Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

The Burb Tolls for Thee

posted by burb

Death by Suburb,” a new book by David Goetz, is written as a wake-up call to Christians who have become defined by the size of their house, dress, car and megachurch. It’s a bell worth tolling, even if his vision of the suburbs is a little clichéd. And while his eight toxins of suburban life could apply to farmers and Donald Trump as much as any denizen of the ‘burbs, his “Eight Reasons to Know If the Suburbs Are Killing Your Soul” hits nicely on the dangers of spiritual complacency in the splendor of suburbia.

Will the Real Silas Please Speak Up–and Debunk ‘The Da Vinci Code’

posted by donna freitas

The worldwide conservative Catholic group, Opus Dei–famous for its supposed secrecy and the practice by some of its members of self-flagellation–has been incensed ever since the publication of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel “The Da Vinci Code,” which features Silas, an albino monk and assasin who belongs to Opus Dei.

In the article “Catholic Group Says ‘Code’ Film Is Mere Fiction,” Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times reports today that, after a failed attempt to convince Sony to drop all mentions of Opus Dei in the screeplay for the “Da Vinci” movie–which stars Tom Hanks and is scheduled for a May 19 release–Opus Dei is launching a PR campaign to make the most of the bad publicity sure to ensue.

“Opus Dei is trying to sate public interest and case the group in a very differnt light than the religious home of a fictional assassin,” Goodstein writes. “The group is promoting a blog by an Opus Dei priest in Rome, revamping its Web site and even arranging interviews with a member said to be the only ‘real Silas’ in Opus Dei–a Nigerian-born stockbroker who lives in Brooklyn.”

Click here to read the official Opus Dei response to “The Da Vinci Code,” which is posted on the group’s website.

The Bachelor: From Paris to the Lion’s Den

posted by

Last night’s “The Bachelor: Paris” had a truly jaw-dropping moment.

For those of you who haven’t watched one of the last seven seasons, when the eponymous bachelor gets down to four ladies, he goes to spend some time with their families. Ostensibly, this is to observe the girls in a more comfortable setting, informing his eventual decision. In reality, it provides for some of the most awkward moments on television, and last night’s episode provided a classic.

Travis, a handsome, emergency room doctor from Nashville, goes to San Clemente, California, to meet Moana’s family. Thanks to the wonderful art of editing, we skip the small talk and go right to the juicy bits, not that her father seemed to do much but smile through tightly pursed lips. We are introduced to Moana’s father, mother, stepmother, and siblings. Almost immediately after sitting, Moana’s stepmother Virginia tells Travis that she is disgusted by the concept of the show, since it “undermines marriage and mocks families.”

Huh? Sure, the behavior on the show can be in less-than-good taste at times, although Travis has, unlike other bachelors, comported himself as a gentleman. And it’s not like this is “Married by America,” in which the audience chose who would pair up; without giving it too much credit for family values, we can still say that “The Bachelor” is all about thinking long and hard about what’s most important in a spouse and considering options carefully. As for Moana’s disgruntled stepmother, should a woman who has married a divorcee be telling Travis that he is taking part in a program that undermines marriage? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with divorce–unless, of course, you happen to be a person who claims to be extremely concerned with the undermining of marriage in this day and age. Divorce, it would seem, is high up there on the list of things that undermine marriage. And as for Travis, he holds his own, at one point responding that his parents have been married for well over 30 years and that he is taking everything very seriously.

Later at dinner, Moana’s father asks if Travis is a Christian. Travis responds that he is a Presbyterian, but that he’s open-minded. Moana’s father inquires as to what “open minded” means, and Travis explains that he keeps an open mind since he knows many good people from many religious backgrounds.

Now, editing is a funny thing, and in fact, Moana bemoans the fact that the show’s editing led to a negative portrayal of her family. (She makes that claim on her on her myspace.com page.) But, editing or no, Travis certainly had his 30 minutes in the Lion’s Den.

Who You Gonna Believe, Me or the Church that Dissed Galileo?

posted by burb

A Slate article chronicles how intelligent design advocates have come to identify with Galileo, the 17th-century scientist who was rebuffed by the Church for saying the Earth went around the sun. The analogy hinges on a recent statement by a Vatican official rejecting the claims of intelligent design, and the logic goes like this: If we have a new idea and the Roman Catholic Church disses it, then we are like Galileo, whose new idea the Church also dissed. Galileo’s theory turned out to be true. Ergo, ours may too.

The holes in this logic–for one, that Galileo represented scientific claims against religion ones and intelligent design the opposite–are so gaping as to make them admirable.

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