Remembering Burton Nelson

Burton Nelson died yesterday, and he really was a remarkable man. A world renowned Bonheoffer scholar and respected professor at North Park Theological Seminary he was known for praying, as Karl Barth suggested, with a Bible in one hand and the newpaper in the other.

He was the kind of professor who would have wanted his students--pastors in training--to see the Urban League story about the continuing gaps between blacks and whites in the US, and taught them that their faith meant they should do something about it.

Peace to his memory.


A Small Kindness

There's a rumor making its way on the Net that President Bush paid for the funeral of a Samuel Kettler, a first grader who died near the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Some parts of the story are true. A 911 call reached a local sheriff who was at the president's ranch, and he and a number of secret service agents responded, but were was too late to save Samuel.

It turns out that there was no need for the president to pay for the funeral. The local funeral home would not accept payment.

Here's a statement from them:

As with every family that we serve, all financial arrangements and conditions are held in strict confidence. However, with the overwhelming amount of conversation and questions in regard to this tragedy, the privacy of the Kettler family has been violated. I spoke with Shawn this morning and he asked me to try and put a stop to these rumors.

Since the day Gatesville Funeral Home opened and a family has experienced the death of a child, we have not burdened the family with any charges from the funeral home.

If there's some good that comes out of this, it's that a small kindness, which would have otherwise been hidden, has been revealed. And a little boy's life and death has been remembered.


Show Me The Money

"What happened to all those angry Catholics who vowed to stop giving money to the church because of the way the hierarchy had handled the priest sex-abuse scandal"

That what the good people at US Catholic magazine wanted to know.

This cover story in this month's issue reports that giving was actually up 4.9 percent in 2002--indicating those those angry Catholics still gave to their parishes

The only thing that went down were Bishop's special appeals, which were down 2.3 percent.

The giving research was done by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University and showed that Catholics gave "an estimated $58 billion in Sunday collection baskets in 2002."

So while the Archdiocese of Boston is broke, the rest of the US Catholic Church is apparently not.


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