Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Lent and emoticons

The Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh has posted a Lenten message, where he discusses the smiley face.

Check it out here, and happy Fat Tuesday!

Da faq, Uniontown?

Last week, Uniontown held an anti-equality parade.  The kicker: the  mental gymnastics they put themselves through to try to convince themselves that they’re the victims and that they really love everybody.

You can read the entire story here (although I think you can only read 10 articles a month from the Herald Standard before you have to pay), but I’m going to pull out a lot of quotes and respond directly to them below.

I”m also confused as to why now.  There is no real movement for marriage equality in Pennsylvania.  Maybe they’re just afraid because of the historic gains in Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota.

The parade was put on by a church, and I would just remind everyone that not all church’s are anti-equality (the Episcopal church has a ceremony for same-sex couples joining together in matrimony).  Read that aside again.  Notice how I used the word ‘church’ and ‘matrimony.’  Marriage is a civil contract, and the definition has changed quite a bit over the years (see the graphic to the left), not to mention what the Bible itself lists as acceptable (or sometimes forced) marriages.

It’s a bit long, so I’ll put it after the jump, please take a minute and have a read.  I swear a bit.  But we’re talking about civil rights here.  I’m surprised I didn’t swear more.

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The Episcopal Diocese: Here We Go Again

Here’s the (shortened version of the) backstory: A few years ago, the former bishop of Pittsburgh left and created his own church in the Anglican Communion over “differences.”  I put differences in quotation marks because, quite simply, he didn’t think certain types of people, namely those in the LGBT community and women, should be bishops, and that’s not a difference, that’s running contrary to Jesus’ call to accept and love everyone.  Jesus never once put limits on his love or who could be his disciples.

His leaving was drawn out and drama-filled, although I guess it actually was easier and shorter than it could have been, so that’s a positive.  We’ve had interim bishops and the diocese finally elected a new bishop after an extended search process.  Our diocese split, but I think became stronger and more focused on outreach and love because of all the drama.

Every three years, the Episcopal Church has their general convention (which includes a whole lot of legislating and more representatives than the Indian Parliament…true story).  Since this was going on (instead of a separate meeting of House of Bishops (as I understand it), our bishop-elect was set to be confirmed and then, if approved, join the House (spoiler alert: he was).

I’ll put the rest after the jump, since I’ll be quoting a large amount of text, and probably most of the readers have tuned out by this point.  Like, I could probably put something here about giving away huge sums of money and no one would notice, because who really is going to read my rantings about local religious politics.  I’m not giving away any money by the way, sorry, but the offer still stands for free drinks if you want to write for Metblogs, though!

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Happy Easter!

I’m not sure if it will embed or not, so just in case, here’s the link to the Star morning show’s Peep Olympics:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aEeUa40tYw[/youtube]

Catholic Service to right wrongs

I’ve never quite heard of this before, but Bishop Zubik is going to have a special service for anyone who has been wronged by the Catholic Church.

There will be nothing expected of you but your willingness to pray with me. No one will bother you

I think it’s a neat idea, although it is sad that such a thing needs to exists.  I sincerely hope that no one is bothered, and even if I did feel like I was wronged in the past, as much as I think this could provide some closure, I imagine it would be hard for anyone to attend.

Truth be told, I don’t know much about Zubik, I did not care for Bishop Wuerhl (I’m also probably spelling his name incorrectly, sorry about that), but so far Zubik seems on par with what I suppose I’ve come to expect from the Catholic Bishop of Pittsburgh (if such an archetype exists in my head).

I’ve been reading Slog lately, the blog of Seattle’s The Stranger, and a few days ago, it erupted with a news story about a girl and her mother being excommunicated in South America.  The whole story is tragic on many, many levels, so it’s nice to counterpoint it with this outreach.  Here’s hoping.

Bishop Katharine to visit Pittsburgh

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church will be at Calvary church tomorrow at the 11 a.m. service.  All are welcome to come out and see her as she celebrates and preaches.  Bishop Katharine is the first woman elected as presiding bishop (kind of like a cardinal, except there is only one for the country).  She will also lead a discussion at 1:15 p.m. tomorrow in the church nave.

More information: www.calvarypgh.org

Schisms and Second Life: The Episcopal Church(s) in Pittsburgh

Recently, Pittsburgh has been the center of drama for the Episcopal Church.  The bishop was deposed and the then presiding ‘standing committee’ led the diocese in a vote to separate from The Episcopal Church, USA and align themselves with the Anglican province of The Southern Cone.  [Note: I only use quotations around standing committee to help with grammar, without them I thought the sentence was unruly.  Anyway, back to the post.]

 

Having been the lone Episcopal student at a Catholic college, religious discussions were never hard to find.  In addition, those four years helped me to develop my own view of faith and religion, and it doesn’t necessarily fit easily into any pre-determined cubby hole.  But that’s ok.

 

A concept everyone invovled should be adopting

Really, it is a sad situation, but so often the debates and conflicts that play out in the Episcopal Church are precursors to what other churches will face and discuss.  So while there is a benefit to the church’s transparency, it is certainly something that will be faced not only by the Episcopal Church, but other communities soon as well.

 

But like I said above (two paragraphs if you want to take another look), what does this mean?  Well, to me, it’s been drama that I really haven’t wanted to deal with.  Yes, it is interesting, and yes, it is very important, but after a point, you just want to go to church, you know?  No drama.  No finger pointing.  No whirlwinds of rhetoric or semantics.  Just church.

 

So in that spirit, here are some links that I’ve come across, some fun, some informative, but maybe they’ll help us all out a little bit:

 

  • What would heavy religious discussions be without baseball?  I’m not really sure either, but both are examined in this blog, check it out.
  • Aside from the Sacraments, can an online church provide everything one made of brick and mortar does?  Check out this article to read more.
  • And even though the Anglican presence in Second Life (as discussed in the article above) is much bigger, Church of Fools has been around longer, coming out of its predecessor, the online reality show, The Ark.  Also check out its parent site, Ship of Fools.
  • And of course, bringing it back across the pond to the ‘Burgh, I headed over to Epiphany Catholic Church next to the Mellon Arena for lunch on Friday.  They have a fish fry every week of the year (barring holidays).  The food was great, and the price was amazing.  If you’re nearby Friday, head on over!

 

As always, I try to remain at least somewhat neutral, so hopefully I did during this post.  But hey, blogs are discussions.  So I have to ask, what are your thoughts?  Has this schism affected you personally?  Let me know in the comments below!

Bishops gone wild

The old joke is that the two biggest religions in Pittsburgh are Catholicism and Lapsed Catholicism. That is a pretty severe exaggeration, but you would never know that from the news coverage here, which never met a story about Catholics it didn’t like. Thus, all the stories about yesterday’s installation of a new bishop, seen here delivering his famous “seven words you can’t say in seminary” bit.

New Bishop David Zubik wants Catholics to “be excited about our faith, and how we live it.” Traditionally Catholics are excited about faith in the same way that Americans are excited about soccer: we pretend when the kids are young, but once the brats are off to college we get to relax and care about what really matters, the Steelers. The only difference is that when Americans age and begin to feel the cold breath of death on the backs of their necks, few turn to David Beckham (some Brits do).

Meanwhile Pittsburgh’s Episcopalian Bishop Robert Duncan, seen here hating fags, was busy making our fair city look bad by starting his own church dedicated to being Episcopalians who hate fags. Post-Gazette:

Bishop Duncan said that forming a separate North American church structure for conservatives is “necessary because of the drift of the church in the West.”

“We’re in a time of reformation,” he said.

The partnership will include the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a network of Episcopal parishes that have split from the U.S. denomination and have aligned with Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, an outspoken critic of Episcopal acceptance of gay relationships.

The original Reformation was about personal closeness to your deity and the proper relationship of spirituality to secular concerns, with Protestant reformers asking hard questions about how to best serve Christianity’s promise of universal love. Catholic traditionalists responded by digging in their heels and hewing closely to doctrine.

Sadly, Bishop Duncan probably thinks that he is the Martin Luther in this new “reformation” rather than the Grand Inquisitor.

Ohio Woman May Be A Saint

The Post Gazette had an awesome story of a widower who is trying to make his wife and mother of twelve a saint. To me this is an open and shut case– Duh, she sure is!!!

“Some experts say that Mrs. Coniker appears to be the kind of new saint that the Vatican is looking for: She lived and died in a happy marriage. The claim for heroic virtue is based partly on her refusal to abort her 11th child after a doctor warned that the birth would kill her. With her husband, she gave up affluence to found a ministry to families.

That ministry includes Catholic Familyland, which can house up to 1,000 people for swimming, horseback riding and Eucharistic devotion; the Familyland TV network; teaching centers in Mexico, Europe, Russia, Nigeria and the Philippines; and a vast array of books and media on Catholic theology for laity. At Familyland’s annual Totus Tuus Family Conference, which begins Friday, Mr. Coniker will speak about his late wife.

They met at St. Gregory High School in Chicago and married in 1959, when she was 19 and he was 20. He later started a management firm that had Fortune 500 clients, and they bought a six-bedroom house near Chicago.”

How do you get the kids interested in environmentalism?


Apparently you use a Jewish moose.

Some people might be surprised to learn that moose are Jewish. You shouldn’t be, says Gabe Goldman, educator in Jewish environmentalism:

“The moose is the largest kosher animal roaming the wilds of North America,” said Goldman. And at 7 feet in height, “it makes you say ‘wow!’ Wow is a form of prayer.”


He is absolutely right: all animals that you will eat are co-religionists. That is why you see so many goldfish bowls in Catholic Churches during Lent.

Catholics, one of whom is seen here with a sign (a sign is a form of prayer), then take the fish home and swallow them whole, seen in the photo accompanying my last post.

The Hebraic environmentalist moose’s motto:

“baal taschit” (don’t waste)

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