“Bringing the Spiritual to Its Senses”

Greeley

Incense fills the nostrils of a Krishna devotee in a temple in Vrindavan, India, letting him know he is in a sacred place; Muslim worshipers heed the muezzin’s amplified call to prayer from the minaret of a Moroccan mosque; a girl tastes bitter herbs at a Passover Seder in Brooklyn, reminding her of the harshness of her ancestors’ slavery in Egypt; a Greek Orthodox woman gazes reverently upon an icon of Jesus Christ and sees the gaze returned, knowing she is blessed; a Zen Buddhist acolyte … [Read more...]

Pope Fail: Francis Throws the “Nuns on the Bus” Under the Bus

I celebrated many of Pope Francis' early acts of compassionate humility -- especially his subversion of the Maundy Thursday ritual by washing the feet of youth prisoners, including two Muslim girls. I'm always grateful when I hear about prominent Christian leaders actually doing Jesus-like acts of justice and love. (For more, see "Red Shoes or Black Shoes? Does It Matter?: On the Symbolism of Pope Francis.") However, I was disheartened  to read this morning in The New York Times that the … [Read more...]

Praying with Flannery O’Connor

Province of Joy

UPS just delivered my copy of the new Flannery O'Connor prayer book, published by Paraclete Press. I'm looking forward to spending the next week praying through it. There are morning and evening liturgies for each day. The choice to include only morning and evening prayer comes from a letter O'Connor wrote about her personal spiritual practice that was collected in The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor: "I say Prime in the morning and sometimes I say Compline at night" (159-160). … [Read more...]

Have You Heard the One about the Pope Who Quit? (Seriously!)

PopeWhoQuit

(Jon Sweeney, The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, Image Books, 2012, 288 pages) Jon Sweeney has written a relatively breezy history of an obscure chapter in church history: the story of Peter Morrone (1215-1296), a saintly monk, revered sage, and confirmed hermit, who stumbled backward into becoming Pope Celestine V. His immediate predecessor to St. Peter's throne, Pope Nicholas IV died on April 4, 1292. The normal procedure called for a new pope to be … [Read more...]

What Did JFK, MLK, & Gandhi Really Think about Birth Control?

Google-ChromeScreenSnapz387

Many commentators have noted the ironic, misogynistic, and audacious scene of yesterday's Congressional Committee hearing in which only men were called to testify about the controversy surrounding funding for women's contraception. Equally troubling were the three huge posters displayed behind the committee of John F. Kennedy, Jr.; Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mohandas Gandhi. The intended point was that these three figures symbolize the courage to stand up for the dictates of your … [Read more...]

Will There Be Female Roman Catholic Priests in My Lifetime?

My short answer is yes and no. On one hand, yes, there will be female Roman Catholic priests in my lifetime because there already are. As my fellow Patheos blogger Tony Jones has noted, there already are "renegade Roman Catholic priests who just happen to be women." On the other hand, a recent New York Times article on "Catholic Church Unveils New Home for Ex-Episcopalians" perhaps tips the Vatican's hand for the foreseeable future: "Since the Vatican’s grant of an exemption from … [Read more...]


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