In August of 1866 the Civil War had just ended and America was slowly becoming a United States again as confederate states began rejoining the union. Perhaps more astonishingly, in that same year President Andrew Johnson vetoed the bill that eventually become the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing citizenship and equal protection under the law for black Americans. He did so in spite of such broad congressional support that his veto was overcome by a 2/3 super-majority. In the highest leadership position in the country, prejudice was preventing even basic rights for black Americans. Nine years later the Supreme Court would rule against women’s right to vote. Progress was coming on several fronts, but this was still an age of considerable challenges to equality. [Read more…]
The Lantz Center for Christian Vocation and Formation is one of the programs of great depth in the Christian faith at the University of Indianapolis. UIndy, as we refer to the university, is not a “Christian university” in the way that many persons think of them. We don’t require chapel or a commitment to Christianity to attend. But we have always been affiliated with the United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations and we take seriously our opportunity and responsibility to prepare our students (United Methodist and otherwise) for religious leadership. In the Lantz Center we do that by way of a two year program in ecumenical spiritual formation, where we teach prayer practices, study a theology of vocation and the place of God’s call in the students’ lives, and we form a small covenanted community of followers of the Way. The students that go through the program are of the minority of students that grow deeply in the Christian faith while in college, even while so many are walking away from their religious commitments.
When I was a 23 year old theology student, I nominated the first woman to be elder in the life of our conservative church. The response: “We don’t feel called to challenge the church constitution at this time.”