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Posts tagged "Pope Francis"

Church of the Deconstruction

Church of the Deconstruction

This piece was featured in Issue 7 of The Mockingbird: The Church Issue. Issue 8 is well underway!

In a recent visit to Mexico, Pope Francis spoke to a congregation of Mexican bishops and clergy. His words were harsh, to say the least. Instead of decrying the social and political upheaval of the country, or its history of human trafficking and drug violence, the pontiff pointed the finger at his subordinates, warning them of their seduction by religious power:

Do not allow yourselves to be corrupted by trivial materialism or by the seductive illusion of underhanded agreements; do not place your faith…

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PZ's Podcast: Pope Francis and the Historical Jesus

PZ’s Podcast: Pope Francis and the Historical Jesus

EPISODE 203

So much has been written — I mean, SO MUCH — concerning the so-called Historical Jesus: a welter of books and “Untersuchungen”. I’ve spent most of my career reading these books, and writing a few, too.

Then Pope Francis came along and put them all in a cocked hat. This is because if you want to see with your own eyes how Jesus operated in the New Testament — how he acted, how he spoke, how he was desired, and how he was received — all you need to do is watch Francis. Phrancis.

The way Christ was with Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus,…

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PZ's Podcast: Pope Francis - SPECIAL EDITION

PZ’s Podcast: Pope Francis – SPECIAL EDITION

Pope Francis clasping hands with an inmate at a Philadelphia prison yesterday – Click here for PZ’s commentary.

EPISODE 202

Did you cry at any point as you watched Pope Francis in action during his visit? If you did, when was it? What made you cry?

Now it wasn’t just John Boehner! I noticed as I watched the Pope inter-acting with individuals, and especially with individuals in acute need or distress, that it was those encounters that touched me personally. (I was abreacting all over the place.)

I don’t have spina bifida. I’m not in a wheelchair. I’m not six years old, nor…

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Listening to Pope Francis

Listening to Pope Francis

Yesterday’s address to Congress by Pope Francis may have been an historic first, but the analysis of his speech followed an all-too-predictable pattern. I listened on NPR during my morning commute and was saddened that such a gentle and generous speech was immediately torn to pieces before the applause had even died down. The headline for that analysis on npr.org reflects the frustration felt by reporters: “For Pope at Congress, A Historic Speech That’s Hard to Pigeonhole”.  The Huffpo headline is even more revealing: “Pope Francis’ Speech To Congress Didn’t Mention Abortion, Gay Marriage By Name.” It’s almost as though…

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Another Week Ends: Trophy Rage, Thriving, Cave Churches, Flannery's Freedom, Cheap Trick, and Facebook Love

Another Week Ends: Trophy Rage, Thriving, Cave Churches, Flannery’s Freedom, Cheap Trick, and Facebook Love

1. We all love The Incredibles, right? It’s as good a movie as Pixar has made, which is saying a lot (rumors of a sequel are legit!). And we all remember the rant that Bob Parr goes on in the middle of the film, when he objects to attending his son’s “graduation” from the fifth grade. “He’s merely moving from the fifth grade to the sixth grade,” Parr notes. Director Brad Bird put his finger on something that many have noticed in our culture, the rise of the “participation trophy”, where kids get prizes and acclamations just for showing up…

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Sister-Ax Evangelizes The Voice: “God Doesn’t Take Anything Away from Us”

To the surprise of so many who watched, last week an Italian nun dominated The Voice of Italy by signing Alicia Keys’ “No One” in English. The absolute highlight of her appearance (which you can see in the video below) is when J-Ax, a heavily tattooed Italian rapper and one of the voice coaches, reacts with pure delight to Sister Cristina, including shedding a few tears of joy. Another highlight is that she says she auditioned for the sake of evangelism—something she claims Pope Francis inspired her to do. We are all ears, Sister! I also love that some of her fellow sisters appeared on the show in support.

Here are some highlights. Make sure you click “CC” on the video to get the English captions.

Question: What brought you here to The Voice?
Sister Cristina: I have a gift and I am giving it to you. Shouldn’t things be this way?

J-Ax: If I had met you during the Mass, when I was a child, now I would be Pope! I would surely have attended all the functions.
Sister Cristina: Well you have met me now.

Question: What does the Vatican say about you auditioning at The Voice?
Sister Cristina: Listen, I don’t really know. I am waiting for Pope Francesco to call me on the phone. He always says we should go out and evangelize telling God doesn’t take anything away from us but will give us more. I am here for this. [The audience erupts in applause, and J-Ax begins to cry.]

P.S. Have you seen this? Aaaauuugghhh!!!!!

Another Week Ends: Lenten Anthropology Meets Carl Rogers, New Community, Charlie Kaufman, Oscars Morality, Auden (Again), and Katims on Crying

Another Week Ends: Lenten Anthropology Meets Carl Rogers, New Community, Charlie Kaufman, Oscars Morality, Auden (Again), and Katims on Crying

1) A particularly Lenten roundup this week, starting with this very beautiful, concise reflection from Will Willimon over at OnFaith, called “Good News! You’re a Sinner and Lent Is Here,” which deals primarily with the deep relief that comes in knowing yourself as a sinner. (Reminds us a little of someone we get to meet in NYC this spring, who has spoken quite frankly about the “cruel optimism” of our contemporary world.) The truth is, more often than not, the scandal of the Christian faith is not merely the nature or existence of God, but the sin of humankind—and the…

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5 Golden Themes (Again)! What We Loved (and Loved to Analyze) in 2013

5 Golden Themes (Again)! What We Loved (and Loved to Analyze) in 2013

Well, well, well. Here we go again, 2013 edition.

1) The Religion of Food. Well, as we might have said last year, and the year before that, it seems the foodie is here to stay. Of particular interest this year was the spirituality of food–things like Jay Z and Beyonce joining arms with the 22 Day Challenge. Jay Z pledges: “Why now? There’s something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day…It just feels right!” This…

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Another Week Ends: Merciful Pontifex, Louis CK's Daughters, Winning Losers, Seinfeld Movies, Dairy Queen Grace, and Whitewashing Walter

Another Week Ends: Merciful Pontifex, Louis CK’s Daughters, Winning Losers, Seinfeld Movies, Dairy Queen Grace, and Whitewashing Walter

1. This guy! No doubt you’ve seen it elsewhere, but a must-read interview with Pope Francis I appeared this week in which the undeniably humble and surprisingly sympathetic Bishop of Rome articulated something like a new poetics of faith. Ironically enough, most pundits have jumped on his decidedly apolitical focus as evidence of some political agenda or other, but to these ears it just sounds like heartfelt Christianity of the most non-churchy variety. His comments aren’t easy to pare down, but if we had to put together a Mockingbird highlight reel, it would probably look like this:

I ask Pope Francis…

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Another Week Ends: Millennial Churchmice, Papal Forgetfulness, Meaningful Happiness, Postpartem Mirrors, Teaser Culture, Michael Vick, Anthony Weiner, and TV on the Radio

Another Week Ends: Millennial Churchmice, Papal Forgetfulness, Meaningful Happiness, Postpartem Mirrors, Teaser Culture, Michael Vick, Anthony Weiner, and TV on the Radio

1. The question of why millennials are leaving the church came back into public view this week via an opinion piece by Rachel Held Evans on CNN, the key line being, “What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.” Accessibility and format are not really the issue in other words; if anything, church-as-performance appears to be symptomatic of an insecurity in modern believers that has alienated as many as it has attracted. Evans believes the real problem is the What, not the How. Fair enough–the substance of much of what…

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