Stories I’ve Found, 12/14/2012

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

James Pence asks the question Is Prosperity a Curse? The glib response would be “Boy, I’d like to be cursed that way,” however his point is well made. Success can make us lazy in many, many ways; as Christ pointed out in the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:12-21), it doesn’t pay to stockpile too much.

A bank scandal that didn’t hit my radar when it came out in July hit it hard today. What If HSBC Had Been Muslim? sheds light on the two level justice system we have.  Sometimes I despair when I see what the World’s true religion seems to be, which is the Golden Rule: “Those who have the gold, make the rules.”

Why Are We So Easily Offended?  Tim Suttle unpacks Richard Rohr’s wisdom on the difference between the Small Self (Ego) and True Self (our God given nature). In a culture that seems to run by Small Selves of all orientations, where taking offense seems to be mandated at times, we need to get to our True Selves desperately.  It’s the only way to live together in harmony.

Aidan Kelly takes this a bit farther in Spiritual Maturity For Pagans and Everyone Else. I’m not a huge fan of Stage Theory, but the comments here on the first three stages of spiritual maturity are very insightful and applicable for all of us.  Most of us don’t get out of Stage 1, and more don’t get out of Stage 2.

Rivers of Paradise: Water as a Sacred Symbol of Divine  is a reflection on the subject coming from the Muslim tradition. It’s always interesting to probe the sacred quality of the basic elements of human life, no matter which direction it comes from.

I have a vested interest in stories about clergy abuse, I’ll own that up front. The survey in Germany that stated most abuser priests were psychologically normal runs against what I’ve heard in the mandated child protection training I’ve done and my experience of priests, so I’m skeptical about the validity of this study in the first place. GetReligion shares this story of how that issue has been mishandled by the German press.  I’m fine with being part of a free discussion about celibacy, but this kind of stuff doesn’t help inform us at all.

The story of Savita Halappananvar from Ireland has been used as an example of either the Catholic Church’s unjust intolerance of abortion under any circumstances or the need to protect Life in every case, no matter how hopeless it seems. What may be more criminal is how the story has been handled, as GetReligion calls it.  The Irish pro-choice press were leaked the story 3 days before its release so they could organize a response when the story hit the wires. This column describes the medical situation objectively as far as the truth is known, which makes the uproar rather strange to my eyes.  There is medical doubt any treatment could have saved the poor woman, or that what happened wasn’t in the realm of standard procedure.  There’s a chance the original story was in error of the facts.

I’m all for legitimate debate on moral issues, but let’s base the debate on facts rather than propaganda or prejudices, and not use a case like this, where what really happened may never be fully known, as a litmus test. This kind of story helps neither side.

The Vatican has confirmed it: the World Is Not Ending December 21.  As far as we know; you all can laugh at me in Heaven (or from Heaven) a week from Saturday if I’m wrong. I’ll be happy to take bets for any other day on the calendar.

It’s nice to know Monsignor 007 is on the job at the Papal Apartments. The Vatican can learn.

Just to show that Christmas isn’t the only time people go overboard about a religious holiday, here are 25 Hilariously Wrong Menorahs.

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