Showing posts from 2019

Two Popes

With my son and daughter, I watched "The Two Popes" on Christmas Eve, depicting fictional conversations between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. The film accurately depicts the debate between right and left in the Catholic Church. In a PBS Newshour interview, the director voices my bias by saying he began thinking of Benedict (played by Anthony Hopkins) as the bad guy, but when working through the project he could see the grey areas. Although the two never had those conversations, "The Two Popes" accurately presents right and left positions. It is also historical in showing Francis' conversion as a result of his experience when Argentina's military waged a "Dirty War" against the Catholic Church. We see that guilt and suffering have the power to enlighten. 

Listen to me

I will be on  “Voices of the Sacred Feminine,” an online radio program by Karen Tate on the day after Christmas, December 26, at  11:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Central, 2:00 Eastern time.   My topic will be "The Goddess in the Bible."  Follow the link and do it five minutes early in case you have to sign in.  The Bible is suffused with feminine God imagery, but redactors and translators have made Her hard to recognize. 

Quantum Physics on Prayer

In my previous post I quoted this by physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner: Quantum mechanics challenges [commonsense] intuitions by having (conscious) observation actually create the physical reality observed. These physicists don’t shy away from the shocking implications of quantum science—that’s what I love about Quantum Enigma . After the statement above they write: This idea is so hard to accept that some soften it by saying that observation appears to create the observed reality. Most physicists . . . today decline to sidestep the enigma with semantics and rather face up to what Nature seems to be telling us . . . Years ago, when I first read what happens in quantum experiments, I immediately drew spiritual implications from it. Since then I’ve read multiple experts—physicists and spiritual masters—who support my conclusions. Rosenblum and Kuttner refuse to affirm spiritual lessons—they stick to physics—but for me it’s impossible to avoid spiritual implications becau

Where I grew up   The square house where I grew up originally had three sets of stairs anchoring its middle—basement stairs to main floor, stairs to bedrooms, and stairs to the attic. We could climb even higher, but I’ll leave that for now. There were four rooms downstairs, four upstairs. To me, the most appealing things about our house were the flowers my mom cultivated around it—her precious Blumen . The house had been reconfigured by the time I arrived. The back door had become front door with a small porch. It led to the largest room downstairs, our dining, sewing, television, music, family room, where everything but cooking and sleeping happened—band practice the loudest. The room's corner in the middle of the house held the Loch —meaning “hole” in German—a walled-in area under stairs to the bedrooms. Before reconstruction, this space had held stairs from what had been the back door to the basement. The narrow Loch ’s ceiling slanted down almost to the

Amazon Synod of Bishops

Sacred indigenous image vandalized, October 31, 2019 In connection with Pope Francis’ synod of bishops for the Amazon, indigenous people of the Amazon brought sacred symbols to the Vatican for a prayer service. One was the figure of a pregnant woman, which triggered conservative outcry on the Internet. Vandals stole the figure and threw it into the Tiber River. The NCR editorial relating this story decried racism in the conservative outcry and vandalism. But I see more. This could not have happened if the Catholic Church accepted God as Mother and prayed to Her. The indigenous people of Latin America revere the Divine Mother regardless of Church doctrine’s careful distinction—only Father and Son are divine, Mother Mary is not. Latins prefer Mother Mary to Father anyway, continuing indigenous worship that preceded the arrival of Europeans. Goddesses were popular in South America long before Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego. Her garb, mysteriously imprinted on his

Like immigrants today A New York Times article threw national attention onto anti-Muslim hostility in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Besides sadness and embarrassment here, it generated an ongoing debate in the St. Cloud Times between supporters of immigrants and persons opposed. I wrote in a Your Turn article for the St. Cloud Times : I am sad that I saw German names signed on letters angry at the Times for encouraging hospitality to Somali immigrants. . . . Stearns County is known for its heavy concentration of German-Catholics—my people. I’d like to be proud of them. I noted striking parallels in today’s anti-immigrant feeling to facts I found in writing Beyond Parochial Faith: A Catholic Confesses . German-Catholic families fled poverty and violence in Europe as Somalis flee al-Shabaab in Somalia and Hispanics flee violent gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. In the 19th century, my great-great grandparents living in the poorest region

Beyond Parochial Faith

My memoir, Beyond Parochial Faith: A Catholic Confesses is now available at   Six years ago, a woman rang my doorbell and said she walked a mile to tell me that my book, God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky: Cherishing Christianity without Its Exclusive Claims, had a profound effect on her. Its subversion of common Christian belief seemed undeniable but left her bereft. She asked me to write a sequel for persons like herself who wonder, “If not Christianity, then what?” Beyond Parochial Faith offers some answers . My fire-of-purification story traces my evolving views of religions and spirituality, culminating in faith I call “secular.” It weaves together strands of my life—alcoholic husband and mid-life meltdown, judgmental siblings and prudish aunts, Carl Jung and Father-Son myth, the Goddess and the historical Jesus, lord-gods and sexual abuse, atheists and naïve seminarians, Teilhard de Chardin and quantum theory,

Intrigued by 4th Gospel

JFK & Mary Magdalene, May 10, 2019 John F. Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for  Profiles in Courage . The book deserved the honor but not the purported author. Kennedy did conceive the idea and some of the content, but he did none of the research or writing. Most of that was done by Theodore Sorenson, whom Kennedy called his “research assistant.” Sorenson is the one who gave the book its “drama and flow,” according to historian Herbert Parmet. Ted Sorenson was essentially the  ghostwriter of  Profiles in Courage .  I see a parallel in the gospel I call the “Fourth Gospel” instead of the “Gospel of John.” Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do not really name authors of the gospels. Each of these gospel names, for various reasons, developed while the gospels were being passed around. They became convenient tags for identifying and discussing the gospels, but they are not the authors’ names. “John” was thought to be the only real name of the Fourth Gospel, because John is named at the

Church hypocrisy

POLITICAL  HIERARCHY, August 21, 2019 Religion and politics are intertwined. Religion is not the same as spirituality, particularly if we’re talking about institutional religion. The political structure of the Catholic Church works against spiritual goals that should be the main concerns of religion—kindness, fairness, and compassion. Instead, Catholic hierarchy wants to tell people what to believe and what to do. It wants to judge what’s good and what’s sinful. Pope Francis’ dislike of judging sins and his focus on loving kindness do not sit well with Catholic conservatives, who flourished under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They have veered further right since then. I believe Benedict resigned because he realized he could not fix financial and sexual corruption rampant in Church hierarchy. Pope Frances was voted in to reform it, but he receives steady pressure from right-wingers. The extreme right is led by Cardinal Raymond Burke, who claims to know the “authenti

Epiphany (revealing moment)

When I was growing up, Catholics believed that Epiphany celebrates three kings who visited Jesus in the manger. Today the word  epiphany  is more pregnant with meaning. Various definitions of epiphany show its intangible quality—flash, insight, inspiration, realization. Epiphanies are sudden flashes of awakening to the inner realm. To illustrate, I am re-posting a story I wrote about in this space before. In  Fingerprints of God , Barbara Bradley Hagerty never speaks the word “epiphany” but that’s what she writes about,  reluctantly. She was a little embarrassed, “spooked,” to find herself experiencing transcendence. An NPR correspondent, Hagerty explores whether science can find physical evidence of God in her book,  Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality . She wanted to know, Does brain activity reflect encounters with a spiritual dimension?  I’m glad she used terms like “spiritual dimension,” “transcendence” and “spiritual reality” and never reduced