I've always been ambivalent about Halloween. When I was
little, my sisters and I dressed up and went trick-or-treating, but we weren't
allowed to wear scary costumes. (Or rather, nothing supernatural and scary--my sister's Raggedy Ann getup [left] screams
Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party recently sent out
a pair of direct mail ads against Republican state senate candidate Dan Hall.
Both ads refer repeatedly to him as "Preacher Dan Hall." One
(pdf) shows a man in a clerical collar wearing a pin that says, "Ignore the
poor." The other
(pdf) features an elaborate, old-fashioned angel holding a banner: "Blessed are
I readily admit that readings such as today's gospel make me a bit
uncomfortable. When Jesus starts talking about being "cast into hell"
or how "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be
forgiven," I struggle to fit this in with other images of Jesus eating
with tax collectors and sinners, with his call to love and pray for
your enemies. Perhaps, as a modern "liber
I agree with a lot of Cathleen Falsani's piece
on The Social Network, in which she
praises Facebook's capacity for reconnecting real-world friends and reinforcing
existing community. But she loses me when she suggests this is the site's purpose.
A few years ago, when I was researching a story
in Veracruz, Mexico, the proprietor of a small cantina and I struck up a
conversation. When talk turned to religion, Señor Gonzalez shyly asked if I
would like to see one of his most highly prized treasures.
Mary Valle, who recently heard of the Christian flag for the first time, I
grew up pledging allegiance to it at school. In 1897, a Sunday school superintendent
in Brooklyn was discussing with students the symbolism of having a U.S.