Showing posts from July, 2013

Things Are Happening, Maybe

I will disclose my biases up front--I am an unabashed fanboy of Pope Francis.  He has done and said everything I could have reasonably hoped for in the new pope, from his rejection of the over-the-top material trappings of the Papacy to his low-key demeanor to his efforts to reach out to other religions and disaffected groups.  I love all of it.


There are many reasons I decided to restart this blog--need for some kind of outlet to write, desire not to inflict on my friends my trademark email screeds, hope that by writing I would not go insane while studying for the Bar Exam again after five years as a lawyer, etc.  But the immediate reason I decided to dive in is that I was inspired by a blog run by Rachel Held Evans, which can be found here (and also in the blogroll on the side):

She writes thoughtfully and honestly about being a modern day Evangelical Christian, trying to reconcile her faith with her identity as a woman and as an intellectual.  My favorite post of hers is entitled "Holy Week for Doubters" which perfectly captures the idea that sometimes being in church is the loneliest and scariest place that you can possibly be when things are not going well.  I have absolutely been there.

She wrote a book entitled Evolving in Monkey Town about growing up in the same town as the fa…

"I Still Have Many Things to Tell You, But You Cannot Bear them Now"

The little girl in the video above is 11-year old Nada Al-Ahdal.  See lives in Yemen, and her parents attempted to place her in an arranged marriage.  She fled the marriage, and in the video above she passionately and articulately defends her decision.  I am awe-inspired by her bravery.
The cheap move here is to chalk this up as more evidence of the backwardness of the Muslim world.  And that's what it is--a cheap move.  It's not as if Islam is the only religion and culture that has supported child brides.  Warren Jeffs and his FLDS were doing it as late as a few years ago here in the USA.  Age of consent in colonial America under the common law was 12, and the famous English legal commentator Sir Edward Coke noted that marriages often occurred earlier than that.  Gratian, basically the father of Catholic canon law, said that a child could "meaningfully consent" to marriage at the age of 7.

Maybe somebody is trying to say something

Here are two surveys from the Pew Research Center that, taken together, raise some very interesting questions about what is going on in modern Catholicism.

The first survey involves the views of gays and lesbians toward various religious groups.  The specific question asked was "do you view a particular religious group as friendly or unfriendly toward LGBT people?"  Here are the results:

Religion                  % Unfriendly
Islam                                  84
Mormon (LDS)                   83
Catholicism                         79
Evangelical Protestant          73
Judaism                              47
Mainline Protestant              41

I was a little surprised to see that Catholicism was seen as less friendly than the Evangelical churches, and I would have thought that the unfriendly numbers for Judaism and the Mainline would be a bit lower. Nevertheless, the basic results square with straight-forward intuition.  If you define an "unfriendly" attitude as…

U mad, bro?

This is Pastor Jim Standridge of Immanuel Baptist Church in Shiatook, Oklahoma.  As you can see, he is not happy with the state of his congregation.

A couple of questions:

-  Good Lord, what did "Kelly"'s wife and sisters do?

- What exactly does it mean to "Build your kingdom in the video room"?

When the Rubber Meets the Road

I would suspect hat the most frequent criticism of Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, by those in the broader culture is that it is obsessed with sex--who is doing whom, when, and how.  Defenders will loudly protest that this is unfair--there is far more to Christianity than just rules about sex.  On its face, this 100% right; there is indeed far more to Christianity than sex.  But that defense is not really responsive to the challenge.  The question is not whether there are other elements in Christianity than sex.  The question is whether Christian leaders care about anything other than the sex part.

Back in April, the Catholic Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, issued a letter to the members of his diocese.  The topic?  Couples cohabitating before marriage.  It will come as little surprise that the Archbishop is not a fan, but the tone of the letter is especially strident.  In particular, the Archbishop states right from the beginning that people who are cohab…

Restarting the Blog

Hello, all.

I am going to be restarting the blog with a new title and new direction.  More will come soon.