The Pope refuses to judge gay people

Pope Francis, responding to reporters’ questions, said, “Who am I to judge gay people?”  Though what he said about homosexuality and gay priests is being hailed as a revolutionary change, he really didn’t alter church teaching.  He just spun it differently.  After the jump, an account of what he said and some reflections. [Read more…]

De Toqueville on Christianity in America

Democracy in America, written by the French aristocrat Alexis de Toqueville in 1835, is full of stunningly perceptive and prescient insights into American culture, many of which are valid today nearly three hundred years later.  Paula Bolyard discusses what he says about Christianity in the Republic, suggesting that his description of the church as profoundly influential, while distinctly separate from politics, is a good model for today.  You should read her essay, but I’ll just post her quotations from De Toqueville. [Read more…]

Recovering the freakishness of Christianity

Russell Moore, identified as per our previous discussion as one of those “Lutheran Baptists,” was recently appointed head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, which makes pronouncements on public policy for that church body.  But Rev. Moore is going far beyond the usual rightwing talking points that have been associated with Christian conservatives.  In an interview with Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post, he gives some thoughtful comments about generic civil religion, abortion, military chaplains, and religious freedom. [Read more…]

Dressing for church

On the front page of Saturday’s Washington Post:  An article about what people wear to church, raising issues of decorum, modesty, and the meaning of clothes. [Read more…]

This week’s LCMS convention

This is the season when churches go out to convention.  The denomination that I grew up in, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), threw out all barriers against homosexuality, in addition to passing other progressive resolutions.  Such measures are highly unlikely  in my current church, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, whose triennial convention will be held this week.

To follow the action, go to National LCMS Convention – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  For a list of resolutions that will be considered, go here (note the drop-down menu for the different categories.)

Indulgences via Twitter

Pope Francis will be offering a plenary indulgence–that is, a full release from Purgatory for sins committed up to that point–for those who follow the World Youth Day activities on Twitter or other social media sites. [Read more…]