Tag Archives: social commentary

A theological/sociological/anthropological Kim Kardashian interval

May 22, 2011

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This weekend was the weekend of the un-moment, the weekend of the non-event event, the weekend in which television hosts and writers frazzled themselves over a looming non-incident everyone knew would not occur – and, when it did not happen, bloggers blogged about how a predominantly silent clique should think twice before it fanned the flames of panic again. Never have so many talk-headed so much for so long about something they all knew was nothing.

I speak, of course, of Harold Camping’s prediction that the so-called “rapture” would sweep born-again Christians off the Earth and into the sky on May 21. I write this on May 22 – and I’m totally non-surprised to be here a day after my un-disappointment. What’s more, I preached at my church of mostly born-again Christians this morning. Almost all were there (a few had the sniffles; a couple temporary heathens played hooky; no one was in the clouds). We all knew Brother Camping was the equivalent of the bearded doom-and-gloom guy with the sandwich board in LA’s Griffith Park – or the poor soul who bundled up in winter clothing in August and marched the city streets where I once lived, screaming, “REEEEEPENT! THE LAWD IS COM-ING!” We’re aware of Acts 1:7: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority,” and, like many evangelical Christians, we doubt all this talk of the “pre-tribulation rapture.” We think Left Behind should be left behind.

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Saintly heights and wretched depths: Catholicism’s triumph and despair

May 20, 2011

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Don’t stop me. I’m doing it. I’m throwing every stitch of clothing into a pack, including those wool socks for polar weather and the straw hat to fend off Amazon bugs. I’m on a world-wide quest, an expedition, a voyage, a mission. I will find the great reset button in the sky and I will press it. Brace yourself for a sudden jolt and then bathe in Wonderland’s warmth: Closeted skeletons will vanish and doors will creak open and formerly crazy aunts will roam free. Best of all, cardinals and bishops won’t listen to attorneys any more. They’ll remember the Church is strongest when it embraces weakness and they’ll follow their Lord to the cross, not their lawyers to the negotiating table.

I must find the button because things are now askew. On the one hand, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops rang eloquent in a May 5th letter in which they called budget-debating senators to remember the poor; on the other, fallout in the wake of recent indictments involving the Philadelphia archdiocese suggest magisterium still doesn’t get it. They’ve stalled. They’ve withheld information from its own sexual-abuse review board. They’ve tarnished the church’s reputation while skating the legal ice, naïve of their own harm and supplying fodder for their many opponents. Just to confuse things even more, a

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I love your scratch & add Bible. It’s so “relevant.”

October 10, 2010

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Thanks a heap for bringing us into the 21st century by redefining the term, “Christian.” Fogies such as Augustine, Chrysostom, Francis, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon, J.I. Packer and Billy Graham described the faithful as “those who follow Jesus Christ,” quoting withered parchments like the Bible and the Apostles and Nicene Creeds: wonderful marketing ploys for their times, to be sure, but hardly au courant in our I-Phone era. Besides, they’re lousy screen savers.

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Grabbing Peacemaker Mojo

September 9, 2010

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It’s time for the peacemakers to get savvy in a lurid culture – even now, at this stage, when we’re clutching the polished vacuum cleaner after the salesman leaves with his I’ve-just-conned-another-sucker grin and our faces are tomato-red and the thoughts fly: I’ve been tricked, hoodwinked, duped … had! What happened? How’d we get here? Why?

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The price of convenient falsehood

September 6, 2010

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When will we Bible-believing Christians see the depth of our demise? We’re no longer the clean-cut sheriff guarding the B-Western’s lonely town. We’re the snake-oil poison’s grizzled peddler.

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Uh … er … ummm …

August 9, 2010

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It was a scene of devastation, a veritable slaughterhouse. You could almost hear the silent screams of brain cells as they met their doom.

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The Freedom To Give Up Everything

July 22, 2010

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My family’s heart palpitates whenever I rant about how we should sell our suburban home and move into a tarpaper shack – and no one heeds my call for a nation-wide tarpaper shack movement: Dump those monster homes. Get rid of possessing possessions in a world where former luxuries are now strangling “needs.”

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The Antidote For Our Cultural Poison

July 15, 2010

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Alan Simpson sees the acid running in our culture’s veins: “No one forgives anyone for anything anymore. People get angry just for disagreeing with them.” He tossed in AA wisdom during a Newsweek interview in April: “If you can’t forgive a person, it’s like letting them live in your head rent-free.”

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Singing the praises of stubborn mules who carried rifles that looked like clarinets

July 2, 2010

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Puritans are now viewed as grim, witch-burning anti-intellectuals ready to leap from the bushes and pin scarlet letters on innocent hikers. So you can imagine my plight: I want to look past their foibles. I want to celebrate their heritage on this July 4th and see their contributions, fully aware of the skeletons rattling in their closets.

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Enfield: When The Attack Dogs Come To Town, Part One

June 28, 2010

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Come. Hear the echoes of human pit bulls. Drive north on I-91 in Connecticut toward Enfield, where its 44,895 residents have seen America’s secular bar mitzvah morph into a cause, a principle, a dogma, with a cast of characters including the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United For the Separation of Church and State, a state-wide family-values organization called the Family Institute of Connecticut, a federal judge, The American Center For Law and Justice – which Pat Robertson founded in 1990 as an ACLU counterweight – and a Board of Education with Gregory Stokes, a respected pastor, as its chairman. There’s been a lawsuit, a federal ruling, and an open feud between the FIC’s Executive Director Peter Wolfgang, and Rick Green, a newspaper columnist. Dedicated people – volunteers who serve their community for no pay – have been portrayed as wishy-washy, liars, conspirators, and extremists.

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