On Polyamory, Sex, and Intimacy

Friend of the blog Liz Bruenig directed my attention to this article by Geoffrey Miller, discussing polyamory.  I've been thinking about this topic for a while, and this was the spur to put thoughts to electronic paper.  One thing about the article is, I think, inarguable--this topic is going to be with us for a long time to come, and is going to be more and more prominent in time.  Dr. Miller's article is a serious and thoughtful piece, and it deserves to be taking seriously and thoughtfully, which I hope to do here.

Before getting into my views--and I know this is obnoxious, but please bear with me--I want to lay down a few markers.  First, my position is that marriage is fundamentally a human institution.  I recognize that this is a controversial position, especially among Christians of a moderate to conservative orientation (of which I consider myself, whether or not others would consider me so).  But I think that if you look at the concrete "facts on the ground"…

Blood for the Blood God

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5). 1.
For those of you who are not nerds, or at least a certain sort of nerd, allow me to give you a brief primer on Warhammer.

Warhammer first came into existence as Warhammer Fantasy Battle, which is a tactical war game set in a medieval fantasy world using painted miniatures published by Games Workshop, a British game company.  The original miniatures game expanded into tabletop RPGs, video games, and other media, as well as the derivative Warhammer 40k, which is basically Warhammer in space (and, if anything, is even more popular and well known than the original fantasy version).

But Warhammer is best known for being the origin point for the term "grimdark," which was derived from the original tag-line for Warhammer 40k--"In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war."  "Grimdark" refers to media o…

A Thread on Church Decline (Sort Of)

I'm a little late to the party, but in the last week, there has been a robust discussion of the numbers published by the Episcopal Church regarding membership, church attendance, etc.  Like many valuable conversations, it was kicked off by Ben Crosby, who pointed out that these numbers are, um, not good.  This lead to many conversations regarding the causes of, and solutions to, the reality of numeric decline.

I cannot begin to summarize all of these conversations, and there is no single answer or solution.  Instead, I'd like to take a small thread of the bigger tapestry and hopefully provide a contribution.  And I would like to start here:

If we don’t act like the theological, ethical, and contemplative claims of Christianity are of *utmost* importance and ought to shape every part of people’s lives, we won’t retain kids and we won’t inspire their families. How much do we do or not do out of fear of being Baptists? — K.D. Joyce (@MtrKDJoyce) September 2, 2019 I agree with thi…

Anatomy of a Twitter Beef

1.  The Spark:  On Saturday afternoon, I got home to find this on my Twitter feed.

I suppose that’s why religion in the US is such a mess right now... — Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) August 10, 2019 Prior to seeing this tweet, I had no idea who Carol Howard Merritt was.  As it turns out, she is a Presbyterian minister and author, but I didn't know that until later.  All I knew from reading this is, according to her (1) everyone who believes that one must affirm the (her terminology) "literal bodily resurrection" are fundamentalists; and (2) those same folks are responsible for what is wrong in American religion.

In context, it should also be said that Rev. Howard Merritt certainly seemed to be subtweeting Ben Crosby, an Episcopalian divinity student who has taken the position online that if one doesn't or can't affirm the Nicene Creed, then one should not be ordained, or allowed to be ordained.  Crosby, and others, pushed back.

In the interests of full disc…

A Return to Another Theology of the Body, Part 6--More on Purity Culture

The former is a recent, largely white, evangelical, American phenomenon with a dose of fundamentalism & a lot of weird cultural stuff & marketing thrown in. — Tish Harrison Warren (@Tish_H_Warren) July 22, 2019
Of course, you can hate and reject both. That's cool. Just don't conflate them or write about them as the same thing. Or think they are theologically the same phenomena. — Tish Harrison Warren (@Tish_H_Warren) July 22, 2019
I have seen a couple of people make a variation of Rev. Harrison Warren's argument on the Interwebs in the last couple of days.  It is prompted, in large measure, by the announcement that Joshua Harris, author of the evangelical purity culture ur-text I Kissed Dating Goodbye, is getting a divorce from his wife.  This is seen, not unreasonably, as symbolic of the moral and conceptual failure of the purity culture project, at least in its late 90s/early 00s presentation--the whole point of going through all of this purity culture stuff was…

Nazareth, Kentucky

Last week, I went on a retreat with the CMMR.  We drove to Nazareth, Kentucky, to the mother-house of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  Nazareth, and that part of Kentucky generally, is a really interesting, and kinda strange, place.  The area was settled soon after the Revolutionary War by English Catholics from Maryland and some French Catholics fleeing Napoleon.  As a result, this area of north-central Kentucky (including the bigger towns of Bardstown and Elizabethtown) has this unusual Catholic through-line permeating what is otherwise the normal, rural American South.

Likewise, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth themselves were formed in the U.S. in 1812 to minister to this population, and other similar pockets of Catholics in the South and Midwest.  Thus, they are a uniquely and exclusively American expression of Catholicism.  Sure, they looked to European models for guidance (their rule is that of Vincent de Paul), but they are products of this soil from the jump.

On sig…