What Rob Bell Thinks about Gay Marriage

No, I didn’t write a post with that title. But if I had, it would have gotten HUGE traffic.

However, here are my biggest posts of the year:

Most Pageviews:

  1. What’s Up with Rob Bell?
  2. Homoerotic Churches
  3. There Are Two Marriages

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When House Churches Are Illegal

In the Wall Street Journal, Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports on a Bible study in California that was fined for breaking a city ordinance against gathering more than three persons in a private home:

What counts as a church? Chuck and Stephanie Fromm recently found out.

After hosting several periodic Bible studies for up to 50 people in their home in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Fromms were fined $300 for violating a city ordinance that prohibits groups of three or more people from gathering without a permit. The couple appealed and city officials agreed last month to reimburse them and re-examine the ordinance, but the case created a stir in religious circles.

“It struck a deep nerve. Bible studies in people’s homes have been a long part of American culture and heritage,” says Brad Dacus of the Pacific Research Institute, which took on the Fromms’ case. “We’re concerned that other cities will try to get away with the same thing.”

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Legalize Abortion…And the Rate Goes Down

Abortions in Minnesota, 1975-2010

Here in Minnesota, the Department of Health recently reported that in 2010, we had the lowest number of abortions since they started keeping track [PDF report].  It’s a drop of 19% in just four years, and almost half of the high in 1980.

That caused the last hospital in the Twin Cities that offers abortion to stop providing them:

Regions Hospital in St. Paul said Friday that it will stop performing elective abortions after Dec. 9, when it closes its reproductive GYN Special Services Clinic.

The hospital said it reached the decision because the number of abortions has been falling for years and other clinics in the Twin Cities provide similar services. Abortion opponents, however, said their years of protests forced the action.

In spite of the protestations of those protesters, health officials agree that the abortion rate has dropped primarily because contraception has been destigmatized and contraceptives are readily available, and secondly because young women have been educated in public schools about avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

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Female Catholic Priests in Minnesota


Monique Venne, a priest at Compassion of Christ Church that meets at Prospect Park United Methodist Church, gave communion to Judith McKloskey, also a priest in the church, during a recent service on Sunday, November 6, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minn. (Renee Jones Schneider/StarTribune)

Interesting, based on my post Friday, that the StarTribune on Sunday had an article by Rose French on a group of renegade Roman Catholic priests who just happen to be women:

Dressed in a priestly white robe and green stole, Monique Venne lifted communion bread before an altar — defying centuries of Catholic Church law.

Despite promises of excommunication from the Vatican, she and six other women in Minnesota say they are legitimate, ordained Catholic priests, fit to celebrate the mass. They trace their status through a line of ordained women bishops back to anonymous male bishops in Europe.

“We love the church, but we see this great wrong,” said Venne, 54, who cofounded Compassion of Christ Church, a Minneapolis congregation that just celebrated its first anniversary. “Not allowing women to be at the altar is a denigration of their dignity. We want the church to be the best it can be. If one leaves, one cannot effect change. So we’re pushing boundaries.”

Minnesota has emerged as a hotbed for the growing movement to ordain women as priests, with the highest per-capita number of female Catholic priests in the nation, according to the organization Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Women priests are working in the Twin Cities, Red Wing, Winona, Clear Lake and soon St. Cloud. The group claims about 70 women priests in the United States and more than 100 worldwide. READ THE REST