Grab your popcorn … and a raincoat
Russell Crowe’s “Noah” blockbuster opens in theaters this weekend, and Religion Dispatches compares it to Roma Downey’s “Son of God” fawning franchise:
“Son of God and Noah don’t just represent two different ways to read Scripture, two different ways to make films, and two different marketing demographics. They also represent two sharply different ways to believe, to be in the world: one inspired by the pure and the simple, another suspicious, if not contemptuous, of them.”
For his part, Crowe finds all the criticism of his film “irrational.” I think I’d rather see this one:
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 28, 2014
Speaking of stormy weather …
Our own SPB has been all over this World Vision story, and writes that the humanitarian group’s flip-flop of gay employees reflects larger evangelical angst over how to respond to societal shifts on homosexuality and gay marriage in particular. But wait! There’s more!
SPB caught up with World Vision CEO Rich Stearns, who tried to assess the whirlwind of the last coupla days. “I’ve had better weeks, I’ll tell you that,” he said.
Wow. "World Vision’s annual budget is $1 billion, and the government provides 18 percent of its revenues…": http://t.co/HRuegIfD0R
— Tim Townsend (@townsendreport) March 28, 2014
Someone’s got some ‘splainin’ to do …
So Pope Francis reportedly met with Bishop Bling today in Rome, he of the $43 million luxury housing renovation. WaPo has new details about how he spent his money:
- Item: Bronze window frames. Bill: $2.38 million. Fun fact: The cost was supposed to be half that. But Tebartz-van Elst, the report shows, really wanted his window frames to be bronze.
- Item: light switches. Bill: $27,000. Fun Fact: Really, they’re just light switches.
- Item: doors. Bill: $673,000. Fun Fact: They were of the “highest quality.”
So remember that curious finding in last year’s Pew report that 34% of U.S. Jews think you can be Jewish and believe in Jesus as the Messiah? Not surprisingly, the messianic group Jews for Jesus is running with it.
Something you don’t see every day
A Catholic diocese in Minnesota has filed suit against a diocese in Ireland, saying they never would have accepted the transfer of a priest if they had been told about the abuse allegations against him.
Best lede of the day
From NPR: “President Obama … once the world leader whose vow of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ excited millions, seemed eclipsed Thursday in that department by the pope.”
Ed Farrell, vice mayor of Maricopa, Ariz., stepped in it when he praised the late Fred Phelps on his Facebook page, later saying he didn’t know who Phelps was and didn’t know the Onion was satire. “I can’t believe that I posted what I posted…shame on me.” Watch out, Florida! Arizona is giving you a run for the money as the capital of Crazytown, USA.
Want fries with that?
The authors of the new book “Slow Church” are arguing against the McDonaldsization of church, saying too many small churches try to mass-produce spiritual growth by copying the latest megachurch techniques.
This guy is going to put Dear Abby out of business
The Southern Baptists’ Russell Moore sure knows how to pick ‘em. His latest podcast: counseling a woman who got married eight months ago and still hasn’t consummated the marriage.
Bloggers get better headlines
I have headline envy for our religious freedom blogger, Brian Pellot: “Just how crazy is Saudi Arabia? 9 WTF headlines from March alone” I’m sure WTF stands for “watermelon-throwing flamingos” or somesuch.
‘I did what I had to do’
The Forward talks with a NYC mohel who’s been performing the controversial circumcision rite metzitzah b’peh, in which he, um, uses something other than a towel to wipe away the blood. It’s also technically a violation of NYC law.
Also worth checking out:
‘God’s Not Dead’ wins audiences, not critics (Laura Turner)
And with that, it’s off to the weekend. Before you go, make sure we have your email address below so we can send you the Roundup — for free! — every Monday through Friday.