Stories I’ve Found, 2/15/2013

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

The betting line is already out for the next Pope.   Let the office pools commence.

Two blogs to bookmark during this transition in the Church: Whispers in the Loggia by Rocco Palma and All Things Catholic  by John Allen, Jr.  Between these two most knowledgeable sources, you’ll get the full picture on everything Catholic from almost every direction.

Joe Nassal asked me on Monday if I was going to comment on Pope Benedict’s resignation on the blog right away, and I told him that’s not what this blog is about.  There’s tons of articles about it in the news and on various religion sites, and I’ve visited a lot of them.  I think the Pope has shown admirable courage and humility, and I think one of the most important things to remember in ministry is that personally, we are dispensable.  It’s the message that matters, we exist for the sake of the message, and if we become more important than the message, it’s time to step aside.

At last, a responsible story about the lack of conflict between religion and science.  Max Tegmark breaks down the denominations and religions attitude toward the Big Bang and evolution in Celebrating Darwin: Religion and Science Are Closer Than You Think.   The author is a physicist at MIT.  For the record, Father Georges Lemaître first proposed the Big Bang Theory, and he remained in good standing with the Catholic Church his entire life.

Rabbia Joshua Ratner unpacks Exodus 25:1-27:19 as he considers the question: Where Can We Find God.   What’s valuable is how he discusses the need to construct the Tabernacle in the first place, and how that affects the space we create for God in our lives.

The President of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran church walks back his public criticism of a pastor who took part in an ecumenical prayer service at Newtown, CT.  I know lots of wonderful people in the LCMS, and some good pastors, and I’m always loath to second guess what another denomination ought to do since I believe only those who’re invested should have a public voice in how they operate.  I undestand why LCMS ministers don’t take part in ecumenical services and that’s their business.  In this case, this President should have kept his mouth shut and let things slide, at least publicly: this is comparable to the bad PR the Catholic Church gets at times.

An anti-romantic theme: several years ago I read an article by Kenny More, a former monk and current corporate denizen entitled Celibacy in Corporate America.    I think his observations are interesting and indicative of many employers today, with the expectation that first loyalty will be to the company, and a personal life is expendable.  I was reminded of the subject by a book I’m reading about the Reformation, where the author suggested the monastic industry was translated to Calvinst merchants in the 16th on.  This kind of standard, living a life of sacrifice to the need of the company is one thing coming from a coporation, and quite another from something like a local fast food franchise or big box store.

A little background on St. Valentine.  As usual, there’s a lot of legends and very few facts.  St. Valentine got taken off the liturgical calendar in 1969 because there wasn’t enough proof he existed.

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