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Tom, I refer you to

Our Monday night study group at the Church I attend used her book

    Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief.

chapter by chapter. I was horrified personally by the things in that book, arguing that she still believed in prayer, but because there is no God to answer that prayer it is for our own feeling of well-being to pray.

My own understanding of God is that a)there is a Creator b) while He may not be interventionist, He acts with our interest (the world) and c) He has his own timing and we are not to know what that timing is. That may not coincide with yours or other’s beliefs.

While I agree with you about it being up to the group employing her, the United Church is an unusual cross between a hierarchial structure versus a local congregation. As Treasurer of our local church, I submit pay sheets every other week to the United Church of Canada and the ministers and staff get paid by the central church (which then comes out of our bank account). Right now our two ministers are retiring after a combined 70 years of ministry. The central church has one member on our search committee and has to approve the decision of the local church and the central church has to approve a vacancy in our pulpit. It is not a Bishp that appoints as in a true hierarchial church but rather the central church controls the application process and approves any hiring firing.

The central church also controls who gets licenses to marry (conduct the services) and when a minister is not connected to a local congregation lifts that approval as one of my friends who is retired found out. He can apply to Presbytery and remain engaged with the organization and then aply for such a license back.

One of my sons who himself was baptized in the United Church is finding further evidence that the United Church is not based on a Christian base by citing the fact a Gretta Vosper is permitted to remain a United Church minister. I know others who look down on me for having gone back to the United Church after being almost 40 years in Missionary, Baptist, Pentecostal and MCC churches.