A New Papacy

A New Papacy


A New Papacy

Benedict XVI is the first pope to resign since Celestine V did so in 1294 after little more than 5 months in office. (Some commentators name Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415, as the most recent papal retiree. It all depends on how voluntary one thinks resigning is. Gregory stepped down under tremendous pressure as ..

Right or Rite?

Right or Rite?


Right or Rite?

Rev. William Rowe, a Roman Catholic priest, had already been removed from his parish when Bishop Edward Braxton of the Belleville, IL, diocese, took the extra step of forbidding him to exercise any public ministry. Rowe announced the move on Monday, July 9, and observed that he had been scheduled to preside at five weddings ..

Popes Behaving Badly

Popes Behaving Badly


Popes Behaving Badly

Scandal is nothing new for the Vatican. That’s been a common take on the arrest of the pope’s butler as part of the ongoing response to documents being leaked from the highest levels of the curia. Reuters called it “reminiscent of Renaissance conspiracies inside the Vatican.” And it’s true. Popes have behaved badly for millennia, ..

Shoes and the Law

Shoes and the Law


Shoes and the Law

The title of a newspaper article caught my eye yesterday: Jews Ponder Day’s Footwear. I had to read to find out what it was about and kept reading because I’ve always been at least mildly interested in observant Judaism and the Talmud. The issue, briefly, is that the Talmud adds extra restrictions to the usual ..

The Two Kingdoms and Social Security

The Two Kingdoms and Social Security


The Two Kingdoms and Social Security

American churches blundered when they supported Roosevelt’s proposal for Social Security, according to Douglas E. Baker. In his essay, “The Theology of Social Security,” Baker concludes: What is disturbing when reviewing the history of this time is how many Christian ministers defended the actions of government as fulfilling Holy Scripture’s mandates to care for the ..

Richer, deeper, and more satisfying

Richer, deeper, and more satisfying


Richer, deeper, and more satisfying

“What would it look like to move from ‘more, bigger, faster’ to ‘richer, deeper and more satisfying?’” No, that quote is not from a church leader of any stripe; it’s from a Harvard Business Review blog by Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project. His basic idea is that business is currently focused ..

The Shroud of Turin observed

The Shroud of Turin observed


The Shroud of Turin observed

Pope Benedict XVI “all but gave an outright endorsement of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.” The shroud, which depicts the image of a man crucified in precisely the same way as Jesus, is on display in Turin cathedral for the first time in a decade, and 2 million people have made reservations to ..

History as Fad

History as Fad


History as Fad

Japanese pop culture has profoundly affected America. You probably recognize the words anime and manga, and you might even know that otaku (nerd or geek) is used to describe Japanese superfans of the diverse genres of animation and their characters. I know more about all of this than I used to thanks to my friend ..

Age-old argument over Haiti quake

Age-old argument over Haiti quake


Age-old argument over Haiti quake

Pat Robertson blamed the earthquake in Haiti on a pact Haitians made with the devil to win their freedom from the French. Vodou (or voudou or voodoo or vodun) practitioners have their own take on the catastrophe. Earl Josue, vodou priest and musician, said, “Mother nature showed us how powerful she is, how sad she ..


Proper 7 · Mark 4:35-41 · June 21, 2009


Proper 7 · Mark 4:35-41 · June 21, 2009

By Paul Robinson Preface: Sometimes a boat is just a boat Although Mark’s account of the stilling of the storm did not occur in any historic lectionary, Matthew’s version of the story was the traditional Gospel reading for the fourth Sunday after Epiphany. So the story has been preached routinely in the history of the ..