Saturday, March 31, 2018

As Men Lift Up the Cross in Holy Week Liturgies Around the World, Some Theological Questions

In a just-published article entitled "In an age of Trump and Stormy Daniels, evangelical leaders face sex scandals of their own," Sarah Pulliam Bailey quotes Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who states,

What Does it Mean to Learn on Good Friday That Sacramento Police Shot Stephon Clark 7 Times in Back?

Don Thompson and Sophia Bollag at TPM

What does it mean to read this report on Good Friday?

Friday, March 30, 2018

"You can't talk about #GoodFriday with any kind of moral relevance—any understanding of how Christ's crucifixion occurs all around us—without discussing police shootings"

Behold the Wood of the Cross: Good Friday Meditation on Crosses . . . And Crossings

Alan Bennett, Keeping On Keeping On (London: Faber & Faber, 2016):

Oh to live in the world one sees from the train — empty, unpeopled, only a horse in the field, one car at the crossing, and a woman at the end of a garden taking down washing (Diary, 3 March 2006, p. 51).

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Quote for the Day: Fred Clark on How "Evangelical Christianity Is Turning into 8chan"

At his Slacktivist site today, Fred Clark reports on the decision of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University to make a biographical film about "firefighter prophet" Mark Taylor. As Kyle Mantyla explains at Right Wing Watch, Taylor is a former firefighter who states that as he was watching Fox News, God told him Donald Trump would become president, but only after President Obama had served a second term and built "righteous anger" among God's people that would lead to Trump's election. 

Police Shooting of Stephon Clark and Exoneration of Mark Anthony Conditt: Two Stories We Need to Read Side by Side

There are two stories here. These stories unfolded more or less simultaneously in the past several days. We need to read these stories side by side. They are two stories that are part of one story.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Austin Serial Bomber Mark Anthony Conditt, a Quiet Home-Schooled White Evangelical Boy from a "Loving" and "Good Family"

Here's a photo of the family of Austin, Texas, serial bomber Mark Anthony Conditt, from Instagram by way of this Daily Mail article.* "Just a 'neighborhood kid' from a good family," a neighbor states. Neighbors also indicate (the last link to a Houston Chronicle article by Keri Blakinger, Samantha Ketterer, and Alejandra Matos is again my source for this information) that the family hosted "large religious gatherings" at its home on Sundays, in the house in which it home-schooled all its children:

Friday, March 16, 2018

National Student Walkout Against Gun Violence: Arkansas Students Receive Corporal Punishment for Walkout

As a footnote to what I've posted in the past few days about the National School Walkout, I thought I'd tell you about what happened at a school in Greenbrier, Arkansas, when several students walked out to show their solidarity with students across the country protesting gun violence: the students were paddled by school officials for taking part in the walkout. The mother of one of these students, Jerusalem Greer, an Episcopal lay minister, posted about this on Twitter, and her tweet (it's at the head of this posting) has gone viral. 

More on Catholic Schools and National Walkout: "Unfortunately, Some of the Sponsors of the National School Walkout Advocate for Positions That Are Contrary to the Church’s Teachings"

I'm grateful to Betty and Sarasi for pointing me to additional news coverage of how Catholic schools responded to the National School Walkout protesting gun violence and advocating for gun control as a solution to gun violence. Betty points us to an article in National Catholic Reporter which suggests that there was wide buy-in among Catholic schools nationwide supporting the walkout. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hate Has a Field Day This Lenten Week in American Catholicism, As Anti-LGBTQ Catholic Hate Group Church Militant Gloats

The viciously anti-LGBTQ Catholic hate group Church Militant is having a good week, isn't it? Yesterday, Father James Martin issued a public report on Facebook about how this Catholic hate group, Church Militant, has issued a gloating report regarding something that has happened to the well-known Catholic musician Dan Schutte. The report states that Schutte has had a concert moved from Catholic premises in Kansas City, due to a "backlash" because Schutte is believed to be gay. Father Martin links the gloating report from the Catholic anti-LGBTQ hate group Church Militant, if you want to see it.

Fred Clark on Gerson and Ladd: "Helpful Corrective to Gerson's Longer, Larger Piece Because Ladd Centers the Defining Facts of Slavery, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights"

Yesterday, when I posted Twitter (and other) responses to Michael Gerson's recent essay on white evangelicals and Trump, I pointed you to an essay by Chris Ladd on the cruelty of white evangelicalism, about which Rachel Held Evans had tweeted, nothing that Ladd's essay fills in some of the missing pieces on evangelicalism and race that Gerson's essay had left out. I also told you that Ladd had published his essay as a blog post initially at the Forbes site, then Forbes removed it, apparently without explanation — and it would be interesting to know why Forbes took that step. Chris Ladd then reposted the essay at another site.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Twitter Responds to Gerson's Essay on White Evangelicals and Trump: "Trump Age Is Revealing What Has Been Central to the Movement" — "Segregation and the Subjugation of Women"


Some of the most interesting conversations in the realm of religion and theology these days are taking place on Twitter and other social medial platforms — and certainly not in the churches and their academies. Case in point: the Michael Gerson article on white evangelicals and Donald Trump to which I pointed you yesterday is now being discussed and critiqued vigorously on Twitter, and I'm finding much of the commentary exhilarating. Here are some threads and individual tweets to which I'd like to draw your attention:

Reader Writes: "It's This Fear-Notivated Attachment to Belief in Magic That Is, in My Opinion, at the Core of Everything That's Wrong with Both the Catholic Church and Mainstream Protestantism"

In response to our discussion last Friday of Mary McAleese's recent lecture characterizing the Catholic church as a "primary globl carrier of the virus of misogyny," Shaun Lynch wrote a mini-essay that's so good, I now want to lift it from the combox following that posting and share it as a stand-alone posting on Bilgrimage. Shaun's thesis: the core reason many people including many women are exiting the Catholic church "is a straight-up lack of belief in all of the magic that continues to be at the centre of all Catholic practice."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Michael Gerson on Trump and White Evangelicals: "This Is Not Mere Gullibility; It Is Utter Corruption"

Not to be missed: Michael Gerson's just-published essay in The Atlantic entitled "The Last Temptation: How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory." As Gerson notes, he speaks as someone raised in an evangelical household, who studied theology at Wheaton College, the "Harvard of evangelical Protestantism." He speaks as a former staffer for Senator Dan Coats, a fellow Wheaton alumnus, and as a former policy advisor (along with other evangelical leaders) to President George W. Bush. His (white) evangelical cred is impeccable. Here are some memorable passages in his essay:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Mary McAleese on Catholic Church As "Primary Global Carrier of the Virus of Misogyny" and on Theology Denying Ordination to Women as "Pure Codology"

This is really Sarasi's post and not mine. In the past two days, she has provided a wealth of links to commentary about the stellar address former Irish president Mary McAleese gave in her opening address to the Why Women Matter conference in Rome this week. I'm simply passing on to you now links Sarasi has gathered and generously shared.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Recommended Commentary: White Evangelicals, U.S. Culture of Violence, "Pro-Life" Politics, Intersectionality, Etc.

I'm now over the hump of having my bad tooth removed and am thankfully on the mend. Because I've been distracted by all of that, I haven't been able to follow the news as systematically as I usually try to do — but I still do have bits and pieces of commentary from recent days to share with you today, commentary on many different topics that interest us here, which I think is worth sharing. I hope you'll agree. Here goes:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Catholic-LGBTQ Dialogue: "Catholic Theology Today Has Much Listening to Do" — But Where? When? How?

[T]heologians need to pay attention to what is going on in queer Catholic communities. They need to listen closely and respect the long histories of struggle that continue inside and outside the academy and public debate. If they do listen, they will find that reflections on queer experiences call the Church to dialogue that goes far beyond the bounds of traditional Catholic teaching. . . . Ultimately, listening to queer voices will challenge theologians to move beyond Building a Bridge to the mountains and valleys of queer experience.  
~ Jason Steidl

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Arrives, I Visit the Dentist, and May Be Out of Commission on This Blog for a Few Days

The calendar clicks to March, and I am looking down the road to some dental surgery this coming week. I've had a long wait for it after I lost a crown on a crumbling tooth early in February, and will be glad to have the tooth extracted — though I can't say I'm looking forward to the extraction at all (though I'll definitely be happy to have the "dead" tooth gone).