Sobering words define a young priest’s life

As sermons go, it was not the kind of pulpit performance that -- when it was given -- created a buzz in the pews.The young Catholic priest's voice was flat and subdued, his face calm but not expressive. After all, he was only a year or so into his priesthood and preaching was still rather new to him. On this day he was working with a sobering text from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus looks over the city of Jerusalem and weeps, knowing that death and destruction looms in the future.So … [Read more...]

Ann B. Davis was much, much more than ‘Alice’

Soon after its birth, the MTV network tried to branch out with "Remote Control," a hipper than hip game show.Contestants were quizzed on media trivia including a category called, "Alive or dead?" The goal was to guess the current status of pop-culture icons.One day in 1988 the name "Ann B. Davis" popped up on the screen. Hitting the buzzer, a contestant shouted, "Dead!"With a classic double take, Davis shouted, "I am not!" at the den television in the 26-room redstone house she … [Read more...]

Porn again — Facing denial in conservative pews

The Rev. Heath Lambert usually hears one of two responses when he tries to get pastors to be candid about the impact of Internet pornography in their churches.Response No. 1 sounds like this: "Pornography isn't a problem in my church."That answer drew laughter at a recent conference on faith and sexuality, organized by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Lambert, a seminary professor who leads the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, … [Read more...]

Dueling saints from the Second Vatican Council?

History will show St. John XXIII was a pastor with an "exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit," while St. John Paul II will be known "as the pope of the family."That was as close as Pope Francis came to providing the sound bite all the so-called Vatican experts were waiting to hear during the historic St. Peter's Square rites in which he -- with the retired Pope Benedict XVI looking on -- elevated to sainthood two popes who did so much to shape modern Catholicism.The media mantra called … [Read more...]

Faith and the Millennials — it’s complicated

LOS ANGELES -- When pollster David Kinnaman went to college two decades ago, his Generation X life was surrounded by electronic screens and all the gadgets that connected to them.There were TV screens, movie screens and new computers, some of which even had speakers. There were VCRs, CD players, cassette recorders, video cameras and other cool devices. The hottest trend was "email" that allowed students to do something Baby Boomers could only dream about -- send private, instant messages to … [Read more...]

Dark (porn) secrets in modern sanctuaries

At some point before 35-year-old Jesse Ryan Loskarn hanged himself in his parents' home outside Baltimore, he wrote a painful letter soaked in shame and self-loathing in which he attempted to explain the unexplainable.The former chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) had lived a secret life, hiding memories of child abuse and his addiction to child pornography. Even as U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents used a battering ram to enter his house, it appeared that he was trying to … [Read more...]

Culture wars in the App Store, part II

At first glance, the original rules written to govern the Apple App Store seem to be simple, logical and easy to enforce.After all, who wants one of the world's most powerful corporations to circulate digital forms of hate? Consider, for example, the guidelines governing "personal attacks" and "objectionable content."The former rejects, "Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way." This does not apply to … [Read more...]

Culture wars in the App Store (and what they mean)

In a career packed with sound bites, the late Steve Jobs offered one of his best when describing his vision for a family-friendly Apple App Store."We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone," he famously responded, in an email to a customer. "Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone."This stance was clear, but hard to apply in the flood of information and images on the World Wide Web. After all, many consumers are very easy to offend, when hot … [Read more...]


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