Dr. James R. Edwards writes, “In 1900, one in every three persons in Istanbul was Orthodox; today, one in every 750 persons in Istanbul is Orthodox. There are now fewer than 2,000 Orthodox in a population of fifteen million in Istanbul. They may be on the verge of extinction. One should be cautious, however, before writing the obituary of a people and institution that have survived more than seventeen tumultuous centuries. The Istanbul Orthodox undoubtedly face a difficult future, but their tenacity in the face of discrimination and persecution witnesses to their faith and courage. Patriarch Bartholomew reminds the West that the militant secularism faced by the church in Turkey is only another form of the same secularism faced by the church in the West. Perhaps our common adversity will help open our eyes to our common Faith and the oneness of the Body of Christ.”
On Tuesday, September 24, Dr. Peter Huff of Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana presented a talk entitled “Life to the Glory of God: C.S. Lewis and the Joy of Vocation.” Fifty years after his death, C. S. Lewis remains one of the most respected Christian writers of all time. This lecture celebrates Lewis the reliable guide to the demands of Christian discipleship. Exploring the seven callings that shaped his unrepeatable life, historian and theologian Peter Huff sheds new light on the sense of vocation that gave Lewis’s experience its distinctive confidence and vigor. Pope John Paul II once observed that C. S. Lewis “knew his apostolate—and did it.” This tribute to the creator of Narnia and the twentieth century’s foremost apologist challenges us all to listen for the voice of God—and live to the glory of God.
Rev. Dr. Jason Byassee is Pastor of Boone United Methodist Church in Boone, N.C., and was recently Director of the Faith and Leadership Center at Duke Divinity School where he remains a Fellow in Theology and Leadership.
The Rev. Kerry L. Bender writes, “Your unique style, voice and personality can be used by God to communicate His truth if it is made subservient to the Word of God. Of course this is key: we must keep our personalities subservient to the Word of God. There is always the danger of allowing the power of a dynamic personality to overtake the power of the gospel. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to make sure that the preacher spend more time preparing himself as a follower of Christ than as a preacher of Christ.”
The Rev. Joshua Genig, Pastor at The Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Atlanta, Georgia, explores the Annunciation as a model for preaching: “Preaching…cannot be relegated to a word that pushes one toward the Mass or a word that delivers an intangible Christ. Instead, preaching today needs to be conceived of in a manner analogous to the Annunciation to Mary.”