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Projecting Power or Promoting Peace: The Prophetic Call for Justice, Kindness, Humility

I want to talk about sin and redemption. I want to confess, to testify, and to prophesy. I want to speak in this manner not just because we are at Southern Methodist University, but because it is appropriate for end times.

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Robert Jensen, Common Dreams

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A version of this essay was delivered at the “People’s Response to the George W. Bush Library and Policy Institute” event at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, on November 14, 2010.

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I want to speak tonight in the language of spirit, but about subjects that transcend religion. I want to discuss politics, but in a way that transcends parties. I want to struggle with crises we have created out of ignorance and inattention; face up to problems that have no simple solutions; deal with the depths of human destructiveness and despair.

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This will lead us, of course, to George W. Bush and his administration’s contribution to this mess.

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For Buddhism, Science is Not a Killer of Religion

Buddhists, says HH the Dalai Lama, aren’t asked to believe anything that’s not in accord with reason and experience.

Paul Wallace, Religion Dispatches

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A monk and a microscope. Photo by Matt Gilbert

Last Monday (Nov 1) I spent an hour listening to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama speak on the issue of science and Buddhism. The occasion was a private luncheon for friends, donors, and faculty of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, a project aimed at incorporating modern science into the curriculum for Tibetan Buddhist monastics in exile throughout India.

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The Dalai Lama talked about Mount Meru, which is, according to traditional Buddhist cosmology, a holy mountain situated at the center of a disc-shaped and flat Earth. This Earth is surrounded on all sides by the sea. This cosmology held until the 16th century, when European explorers arrived in India with a new religion and a new cosmology. The Earth, these visitors insisted, is not flat or disc-shaped, but is instead an enormous ball. This idea met with stiff resistance from the natives. There were problems. For example: Where in this universe was Mount Meru? On the surface of a sphere there is no central or special point for it to rest. Of course, the modern scientific idea finally took hold, but, due to the remoteness of Tibet, it was not until the 20th century that it made its way fully to that land. The Dalai Lama has been in power since 1960, so cosmology has been a live issue for him.

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On sexuality, the hierarchy has usurped the entire teaching office

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  • The Sept. 15 doctrine committee, in addressing the men’s book, The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology, found serious error, saying the work could not be considered authentic Catholic teaching.
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  • 33 years of a conventional mantra
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Regina Schulte, National Catholic Reporter

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The cover of "The Sexual Person," by Todd A. Salzman, who heads the theology department at Creighton University, and retired Creighton professor Michael G. Lawler. (CNS/Georgetown University Press)

For more than three decades the Catholic church has seen no progress in formulating a contemporary understanding of human sexuality, one that will provide principles for pastoral accommodation to new insights. If this were a board game, the church’s piece would still be sitting on “Start.”

Last month (Oct) we witnessed a reoccurring event. This time two theologians at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler, who have been attempting to bring lay insights into the subject of human sexuality, were sharply rebuked by the Committee on Doctrine of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for defending the moral legitimacy of homosexuality, contraception, premarital sex, and other hot-button issues in sexual ethics.

The Sept. 15 doctrine committee, in addressing the men’s book, The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology, found serious error, saying the work could not be considered authentic Catholic teaching.

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Catholic Blogs Aim To Purge Dissenters

Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it's not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn't Catholic enough.

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Rachel Zoll, Associated Press/Huffington Post

In this Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 picture, Michael Voris holds a sword used when he records for RealCatholicTV.com in a studio in Ferndale, Mich. Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it's not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives, including Voris, has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn't Catholic enough. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it's not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn't Catholic enough.

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Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church.

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No Indulgence for Father Bourgeois

Upset that Father Roy Bourgeois supports ordination of women, a Catholic missionary order defunds SOA Watch.
However, Bourgeois considers the denial of priestly ordination of women part of the “sin of sexism” by the Catholic Church.

George Fish, In These Times

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In late July, the American Catholic missionary order Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers revealed its decision to end longtime financial support for the anti-military group SOA Watch. Each year the organization hosts a vigil demanding the closing of the U.S. military’s School of the Americas (SOA), which for 64 years has trained Latin American military officers, many of whom have been linked to the murder and torture of dissidents. (In 2001, the school, located at Ft. Benning, Ga., was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.)

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SOA Watch’s founder and head is 72-year-old Father Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest. In 1990, following the murder of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador by graduates of the SOA in November 1989, Bourgeois and a small group of supporters founded SOA Watch. Bourgeois has also been an outspoken advocate for the ordination of women into the Catholic priesthood. Because of his participation in the ordination of a woman as a priest in 2008, he is considered automatically excommunicated by the Vatican, which demanded, in an October 2008 letter to Maryknoll headquarters in Ossining, N.Y., that he recant his support of women’s ordination. However, Bourgeois considers the denial of priestly ordination of women part of the “sin of sexism” by the Catholic Church, and openly defied the Vatican.

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