Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blogger "search blog" not working...but God is still here!

There actually are posts on this blog that contain things like "God", "Jesus", and of course, "Buffy".

But currently, Blogger's "Search This Blog" device is not working, so you won't find the posts that contain them.

Rest assured:  U2, Harry Potter, Glee, Dr. Horrible and The Gospel of Mark can all be found in past posts.


James Gandolfini's death sparks some religious debate

James Gandolfini's sudden death has sparked some religious debate on two fronts.

Some people object to the fact that a popular actor's death gets far more press than people who have "accomplished much more for the greater good".

Others (or in some cases, the same people) are frustrated that his major claim to fame is having portrayed the part of Tony Soprano, the "likable" brutal mobster.

In the comments section of a post on The Episcopal Cafe, editor Jim Naughton counters these two objections:

Expect no apologies from the Cafe for giving a man who created an iconic role on one of the most significant and morally complex programs in television history his due. 

And while I am at it: Church folks, if you feel the need to deliver instruction to the broader population on how its most innocent pleasure reveal how far it has fallen below the high standards that you uphold, take a breath. No one is going to attend a church whose leaders make a specialty of telling people that the things they care about are not actually important and that they should hold their immediate reactions in check until they are validated by their moral superiors. 

David Chase and James Gandolfini explored the nature of evil and complicity at a depth not reached by any preacher I've ever heard. They didn't undermine my faith, they deepened it.

As of yet, I haven't seen any of The Sopranos:  I don't have HBO, and the series I watch tend to be viewed with my wife who doesn't like violent shows (although exceptions were made for all of Joss Whedon's canon).

But my sense is that Jim is spot on here...

The End of the World's Leading 'Ex-Gay' Ministry

The Atlantic has an excellent account of this story, which began with a public apology released by Exdous' long-time leader whose agenda for 40 years has promoted through an ultra-conservative reading of the Bible "...that homosexuality was unholy and that through counseling and prayer, you could change your sexual orientation."  

The breadth of Chambers's apology was unprecedented and startling (you can read the whole text here). For many people, though, it wasn't enough. Dan Savage, creator of the It Gets Better Project, tweeted, "Alan's work destroyed people. Sorry is nice, I guess, but it won't raise the dead." LGBT activist Daniel Gonzales added: "'Sorry' also requires you stop what you're doing that hurts people and is wrong. Exodus hasn't stopped.'"

Hours later, that actually happened....  From The Atlantic's interview with Chambers:

What parts of Exodus's teaching do you renounce?
What I renounce: the whole gay-to-straight process. That the goal is changing your sexual orientation, which we realized isn't something that happens. That that's what makes you acceptable to God. And that gay people couldn't ever be acceptable to God.

So what changed for you that got you to this place?  
Realizing that the deepest part of the Exodus narrative is really a religious church narrative has been the biggest change. We are a church that has mostly been about waging war and battle. But I believe God has called us to be a people of peace. I've realized he can love a gay person or a lesbian person the same as anyone. For me as a Christian, those aren't boundaries or barriers, and I don't believe they are barriers for God. We felt it was absolutely necessary to close the ministry of Exodus and do what people who have been hurt are asking us to do: make amends in a way that makes a difference.

The interview is a fascinating, and dare I say, a hopeful one for those associated with the group.