Church and State in Virginia

A court case in Virginia concerns who gets the property when a congregation leaves a denomination. A post-Civil War law in that state allows the congregation to keep it, regardless of the denominational polity. Several denominations have filed amicus briefs, arguing that this injects the secular courts into theological matters outside their competence. The court…

Will Bush Attack Iran?

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels at Commonweal links to articles on Bush’s saber-rattling in Iran. Who within the administration is pushing for war? She names Elliot Abrams. Remember him? He helped give us Reagan’s illegal wars in Central America. He defended death squads and dismissed atrocities. When Congress would no longer fund these misguided adventures, he conspired…

Sacred Space

From the DMN religion blog: “The test of our time, I believe, is whether we can share a sacred space. That’s really what’s up for grabs in Jerusalem. The way to make a place sacred is by the way you act and what you do, and the creating of a just society. A place becomes…

The Arrogance of Liberal Scholarship

Biblical scholar Geza Vermes unleashes a blistering diatribe against Pope Benedict XVI’s recent book on Jesus. The pope’s problem? Believing that the NT actually teaches us truth about Jesus. Believing that the Jesus proclaimed has anything in common with the historical Jesus. It’s dripping with arrogance and condescension. How different from the attitude of Karl…

Clerical Narcissism

Rod Dreher has a chat with a former Catholic priest about attitudes. The former priest thinks that the Catholic problem is not so much clericalism as it is narcissism. The latter is the “underlying pathology,” which is supported and nurtured by clericalism. Lots of examples given, like Bishop Kevin Farrell’s purchase of a $1.3 million…

A Quiet Weekend

Yesterday was a perfect afternoon, temps in the 70s, light breeze blowing, and I hung my hammock in my mimosa tree and lay there dozing under the pink flowers. Today we went to the Houston Highland Games; we enjoyed the sheepherding demonstration and music by Needfire, Loescher + Kenneth, Jiggernaut, and Comhlan Oganta. And we…

“Why They’re Not Emergent”

Rod Dreher links to Kristen Scharold article in First Things: “The Emerging Church and Its Critics.” It references a book, Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be), by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. Let’s start with Scharold. She paints with a very broad brush. The emergent church isn’t much different. Its devotees…

Braaten on ELCA Sexuality Proposal

Lutheran theologian Carl Braaten has released a critique of the latest ELCA proposal on human sexuality. Pastor Zip has it here. He regards it as a muddled confusion of law and gospel. Here’s a sampling–be sure to read the whole thing. 1) This draft social statement identifies two doctrines as foundational for a Lutheran understanding…

Texas Polygamy Update

Latest legal scandal: lawyers deprived of access to clients, who have been interrogated by CPS and law enforcement. ”My client told the CPS worker that she did not want to talk to her without an attorney,” Shockley said. ”She was told that she wasn’t entitled to an attorney because it was a civil matter.”

The Minority Report

Carl Olson links to the report of a dissenting justice in California: Only one other American state recognizes the right the majority announces today.  So far, Congress, and virtually every court to consider the issue, has rejected it.  Nothing in our Constitution, express or implicit, compels the majority’s startling conclusion that the age-old understanding of…

Noise.

Or, as the Grinch moaned, “O the noise, noise, noise, noise, noise!” My AC is being worked on today–evaporator coil being replaced, along with the lineset–what connects the outside unit with the unit in the attic. What that means is that there’s a lot of noise in the wall right by my desk this morning,…

Dividing Lines

Hugo says, There is a fundamental difference in the way Protestants and Catholics approach their respective churches. A Protestant joins a church that aligns with what he believes. A Catholic, on the other hand, embraces a Church that tells him what to believe. Well, many people, Catholic, Protestant, and others do as Paul warned, looking…

Polygamist Update

The case of Texas against the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints continues to spiral out of control. State officials now concede a mother they were sure was underage is an adult.

More Outrageous Police Conduct

In Stark County, OH, a woman was assaulted by a cousin, and another cousin called 911 on her behalf. When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they arrested the victim–and then brutally stripped her naked, with as many as seven cops, male and female, involved in ripping all the clothes from her body while they held her, handcuffed,…

Sheriff’s Intimidation in Houston

Erik and Sean Ibarra have learned that you don’t mess with the bullies in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Again. Their problems started in January 2002, when Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a drug raid on a neighbor’s home. The Ibarras’ mom noticed the neighbor’s children were made to stand outside in the cold without…

More Police Bullying

In Dallas, some cops will give you a ticket … and then write additional violations on the part they turn in. Not a single cop has been punished or fired for this practice. Supervisors give excuses.

John Hagee Surrenders to Catholic League

John Hagee has surrendered to Bill Donohue’s Catholic League. Donohue comments, and posts Hagee’s letter. One of the things to which Donohue objected was Hagee’s repetition of the historical Protestant identification of the Catholic Church with the whore of Babylon in the Book of Revelation. You can find this identification, and the reasons for it,…

Clergy Promote “Evolution Sunday”

Some liberal churches are promoting “Evolution Sunday” as an effort to show the compatibility between Darwinism and Christian faith. The participating churches are Unitarian, UCC, Methodist, ELCA, Episcopalian, Unity, MCC. They’re also promoting a Clergy Letter, and asking for signatures. It appears the entire faculty of my alma mater, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, signed.…

More Indulgences

In commemoration of a year devoted to St. Paul, the Vatican is offering special indulgences. “All Christian faithful – truly repentant, duly purified by the Sacrament of Penance and restored with Holy Communion – who undertake a pious visit in the form of a pilgrimage to the papal basilica of St. Paul on Rome’s Via…