As the work week ends, here's a selection of religion-focused commentary that has caught my eye during the week--teasers leading to substantive articles I hope you'll find of interest:
Colleen Baker didn't see many U.S. Catholic bishops channeling their inner Francis at the recent USCCB meeting:
There's just way too much money on the right wing side of the equation for too many of our bishops. It fuels their career advancement and loads their wine cellars and cigar boxes.
Leonardo Boff draws attention to significant sources in the Catholic tradition for the theology of (i.e., by) women that Pope Francis claims we need: pointing to Julian of Norwich, he reminds us,
She says more: behind what we call hell there is a greater reality, always victorious, which is the love of God. Because Jesus is merciful and compassionate, She is our dear mother.
It seems it’s always those who are being excluded and subjugated who are asked to imitate the meekness of Christ. Those who benefit from unfair systems are never similarly challenged to do so — they’re free to go on imitating Pilate.
Fred Clarkson thinks that Doug Phillips's admission that he had an extramarital affair while preaching "biblical" norms of chastity (and women's subjugation to men, and gay folks' condemnation) is going to cause trouble for his career as a religious right superstar:
This is because his worldview hinges on the absolute integrity of the marriage bond and in this way he sought to model a vision of contemporary Biblical patriarchy.
Echoing Colleen on the U.S. Catholic bishops, Amanda Marcotte suggests that American Christianity (or powerful swathes of it) are succeeding in rebranding Christians as the epitome of selfish:
Increasingly, the only thing religion has left to justify itself is that it provides cover for people who want to have bigoted, selfish beliefs but want to believe they are good people anyway.
Frank Strong asks a question that he thinks is pertinent for Christians using the argument that sex is all and only about procreation to consider, as they exclude same-sex couples from the right to marry:
Here’s another way of thinking about it, for the married folks out there: if you were told before your wedding that your spouse would never be able to produce children with you, would you go ahead and get married anyway?
Questions from a Ewe takes the cumbersomely worded questions of the Vatican questionnaire for the Synod for the Family and rewords them in plain English: where the questionnaire asks, "What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union [i.e., legally recognized same-sex unions]?," she rephrases:
How the heck are we supposed to act around gays who get married?
(And I hear italics in her use of the word "supposed.")
The People in the Pews tell Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt:
We know right from wrong. We also know that every moment of every day we must do everything we can to protect our children. But somehow our leadership has taken a different course. For decades, you and your predecessors have tried to balance the protection of our children with the protection of your priestly reputations.
And so they ask their archbishop to resign.
Katie McDonough reports that when Richardson High School in Texas invited "Christian motivational speaker and dating expert" Justin Lookadoo to preach his gospel of women's subordination and men's entitlement to the school's students, all hell broke loose. Both students and parents didn't buy Lookadoo's complementarism (read: women's subordination and men's entitlement), and one parent told the media,
"He is trying to reinforce 75-year-old stereotypes," parent John Richman told a local news station.
And Daisy reminds us of a valuable spiritual lesson she's learned in her life after rescue from a puppy mill:
So on our walk this morning I'm thinking - do people notice all the treats that surround them? The ducks and gulls and seals? The salmon and bears and fresh air and sunshine and rain? I hope they don't miss these treats that the Creator has delighted to give us.
(I'm grateful to Colleen at Enlightened Catholicism for the link to Questions from a Ewe.)
The graphic is a picture of the cover of a fascicle of Bentley's Miscellany--perhaps the third issue, published in March 1837, from the Victorian web site.