Stories I’ve Found, 8/16/2013

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

Last week, I asked you to put the American Legislative Exchange Council on your moral radar. This page provides a lot of data about ALEC’s agenda and which movements are organizing against it.

Here’s a topic I was surprised to read about: the proposal that newborns that could have been aborted can be euthanized after birth, called “After Birth Abortions”.   This issue has been raised in the journal Medical Ethics, and although I’m not completely in tune with the response of the author of this article, I agree the precedent is dangerous and dehumanizing. It can be rationalized that anyone whose existence is inconvenient should have been aborted and justify murder almost any time later in life. We do need to be very careful about Ivory Tower thinking, especially when it disconnects with reality and the dignity of human life. All human life is precious to God every moment of existence.

The third installment of Cardinal Braz de Aviz’s interview with the Italian press, where he explores the issue of gender inequality in the Church.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be misunderstood and attacked by both sides. Pope Francis has taken heat from the Catholic Right about the liturgy; the Catholic Left is after him about his stance toward women. Neither seem to say much about the poor and the nature of God’s Mercy.

Pope Francis laid out some challenges for the Latin American Church in his address of July 28. Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. gives us an excellent analysis of Francis’ thoughts and its implications for the entire Church in two parts. Both the first and the second installments are deep, thought provoking, and incredibly accurate.

What’s Uncool About Cool Churches?  The answer might surprise you. Jonathan Merritt explores the trend of “Spiritual But Not Religious” with Rev. Lillian Daniel, and opens up some great material.  I particularly love Lillian’s statement that what she strives is a religious life that’s reasonable, rigorous and real.

The Egoism of God is a post by Marc Barnes on the mystery of Creation and re-introduces the concept of God as the Supreme Artist rather than the Venture Capitalist. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think he’s on the right track.

Everyday racism isn’t confined to America, it exists in other countries, such as Israel, as well.

Bill Tammeus talks about simplistic Faith, and his point is excellent: our Faith is essentially simple, however it is complex and making it simplistic can sidetrack its focus.

Archbishop Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has some unusually direct comments about persecution of Christianity in the West.  This is an amazingly clear sighted view of what’s going on in our culture.

Peter Chattaway remembers two very controversial films on significant anniversaries of their premiere: Jesus Christ Superstar and the Last Temptation of Christ.  It is amazing how these films look at 40 and 25 years after their release and how society has changed, however their approach and their view of humanity is still have the same flaw as when they were first released: Jesus was not really a passive victim of events that got away from him.

Fred Bahnson’s book Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith seems like an excellent read for those who want to connect Theology with the Earth as a peacemaking ministry.  Sounds like what my friends at Jerusalem Farm are doing on a smaller scale.

A Muslim blogger and intellectual responds to Lady Gaga’s new song, “Burqa”. He’s not calling for a public outcry against it: actually, he finds it rather boring.

Marriage Secrets of Highly Successful Couples is the kind of headline I usually look at skeptically (since I echo Bill Tammeus’ sentiments above about over-simplification), however Victor Parachin has uncovered some real practical wisdom here. I think the 60/40 rule makes a lot of sense if both parties are willing to do it.

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