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Showing posts from July, 2008

Goddess Mary

National Catholic Reporter has a lovely article about Meinrad Craighead, an artist who grew up Catholic and whose images convey “a keen sense of the brooding, watching, beckoning power she finds in the land around her, in the sky above, the earth below, in the animals, in our dreams.”

I would change a word in the statement that the artist’s “first real religious experience, at the age of 7, was not in the church but in nature, with her dog.” Her experience was spiritual, not religious.

Gazing into her dog’s eyes, Craighead as a girl felt water rushing deep inside her and saw a woman’s face that she immediately recognized as God, “more real, more powerful than the remote ‘Father’ I was educated to have faith in. . . . God the Mother came to me and, as children will do, I kept her a secret. We hid together inside the structures of institutional Catholicism.”

Craighead’s feminine images of the Divine are healing the Christian tradition’s lopsided use of male images and masculine pronouns. “…

God is not supernatural

We don’t need proofs of divine reality because we all have an innate sense of it, atheists included. The work of mythologists supports the conclusion I reached from my own experience that God is the most natural reality, not some super-natural, extra-natural, un-natural, external-to-reality being we have to be told to believe in.

The Mystery deep within all reality does not belong to religion more than to the rest of life, and any claim by a religion that it possesses exclusive revelation of what we call God is absurd. It is religion’s preposterous claims plus its conflicts, craziness, and cruelties that disgust atheists. Understandable. But let’s not ignore the positive contributions of religion.

A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicated a growing awareness by Americans that God is not a humanlike individual. This is a step toward realizing that the Holy Force is independent of religion. While 60% of respondents said they believe in a “personal God,” a sur…

Women in the Bible

A 1996 study by Sr. Ruth Fox analyzed passages chosen for the lectionary, the book of biblical readings used in liturgical celebrations. http://www.futurechurch.org/watw/womeninbibleandlectionary.htm

She found that passages in the Bible about women performing significant deeds have been omitted or relegated to weekdays instead of Sundays or “neatly sliced out of the middle of the lectionary passage.” The pattern of exclusion could not have been accidental. It was deliberate, and it reinforces the message promulgated by Church officials: Women are subordinate to men in regard to sacred matters.

Fox cites examples in the scriptures known to most Christians as Old and New Testaments. Some omissions are almost laughable because the reading stops just at the point when women are depicted as dignified messengers from God to humanity. And sometimes, writes Fox, “Passages containing positive references to [women] are left out while those containing negative references are retained.”

It’s all …

Justice for poor, marginalized

The Catholic Church preaches justice, compassion, and aid to the poor. Over the centuries Catholics have lived out that commitment in many ways, but certain actions of its hierarchy send the very opposite message.

John Nienstedt succeeded the beloved Bishop Raymond Lucker in the Diocese of New Ulm and caused consternation with his hard-line, rightist positions on sexual morality and other matters. Then the ultra-conservative was promoted to become Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Fears of the consequences have materialized. His office has attacked two vibrant Catholic parishes in Minneapolis, some would argue, the two most active promoters of justice—St. Stephen’s and St. Joan of Arc—by thwarting their ministries to the marginalized. In both, their offense in his view apparently was that the parishes affirmed gay and lesbian persons.

A board member of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities called the archbishop’s action “another volley of dehumanizing spiritual vi…

Tax System Unfair

I received phone calls in enthusiastic agreement with my article in the St. Cloud Times.
http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080630/OPINION/106300049/-1/archives
Our democracy is in danger of becoming a plutocracy, a nation controlled by the rich.
A really “free market” would not slather economic rewards on a favored few. We need to tax the wealthiest Americans fairly to avoid going the way of Latin America or Asia.