Paganism Baptized

Article in the Houston Chronicle on the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and an exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Cut-line on picture says: The pageantry of ancient Aztec tradition blends with the banners of the day to honor the earth mother Guadalupe-Tonantzin. Photographer Diana Molina comments: “She represents light, earth and…

Prisons and Religious Censorship

On September 10 I noted a report in the New York Times saying that the Federal Bureau of Prisons was removing religious books from prison libraries and implementing a “Standardized Chapel Library.” On September 26 I noted that the Bureau was bowing to pressure, would return the removed books to the shelves, but had not…

Cardinal George and the Jews

John Allen gives context, and update: Speaking of cardinals, two weeks ago I interviewed Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who will likely soon take over as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Our conversation was wide-ranging, and at one point I asked the cardinal for a reaction to Jewish criticism of the…

Shooting the Messenger

Archbishop George Niederaurer of San Francisco was filmed communing two men in drag (in mock nun outfits–members of the notoriously anti-Christian “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence”) while celebrating mass at “Most Holy Redeemer” Catholic Church, a San Francisco church notorious for its acceptance of practicing homosexuals (the pastor is Niederauer’s chancellor). Catholic News Service, the official…

Cell Phones in Church

Ed Stetzer was leading a seminar in a Pensacola church when lots of cell phones started going off, and the coordinator started walking around talking to people. He was starting to get annoyed. Then he learned what was going on.

Cornyn on Armenian Genocide

Here’s the response I got from Senator John Cornyn on the matter of the House resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide: As you know, this tragedy resulted in overwhelming loss of life and mass displacement and remains a source of pain in the lives of the people of Armenia and Turkey today. It is my hope…

Martyrdom?

Arizona Daily Star reports on the sentencing of two Catholic priests who trespassed on the grounds of Ft. Huachuca, headquarters of the Army’s Military Intelligence branch. A federal judge in Tucson sentenced the priests — the Rev. Louis J. Vitale, 74, and the Rev. Steve Kelly, 58 — [to five months in prison] Wednesday after…

Tolerance…?

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom wants to close an Islamic school in Washington, D.C., because it doesn’t like the religious views being promulgated. But the commission members didn’t base their findings on conversations with the faculty and staff of the school, or investigation of its curriculum–but on a visit to Saudi Arabia. The…

Jonathan Edwards on Jesus’ Temptation as Pretense

Abstract of an article on Jonathan Edwards’ belief in the “impeccability” of Jesus–the idea that he could not sin, that his temptations were a pretense. Problem is he starts from a belief in a certain kind of predestination, and abstract understandings of the relationship between members of the Trinity from eternity, and not with the…

Like, Communication, You Know?

Are we “the most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along since … you know, a long, long, time ago?” Video of comic/poet Taylor Mali, via Pyro. Text of his poem, Totally Like Whatever, You Know? See also, What Teachers Make.

Fallout in San Francisco

More reaction in San Francisco to Archbishop Niederauer’s communion of two “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence”–this time from the supporters of homosexuality. After negative reaction, Niederauer apologized. Folks at Commonweal blog are upset at the apology. The “Sisters” respond. A priest/theologian at University of San Francisco defends them, saying, “Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is…

Rowling on Christian Imagery in Harry Potter

J. K. Rowling speaks of Christian themes in the Harry Potter series. “To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious,” she said. “But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going.” … But if she was worried…

Wars and Rumors of Wars

President George Bush continued his threatening stance toward Iran today, warning that a nuclear Iran could provoke WWIII. Let’s step back a moment. The US is the only nation that has used a nuclear weapon–and we did so twice, against civilians, to make a dramatic statement. The US, not Iran, is at present engaged in…

Some Thoughts on the Incarnation

I went to a men’s gathering last night at which the speaker made a couple of interesting remarks linking the Temptation in the Garden with the Temptation in the Wilderness. The serpent’s appeal to Eve was that they would not die, but would be as gods. To Jesus, on the other hand, he said, “If…

Dreher on the Turks

Dreher thinks the Turkish situation shows the folly of the Democrats. I think it shows the folly of trusting the Turks–and the folly of the game we played of “Good Kurds, Bad Kurds,” in our confused Iraq policy. I once had a conversation with some knowledgeable folks who opined that the whole Middle East mess…

As Long Expected, Houston Gets a Cardinal

Dan DiNardo gets a red hat–Rocco and a half dozen newspapers had it early, and you read it here before you saw it on the Houston Chronicle or Archdiocesan webpages. DiNardo will wear it well–in the manner of a renaissance cardinal (take that how you will). Cardinal DiNardo … How about “Cardinardo” for short? AP…

Michael Horton on Joel Osteen

Various articles on Osteen’s theology by Dr. Michael S. Horton, J. Gresham Machen professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Seminary California.

Right or Left Brain?

Which direction is the dancer spinning? Try as I might, I can’t see her going anything but clockwise. HT: Grant. (Oops! I came back a few hours later, and now I see her going the other way!) Like that one? Here’s a page full of optical illusions, many animated.

Church Planting and Young Adults

That’s the topic I’m speaking about this weekend, at a church planting rally we’re hosting. I’m going to be focusing on some census data which documents what I already understood, that our new churches tend to be in the suburbs, but young adults tend to live in neighborhoods like Westchase, Galleria, Montrose, and the Medical…

Focus …

A friend who hadn’t been watching the blog for awhile e-mailed and asked, “What’s the focus of your blog these days?” I had to laugh–there isn’t much of a focus. Since I switched to the “Oak Leaves” name it has been a mix of personal, religious, and political (especially issues regarding religious liberty). It is…

For the Credulous …

John Paul II waving from a fire? What separates this from the various apparition claims in moldy bread, rotten potatoes, tree trunks and reflections is that the source isn’t a little old lady in East Podunkville, but the director of the Vatican News Service. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.

Did California Ban “Mom” and “Dad” from Schools?

WorldNetDaily reports that the Governator has signed a pair of bills with some bizarre provisions. The bills are AB 394 and SB 777. AB 394 purports to protect students from “hate motivated incidents” by checking how schools are complying with and educating staff, students, and parents regarding existing laws. WND (and others, including Sean Hannity…

Curran in Austin

Bishop Greg Aymond of the Catholic Diocese of Austin is upset that St. Edwards University in Austin has invited liberal theologian Fr. Charles Curran to speak as part of a series named after Aymond’s predecessor, Bishop John McCarthy. The topic: The Life and Legacy of Pope John XXIII. Curran has been teaching at Southern Methodist…