God, Barbies and girlie girls

It's a question that can cause tension and tears in a circle of home-school moms in a Bible Belt church fellowship hall.It's a question that can have the same jarring impact in a circle of feminist mothers in a Manhattan coffee shop.Here it is: Will you buy your daughter a Barbie doll? Other questions follow in the wake of this one, linked to clothes, self esteem, cellphones, makeup, reality TV shows and the entire commercialized princess culture.The Barbie question is not uniquely … [Read more...]

Twin rocking chairs for ELCA gays

There was no way for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to affirm the ministries of clergy living in "publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships" without attracting attention.After all, debates about the Bible and sexuality had rocked America's largest Lutheran flock since it was born in 1988 through the merger of three older Lutheran denominations. Similar fights have caused bitter divisions among Episcopalians, Presbyterians, United Methodists and other … [Read more...]

United Methodists do the math

From coast to coast, United Methodists are doing the math.America's third-largest flock just survived another quadrennial General Conference rocked by media-friendly fighting over sex. Now it's time to dissect the numbers.Delegates voted 570-334 to affirm the historic doctrines of the Christian faith.Efforts to back laws defining "marriage as the union of one man and one woman" passed on a 624-184 vote. Same-sex union rites fell -- 756-159. Should the church delete its "faithfulness in marriage … [Read more...]

Presbyterian Divorce Ahead?

Two decades ago, the northern United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. merged with the southern Presbyterian Church in the U.S. to form the new Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).This church is not be confused with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America or many others inspired by the work of a 16th Century … [Read more...]

Boomer bishops on the rise

Some of the lessons Father Kevin Martin learned in seminary have faded with time, but he remembers when the future Episcopal priests were taken to see Catherine Deneuve play a Paris prostitute in the soft-porn "Belle de Jour." The late 1960s were heady times at Yale University's Berkeley Divinity School, he said. The sexual revolution inspired people in clerical collars to do things that, today, would turn a sexual-harassment attorney into a pillar of salt."It was the spirit of the day," said … [Read more...]

Faith Crisis in Blogosphere

The news from Rome infuriated the most quotable Catholic, gay, HIV-positive, political conservative in cyberspace.But Andrew Sullivan knew where to find comfort after the Vatican's recent reminder that gay unions are in no way "similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family." He poured out his frustration at www.andrewsullivan.com and his online community responded."Times are terrible," wrote a Catholic priest. "The church says gay people are not permitted to get … [Read more...]