.

Unfinished business
Last Monday I promised to get back to my account of Bishop Robinson's talk at Columbia. Mimi just reminded me. And I will.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hearing Bishop Gene Robinson

I just came back from hearing a talk by Bp. Gene Robinson at Columbia University's St. Paul's Chapel. Before he spoke he asked a few questions to gauge the churchly sophistication of his audience (it was pretty churchy.)

This was my first exposure to +Gene. I was very impressed by what he had to say and the way he said it. I sat in the front row with two friends who I ran into there – Betty Riordan, who has retired from directing the Peace Education program at Teacher’s College, and Dot Savage, retired from communications at the National Council of Churches. Both live in Morningside Gardens and Betty is a member of St. Mary’s. Most of the audience were students. Gene Robinson got his M.Div at General Theological Seminary in 1973, the same year that I, as clerk at St. Mary’s, was writing importuning letters to Bp. Paul Moore, urging him to ordain deacons Carter Heyward and Emily Hewitt to the priesthood. See this post. (He declined, saying his hands were tied, but that’s another story.) One of the points +Gene made forcefully is that “there is an unbelievable connection between homophobia and misogyny.” In fact, as he said and I agree, all the isms are linked – but these two are especially closely related.

+Gene quoted Bishop Stephen Bayne, the first executive officer of the Anglican Communion and the dean of GTS when Gene graduated, “Mission consists of figuring out where God is in the world and joing God there.”(I paraphrase.) He firmly believes that God is doing a new thing. In fact, he thinks we are seeing the beginning of the end of patriarchy.

During the debate in the House of Bishops on consent to his election, one bishop said this was the first time since the civil rights movement in the 1960's that he had seen the church take a stand it was willing to die for. (I didn’t get down which bishop said that.) +Gene returned to the civil rights struggle when he mentioned that during the 1960's, the church stopped concentrating on being pastoral to those opposed to equal rights for blacks and turned to doing the right thing. The problem of being pastoral to the dissenters remained, but the emphasis was different. A similar thing happened with the ordination of women. (But as he did not mention, it took a quarter century.) The process with regard to LGBT people is not there yet.

And afterwards? Well, says +Gene, it won't end until there is no more us and them – until humankind is all us.

I have to stop now because I am going to drive three hours to see my mother tomorrow. More later.


At the end of today’s service at St. Mary’s we sang His Eye Is On the Sparrow.” I came home wanting to write this post and the first thing I did was look at other blogs – and nearly fell in into this trap. God’s eye is on the sparrow and on me too, but I’ve got to keep my own eye on the task at hand. That’s difficult.

The antiquarian in me mourns the loss of quaint prayer book terms like “Septuagesima.” In the 1979 prayer book, today is called the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany. In the calendar of the C of E’s Common Worship, the day is called the Third Sunday before Lent. MadPriest’s sermon on the Gospel for today makes great reading.. (You’ll have to scroll down because I waited too long to link directly to it.)

Today’s Eucharist at St. Mary’s was structured around our customary observance of a Poetry Sunday during Black History Month. We’ve been doing that for probably 15 years now – until today the poetry was in place of the sermon, but today it was interspersed throughout the service – at the introit, in place of a sermon, at the offertory, and before the dismissal, which worked a lot better.

I’m on the hospitality committee for Bishop Catherine Roskam’s visitation in two weeks, but the committee couldn’t meet today because two key players were absent. The day will be complicated by the fact that there will be a concert at 2PM in the church, and we will probably want to serve a real lunch in between instead of the rather pathetic coffee hours we have been having recently.

As you may be able to detect, most of the above was written on Sunday, but I am posting it on Monday. Sigh.

Friday, February 02, 2007

More about Gary Dorrien Day

As I said below, the other day Liz and I attended the Inauguration of Gary Dorrien as Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. Gary Dorrien’s address in the evening was on his current project and was entitled “Social Ethics in the Making: Theory, Method, History, Transformation.” After a review of the history of the field, he concluded by speaking of one of the challenges facing social ethicists, as well as liberal theologians and progressives in general. First he named several other challenges – for example sexism, heterosexism, and the environment – all important and all urgent, but the one he addressed was racism. He spoke of racism as the American original sin and commented that white ethicists, as well as most other white people, need to interrogate their own racism. In this country, white people live in a world of unexamined (and unearned) white privilege.
I might add, just as white people are privileged over people of color, white males are privileged over females, straight people are privileged over LBGTQ people, prosperous people are privileged over poor people, and on and on. All forms of injustice, discrimination and unearned privilege need to be interrogated and resisted, but I agree that racism is the elephant in the room.

The afternoon and evening at Union was interesting to me for reasons beyond the content of programs. First, I saw several acquaintances – including George and Kathy Todd, Marie Wilson, and Doug Knight from Morningside Gardens. Miguel Angel Escobar, who is a seminarian at St. Mary’s, was one of the banner carriers. Of the five PhD candidates who read from the writings of past professors of social ethics at Union, Chloe Breyer is currently at St. Mary’s and Rima Vesely-Flad sometimes attends (as does her husband Ethan who was also there.) Seth Kasten, reference librarian at Union, mentioned that he had been surprised to discover that I had a blog – he found it during a Google search on Binghamton – whereupon Miguel asked me which blogs I visited so I told him. So now I’m outed as a blogger, at least to a small group. Liz and I had a brief conversation with David Callard, current chair of Union’s board. David was active at St. Mary’s years ago.

Juanita Webster, of DSA’s Religion and Socialism Commission, told me that Gary Dorrien would be on a panel at the Left Forum 2007 in March. I just checked the Left Forum website and the panel is to include Norm Farinelli and Harvey Cox also, so I am looking forward to that.

Gary Dorrien and Liberal Theology

The other day Liz and I attended the Inauguration of Gary Dorrien as Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. It began in the afternoon with a three hour symposium on Dorrien’s three volume The Making of American Liberal Theology. We dashed home for a quick supper and were back at six for the inaugural ceremony. Gary Dorrien’s address was on his current project and was entitled “Social Ethics in the Making: Theory, Method, History, Transformation.” All in all it was a wonderfully stimulating time.

The best part of the afternoon was Dorrien’s response to William Dean’s presentation “Dorrien the Historian.” Dean challenged both Dorrien’s assertion that “the liberal tradition has experienced a hidden renaissance” in recent decades, which Dean equated with a claim that liberal theology has been “successful,” and Dorrien’s use of a methodological definition of liberal theology rather than a definition based on content. I hope the papers are published, they were certainly worth listening to. A good statement of Dorrien’s thought on the current state of liberal theology can be found here in an article entitled “American Liberal Theology - Crisis, Irony, Decline, Renewal, Ambiguity”in the winter 2006 issue of CrossCurrents. Towards the beginning of that article he states that “the idea of a liberal Christian third way between conservative orthodoxy and secular disbelief retains its original relevance.” A little later he states that “most importantly, [nineteenth century liberal theologians] denied that religious arguments should be settled by appeals to an infallible text or ecclesial authority.” I take the terms “conservative orthodoxy” and “appeals to an infallible text or ecclesial authority” to be roughly synonymous, and to refer both to conservative forms of evangelicalism and to conservative Roman Catholicism.

These days we find a rise in adherents of conservative churches. It’s indisputable that there’s a general decline in at least some liberal churches, including The Episcopal Church. Dorrien comments on the lack of evangelical fervor in much contemporary liberal theology:
Liberal theology has no purpose or integrity as anything but a progressive tradition. Its renewal does not depend on selling out its critical spirit or progressive heritage. Throughout its history, however, liberal theology has made its strongest appeal when it fuses its two heritages with spiritual power. From its Enlightenment/modernist heritage it has emphasized the authority of modern knowledge, affirmed the continuity between reason and revelation, championed the values of humanistic individualism and democracy, and usually distrusted metaphysical reason. From its evangelical heritage it has affirmed a personal transcendent God, the authority of Christian experience, the divinity of Christ, the need of personal redemption, and the importance of Christian missions.


To put it bluntly, liberal theology has broken beyond its academic base only when it speaks with spiritual conviction about God's holy and gracious presence, the way of Christ, and the transformative mission of Christianity. That is not how a great deal of liberal theology has spoken over the past generation, to the detriment of liberal theology as a whole. In the past a spiritually vital evangelical liberalism sustained religious communities that supported the entire liberal movement. What would the social gospel movement have been without its gospel-centered preaching and theology? What would the Civil Rights movement have been without its gospel-centered belief in the sacredness of personality and the divine good?

When the social gospelers spoke of the authority of Christian experience, they took for granted their own deep grounding in Bible study, family devotions, personal prayer, and worship. Today the loss of the transcendental, biblical voice in liberal theology is one important reason that much of it gets little notice. Liberals often show more concern about the postmodern status of their perspective than about the relationship of their perspective to gospel faith. But postmodernity is largely an academic phenomenon, a product of the rarefied atmosphere of the academy. Theologians in the tradition of Rauschenbusch, Harkness, and King should have more pressing concerns than trying to convince deconstructionists that theology is a legitimate academic enterprise.

If I understood him correctly, Dorrien’s next project was to focus on a “gospel centered theology of personal spirt.” He has set that aside to produce a much needed work on the field of social ethics. I hope he returns to it.