Kenneth L. Woodward

Christ And Comets

I give you my solemn word, in the new age when the Son of Man takes his seat upon a throne befitting his glory, you who have followed me shall likewise take your places. . . .Everyone who has given up home, brothers or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake will. . .inherit life everlasting.

Is God Listening?

Mimi rumpp stopped praying for a winning lottery ticket years ago. With a husband, two kids and a full-time job, she didn't have time for trivial pursuits.

Today The Sheep...

TWENTY YEARS AGO, WHEN only the lowly tadpole had been cloned, bioethicists raised the possibility that scientists might someday advance the technology to include human beings as well.

From The Glass House To The White House

THEY BOTH ROSE FROM HUMBLE, small-town boyhoods to achieve extraordinary success. Both are tall and telegenic, quick to smile, quicker yet to tear. Both command influential pulpits--one in the White House, the other in a shimmering, $20 million cathedral made of unstained glass.

A Grandparent's Role

AT BIRTH, A CHILD ENTERS THE mysterious world of its parents. At the same time, the child also enters the wider, even more mysterious world of its grandparents.

More Chicken Soup For Barnes &Amp; Noble

DYING TO WRITE A BEST seller? Just put "soul" somewhere in the title. Since 1994, when Thomas Moore's "Care of the Soul" began its 150-week run on The New York Times best-seller list, there have been nearly 800 books published on the soul of this and the soul of that.

Christmas Wasn't Born Here, Just Invented

SOCIOLOGICALLY, T. S. ELIOT GOT IT wrong. For many Americans December is the cruelest month, Christmas the season that mixes "memory and desire." A holy day for some, a holiday for all, Christmas is above all an anxiety-producing amalgam of family intimacy and rank consumerism that too often fails to wholly satisfy the spirit or the senses.

The Art Of Dying Well

IT WAS A HUMID NIGHT IN AUGUST, AND 200 members of Congregation B'Nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim were gathered in the leafy Chicago suburb of Glenview for Friday services.

In The Beginning

RAPE, INCEST, MURDER, ADULTERY, JEALOUSY, GREED, betrayal--this is the stuff of tabloid journalism. It is also the stuff of Genesis, the first and best-known book of the Bible.

An Unholy Alliance

HE IS THE FIRST POPE TO SEE HIS OWN life story. turned into a movie, the first to publish an international best seller, the first to answer questions from working journalists.

Catechism Lessons

WHEN NEW YORK CITY'S TROUBLED public schools reopened this month, thousands of students arrived to find they had no seats. There were stories of classes meeting in locker rooms and counselors working out of closets.

In Praise Of Footnotes

MOST PEOPLE REMEMBER THEIR first kiss, their wedding night, the birth of a child. I -- like most writers -- also remember the day I first became a footnote.

The Low To The Mighty

HOW DID CHRISTIANITY, A TINY AND obscure messianic movement from the fringe of the Roman Empire, dislodge paganism and become the dominant religion of Western civilization?

Come In, Mars

SINCE HUMAN BEINGS FIRST LOOKED into the face of the universe and saw only infinite night, we have wondered who was out there. Not what -- that was clear enough.

Soul Searching

JEAN HOUSTON -- philosopher, self-described ""sacred psychologist'' and, of late, private tutor to Hillary Rodham Clinton -- was pacing around her darkened house in suburban New York, surrounded by statues of Greek and Egyptian mythological figures.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

THESE ARE TOUGH TIMES TO BE A FAther. The media are full of stories about abusive fathers, fatherless children and deadbeat dads -- and about New Fathers who are trying to do better.

Soul Voyeurs Invade The House Of God

EVERY SUNDAY AT HARlem's Mount Moriah Baptist Church, the huge old sanctuary is Jammed to the doors. But 80 percent of the folks inside aren't there to pray.

Rethinking The Resurrection

IF CHRIST IS NOT RAISED, SAINT Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, "then our preaching is in vain and so is your faith." This is the week Christians round the world gather to remember the passion and death of Jesus on a criminal's cross.

The Spiritual Surfer

Bill Moyers is television's most accomplished practitioner of acolyte journalism. The technique is simple. Find an intellectual guru, sit at his feet and never interrupt wit a challenging question.

Heard Any Good Sermons Lately?

FROM THE JEREMIADS OF THE Puritan divines to the mountain-striding rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr., Americans have been a people awash in a sea of sermons.

Hymns, Hers And Theirs

For many american protestants, the best-loved church book is not the Bible but their hymnal. A sermon may instruct, but a hymn from an inspired writer speaks directly to the soul.

After 29 Years, Donahue Pulls The Plug

PHIL DONAHUE, THE first talk-show host to invite the audience into the act, is calling it quits. It's hard to remember now amid all the cacophony, but Donahue was a pioneer.

In The Beginning. . .

IT WASN'T YOUR TYPICAL SUNDAY-school class. When New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine announced a public Bible reading last month, 2,500 showed up to hear celebrities like Norman Mailer, Jesse Jackson, James Earl Jones, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson read the familiar stories of Noah and the Deluge, Yaakov's Ladder, the baby Moshe floating down the Nile in his ark, and YHWH issuing his Ten Words on Mount Sinai.

Apocalypse Later

The third millennium is just four years away, and you'd think that Jehovah's Witnesses would be ecstatic. Ever since the movement's inception in the 1870s, the Witnesses have insisted that the world as we know it is about to end.

The Advent Of Kwanzaa

For African-Americans,- There's more to celebrate at the end of December that. Christmas and New Year's Eve. This year, an estimated 10 million black Americans will set the week aside for Kwanzaa, a festival of family, roots and community that is rapidly winning a place on the nation's holiday calendar alongside Chanukah and Christmas.

Do We Need Satan?

He is the evil one, the adversary, the prince of darkness, the Father of Lies. Among his many proper names are Satan, Lucifer and Mephistopheles. Skeptics dismiss him as "Old Scratch"; the Rolling Stones knew him as "a man of wealth and taste." But in every language he answers to his generic title: Diabolos, El Diablo, the Devil.

To Abuse Is Human, To Repent Is Rare

VICTOR SALVA IS THE DIRECTOR OF A new Disney film, "Powder," about a telekinetic teenager with skin like baking powder. Salva, 37, is also a convicted child-molester.

The Pope Comes Calling

Pope John Paul II is a man with an almost superstitious belief in historical coincidence. He is bedazzled by dates. This week, on his fourth-and quite likely last-visit to the United States, the pope will address the United Nations on its 50th anniversary.

Religion: God Gets The He-Ho

Readers who find the Bible sexist, racist, elitist and insensitive to the physically challenged, take heart. Oxford University Press's new "inclusive language version" of the New Testament and Psalms has cleaned up God's act.

Linking Siblings And Scholars

Margaret Callaghan Guest has enough younger brothers and sisters to field two baseball teams--and nearly enough of her own kids (seven) to field another. With so many relatives, Margaret and her mother put out a family newsletter to keep the Detroit-area clan informed.