This week's readings include sentiments that appall me: dashing children's heads against rocks; applauding the idea of Jerusalem as a woman abandoned and abused because she had it coming; accepting the idea of slavery and the "proper place" of inferiors. I cannot go where these texts would lead me. I will not follow them.
United Methodist pastor Elise Erikson Barrett writes for women who have experienced miscarriage, pastors who help couples grapple with it and anyone who has helped a friend, spouse or relative grieve.
Security and risk are nothing new. Today's biblical texts deal not with
stocks and bonds exactly, but with living in the real circumstances of
a difficult and uncertain world while also accepting the possibility of
good, of help and support, comfort and security.
Too much writing about the arts and Christianity is apologetic, explaining why the church should be concerned about artistic expression. Within that category is a lot of writing that voices high-minded generalities about "good art" and "bad art" and about who should and should not be making art.
How does a church choose a bank? Typically we look for the best deal and then pat ourselves on the back for our good stewardship, as if stewardship had to do simply with saving money rather than with putting it to good use.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a French Catholic, says that if you don’t show up early for mass at his parish in Paris, you might have to sit on folding chairs in a spillover space or even sit on the floor. There’s nothing unusual about his parish priest, although he does have Pope Francis’s spirit of generosity. Gobry’s parish is like other urban areas in France. Despite the country’s reputation for secularism, Gobry thinks the French church may be on the verge of a time of renewal (The Week, January 15).