Showing posts from December, 2016

Cutting Out the Poisonous Tree

It is something that I have thought for a long time, but it has become absolutely, unquestionably clear.  This insight is essential to understanding almost everything that is going on in modern Christianity, and I think it will be the defining issue for Christianity for the next generation, at least.  You cannot understand where we are or where we are going if you don't grasp this.  It is so important that it deserves to be written separately, and it should be written on the top of every paper and every essay discussing any of these topics:

The issue of homosexuality (or whatever terminology you want to use) in Christianity is not ultimately about homosexuality; it is about gender.

For the entirety of its history, with some limited exceptions, Christianity has been predicated on an, often unspoken but nevertheless pervasive, view that men and women are fundamentally different, and that this difference plays out invariably to the benefit of men at the expense of women.  In the last …

Advent Reflections--How and When God Saves

The big idea that my rector has been pushing this Advent season is the idea that Advent is about three different concepts at the same time--the waiting for Jesus in Bethlehem in the 1st Century, the waiting for Jesus to come to us now, in our own individual lives and circumstances, and the waiting for Jesus to come at the end of time.  We tend to focus entirely on the first part, and neglect the second and third.  The problem with focusing on the first part is that it makes Advent, and by extension Christmas, something that exists only in the past--an event that happened and did whatever it will do, now is over, leaving us only to remember it.

But Advent doesn't just speak to the past, but also the present and the future.  When we look back to see the children of Israel at the eve of the coming of Jesus, we are also seeing ourselves in our situation reflected in their faces.  First century Jews cried out to God for salvation--salvation from their own individual and collective erro…

Good Christian Sex, Chapter 7--Memories Losing Their Meaning

I am not exactly breaking new ground here, but the Beatles have some pretty great songs.  I mean, Bob Dylan just won a Nobel Prize for Literature, and Dylan has some good songs, but (controversial opinion alert) Dylan can't hold Lennon and McCartney's bags as a songwriter.  As music critic Chuck Klosterman said "everyone thinks the Beatles are the greatest band of all time because they have all the best songs, and both of those things are true."

Anyway, consider this tune:

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know …

A Matter of Honesty, Part X--A Final, Personal Note

There are times when something happens to you that hits you like a ton of bricks, where you immediately know that something big and significant has occurred that changes the way that you look at things and changes where you stand.  And then there are things that happen that don't seem especially consequential at the time, but that stick with you.  They are like a splinter in your mind and in your soul--at first it doesn't seem like that big a deal, but it just sticks around and becomes more and more prominent by virtue of its presence in your body and your life.  Let me tell you a story of one of the later incidents in my life.

A year ago at this time, I spent a week in Philadelphia visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and the rest of my family.  In part, I was going to spend Thanksgiving with them, but in part it was for my nephew's baptism.  My sister and my brother-in-law are not practicing Catholics, but they had their son baptized at my brother-in-law's family'…

Good Christian Sex, Chapters 5 and 6--The Stakes of Loving and Being Loved

After a long break--partially because of work commitments, partially because of the world turning upside down a bit, we are back with Good Christian Sex.  If you want to see the previous posts in the series, here is my introduction to the seriesthe introductory chapterChapters 1 and 2, and Chapters 3 and 4 (as well as this somewhat on topic post).  I promise it won't be so long for the rest of the book.

Chapters 5 and 6--about nakedness and intimacy, respectively--are in many ways a continuation of what McCleneghan addresses in the the previous two chapters.  An overarching theme to the book thus far it is that all intimate relationships of whatever type are multi-faceted.  There are a number of things that go into a good, happy, fulfilling, just relationship, and none of them can be assumed or come as the result of signing a piece of paper or being a part of a church service.

A discussion of nakedness, as McCleneghan points out, is really a discussion of vulnerability.  When…