Friday, September 26, 2008

Six Saints

Please note that the language used in the linked article is for a mature audience. It is interesting what younger folks, those for whom computer use is a common and casual fact of daily life [unlike elderly folks like me who still feel from time to time that to have a computer in the home is like living in a Buck Rogers serial; just wish we had the flying cars], make of some of the traditions of our religion.

For example,

Unlike your grandfather's Vikings, Olaf was a Christian, which didn't necessarily mean he gave alms to the poor and hugged lepers, but it did mean that if you followed any kind of old faith, he would burn your temple to the ground and build a Christian church in its place, which is what "love thy neighbor" meant back in 1015.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Wonder If You Can Get Classroom Credit for Campaigning for Jesus?

UMass chaplain fails in effort to boost Barack Obama’s chances

Knowing this campus like I do, the answer would be a resounding "no" accompanied by a pitying, and somewhat hostile, stinkface.

This is what "campus ministry" is all about these days. When Prots no longer believe in Jesus as anything other than an intellectual concept, they have to get fired up about things in the secular realm. I guess the notion of public education's church/state separation doesn't always apply.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This Is Why I Didn't Go To YDS

When I was searching for a seminary/divinity school many years ago, I had a simple test to see if the institution was one of true Christian scholarship or just another barn that taught smugness and condescension as the keys of the kingdom. In conversation with those who were "interviewing" me [really just testing to see if I would fit in with their world view] I would listen for the clue. See, mainline Protestants believe that God agrees with them about everything. Ergo, vox [certain] populi, vox deo. Somewhere along the line, the interviewer would speak on the intimate behalf of God, usually to criticize either Christian evangelicals or the Reagan administration.

Yale Divinity School tended towards the latter type of institution. No surprise, really. However, I was delighted to see that the ignoble practice of speaking for God [or letting God speaking for the Prot] continues, now extended even to the post-chapel donut break.

[With thanks to]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quelle Surprise!

Biden gave average of $369 to charity a year

James Lileks Makes My Day.

First you must read this, from which this quotation comes:

I had to leave church Sunday morning when it turned out that the sermon was not about bearing up under desperate circumstances, when you feel like you're going crazy because something is being perpetrated upon you and your country that is so obscene that it simply cannot be happening.

What a fine, faithful Christian witness this is. "Unless the sermon is about my concerns and mine only, I'm leaving." Actually, I've known people like this and while I don't encourage them to keep walking, I usually don't knock myself out to see they come back. Anyone who comes to church and can see only their concerns is not invested in the teaching of Jesus or the redemption offered through the cross. Folks who take their place in the community of faith in order to have the community address their specific needs, and their needs only, generally don't involve themselves in any aspect of parish life other than pew warming. They also tend to complain, often, about everything from a color scheme in the stained glass to the font style used in the Sunday orders of service. I really don't know how, given the litany of things that bother them, they have the concentration to meditate on the eternal.

They also harsh the mellow of the people who come to worship as a community and participate with their fellow congregants in corporate worship. The latter group tends to look to the sermon for something uplifting and meaningful for the parish and greater church as well as for them. If it is not specific to their immediate concerns, that doesn't mean that it's time for them to leave and eat ice cream.

It really doesn't mean that they have to create an artificial "Jesuit" to ratify statements such as this:

Now, I am a reform Christian, so it is permissible for me to secretly believe that God hates this woman, too.

Right, because "secret beliefs" have always been cherished in Christianity. Just ask the Gnostics.

Okay, I'm sounding like a seminary professor or scolding pastor again. Lileks' response is much better:

I understand; I had to leave church once because the sermon was not about the death of Gwen Stacy at the hands of the Green Goblin, which bothered me a lot and took up a great deal of my imagination. Of course, I was ten, but it was an emotional reaction and hence unassailable.

[If you don't get the reference, you need to familiarize yourself with Marvel Comics' Spiderman oeuvre.]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Johnny Appleseed (Album Version) - Joe Strummer;The Mescaleros

Why Does Feminism Have To Be Inert?

"Doesn't this suggest that feminism is not in behalf of the women's movement--but rather to promote radical adventures above and beyond its concern for women."

Worth reading, as it captures not just secular feminism but what has become of feminist theology as commonly practiced in American Protestantism. I have discovered, through the pretzel logic of some of my more excitable women colleagues, that Palin is this month's Satan. This is mainly because she is of the wrong party and political philosophy. Since our common theology is now merely a shadow of secular politics, this apparently means that she must be our theological antithesis, too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome... the new Coracle.

I decided that the nature of the former weblog was less of a service to one parish than it was to a greater community of readers, especially since over half of those who access the site are not members of my parish and are not at all interested in pancake dinners, Sunday School curricula, or reminders for the last person leaving the parish hall to turn out the lights.

Also, I feel constrained by writing something that is tied to a parish that may or may not always feel the way I do about the role of the Church, the definition of the Christ, and what music is appropriate to a religious weblog.