A Church Mary Could Love: Why I Don’t Hate Catholicism

This is a beautiful, touching piece about the lives of the men and women not currently engaged in hiding the collective asses of the embarrassing Vatican hierarchy. In short, it’s a needed celebration of the unsung heroes that can make religion into a powerful vessel for positive change in the world–the church (little “c”) that has so extraordinarily impacted good men and women to engage the world around them. Here’s to you, the pioneers, the givers of Heroic Love. You’ve gone unsung too long; we salute you.

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President Obama… President Obvious?

There are moments in my life, when God, gracious as ever, says, “He has suffered enough. Let him have joy.” This is one of those moments.

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Pre-Pesach Roundup

Since Passover begins tonight (oh, and Chag Semeach Pesach, to you too!), I thought I’d round-up the latest and greatest in news, pop culture, and my brain before I chill for a bit over the holiday.

NEWS

The big thing (and the one thing I’ve consistently — read: obsessive-compulsively– covered) on everyone’s mind is the Catholic hierarchy cover-up. Regardless of whether or not Benny resigns (and even my Catholic friends agree, it’s high time for that), his image is forever tarnished. Thankfully, my friends in the media aren’t through with him yet, and when they are, this crisis will hopefully be in the hands of a capable (and by that, I mean “not-corrupt”) individual. If this is what “infallibility in matters of doctrine” (a.k.a. “do as I say, not as I do”) means… well, that’s alright… you can keep it.

In other, less tragic, news:

An Iowa town government changes the name of “Good Friday” to the more ecumenical “Spring Holiday,” to the obvious, and mostly justified, consternation of Right-Wing Christians (known ’round these parts as “the fundies”). I gotta say, the fundies are right on this one. I’m not a Christian (and I’m not looking to buy that heavenly Avon, thank you), but honestly? Changing the name of a holiday that everyone comprehends the significance of, in the rare chance that someone who has lived under a rock his or her whole life won’t feel their religious freedom encroached on? That’s what we call being “dum.” Plain and simple. Jews, Muslims (and pretty much everyone not a traditionalist Christian) have made it clear that we won’t be first in line to see “Jesus: the Most-Awesome-est Son of God EVA… starring Jim Caviezel” when it premieres in theaters. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of us aren’t offended by Christians celebrating Christian holidays. Don’t change the name. It’s an insult to Jesus (who hasn’t had any say in the matter for over 2,000 years, poor guy), and it’s an insult to Christian families who don’t equate the ACLU with the Hilterian regime, but still want to celebrate their designated Christian holiday in peace and with dignity. Don’t rob them their cultural uniqueness simply because some really batty born-agains have taken it on themselves to make this a “God-fearin’, rifle-totin’, Skoal-chewin’ nation!” This whole thing was a reactionary, PC gamble that didn’t need to happen. Elect new leadership when the next term rolls around. Those guys don’t know what their doing.

But on to even funnier pastures: in Tennessee, a dog that attacked a police car is being forced into obedience training

Also in Tennessee… a young man who was “bored and didn’t have anything else to do” is being charged with streaking in a grocery store. Because, you know, wielding your swinging penis like a medieval mace at the old lady buying hummus is better than playing Call of Duty 4.

In other creepy, food-related news… a New York chef is now selling cheese made with his wife’s “mommy milk.” And by “his wife,” I mean his wife. Dude is actually selling Booby-Kraft (you saw the Trademark first here, folks) to his customers. He should get together with “grocery-story-plus-my-penis-equals-hijinks” man and start a food company. With a lot of complaints.

POP CULTURE

Since I already raved about Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey” once, I’ll pick an entirely different track of theirs for this week. 

Also interesting is the news that the former-Dixie Chicks (now just two strong) are releasing a side project this May called Court Yard Hounds. This single, allegedly about a son disowned by his gay-bashing father, is of note. The Dixie Chicks were always the liberal country stars who built a rep standing up for the exact opposite beliefs of their traditional fan base. That approach garnered them an Album of the Year Grammy award for their really damn good Taking the Long Way Round. Let’s hope the success continues.

Just so everyone doesn’t think I’ve “gone country” (I still hate overalls)… I give you the link to Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat”, a very NSFW video of a particularly easy feel-good track by this impressive female artist.

With that, I conclude the Pre-Passover round up. More news about the Catholic crisis as it develops.

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I just wanted to say…

…healthcare is awesome.

Barux hashem!

The LA Times weighs in.

So does Roger Ebert: “History is watching the Republican Party shrink in its rear-view mirror.”

Also, this piece in The Guardian is fantastic.

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Song of the Day: The Cranberries – “Ode to my Family”

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‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’ : a review

My work with Grand Central Publishing’s Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter, is now up on Burnside Writers Collective’s main site.

Burnside Writers Collective is a faith-based arts, politics, food, and culture hub with roots in Christianity, but with the occasional writer of other faiths (like myself, although I started writing for them some time before I “turned reprobate”). In other words, if you like beer, music, or political talk, you should check it out, even if Jesus isn’t really your bag.

Anyway, enough pandering. Read my piece by clicking… well, right here.

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Erev Shabbat Roundup!

This week has been insane, to say the least. Getting back into “the groove” after more than a week in Florida, lounging in the sun, has been a nightmare. To a degree, I still feel like I’ve yet to really accept the Michigan air. Maybe next week, eh?

Before I go offline until Shabbat is complete, I thought I’d round up the “top” news topics, humor, and videos of the week gone by.

Without further ado, here goes…

NEWS STORIES

1. The Pope

I’m not picking on the Church when I say this whole scandal has be brought to an effective, final halt, or the institution of Catholic Christianity will be dead in 50 years. Families are sick of being told to keep quiet, honest clergy are weary of being lumped in with all the perverts, and members of the hierarchy are worried about job security in a crisis that has seen more than one veteran thrown under the bus to save the lot.

This piece in the Telegraph sums up best the current predicament facing both the Munich archdiocese formerly under the now-Pope Benedict XVI.

2. Healthcare Reform

You knew this was coming: healthcare reform is edging towards a vote very soon, and (partisanship briefly aside) it’s safe to say everybody’s got an opinion.

This piece in the LA Times attempts to “de-code” some of the language in the current bill for laypersons.

3. Chris Dodd’s Federal Spending Reform

This one didn’t get a lot of attention at first, but since the details surrounding Dodd’s ever-controversial bill on federal regulation were made available, the back and forth between parties has been severe.

This opinion piece in the Seattle Times is an interesting commentary on the issue and the players.

SONGS/MP3s

1. Holy Fuck’s “Latin America”

This stuff is damned quirky to be post-rock. It has all the sweep of a “big” band, and the chord progression and layering of distorted electronic samples is nuanced, but bright and accessible. Just listen to the damn thing; it can’t quite be explained.

2. T.I.’s “I’m Back”

If I was “just okay” with T.I. until now, this one has me hooked. Delivered with a gruff twang and synths that sound loaned from an old video game soundtrack, “I’m Back” has a series of excellent lines delivered without pretense. Lil Wayne is the incessantly self-conscious “best rapper alive.” T.I. is Weezy’s focused cousin: weird at times, sure, and arrogant as hell, but more rehearsed. While Weezy “takes time off” in the slammer, T.I. will hold the fort down, freshly released and pissed as ever.

3. Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey”

I hate country music, but if these guys aren’t half bad, I’ll be damned. The lyrics are simple but evocative of Georgia summers (at least, that’s what I think of), and the music doesn’t bowl the listener over with all the signposts of traditional country music. I’d take this over Taylor Swift’s whiny school girl persona any day.

HUMOR

1. Why You Shouldn’t Complain About New Facebook Designs” by CollegeHumor

2. The Betty White Meme: When the Internet Stopped Making Sense, by Cracked.com

3. How to Get Things Done in Politics, by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

That’s all for now! Gut shabbas!

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