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Religion & Spirituality

The Politics of Miracle

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The Exodus Miracle as Revolution according to Rabbi Ya’akov Moshe Charlap

Shaul Magid, Tikkun

 

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https://www.tikkun.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Charlap-336x469.jpg / April10,2019 | The Jewish tradition suggests that the miracle of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt is the foundational miracle upon which all miracles rest. The question is: what exactly was the miracle? In a provocative essay, Rabbi Ya’akov Moshe Charlap (1882-1951) suggests that the unique nature of the exodus miracle is not any visual change in the natural order, such as the parting of the Reed Sea, but rather the erasure of exile as a category and the possibility that the slave can become the master through a new kind of servitude. This, he posits, is the notion of revolution, not viewed as a temporary intervention into the order of nature but a structural change in creation that points to the possibility of a usurpation of societal order for the sake of freedom and justice.

R. Ya’akov Moshe Charlap was born and died in Jerusalem having lived there his entire life. A respected member of the Old Settlement Jewish community – he was rabbi of the Shaarei Hesed neighborhood in Jerusalem – he became a Zionist and one of the closest colleagues (talmid/haver) of R. Abraham Isaac Kook. Charlap served as Dean (Rosh Yeshiva) of the Yeshivat Mercaz ha-Rav Kook from its founding in 1924 until his death in 1951 after which the position went to Kook’s son, R. Zvi Yehuda Kook. Charlap wrote a number of important works including the multi-volume Mei Marom dedicated to Torah commentary, essays on the festivals, and musar. The essay discussed here and translated below is from his volume of Mei Marom on Pesah and Shavuot.

Shaul Magid, the editor of Jewish Thought and Culture at Tikkun Magazine, is the Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, Kogod Senior Research Fellow at The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, and rabbi of the Fire Island Synagogue. He is presently working on a cultural biography of Meir Kahane.

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The Terribly Tiny God of MAGA Christians

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I hope and pray that (professed Christians who support this President) soon find a God who is big enough so that they stop living so small.

John Pavlovitz, johnpavlovitz.com

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April 11, 2019 | I feel sorry for professed Christians who support this President.

They have a profound and fundamental spiritual problem: their God is too small.

They passionately worship a deity made in their own image: white, American, Republican, male—and perpetually terrified of just about everything: Muslims, immigrants, gay children, Special Counsel reports, mandalas, Harry Potter, Starbucks holiday cups, yoga, wind turbines, Science—everything. Their God is so laughably minuscule, so fully neutered of power, so completely devoid of functioning vertebrae that “He” cannot protect them from the encroaching monsters they are certain lurk around every corner to overwhelm them.

https://johnpavlovitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/John-Pavlovitz-Headshot-10-2018.jpg / John Pavlovitz is an American Christian pastor and author, known for his social and political writings from a liberal Christian perspective.

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Misogyny Is the Catholic Church’s Original Sin

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Allowing female leadership could be the only way to save the ailing church.

Sady Doyle, Medium

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Feb 12, 2019 | When I was little, I wanted to be a priest. Our family was Catholic, and I was the most fervent. We celebrated every feast day. I crowned Mary with flowers in May and blessed my cat with holy water to honor St. Francis of Assisi. I once nearly scalded myself to death by adding boiling water to the bathtub because I’d heard saints mortified their flesh. Then, one Sunday when my brother and I were too sick to leave the house, I blessed some bread and fed it to him so he could receive Holy Communion.

My CCD teacher screamed at me. I could never do that, never, because it was for priests to do, and girls could not be priests. God chose the clergy to serve Him, and all those clergy— from the pope down to Father Joe, who quoted Monty Python and kept a pack of Marlboros in his cassock — were men, because God was a man. I could be a nun. I could serve priests. But to serve God directly — it was sinful for a girl to even want it, let alone attempt it.

https://miro.medium.com/fit/c/120/120/1*VYfkBHVMEnq0Xprf34tPxw.jpeg / Sady Doyle: Author of “Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why” (Melville House, 2016). Seen at Elle, In These Times, and all across the Internet.

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Clerical cronyism and secrecy shielded McCarrick and others.

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 / Cardinal Theodore McCarrick arrives at a meeting of cardinals in advance of the conclave to elect a new pope at the Vatican in March 2013. (CNS/Reuters/Max Rossi)

Then-Cardinal McCarrick was apparently used to living a double life and thought no one would reveal the truth. And one thing is for sure. His case is not unique.

Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

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Oct 22, 2018 | Two months into the sex abuse scandal that forced Theodore McCarrick to renounce his cardinal's red hat and withdraw to a Capuchin friary in Kansas, Catholics are still asking, "How did this happen?" How does someone like McCarrick advance to the pinnacle of Catholic power and stay there for so long when he carries so much baggage of crime and sin? Was there no vetting? Were there no background checks? Was someone protecting him?

If there is any "malpractice" in this scandal, it belongs to the various papal nuncios (Vatican ambassadors) and the members of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, who are responsible for checking the backgrounds of candidates for the episcopacy. They did not do their jobs. It also belongs to McCarrick's patrons and promoters in America and in Rome, including Cardinals Francis Spellman (archbishop of New York 1939-67) and Terence Cooke (archbishop of New York 1968-83) and Pope John Paul II. All three were enchanted by McCarrick's fundraising skills.

Peter Daly is a retired priest of the Washington Archdiocese and a lawyer. After 31 years of parish service, he now works with Catholic Charities.

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The Covington Catholic Boys "Conundrum"

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  • Part 1: Covington Catholic Boys Shouldn’t Be Expelled—They Should Be Educated.
  • "Haul their asses back to school and teach them better.” Also their parents. And some of their teachers ... .
  • Part 2: "Unfortunate and Regrettable"
  • The Cincinnati diocese called the boy's behavior “unfortunate and regrettable,” the language when PR isn't conceding fault

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest


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Part 1: Covington Catholic Boys Shouldn’t Be Expelled—They Should Be Educated.


https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JnmNWjoHJuU/XENyw6po5uI/AAAAAAABJiA/Z00gMAryFrMaWHBkgBdtxtSSRbPjEl8vwCLcBGAs/s1600/asshole.jpgWhen I saw that sickening video of the Covington Catholic HS students, my first thought was “haul their asses back to school and teach them better.” Also their parents. And some of their teachers ... .

Erin Wathen, Patheos

January 20, 2019 | Several years ago, there was some egregious display of racism on a college campus. I’m thinking it was somewhere in the south, or possibly Texas? The “where” is not the point. What I remember about that instance is the large public outcry for the students to be expelled. In response, the University President issued a public statement, saying that to be kicked out of school was the LAST thing these students needed. “If we expel these students, what do they learn?” he said. The purpose of a college is to expand minds, to expose students to worldviews beyond their own limited experience. This was an opportunity, he said, to make sure they do not hold onto their harmful views, but be stretched beyond them. Rather than casting them out to live among like-minded people who would only reinforce their prejudice, the school would make sure they got an education.

I’m paraphrasing mightily here, but that was the gist. Within community, transformation is possible. Beyond it, there is only isolation.

https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b74f7ca70483103d7b13738306adccf4?s=190&d=mm&r=g Erin Wathen is the Senior Pastor of Saint Andrew Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Olathe, KS. She's a Kentucky native.

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Part 2: "Unfortunate and Regrettable"

The Cincinnati diocese called the boy's behavior “unfortunate and regrettable,” the language when PR isn't conceding fault—fitting because this was in keeping with the theology they've been taught.

Morgan Guyton, Patheos <>

January 20, 2019 | The boys of Covington Catholic High School stole the show at this weekend’s March for Life in Washington, DC when they surrounded and mocked Vietnam Veteran and indigenous elder Nathan Phillips while he was in the midst of a sacred ceremony. What stuck out in my mind was the response from the Cincinnati Diocese, who called the incident “unfortunate and regrettable.”

That’s the kind of language that public relations officials use when they don’t want to concede fault but they don’t want to be accused of condoning something that is getting a lot of negative media. Roman Catholic public relations officials have had a lot of practice with this kind of wordsmithing because of their rapist priests. But the language is fitting. Because what the boys did was entirely in keeping with the theology they have been taught. It was simply a socially unpalatable way of expressing it.

https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/ccc7edabc6e70bd443d33eab0f05ce8d?s=190&d=mm&r=gMorgan Guyton is the director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, which is the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA.

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Let the church die, so that the church might live

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 / (Unsplash/Jacob Mejicanos)

  • Young Voices: Catholic ritual and liturgies counter our culture's death-denial. But what of a church that refuses to look upon itself and denies that it is in its own season of death?
  • Related: Open letter to the US Catholic bishops: It's over.

Mark Piper, National Catholic Reporter


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January 3, 2019 |

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life (John 12:24-25).

Here in the dead of winter, I offer a metaphor, a request, built upon my observations and yearnings for meaning in a church that mirrors the world inasmuch as both are experiencing seasons of suffering. The request is this: Let thechurchdie, so that the church might live.

Having come of age during the wafer wars, Boston, Rome's investigation of LCWR and continuously increased polarization and scandal, let the obviously sick and dying die.

https://www.ncronline.org/sites/default/files/styles/author_bio_pic/public/authors/Mark%20Twitter%20Headshot%20July%202018.jpg?itok=DC3uSCvP / Mark Piper, a Packers fan in an unholy land, works in the nonprofit sector. He resides in Chicago with his family and holds a master's in public policy from DePaul University and a bachelor's from St. Xavier University; he isanalumus of Amate House, an AmeriCorps-approved year of service organization sponsored by the Chicago Archdiocese.

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Related:

Open letter to the US Catholic bishops: It's over. Editorial Staff, National Catholic Reporter (NCR)

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This time, it has to be different. Bishops, the prolonged abuse scandal would suggest that you've not done very well taking stock of yourselves.
 

 

 

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Accepting the Truth About Climate Change is a Matter of State/Church Separation

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  • We get one shot at life and we get it on this one planet. Let's not ruin it.
  • Related: Preaching on Climate Change: Why it Matters

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Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist

Another mundane “miracle”: a cross left standing in the wake of a hurricane that killed 33 people. God didn’t save the people or even the church from Hurricane Michael. Instead, he saved a torture-device-turned-religious symbol.


This religious myopia is remarkably consistent. After Hurricane Harvey, Christians claimed that their god saveda cross and let over 100 people die. And it might not have been a cross, just a telephone pole.
 

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. He is a former National Board Certified high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, where he taught for seven years.


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Related:

Preaching on Climate Change: Why it Matters, Jim Antal, Utne

https://opimedia.azureedge.net/-/media/images/utr/editorial/articles/online-articles/2018/08-01/climate-church-climate-world/global-disaster-jpg.jpg / Climate change is not going to affect me; it’s someone else’s problem. The challenge is too enormous; there’s nothing I can do about it, so why should I think about it? Photo by Getty/BenGoode

  • Learn about the benefits of preaching on climate change and educating yourself about the issues this catastrophe presents.
  • Related: Federal Climate Report Predicts At Least 3 Degrees Of Warming By 2100.

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