How should we understand the often painful dissonance between our convictions as Christians and the wild range of values we see in our culture in America today? That question was probed by 35 church leaders from a wide variety of Christian traditions in a Conference on the Common Good on February 21. The initial approach was historical as we heard a presentation by Dr. Robert Osborn, Duke University Dept. of Religion (retired) on the Barmen Declaration. Considered a classical text by many communions, the Barmen Declaration was written by Karl Barth and other church leaders in Germany in 1933 in objection to the ways in which German Christians were accepting the ideology of National Socialism and thereby compromising fundamental articles of the Christian Confessions.
The Conference, titled “Christian Conviction and Cultural Accommodation,” provided insightful moments of devotion, stimulating discussion by Christians with very different perspectives, a lively discussion of the presentation by Dr. Osborn, small group exchanges on the cultural situation of our witness today, and heartfelt prayers for the faithfulness of the Church. Participants were so enthusiastic about the event that they asked that Dr. Osborn’s address, Rev. Belton Joyner’s devotional reflections and Rev. Jean Rodenbough’s closing prayers be made available to all. They also asked that additional such conferences be offered in the future by the Christian Unity Committee.
Rollin Russell, Chair
Christian Unity Committee