Cold beer, warm butts. What won’t churches do to get fannies in the seats on Sunday morning?
Across the United States, beer seems to be an increasingly popular tool for ministry. But, hey, it’s craft beer, as NPR reports, so it’s cool:
Some church groups are brewing it themselves, while others are bring the Holy Mysteries to a taproom. The result is not sloshed congregants; rather, it’s an exploratory approach to do church differently.
Avoids the need for hangover services, too.
In England, on the other hand, they don’t need more beer – Lord knows. But they do need butt warmers for those drafty old churches. And in the Diocese of Exeter, it’s prayers answered:
Designed for use by sports fans, the cushions are part of a campaign to cut carbon emissions and look at new heating systems for church buildings. If the scheme works, the cushions could be rolled out across the county.
“Hot Cross Bums,” quips Greg Kandra. Don’t forget to tip your deacon, folks…
Okay, here’s something new under the sun: “speedfaithing.” At the University of California-Irvine, students have 10 minutes to discuss the essentials of Catholicism, Islam, the Mormon Church and even atheism. You know, just like speed-dating:
“You obviously can’t learn everything about a religion in 10 minutes and that’s not the point,” said Karina Hamilton, director of the Dalai Lama Scholars Program at UC Irvine.
Speaking of the Dalai Lama, China is pledging to eliminate any possible access to the voice of the exiled leader on Tibetan Buddhism in his homeland. Reuters reports:
“Work hard to ensure that the voice and image of the party is heard and seen over the vast expanses (of Tibet) … and that the voice and image of the enemy forces and the Dalai clique are neither seen nor heard,” Tibet’s Communist party chief Chen Quanguo wrote in an influential party journal.
The government will achieve this by confiscating illegal satellite dishes, increasing monitoring of online content and of telephone and Internet users. Suddenly, 1984 doesn’t seem so long ago.
Parents who say yoga is inherently religious have appealed a judge’s ruling that allowed yoga in a public school system near San Diego.
You may want to pay attention to this article: The New York Times says mindfulness is hot:
Everywhere lately, the here and now is the place to be. George Stephanopoulos, 50 Cent and Lena Dunham have all been talking up their meditation regimens. “I come from a long line of neurotic Jewish women who need it more than anyone,” Ms. Dunham, who’s been meditating since she was 9, told a capacity crowd last month at the David Lynch Foundation for Conscious Based Education and World Peace in New York. Then there was the tweet last April from @rupertmurdoch, who announced: “Trying to learn transcendental meditation. Everyone recommends, not that easy to get started, but said to improve everything!”
Hey, if Rupert Murdoch can tweet then our own Cathy Grossman can blog. And can she ever, back today with a New and Improved “Faith & Reason” blog that will provide an interactive platform for our growing readership to expound on their views and engage Cathy, and each other. Her first topic:
“Does kid-centric programming at churches/synagogues work for growing and keeping believers?”
Headline of the Day from CNN’s Belief Blog: “The surprisingly badass birds of the Bible”
Debbie Blue checks out five of them. Can the Angry Birds Bible version be far behind?
Which of course leads to a Tweet:
How do I know when I'm a legalist? When I'm harsh on others. How do I know when I'm living by grace? I'm gracious to others
— Rick Warren (@RickWarren) November 2, 2013
Last week I highlighted a story, by a nonbeliever, saying everyone should study theology – even atheists, or especially atheists. Now atheist Jerry Coyne rebuts this as “the world’s worst advice”:
“Sophisticated” theology is not sophisticated, but a misuse of intelligence and eloquence to make really bad arguments.
In a prebuttal of sorts, Father Robert Barron – as per the Dish – says that the God of St. Thomas Aquinas isn’t the one the New Atheists are debunking:
(T)he physical sciences, no matter how advanced they might become, can never eliminate God, for God is not a being within the natural order. Instead, he is the reason why there is that nexus of conditioned causes that we call nature — at all.
Remember that story we wrote about the possibility of Pope Francis naming women cardinals? Well, Irish media is running a bit too hard with it, prompting the pope’s spokesman to dismiss the possibility — for next February’s consistory — as “nonsense.”
“Theologically and theoretically, it is possible,” said Father Federico Lombardi. “Being a cardinal is one of those roles in the church for which, theoretically, you do not have to be ordained but to move from there to suggesting the pope will name women cardinals for the next consistory is not remotely realistic.”
On other matters, the Vatican is seeking input from the pews on marriage and family issues.
One Pew jumps in with some hard data:
— Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) November 1, 2013
And Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good isn’t waiting for the bishops to decide what to do: they have set up a website to allow Catholics to log in their views. More than 1500 have already done so – maybe they ought to run the Obamacare site? And CAGC is planning on sending the results to the U.S. Bishops and directly to Pope Francis.
Among the responses:
“I know where the Church stands on the role of sex in my marriage, but I also want to know what her wisdom is on how I ought to love my husband when the initial excitement of the marriage dies.”
Our Sunday Visitor wants input on 2013′s Catholic of the Year. If nominated, I will not run…
Speaking of the eventual winner, Pope Francis was given a new pastoral staff, or papal ferula, with a rather bling Jesus on it. The crosier was donated by the Goldlake mining corporation, which used gold and silver from its operations in Honduras and the pope’s own Argentina – and swears they run according to ethical principles.
Rorate Caeli has a good photo of it – doesn’t seem like Francis’ “simple, humble” style, but he has used the staff and has not divulged any opinion one way or another.
Not so the more Traditionalist-leaning types. Max Lindenman rounds up some reactions to the “ugliest piece of religious art ever” — or, as one site calls it, “a millipede more than the Incarnate Son of God.” Another thinks it looks like a Wooly Willy.
Father Dwight Longenecker says anti-Modernist (and anti-Francis) Bishop Bernard Fellay is a lot like South Carolina fundamentalist Bob Jones III. Something tells me neither man would take that as a compliment.
Should Christians be paid less if their client is a church? Ed Cyzewski at the High Calling looks at the penchant of congregations to ask for a “family discount” from Christians.
In some cases we have confused freebies with ministry, as if adding money to a transaction devalues the holiness of someone’s work.
The Detroit Tigers needed a new manager. They found one in Israel – of course.
Here’s a good question:
Why is so much religious (esp Christian) programming scheduled for Sunday mornings when ppl are often in church? (@realrobbell)
— Sarah Pulliam Bailey (@spulliam) November 3, 2013
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