More smart people saying smart things

National Catholic Reporter: “Editorial: Ordination of women would correct an injustice”

The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand.

Richard Beck: “It’s Ash Wednesday”

When you are “adding on” the imposition of ashes in a non-liturgical church people can go off script. Because we are often unaware that there is a script. And without a script — a liturgy to follow — the people leading us can improvise and say what they want to say, what they think is fitting. And when that happens more often than not people default to the dominant chord of Summer Christian spirituality.

So I went forward and when the ashes were imposed on my forehead the words I got where these: “Jesus loves you.”

Good gravy. That’s a great sentiment, but I’m not coming forward on Ash Wednesday to hear “Jesus loves you.” I hear that message every Sunday. What I want to hear, what my Winter Christian heart was looking for, was the hard stuff. The undiluted full-of-death stuff. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust that you shall return.”

Chaplain Mike: “Ash Wednesday With Pancho and Lefty”

I think this betrays a hubris of thinking that we live in a unique time and place. As though the “culture of death” today is something altogether different and more serious than in the past. More likely, this is an overheated political case. Do we really believe that those with whom we disagree pose an unprecedented threat to our well being and future by promoting the most deadly practices ever known to humankind? Nonsense. “This world is ruled by violence; but that’s better left unsaid” (Bob Dylan) — and thus it has ever been and ever will be. If you want to talk high points of the “culture of death,” let’s go back and examine, for example, the days when Native Americans were targeted for genocide or when blacks had to endure the bitter fruits of slavery and segregation.

Of course we live in a culture of death — because we are human, and human beings die, and human beings often choose ways that lead to death rather than life. My question is how we deal with this fact.

Jen Dziura: “When Men Are Too Emotional to Have a Rational Argument”

I want a model of discourse in which we all behave like adults: mostly calm, as rational as possible, and informed but not controlled by our emotions. I would like a model of discourse in which stereotypically female emotions are less stigmatized, and stereotypically male emotions — especially destructive ones — are not given a free pass. I’d like us to acknowledge that we’re all emotional beings, and if Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh get national airtime to completely give in to those emotions, there’s no argument to be made anymore that women “too emotional” for anything. I’d like us to acknowledge that uncontrolled emotions are the cause of most crime, and most crime is committed by men.

Sean Palmer: “Beyond ‘Becky’ (On Creating a ‘Safe’ Church)”

Unless you spend time with folks in Christian radio, you might not have heard of Becky. Becky is fictional – kinda. She is the target for Christian radio marketing. I was first introduced to Becky 7 years ago during a meeting with a community rep from KSBJ radio in Houston. I was astonished to discover such a thing existed. I didn’t make her up. The KSBJ representative told me, as if it were a good thing; “We don’t do anything Becky wouldn’t like.”

This is what Becky looks like: She is a married (possibly twice), the mother of three kids, and attends church twice a month. She is 42, an evangelical but doesn’t watch Christian television. Becky is a soccer mom who wants safe, positive, and uplifting music to play while she carts her kids to events in her minivan. Becky doesn’t want to have to explain anything to her kids and doesn’t want to hear anything that raises questions. She represent the 0.1 percent of the earth’s population that buys Christian music. It’s a small market, so the music industry desperately needs to keep Becky happy.

""we had a BIGGER voice in the English court"? Could you clarify what you mean? ..."

‘This calls for wisdom: let anyone ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Is Becky’s “she is a married” some kind of Evangelical code phrase, or just an ommitted-word typo??
    ETA: I’d already checked the article, and it’s no typo on Fred’s part, FWIW.

  • Hexep

    I think that there will be some serious shit gone down in the Roman Catholic Church before they begin ordaining women. After all, they’d have to provide a reason why they never did it before, or why it’s right now but wasn’t right before, or at least some kind of plausible smoke screen. Pulling a volte-face of that magnitude is difficult for any organization, but it’d be even harder for them.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I think it’s just a typo that nobody caught. I’ve never heard anyone use married as a noun like that before.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I wish I could remember what post that long ramble I went on RE DC Talk songs was on. It’s totally applicable to that last article and I’d repost it. 

    In short, they want to ignore the hard stuff, pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s like they simply can’t acknowledge that bad stuff DOES happen to people who follow Jesus. (Unless it’s something they can scream persecution about, of course. Then it’s the WORST. THING. EVER. /Rarity fainting couch)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    My God, Becky sounds boring.

  • The_L1985

     She is.  There’s a reason I never developed a taste for CCM, and Becky is pretty much it.  I always got more of a spiritual lift from mainstream music.

  • Carstonio

    Pauline Kael once suggested that no art is possible without belief in the audience, meaning the artist’s belief that only the best zie can do is fit to be offered to others. As soon as an artists stops seeing hirself as part of the audience, believing instead that what matters is satisfying the audience, the person becomes a business owner.

    The Becky concept indicates a similar mentality, a marketer’s version of what being a Christian means. I saw only one episode of 7th Heaven (noticing that the actors playing the parents had been in Star Trek movies), and got the impression that the family viewed the larger world as a threat. Like the world outside the door was full of unspeakable menaces, with the daughters in particular doomed to become single mothers or prostitutes. I’ve long felt that “in the world but not of it” serves mostly to otherize people who aren’t Christians, and that’s what Becky seems to exemplify.

  • “She is a married…mother of three”
    Not a typo, just an awkward sentence structure.  English is funky that way.

  • Seraph4377

    They’ll ordain married male priests first. Their real problem is that being a priest is no
    longer an honorable profession. People aren’r willing to make the sacrifices if they don’t believe in it.

  • vsm

    If it was that, there wouldn’t be a comma after “twice” or a definite article before “mother”.

  • Well, EJ Dionne, of the Washington Post, says it’s time for a female Pope, nothing wrong with aiming at the top. 
    It’s doubtful it will come about, but stranger things have happened.

  • So sayeth the famous panda with a gun.

  • Edo

    I wish I could too, but it was the same thread where I kvetched about “an evening of hope and encouragement” targeting the parents of Sandy Hook.

    CCM is like Gautama Buddha’s father: hellbent on keeping the next generation in a merciless, ruthlessly genki bubble. And that bubble is going to burst catastrophically. Very soon.

  • Fusina

     EJ Dionne is about a decade behind my deceased Mum-in-law, she told me that ten years ago. Err, my Italian, Catholic Mum-in-law.

    I still miss our conversations.

  • Lori

    Becky doesn’t want to have to explain anything to her kids

    Being childless myself I try not to be overly critical of other people’s parenting, but in this case I’ll make an exception. In addition to being boring as crap Becky is not going to win Mother of the Year. When you’re a parent explaining stuff to your kids is sort of your job. Those awkward conversations nobody really wants to have? Parents sign up for those. That’s part of the gig. Becky needs to pull up her big girl panties and deal.

    Speaking of Christian music, at my current job the radio is on all the time. Every day we listen to one of what seems to be an irregular rotation of 4 or 5 stations. (No one is happy every day, but no one is miserable every day either.) One of the stations is current hits and they’re playing “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons pretty regularly, which is not a surprise given their recent Grammy win.

    I accept intellectually that there are people who do not believe Mumford & Sons are a Christian band. My question is this: what do those people think “I Will Wait” is about?

  • Yes, it was a typo. Sorry about that. Becky makes us all do crazy things. :-)

  • Thanks for the clarification. Good to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. :)

  • Hexep

    It’s not ‘Gautama Buddha,’ it’s ‘The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama.’  ‘Buddha’ is one of his many titles, but it’s not part of his name.

  • Carstonio

    While I share your opinion of that parenting style, I find it easier to criticize it in the abstract, since we’re not talking about a specific parent.

    I would use “Christian artist” only when the artist’s body of work is devoted to praising and proselytizing. I haven’t heard “I Will Wait,” but from reading the lyrics, I suspect the song lends itself to both Christian and secular interpretations. Obviously the term can be read as referring to the artist’s religious affiliation.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I thought ‘Gautama Buddha’ was a perfectly legitimate shorthand way of referring to that particular Buddha. Minimizes confusion with Amida Buddha.

  • Hexep

    ‘Buddha’ is a definitive title; it’s always ‘the Buddha.’ If we’re discussing him in context with others such that we need a shorthand, we can call him ‘the Shakyamuni Buddha,’ or just ‘The Shakyamuni,’ because there aren’t any other significant Shakyas that he can get mixed up with.

    It’s also more symmetrical that way, because both ‘Shakyamuni’ and ‘Amitabha’ are descriptive titles, rather than given names. The Amitabha doesn’t even *have* a personal, descriptive name the way the Siddhartha Gautama does; this is mainly because the Amitabha is a God, living in his own buddhaksetra and beyond personal acquaintance, while the Shakyamuni Buddha is definitely dead, passed on, having achieved Nibbana, and was most recently incarnated as a ordinary, living person, without any sort of karmic predisposition towards his great deeds.

    Yeah. There’s no proper rule against it, and I certainly have no platform to argue it, with insiders or outsiders, save my personal typographic preference, but I still prefer ‘The Shakyamuni Buddha’ or ‘The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama,’ or something of that ilk.

  • vsm

    Googling “Gautama Buddha” gives you several reliable-looking results, including Buddhist websites AND Wikipedia. It appears to be in common use.

  • Hexep

    Righty-o, vsm commentator.

  • Lori


    I haven’t heard “I Will Wait,” but from reading the lyrics, I suspect
    the song lends itself to both Christian and secular interpretations. 

    I think someone who has a secular interpretation of most of that song is stretching it a bit. For example, “So tame my flesh And fix my eyes” ought to be very familiar to anyone who has done their time in Christian Sunday School.

  • I keep wishing I could “like” comments ironically…

  • Carstonio

    I was in Lutheran Sunday School for about a year and I don’t remember that phrase. Probably only non-Christians are going to interpret the lyrics secularly.


    I keep wishing I could “like” comments ironically…

    I especially “like” the line about women being “adorable hypocrites” while engaging in the usual Nice Guy (TM) talk about alphas and betas.