rituals

Books

Extravagant Affections, by Susan A. Ross

A priest poses the question to a group of children: "How many sacraments are there?" Without missing a beat a little girl responds: "Seven for boys, and six for girls." The math may differ for different communions, with fewer sacraments distributed more equitably among the genders, but Susan A. Ross of Loyola University raises questions that no sacramental tradition can ignore. She posits a principle all traditions could embrace: all of life is potentially revelatory of the divine. Then Ross surveys all facets of her question: how can one construct a sacramental theology that takes the bodies of men and women as seriously as it takes the body of Christ?

Books

The rite stuff

A recent Sunday worship service moved me to tears. Despite being an analytical sociologist committed to rational descriptions of human behavior, my eyes welled up. Our pastor invited parishioners desiring to be healed to come forward and be anointed with three drops of oil on the forehead.