Sometime during the night of July 18-19, in what we now know as the Year of Our Lord 64, probably in one of the shops that lined the road between the Caelian and Palentine Hills, a fire broke out. The Circus Maximus, the Great Roman sports stadium, dominated the neighborhood of little wooden shops and large wooden apartment … Continue reading How Populism Ends: The Fire of Rome, Nero and Conspiracy Theories
In a fit of royal rage, Henry uttered the words that would change the history of both Church and Crown in England. We are not sure exactly what they were, but the traditional version is: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
It’s the Good Friday feeling. When your marriage comes undone. When your beloved partner lies rotting with cancer. When your company implodes. When your brave son or daughter is blown apart in a senseless war or splattered on a windshield by a drunken driver. It’s what the abandoning and abandoned disciples felt that day, back there in Jerusalem, looking up at a broken, tortured and dead body, hanging on a tree trunk, the dirt below reddened with blood.
Without apostasy, Christianity would never have had a St. Paul, who was an apostate Jew. Without heresy, Christianity never would have had a Martin Luther, a John Calvin or a Michael Servetus.
Doubt is good, even if some well-meaning priest doesn’t think so, for it is only doubt which allows us to see the truth. Doubt is the seed of faith and brings us, kicking and screaming, to the foundations of reality.
We love sin, we love how it tastes, how it shines, how it smells, how it makes us feel.. But we hate it when somebody sins against us. So, unless we want this whole offend-offense business to find the secret of eternal life and screw up the entire future of our hearts and minds—our very souls—we have to forgive those miserable offenders.
The deconstructive liturgy of Ash Wednesday is an anti-Palm Sunday rite: there is no triumph here, just a one sentence reminder that the people who want Jesus to free them don’t really want it badly enough not to betray him, literally or figuratively. That would be us.
I’m tuning out, dropping out, and focusing back in on those things that matter: mindfulness, spiritual awareness, balance, hopefulness, peace and joy and especially, justice. This blog began as a personal account of my own struggle to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly (Micah 6:8) in the public square. I have been doing a terrible job at that of late. And I’m counting on Lent to help me get my own spiritual journey back on track.
Whether or not Trump wins in next week’s election, they have irreparably compromised Christianity itself and the contempt with which my friend and millions of other people feel for the Church will grow.
His father was one of the greatest evangelists of this or any other age, but Franklin Graham ain't your daddy's evangelist. His work with Samaritan's Purse, particularly in Sudan, is legendary, but his $416,000 salary and $117,000 benefits package (according to the organization's 990, available on www.guidestar.org) gives one pause about his commitment to the people … Continue reading Why Franklin Graham is Wrong