Stories I’ve Found, 11/30/2012

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

I thought the crass commercialization of Christmas was a travesty, but these events in Mecca sound infinitely worse. How is it that Paris Hilton can have a store in Mecca if she can’t travel there? Here’s hoping they don’t bulldoze the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to put up a Dunkin Donuts (nothing against DD).

Why do we choose narcissistic leaders?  Jeffrey Pfeffer offers some interesting thoughts on the subject in the Harvard Business Journal.

A Proposal for a Longer Christmas Season. . .In the OTHER Direction. Elaine Painter Dollar proves I’m not alone in my attitudes about what we’re doing with the holiday season.

In After the Chaos Ends, Amy Erickson does some interesting analysis of the passage for the First Reading for the First Sunday of Advent.

Pope Pius XII is a controversial figure in light of his perceived actions and omissions concerning the Holocaust during and after World War II, and several books have been written on this subject. This article summarizes a public debate on the issue of whether Pius XII was Hitler’s Pope held in London recently, and unearths some things I haven’t seen before.  If you want to talk about this with me, you have to buy me a drink or two.

Will the South rise again? G. Jeffrey MacDonald offers a theological assessment of secession.  Most of my ancestors were in favor of this; I would like to secede from this planet.

This story about evangelical Christians converting to Judaism in Colombia is interesting.  There is a factual error in the story: Jews didn’t leave Spain to flee from the Inquisition. They were forced out of Castile and Aragon or forced to convert by the Alhambra Decree of 1492.  Some of the Jews who remained converted to Catholicism and attempted to practice Judaism secretly; they caught the attention of the Inquisition at times (who sought out heretical Christians), and were persecuted as having relapsed from Christianity. Many of the Marranos went to the new world where the Inquisition’s reach wasn’t as long. Jews who didn’t convert to Christianity were never subject to the Inquisition, and after 1492, they weren’t in Spain. Freedom of Religion didn’t exist legally as a basic human right in any country before 1789 in the U.S. Constitution.

An interesting legacy in families of Holocaust survivors: getting tattoos of their grandparents’ Concentration Camp numbers.  A very concrete way of making sure we never forget the depths human Evil can sink to.

On the lighter side, a history of smoking in the Catholic Church, at times quite literally.

For you music theory fans out there, here’s an analytical version of a famous tune.

Be careful if you’re traveling to Serbia.  There’s a vampire on the loose.

Did I make a mistake? Deacon Greg Kandra shares 10 Reasons Men Shouldn’t Be Ordained.

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