Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things March 11, 2013

Suzannah Paul: “I am the 47 percent”

We’re several months out from receiving WIC benefits and doing okay. More than okay: our needs are met and some wants, too, like signing up our little ones for tumbling at the Y.

Despite all that, we’re still the 47%, those people (like teachers at Christian schools, disabled veterans, and your grandma, for goodness sake) who are basically The Worst for earning wages below the threshold of respectability.

Folks like me. Pleased to make your acquaintance.

Rabbi Dennis S. Ross and the Rev. Tom Davis: “Birth Control and ‘The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition'”

Many U.S. rabbis and ministers have long recognized the moral wisdom of ensuring wide availability of safe and effective birth control. Beginning in the late 1920s and the ’30s, many Jewish and Protestant groups formally endorsed access, including rabbis from Reform and Conservative Judaism, and ministers from Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. Clergy came forward with the support of their faith teachings, underscored by their real-life experience. The pastors were invited into the daily and private lives of congregants to witness, first-hand, that the ability to control one’s child-bearing makes for healthier children and mothers and for stronger families and communities.

Christa Brown: “Megachurch calls cops on member who speaks out”

You’d think there would be somebody in the mega-sized-leadership of this mega-sized-church who would do the right thing, wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong.

So far, they have not only failed to do the right thing – over and over again – but they have affirmatively done the wrong things – over and over again. For two decades, Graham and other Prestonwood church leaders kept the allegations against their former minister under wraps, and in doing so, they allowed many more kids to be placed at risk of sexual predation. And now, they try to bully a member who simply seeks to ask some questions.

Marianne Møllmann: “Ending Violence Against Women Shouldn’t Be Controversial — But It Is”

The main theme of this year’s meeting is violence against women. This is not a new, obscure issue that should require more than two weeks’ discussion to reach an agreement about steps forward. Prevent, protect, prosecute, punish—it is not that complicated.

More to the point, violence against women requires urgent attention. At least 1 in 3 women has been beaten, forced to have sex, or otherwise abused at some point in her life. Most often the perpetrator is someone she knows, and frequently it is not a one-off incident. Furthermore, domestic violence contributes to a culture of violence; boys who witness their fathers beat up their mothers are, as adults, twice as likely to abuse their own partners as those who grew up in homes without violence.

Gordon Atkinson: “I’m All In”

The idea of God does not always make sense to me. If I pay close attention to how reality unfolds in this world, the idea of a cold and impersonal universe, driven by chance and natural selection seems a rational conclusion. Such a point of view certainly solves a lot of logical problems. No wonder all this awful shit is happening. No one who cares about us is running the show.

But here is a crazy thing. The more I’m convinced that there is no loving Creator watching over us, the more likely I am to receive an emotional epiphany during worship. I will be sitting in church somewhere — often a powerless and humble church without much money or influence — and some little thing will shatter my heart. Often it will be a small piece of liturgy or an ancient symbol that points to one of the crazy, backwards, upside-down gospel truths that Jesus was famous for proclaiming. The call for us to become like children, the thought that the least important person might be the greatest, or the impossible idea that we should love our enemies.


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