John Bloom's picture
06.17.2008 | Comments(5)

Don’t Encourage These People

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Okay, I’m now officially bored with Trinity United Church of Christ. It’s the theological equivalent of a Drama Queen. Maybe that’s what Barack Obama thought, too, when he said farewell to his spiritual home of 20 years because, after all, what’s more American than church-shopping? They no longer met his needs.

Take Obama Off the List

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I’ve only been doing this Online Door thing for eight months, but I can already tell that anytime anybody sends out statistics on who’s a Christian and who’s not, they’re either gonna show “religion is booming” or “religion is dying.” You never get a late-breaking poll report that says, “Church attendance and faith statements are flat-lining over the past three years.” That’s why I take with a grain of salt all the op-ed attention that Christine Wicker is getting for her new book, The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, which purports to prove, among other things, that the Southern Baptist Convention will close half its churches by the year 2030. Wicker’s argument is that the “Christian Right resurgence” trumpeted by the media in recent years was a lot of hot air, and that all evangelical churches have been declining since 1900. Of course, she makes the same mistake that church leaders do--she judges the faith according to its numbers. Let me point out something that Jesus taught us about numbers: it only takes 12 to do anything.

Filthy Farm Lucre

howard Porter

Howard Douglas Porter, pastor of the Christian Church in Hickman, California, and coach of the high school wrestling team, was driving the car that rolled into an irrigation canal and killed local millionaire Frank Craig in April 2004. Craig was crippled so he couldn’t swim away, although Porter survived. What made Stanislaus County officials suspicious was that the reason Craig was crippled is that he had been in a previous accident in which the passenger side of the car was slammed up against a tree--and Porter was driving that day, too. Oh yeah, one more thing: Porter had apparently been embezzling money from the old man for years, telling him he would help him realize his dream of building an antique farm machinery museum in Hickman (population 450). Porter is currently on trial in Fresno, looking at life without parole, presumably meditating on the agricultural maxims of the Lord, like the parable of the seed that fell among thorns.

Going Back to Catholicism 101

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Various Roman Catholics around the world periodically attempt to ordain women, and are then surprised when they’re excommunicated from the church. The latest criminals were two Americans and one South African who participated in women’s ordinations in the St. Louis diocese. I can understand how somebody might give this a shot immediately after Vatican II in the sixties, or perhaps even during the long reign of John Paul II, who was sometimes perceived as a liberal although he was not. But who would try this when Benedict XVI is Pope? I mean, do we really need to send that memo again?


PeteAtomic | 06:52 am on 6/17/2008

Many American Catholics, undoubtedly the most progressive of Catholics from around the world, support the ordination of women into the priesthood.
Unfortunately, Christianity in general is very male dominated regardless of denomination. For the particular of Catholicism, I think a positive step towards female ordination would first be the opening of the deaconate to women.

ny guy | 03:54 pm on 6/17/2008

I think that one of the biggest steps towards seeing catholic clergy lead a more healthy existence would be to do away with the whole celibacy thing.... but I understand that its a sacrament and it will never be changed for that very reason. I agree with your deaconate suggestion as well.

ny guy | 03:55 pm on 6/17/2008

mandatory life long celibacy that is.

Anonymous | 09:30 am on 6/18/2008

Doesn't anyone remember the (at least) two proclamations that Pope John Paul II made in the early years of his papacy calling for the women priests and married men priests in Czechoslovakia to cease their ministries? I wonder how many women and married men are serving in other parts of the old Soviet sphere.
And what about the married Eastern Rite Roman Catholic priests? It's not as though the Roman Catholic Church, like the Eastern Orthodox Church, doesn't have a history of married men in the priesthood.
Didn't priestly celebacy start in the middle ages over fears of church property being inherited rather than staying in church hands? If the Bible is anything to go by, St. Peter himself was married.

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