Augustine on the Eucharist

Pat Madrid takes pains to argue that Augustine of Hippo was a Catholic bishop and that he believed what the Catholic church presently teaches on the Eucharist. But  Catholic teaching developed much after the time of Augustine (d. 430).  Particularly important to the development of Catholic teaching were the controversies between Paschasius Radbertus (d. ca.…

Synagogue Visit

I’m taking a group of college students to visit a Jewish synagogue this Friday night–Congregation Shaar Hasholam in Clear Lake. We’re going to meet at 6:00 for a chat with Rabbi Stuart Federow (come prepared with questions), and the service itself will be at 7. We have room for more. If you’ll join us (meet…

Membership Declines

The National Council of Churches reports on denominational statistics, with the numbers for the 25 largest denominations (the Seventh-day Adventist Church might be number 26, with 1,000,472 members in the US–15,000,000 in the world). Mainline churches continue their decline, including the ELCA. See a bigger picture of its downward trend here. It started in 1987…

RIP John Fenton

I see, belatedly, that The Rev. Canon John Fenton (Christ Church, Oxford)  passed away in late December. An illustrious New Testament scholar, I had a short course with him during my D.Min. work, and I remember some wonderful chats with him. Having been educated at a Lutheran seminary, I was shocked to learn there were…

Rodeo Time in Houston

It’s rodeo time in Houston! Alan is disappointed that the Barbecue Championship coincides with the start of Lent. Be that as it may, the smoke is ascending heavenward, the trail rides are heading to the city, and the parade will be this Saturday morning (I’ve never made it to the parade, and now that I…

After The Passion

A friend reminds me that The Passion of The Christ debuted five years ago today (Ash Wednesday). Here are links to things I have written on the subject: The Passion of the Christ: Crisis and Opportunity in Jewish-Catholic Relations. Passionate Blogging: Interfaith Controversy and the Internet. In J. Shawn Landres and Michael Berenbaum, editors, After…

Cultures

Various US publishers routinely give travelers advice for what to do or not to do in other countries, so we don’t offend them. Does anyone have a link to a site where these sensitive cultures give advice to their citizens about what to do or not to do when visiting the US, so they don’t…

Murder by Cop

Murder. That’s the only word I think fits the tragic case of Aaron Hobart. He was murdered by a cop. I’m grateful details are finally coming out. The boy was not “violent”–just non-cooperative The family didn’t ask for the cops–they asked for a crisis intervention team, as their psychiatrist had told them. The cop was…

Galveston

The daughter and I went down to Galveston today for the Mardi Gras celebration. We went to the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux parade on the Seawall and then strolled the Strand, collecting 30+ strands of beads between us, plus some cups, candy, and a stuffed animal. The devastation from Hurricane Ike is evident throughout…

The Vatican on Speech and the Press

Prior to Vatican 2, numerous popes condemned freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and religious liberty. Everyone says Vatican 2 changed all that. But consider this case. When a TV program mocked Catholic faith, the Vatican did not write to the producers to express their sorrow or to persuade them they were wrong. Instead,…

A Family Tragedy

[Updated] A teenage son with a history of mental illness, off his medication, got into a heated argument with his parents. It escalated, and they called a crisis intervention hotline. The person at the hotline chose to send the police. When a police officer came to the door, the son opened it. A struggle ensued.…

Darwin’s Day

[This is an approximation of the sermon I preached today at Houston International Seventh-day Adventist Church. The only notes I was using were on my PowerPoint presentation; I tried to reproduce the gist of it after the fact here.] 2009 is a big year for Darwinists. February 12th marked Darwin’s 200th birthday–this past week Houston…

Jailed for Speech

A judge has ordered a pastor to go to jail for exercising his First Amendment rights–for “unlawful approach” near an abortion mill. Video of his actions (and notice the obnoxious behavior of the counter-protester).

Fear and Loathing in LA

An academic symposium on “Human Rights and Gaza” at UCLA turned into a hate-fest. One-sided scholarly papers by Hamas apologists led to raucus obscene chanting by the audience. Report. Op-ed. While the four professorial talks were delivered and received quietly, interrupted only occasionally by applause, emotions escalated during the closing question-and-answer session. Most of the…

The ELCA’s Sexuality Proposal

The stroke of noon brought the release of the ELCA draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality, along with a Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies. The recommendations propose a four-step process; if the first step is passed, they would go on to the next. Step one asks the assembly whether, in principle, it is committed…