In honor of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous nailing of his theses to the door of the church and the start of the Reformation, the Washington Post has published an interesting article. They interviewed both faith leaders and readers of the Post to find out what they thought needed reform today. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is quoted as saying, “We have access to information, news and other people from all over the world, often in real time. The reality of globalization and the cyber revolution is likely occasioning another reformation of Christianity… in this age, where we all now live with great ethnic diversity and religious plurality, I wonder if the way of love that Jesus of Nazareth taught may rise as a key for faithful living. The Internet revolution and the globalization of our lives in virtually every respect now demand that we must find the way to human community and community with the creation itself.” Others quoted include a Buddhist meditation teacher, a rabbi, Pastor Paula White, an adviser to President Trump, chair of his Evangelical Advisory Board, an imam, and more.
Pastor White said, “A world in conflict needs a church united, and a world in confusion requires a church without division. Times of uncertainty require a church of hope and unity. This is not the job of politicians or the responsibility of government. It is the call of the church, and when the church is purified and unified then the kingdom of man succumbs to the kingdom of God.” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called for the use of technology, including YouTube and Facebook, to “spread the love of liberty and the nonnegotiable dignity of the individual, created in God’s image.” Mary Ingalls Woodell from North Carolina emphasized the importance of religion not being forced on others, that it should remain between an individual and their God. The Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, looked back at Vatican II and compared it to the new changes in the Catholic Church: “Now Pope Francis is inviting us to open doors and go out to serve a world in need. “Ecclesia semper reformanda est.” The church must always be reformed.” Imam Omar Suleiman denounced the so-called reform of Islam by groups like ISIS, and said, “In Islam, the reform we want is more of a revival of our faith’s traditional fundamental principles — equity, harmony, compassion — in the face of a modern aberration. Then the Muslim community can serve humanity according to the Prophetic example.” A man from “Reddist Redneckistan” (in his own words) decried the tribalism of modern Christianity, based in White identity politics.
The theme that recurs throughout the article is a call for greater love for one’s neighbor, for less division, and a return to the fundamentals of one’s religion. This is not unlike Luther’s charge to the church, as he denounced its straying from the Word of God and the corruption that had proliferated through the Church. The full article can be found here.