More smart people saying smart things

More smart people saying smart things February 20, 2013

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.

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