God is in the details. And the Internet. Time to examine the quirky, admirable and outrageous in the world of faith. Godspeed.

Friday, September 6, 2002

Michael Irvin's found Jesus. The Dallas Observer looks at the reported conversion of the former Cowboys wide receiver and bad boy. Seems that the esteemed T.D. Jakes brought Irvin to God.

The intertwining of pulpit and policy. That pesky faith of George W. Bush keeps creeping up in the oddest places -- like his first conversation with Vladimir Putin. The Christian Science Monitor is the latest paper to examine the U.S. president's penchant for religion.

Ax falls. Sort of. Philadelphia Inquirer: "A long-awaited ax fell just before noon today, when the Episcopal bishop of Pennsylvania officially defrocked his archcritic, the Rev. David L. Moyer of Rosemont, for 'abandoning the communion of the church.'

"But in a highly unusual move, Father Moyer, a nationally known conservative rector who opposes the ordination of women and homosexuals, immediately announced support from the archbishop of Canterbury."

"Now it's Satan's turn to cry." John Kass finds the folks in Devils Lake, N.D., in a bit of a quandary over the loss of the fighting Satans mascot at the local high school.

Now the school's teams are known as the Nothings. Kass writes in the Chicago Tribune (registration required): "On Friday, the Nothings play the Minot Magicians. Fans might never hear this stirring cheer: 'Dante was right; Fight! Fight! Fight!' "

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. Yes sir, writes religion professor Leo Sandon: It's a good time to be apocalyptic.

Manly ministry goes a little soft. The Promise Keepers begat all sorts of other male-oriented ministries that are, ironically, taking business away from the mother -- or is that father? -- group.

Site o' the day: The Raelians. Video, books for sale and more point to a French journalist's contention that SCIENTISTS FROM ANOTHER PLANET CREATED ALL LIFE ON EARTH USING D.N.A. I had no idea. Oh well. Have a nice day.

Thursday, September 5, 2002

No mashers, please, we're Hindu. Ananova: "Pilgrims are flocking to a house in Bombay where they believe that Elephant headed Hindu Lord Ganesha has appeared in the shape of a potato."

Brady worship: Much more than a hunch? Word has it that a California church worships the Brady Bunch. It must be true -- the Weekly World News says it is.

Says "Marcia II," whose husband is "bishop" of the First Church of Brady Triumphant and Universal: "The nine members represent the trinity times three. Alice (played by Ann B. Davis) is the spiritual center. She is the symbolic Keeper of the Hearth, and it is no coincidence that she appears in the center square of the opening credits."

(Link via the fabulous Pop Culture Junk Mail blog.)

Men are from Mars, cult saviors are from Venus. Reuters: "The guru of a tiny French doomsday sect under police suicide watch says his group looks forward to voyagers from Venus collecting them before the world ends on October 24."

Cathedral envy, anyone? Catholics in Dodge City, Kansas, are a little cheesed off. Seems that L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony -- as well as all the media who covered this week's dedication of his city's cathdral -- is saying the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral was the first to be dedicated in the United States in 30 years. Dodge City's cathedral was dedicated nine months ago.

"Most of my priests just shake their heads and wonder where the news services are getting their information," said Dodge City Bishop Ronald Gilmore.

"We're seeing Islam through the lens of this extremism." David Crumm examines "Islam's dilemma: Extremist terror overshadows the tenet of compassion" in a fine Detroit Free Press piece. He talks to John Esposito, a top U.S. scholar of Islam at Georgetown University:

"It is true that there are extremists in the world who are deadly, and we have to go get them. But talking about the relationship between extremism and the history of Islam is as complex as talking about extremes in Christianity and Judaism through the centuries.

"If a Christian extremist blows up an abortion clinic or an extremist who's Jewish kills someone like Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the average American immediately understands there's a complex relationship here between violence and religion. No one in this country says, 'Well, that's just like a Christian' or 'That's just like a Jew.'

"But we all were so traumatized by 9/11 that we're seeing Islam through the lens of this extremism, and we don't want to believe it when people tell us that the majority of Muslims were appalled by the attacks."

Muslim and black in America. Detroit Free Press: "For the El-Amin family, race, religion and nationality create a unique perspective, particularly since terrorism has tempted America toward new degrees of separatism.

Seminaries dwindle in Ireland. AP: "The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, whose network of theological schools once exported priests worldwide, closed another hallowed institution Thursday, leaving just a single seminary in this predominantly Catholic country."

Slow growth for Israel's Jews. Jerusalem Post: "[Israel's] Jewish population continued to grow at a slower pace than that of the Muslim, Christian, and Druse communities, according to the 53rd annual Central Bureau of Statistics abstract released Tuesday."

Matzo video, in a manna of speaking. Just in time for the High Holy Days, here's a nice little BBC piece (RealPlayer required) on the unleavened experience of matzo baking.

"Sects bring chaos in this country." Georgian Orthodox clerics are accused of inciting their flocks to attack people of other faiths.

Carey, Murphy-O'Connor gang up on Iraq campaign. Times of London: "Britain’s two most senior churchmen have launched separate impassioned initiatives aimed at preventing war against Iraq."

Live to pray, pray to live. Time, once again, for the annual pig roast of the Buffalo chapter of the Sons of God Motorcycle Club.

Site of the day: CosmicBiker.com. This has something to do with the Urantia Book and chicks on Harleys. You figure it out.

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