Stories I’ve Found, 11/1/2013

Interesting stories I’ve found:

As Pope Francis’ papacy progresses, an American Cardinal Bishop’s memory comes alive again: Cardinal Joseph Bernadin of Chicago. I remember his funeral broadcast live on almost all the Chicago stations, and the great outpouring that accompanied his passing. He was a visionary who is missed. One of my old teachers, Fr. Thomas Nairn OFM, is called on for an expert opinion at the end of this piece.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy offers A Church for the Poor,  which helps contextualize Pope Francis’ preaching on poverty.

A remarkable Reformation Day homily by Stanley Hauerwas: a good read for all of us. Reformation Day is not something I could celebrate, and I think that no Christian Church, mine included, is the evolutionary culmination of our religion.

After 180 days, the Syrian Metropolitan bishops are still missing, whereabouts unknown. This article brings some new information.

Playin’ Church With Francis: John Allen illustrates the dangers of sidetracking Pope Francis and his message.

Are we more ethical people before lunch? This is an interesting story, indicating this may be true. Should ponder this some time this evening.

Fred Phelps’ granddaughter talks about her journey beyond Westboro Baptist Church.  She admits that she hurt a lot of people, and is searching for a new way.

Study Theology Even If You Don’t Believe in God is a great post from an Oxford doctoral candidate which makes the case against Richard Dawkins that the academic study of Theology has value for everyone.

An intelligent guide for how to talk about the beliefs of others, based on two public miscues by famous people on television recently.

The role of gratitude in helping others grow beyond their origins: the story of Johnny Gomes, Boston Red Sox player who came from a difficult childhood.

Another insight into English royal baptisms: this article by Terry Mattingly at GetReligion uncovers the specifics of the “private” service for Prince George.

A review of the life and work of the ‘most dejected and reluctant convert in all England,” C. S. Lewis.

David Gibson unpacks 3 Ways the Vatican Could Allow Divorced Catholics Back to Communion.  This issue is extremely important, and a course correction is long overdue.

The beginning of Martin Luther’s preaching career is retold here.  I was amazed that he didn’t want to preach in public at first.

BBC Magazine gives us this account of the state of Talmudic study.  The rabbi’s parable of the two men in the chimney in the middle is especially good and helpful.

James Ford, a Buddhist blogger on Patheos, shares several stories from the Christian Desert Fathers collected by Thomas Merton.

Religion News Service unpacks the growing Libertarian movement, including religious preference.  It also compares them to the Tea Party profile, with some interesting similarities and differences. Michael Silk Winters explores the results in a different way.

A heartwarming photo series about a little boy’s encounter with Pope Francis at the World Family Day celebration in Rome.

Baseball teaches us about Church, especially how Church law gets applied, in this CNN Belief Blog. I think the umpires blew the call in Game 3 as well, and MLB is going to have to look at application of the rule.

A good summary of the major Christian denominations’ teaching about mental health issues.  There is a point well made: most contention between Church and therapists comes from one side (with one big exception).

Aaqil Ahmed tells the BBC that if Monty Python’s Life of Brian was released today it would be a flop, because the vast majority of the British public don’t know enough about religion to get the jokes.  Another reason for general pubic education about religion, although the other basic things education isn’t teaching well these days are cause for alarm as well.

Of course, in this country there would be enough offended people making noise that it would prosper out of curiosity.

If you’re a fan of great invective, this site of insults from Martin Luther is for you.  I’ve enjoyed them so far.

“I’m not an idiot, but I’m going to say something incredibly stupid.” Kelly Luck calls out an appearance by a lawyer commenting on the Maryville rape case for his use of language. The formula “I’m not, but. . .” is a set up for a contradiction, and I learned in CPE that “but” always negates whatever precedes it.

Another “Why is this happening?” item: there was going to be a raffle in Florida connected with a forum with George Zimmerman’s lawyer, and the gun is going to be the same model Zimmerman shot Treyvon Martin with.  The organizers decided on reflection this was a bad idea to connect the two. I’ve been around gun raffles, but I don’t understand:

1.) why they’re raffling a gun that isn’t for hunting or sport shooting,

2.) why they connected it with a Bible,

3.) why anyone would raffle off a Bible, period.

Making a Bible a prize in a raffle would seem to be in the same category as selling Indulgences.

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