Culture

Michael Moore Jokes Jesus Was Gay

Blasphemer!

Speaking at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Friday, Michael Moore, as usual, dropped a few bombs. Even the “f” bomb.

“Sorry I said [the f-word] the first time. I didn’t realize I was in a church,” the filmmaker, wearing his trademark trucker cap, joked to an auditorium comprised of a few hundred students, faculty and news media.

The liberal filmmaker was invited to the Catholic school to discuss his book, “Here Comes Trouble.” But he also spoke at length about health care, young voters’ disenchantment with President Barack Obama and the need for the wealthy to pay higher taxes. He said affluent Americans “seemed happy” when their income was taxed at a higher rate (“60 and 70 percent”).

Moore, who was raised Catholic, used Christian themes throughout his speech. At one point he joked that Jesus was gay.

“You know those 12 men Jesus was always hanging out with? Mhm,” he said to laughter.

Moore made a few more provocative comments during the question-and-answer portion of his talk. When asked by a student, who said he was British, if a country can be considered “civilized” if it’s “legal to own an AK-47″ machine gun, Moore said no.

“If you want protection, get a dog,” he said.

Another student asked about the 2004 documentary, “Michael Moore Hates America” and why Moore declined to participate in it. Moore said he doesn‘t hate America and those who disagree with his political views don’t either.

“I assume [Republicans] love this country. I start with that assumption,” he said

 

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Church

World’s Earliest Christian Engraving Identified

Live Science:

Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world’s earliest surviving Christian inscription, shedding light on an ancient sect that followed the teachings of a second-century philosopher named Valentinus.

Officially called NCE 156, the inscription is written in Greek and is dated to the latter half of the second century, a time when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power.

An inscription is an artifact containing writing that is carved on stone. The only other written Christian remains that survive from that time period are fragments of papyri that quote part of the gospels and are written in ink. Stone inscriptions are more durable than papyri and are easier to display. NCE 156 also doesn’t quote the gospels directly, instead its inscription alludes to Christian beliefs.

UPDATE:   Fox News has it.

 

Church

The Little Flower

St Thérèse of Lisieux:

“I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.” These are the words of Theresa of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the “Little Flower,” who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. [In French-speaking areas, she is known as Thérèse of Lisieux.] And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thérèse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24.
Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Thérèse said she came to the Carmel convent “to save souls and pray for priests.” And shortly before she died, she wrote: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”

[On October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized in light of her holiness and the influence of her teaching on spirituality in the Church.]

Comment:

Thérèse has much to teach our age of the image, the appearance, the “sell.” We have become a dangerously self-conscious people, painfully aware of the need to be fulfilled, yet knowing we are not. Thérèse, like so many saints, sought to serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live (see John 12).
Preoccupation with self separates modern men and women from God, from their fellow human beings and ultimately from themselves. We must relearn to forget ourselves, to contemplate a God who draws us out of ourselves and to serve others as the ultimate expression of selfhood. These are the insights of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and they are more valid today than ever.

Quote:

All her life St. Thérèse suffered from illness. As a young girl she underwent a three-month malady characterized by violent crises, extended delirium and prolonged fainting spells. Afterwards she was ever frail and yet she worked hard in the laundry and refectory of the convent. Psychologically, she endured prolonged periods of darkness when the light of faith seemed all but extinguished. The last year of her life she slowly wasted away from tuberculosis. And yet shortly before her death on September 30 she murmured, “I would not suffer less.”

Truly she was a valiant woman who did not whimper about her illnesses and anxieties. Here was a person who saw the power of love, that divine alchemy which can change everything, including weakness and illness, into service and redemptive power for others. Is it any wonder that she is patroness of the missions? Who else but those who embrace suffering with their love really convert the world?

Wikipedia has more on her here.

Her official website is here.

 

Church

The Jewish Annotated New Testament

Coming this month:

Published by Oxford University Press, here is the product description:

Although major New Testament figures–Jesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus’ mother Mary and Mary Magdalene–were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices, there has never been an edition of the New Testament that addresses its Jewish background and the culture from which it grew–until now. In The Jewish Annotated New Testament, eminent experts under the general editorship of Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler put these writings back into the context of their original authors and audiences.  And they explain how these writings have affected the relations of Jews and Christians over the past two thousand years.

An international team of scholars introduces and annotates the Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation from Jewish perspectives, in the New Revised Standard Version translation.  They show how Jewish practices and writings, particularly the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, influenced the New Testament writers. From this perspective, readers gain new insight into the New Testament’s meaning and significance. In addition, thirty essays on historical and religious topics–Divine Beings, Jesus in Jewish thought, Parables and Midrash, Mysticism, Jewish Family Life, Messianic Movements, Dead Sea Scrolls, questions of the New Testament and anti-Judaism, and others–bring the Jewish context of the New Testament to the fore, enabling all readers to see these writings both in their original contexts and in the history of interpretation. For readers unfamiliar with Christian language and customs, there are explanations of such matters as the Eucharist, the significance of baptism, and “original sin.”

For non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity and for Jewish readers who want a New Testament that neither proselytizes for Christianity nor denigrates Judaism, The Jewish Annotated New Testament is an essential volume that places these writings in a context that will enlighten students, professionals, and general readers.

And a review:

‘This exciting collection by leading Jewish scholars not only annotates the New Testament but also brings out its themes, context, and interpretation over the centuries. Essential for libraries of scholars in Christian-Jewish studies, academic institutions offering degrees in theology, and dialogue groups at all levels.”–Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, Distinguished Professor of Catholic-Jewish Studies, Saint Leo University; Former Associate Director, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I prefer whole Study Bibles (OT and NT). Perhaps that will follow?

 

Church

The Stripping of the British Churches

Touchstone reports on the sad state of affairs:

Canterbury, England – As commodity prices soar, thieves are targeting British churches and other institutions, taking copper lightning rods, lead rain pipes, bronze statues, iron gates, even church bells and entire roofs.

“Boom conditions in China, India and Brazil have created an incredible demand for lead and copper,” Katri Link, senior press officer at Ecclesiastical Insurance, a private company that insures about 90 percent of churches in England and Wales) told ENInews. “Church roofs are often the target, threatening some churches with bankruptcy,” she said.

Theft of copper cable from churches, railways and historic buildings is a soaring national problem in Britain. Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther of the British Transport Police described the issue as “one of the force’s biggest challenges after terrorism.” Metal theft accounts for 7,000 to 10,000 crimes a month across the nation, British Transport Police spokesperson Simon Letouze told ENInews.

“The situation is growing worse all the time,” the Rev. Paul White, Anglican vicar at All Saints Church in the village of Woodchurch in Kent, southeast England, told ENInews. Thieves have returned ten times over four months to strip all the lead from the roof of the church where between 60-70 villagers gather every Sunday. Now the congregation needs to raise 50,000 pounds to repair the roof and stop rainwater leaks from destroying paintings and the organ, said White.

Ecclesiastical caps payouts at 10,000 pounds and promises to keep premiums as low as possible to help financially strapped churches. It received 1,900 damage claims from January to August this year, compared with ten claims in 2003.

St. John’s Church in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, had more than a tonne of lead taken from its roof in July. The Rev. Tim Hayes said he noticed the theft quickly, so his church did not suffer water damage, although the repair bill amounted to thousands of pounds.

The Church of England has suggested ways churchwardens might guard against roof plunderers, including the removal of ladders or other items which could facilitate access and the restriction of vehicle access. “It is also vital to check your roof regularly, for example with binoculars from the ground, as the theft of a roof might go unnoticed during dry weather,” the Church of England said in a statement.

Because of the soaring cost of copper and lead, English Heritage (an agency that protects England’s historic and cultural environment) has abandoned its usual policy of always requiring exactly the same replacement material when buildings and monuments have been damaged.

Diana Evans, head of Places of Worship Advice at English Heritage, said in a statement that the agency is “very concerned about the damage to important buildings, the cost of repairing each one and the additional work inflicted on those who care for historic places of worship.”

The price of copper came close to US$10,000 a tonne earlier this year, having fallen to as low as $2,825 a tonne in December 2008 due to the financial crisis affecting demand. Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange have recently fallen to $7,000 a tonne but Ecclesiastical said in a statement they are expected to rise again soon. [reprinted with permission]