Jun 21, 2010


Off to Medjugorje in six days. Decided to skip the 29th anniversary of the apparitions on June 25th because of the crowds, and probably couldn't have gotten a room in any case. What is amazing to me (why?) is that despite the Vatican crackdown on the apparitions, the crowds are only increasing and the Church of St. James is packed for services and confessions, with several thousand ascending Apparition Mountain last Friday for an 'apparition' given to the visionary, Ivan, the youngest of the five, who is in Medjugorje for the summer. I will ascend the mountain next Monday night to join in the prayer services and apparition. It is all quite mysterious, with so many levels of Christian belief on display from the most mythological and literal to the most mystical and sublime. A heady mix of emotion and spiritual feeling. But one thing is crystal clear, the average obedient pew sitting Catholic is serenely ignoring the Vatican warning against the Marian site. Clearly, for all of the ambiguities, something real and very powerful is occurring here, however carefully one must discern the spirits to make sense of it all and not get swept away by the fanatical excesses. Ordinary human beings are being deeply moved and affected by the mystery of Medjugorje. It is in many ways a metaphor for the whole church at this point in history. The Vatican authorities forbid the use of church property for any of the apparitions, so the visionaries move outdoors, making them accessible to thousands instead of hundreds. How wily are the ways of the Holy Spirit and how frequently the folly of foolish men is used for God's purposes.  I wonder what awaits me there?
Jayden Cameron reporting for Gay Mystic news

Jun 20, 2010


I just came across this wonderful blog created by a young spiritual gay man. The blog is filled with musings on many spiritual topics and well worth checking out.: In Exsilium

 Of his many inspiring posts on a variety of esoteric (and exoteric) subjects, I especially loved his reflection on the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Her Holy Heart is the deep well which I hope to draw from. It's very image is, for me, an illustration and a revelation of the Christian anthropology I strive to realize in my life. The humility of her Heart, its blessed poverty, is postured by her as the receptivity of the gift of God's divine love in Christ His Son. Her heart is after the image under which I was taught to receive Holy Communion in the second grade: approach the altar, they told us, with the back of your one hand resting in the palm of the other, cup your open palm slightly where the Holy Eucharist will be placed.

In this way, we quietly and contemplatively approached Christ with an empty, curved palm. The idea was, of course, to embody an interior sense of openness to Our Eucharistic Lord. Presently, this signifies the Marian Heart for me before the Trinity. She could have been terrified, as so many of us are, when we try to peer into our own depths and reach down to the root of ourselves, so that we can attain an understanding of the mystery of our being, and from there, the world. But the most thorough of us, I do think, find it always eludes us, it disappears like smoke, and we find a merely empty curvature, a kind of shape of a shell, a well, a darkness, and we wonder where the self that we were once so sure we possessed has gone off to in the course of the passage of time, and in our interrogation of its truth.

Jun 19, 2010

Love the Sinner

I'm off to London on Monday for a week of theatre, followed by a trip to Croatia and Medjugorje, the famous (or infamous) site of Marian apparitions, recently "condemned" by the Vatican. I'm paying 180 Euros a night for a luxury hotel on the sea in Dubrovnik, and 10 Euros a night for a room in a guest house in Medjugorje. Let no one say the people of this Marian village are profiting off of the tourists. Full board of three meals is an extra 17 euros, more than the room ! but still quite reasonable. This is my first visit to Medjugorje, and it's partly prompted by it's now exiled, heretical status. The visionaries are told they may no longer hold their prayer meetings on Church property,  priests at Masses may not advocate or advertise the visions/messages in any way, and that should be the end of that, so thinks the Vatican hierarchs. However, the visionaries have simply moved off of Church property, taking the crowds with them,  and, without a whimper of complaint or bitterness, are continuing their spiritual witness in a deep spirit of faith in the midst of trial and contradiction. Sort of a metaphor for many of us in the church today,  for whom the Vatican has become both an obstacle and an irrelevance, which is why I decided it was now time to go and check it out for myself.

One of the plays I'm most looking forward to in London is Love the Sinner at the National Theatre, a gay oriented play that is right off of today's headlines - gay bishops, same-sex blessings in Africa and carnally copulating evangelicals!  Here's a review.

Love the Sinner starts in the middle of a religious conference in Africa. The delegates have come to an impasse while discussing homosexual bishops and same-sex blessings. Should they move with the times or worry about re-painting the house of Christianity too often, and too easily?

The African/European stand-off is resolved, with a twist, in the second scene hotel room encounter between Jonathan Cullen’s volunteer white layman at the conference and Fiston Barek’s black hotel porter, a member of the Holy Mountain of Fire mission to the world.

Cullen’s sexually conflicted Michael has “eyed” Barek’s Joseph – in a roomful of clergymen, and one woman, closing their eyes for secrecy – and they are caught, post-carnally, with Joseph asking for help and asylum in Britain. In the play’s third scene, Michael is confronted at home by his wife Shelly (Charlotte Randle) over their childlessness. She’s 39, and desperate.

In the second act, two more great scenes show us Michael at work in his small envelope business, going evangelically crazy until interrupted by Shelly – Joseph has turned up at the house – demanding explanations and sex; and a conference “wrap” in Michael’s parish church, where Joseph has been secreted by Michael in the basement.

It’s an unusually good plot for a modern play. Matthew Dunster’s production, beautifully arranged on Anna Fleischle’s adaptable set of wooden blocks and panels, has one of those fine mini-ensembles – Ian Redford as a kindly old bishop, Paul Bentall as a cringing vicar, Nancy Crane as priest and businesswoman, Scott Handy as an ecclesiastical “suit” -- that seem to sprout so regularly at the NT these days.

And they are led by an exemplary trio of performances: the tortured Cullen, who expresses a crisis in the clergy as a personal problem; the demanding and emotionally volatile Randle, stripping for action in the office; and the outstanding debutant Barek as the gay not-so innocent who puts the jizz into Jesus. We have a strong and serious contender for this year’s most promising playwright.

Jun 15, 2010

Without Buddha I could not be a Christian

 Just started reading pluralist theologian, Paul Knitter's recent book, Without Buddha I could not be a Christian, which promises to be rewarding, provacative and inspiring. Here is Tom Driver's review from The Christian Century.

Paul F. Knitter, the distinguished and blessedly maverick Catholic theologian, has had many lives. And more than one religion. His devotional life is now a double one—or, as he calls it, a hybrid. Although getting there took him over a rough path, his reward is a deep inner satisfaction that he wants to share, and in this book about his spiritual journey, he reveals himself to be an unusually honest teacher and guide. Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian will be a lifesaver for some and a scandal for others.

A onetime priest who taught theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, for nearly three decades, Knitter was called out of retirement by Union Theological Seminary in New York in 2007 to serve as Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture. Religious pluralism has been Knitter's concern from the beginning of his academic work. In 1985 he gained international recognition with a controversial book titled No Other Name? A Critical Survey of Christian Attitudes Toward the World Religions. In that work he both abandoned the exclusivism of traditional Christology and ecclesiology and went beyond the inclusivism of his former teacher, Karl Rahner, who held that it was possible for persons outside the church to be saved by virtue of their "anonymous" Christianity. Knitter opted for a more radical pluralism, arguing that Jesus and Jesus' name do not provide the only path to salvation.

With the exception of John Hick, with whom he has collaborated more than once, there is probably no English- language author as widely known as Knitter for sustained theological attention to religious pluralism. Since No Other Name? he has authored four other books on the subject, coauthored one, edited or translated six and been the subject of one. He has also translated a history of Zen Buddhism.

Unlike his previous books, Without Buddha is intensely personal. Writing in the tradition of Augustine's Confessions, Knitter turns on a light in the inner room of his mind, allowing the reader to see him struggling with himself. Even writers with little exposure to Buddhism will be able to identify with Knitter, for the problems presented by Christian imagery and doctrine are endemic to modern thought.

Knitter has difficulty not only with the image of God as a kindly paternal figure somewhere up above but also with the idea, entrenched in classical theology, that God is totally other than creation (totaliter aliter) and entirely sufficient unto himself. The problem is a familiar one. Everything that we know in experience is delineated by its relation to other things. As human beings we are deeply relational, since our very personhood is produced and maintained by interactions with others, a process that starts in utero and continues throughout life. To say that God is God without relation to anything other than God is to remove God from the realm of the intelligible; it flies in the face of the biblical idea that human beings are made in the image of God. For Knitter this contradiction is too much to bear.

While Knitter's relief from the contradiction came by way of Buddhist thought and practice alongside his Christian faith, other paths can be taken. These, although little mentioned in Knitter's book, have been explored by process theology and in the writings of Gordon Kaufman, myself and the Chicago theologians of an earlier generation.

Still, Buddhist thought can help, and it is there that Knitter has found a healthy supplement and corrective to his once conventional Christian theology. I wish he had said more about what specifically led him into the study of Buddhism and its meditative practices. When did this happen? Did Buddhist thought and practice appeal to him equally from the start? If not, which came first for him? Was the attraction immediate or slow? In midlife, Knitter married Cathy Cornell, a Buddhist convert from Christianity. How did that turn in the road affect his spiritual journey? The book does give us an account of Knitter's thought process as he found himself pulled between loyalty to Christ and attraction to Buddha. Only at the very end does he tell us that he "took refuge," the Buddhist version of joining, and pledged himself to the Bodhisattva vows.

Since the book depicts its author in debate with himself, a theologically trained reader may be tempted to get into the argument as well. Has Knitter adequately understood Christian theology? Does he have an adequate understanding of metaphor and symbol? Is it possible, as Peter Steinfels writes in his review of the book for the New York Times, that Knitter's Christianity is "laden with all the impurities of popular piety and workaday theology" while his Buddhism is "that of the best and the brightest"?

Taken on its own terms, this book is wonderfully candid. When Knitter has trouble envisioning and relating to God the Father, he says so. When prayer, especially petitionary prayer, becomes hollow or too self-regarding, he confesses it. When liturgy is too wordy, too symbol-laden or too busy, he voices his desire for something else. And when he finds the stillness and attentiveness of Buddhist meditation answering his inner need, he goes with it. At the same time, when the love of Jesus and the reality of a reconceived God call him back to his Christian roots and identity, he says yes to that also. His is a spiritual life born of two lineages, joined together yet, as has been said of Christ's two natures, "not confounded." As Knitter puts it, he is forever "passing over" from Christianity to Buddhism and then "passing back."

Knitter encourages us to travel as more than mere tourists, taking the other religion as seriously as we take our own. If we take up residence there for a while, we will see if the Spirit will call us to pass back home, profoundly changed from being away. I do not hear in this any note of betrayal. I hear the Holy Spirit singing.

Tom F. Driver taught for many years at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is the author of Liberting Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual.

Jun 13, 2010



I attended a very moving confirmation ceremony this Sunday at the beautiful baroque church of St. John of Nepomuk on the Rock which I've described in earlier postings on this blog. Two of my younger students were among the confirmed, Hans Joseph and Alex. Their parents were delighted to see me in attendance at the ceremony, an upstanding Catholic teacher giving Christian witness to his young students. If only they knew! Good people all of them, stolid middle class, bourgeois German Catholics, obviously privileged, secure, confident of their place in the world - or am I making too many judgments.
The ceremony was conducted by a kindly, elderly Bishop from Austria and was very long, well over 90 minutes, with an interminably long sermon from the  sweet-natured, benign presider. Since I don't speak German, it was a long sit, so I entertained myself by studying the large number of children in the congregation, many under the age of ten,  fidgeting in the pews, squirming a bit on the platforms of the side altars, picking their noses and in some cases, scratching their behinds - but otherwise very quiet,  well behaved and polite. The tiny one in front of me amused himself by kissing his father repeatedly on the nose. Most of the under 10's were boys, most of the over 13's were girls, looking very poised and self-possessed.  One family had four boys sitting in a row in the pew with a fifth boy in the baby carriage nearby. The Church was packed, with a congregation of about 300. However, the father of young Alex informed me that on most ordinary Sundays, only about 30 members of the expat German Catholic population in Prague bother to show up for services. Nonetheless, I found this show of solidarity impressive and conversations during the champagne brunch that followed only confirmed a judgment recently made by Terry Weldon at his blog Queering the Church in reference to studies that attempt to gauge those central Catholic beliefs that define Catholic identity for many church going, faithful believers:
  • The most important, central, factors were the core beliefs of Catholicism: the Trinity, the incarnation, the Real Presence, and Mary as Mother of God.
  • The next set were the Church’s social teachings and responsibility to the poor.
  • The third circle concerns rituals, such as attending Mass and receiving communion, which are commonly represented as “practicing Catholics”.
Once again, I do not see in there any reference to automatic obedience, still less to compliance with “official” sexual ethics.

Some witty comments were made at the lunch table about one of their own, German 'Cardinal Raztinger,' now sitting on the papal throne as Pope Benedict. "Oh, we know all about him,"  was one parent's remark. I laughed, but did not feel inclined to pursue the matter. With the champagne flowing, the overall tone was one of slightly giddy irreverence and the subtle, subliminal message I picked up from one and all is that the essence of church consisted in just such family get togethers, so let's not take the big wigs and their pronouncements too seriously. Above all, let us not get ourselves upset on a beautiful Prague Sunday like today with our young children anointed into Christian maturity - since the essence of Christian maturity should be the ability to discern and judge for oneself. Am I reading too much into the genial bonhomie? I don't think so. Reference was made to Cardinal Meisner of Cologne who recently spoke at the meeting of priests in Rome and who made headlines some years ago for comparing abortion to the Holocaust. "Oh, don't pay attention to him," was the advice given by one lady at the table. Interesting. But since most of the conversation was in German, I missed out on the subtext, so to speak! Were there conservative, traditional, obedient Catholics in the crowd? I would assume so, but they were not determining the overall mood of genial independence of thought and spirit. 
How did I feel in the midst of all of this? As I usually do, as a gay, marginal, pluralist 'catholic' man - outside of things, on the edge, and not wanting, desiring or needing to be in the center of it all. It's difficult for me to attend any Catholic parish on a regular basis because of the Church's present stance on Gay people, since it violates something in my conscience to do so. That is in no way a judgment on other gay persons who feel called to remain in the pews. We each have our own parts to play. Furthermore, I'm no longer comfortable in any house of worship which only honors one religious tradition. The future does not reside with such singularity of vision. Humility requires us to recognize and honor other signs of the Sacred alongside our own particular tradition, since no religious tradition can stand alone anymore at this point in history. Sitting in a temple of worship which honors only one tradition or religious figure feels idolatrous to me, and ultimately dishonors and diminishes the very tradition such exclusivity is designed to enhance. The Vedantas have it right. Ramakrishna in the center, Buddha and Jesus on the sides...together with appropriate symbols of female divinity - which are still in such short supply. Relegating the Blessed Virgin to a side altar is simply no longer enough. 

Jayden Cameron reporting for GayMystic News. 

Jun 12, 2010

Jun 11, 2010


Prophetic words taken from Return to the Centre by Father Bede Griffiths. OSB (1976)

What is the reason that modern society has lost this principle of integration?The reason seems to be this. In the Middle Ages - that is, in the years AD 500-1500 - not only in Europe but also in China and India and the Islamic world, a creative synthesis was achieved, in which the physical and psychic and spiritual worlds were marvelously integrated. The economic, social, political and cultural orders were all conceived as a harmonious unity in which each man (sic) was related to nature, to his fellow-man and to the divine source of truth and justice, the dharma, the eternal Law. Of course, this order was being continually threatened with destruction by the forces of disintegration, but the principle of integration was preserved in the 'perennial philosophy', the tradition wisdom, whether Confucian or Buddhist or Hindu or Islamic or Christian. A Chinese landscape, the Ajanta frescoes, the Hindu temple, the Gothic cathedral, the Taj Mahal, are all alike evidence of this creative synthesis, of the harmony of heaven and earth, of the right order of human life. In this period we can see the model of perfection, what human life was intended to be. After this period this creative synthesis began to disintegrate. The Reformation and the Renaissance, the 'Enlightenment' and the French Revolution, the Russian and the Chinese revolutions, are all stages in this process of disintegration. Now, after nearly five hundred years, the process seems to be almost complete, and there are those who question whether our present civilization can survive for more than fifty years.

Protestantism broke up the organic unity of the mystical Body of Christ, that divine-human order which the Church had established in the West, and made each man an isolated individual. Rationalism set the human mind free from the divine and enclosed each man in the limits of his own reason. Finally, communism came to deprive man of his basic liberty and enslave him to the material world, separated from the divine and dominated by human reason. But this is only one side of the picture. On the other side the religious traditions had each lost their creative power. Catholicism in Western Europe, Orthodoxy in Russia, Confucianism in China, like Hinduism in India and Islam throughout the Middle East, had all alike declined and become closed in on themselves, so that the divine Truth, which was in each one of them, could not exert its power. At the same time each of these revolutionary movements had released immense forces - humanism and democracy, science and technology, capitalism and socialism - which could no longer be controlled by any religious order.

Of course, all these movements have positive values, but they have been vitiated by a violent break with the santana dharma, the divine order, by which human life must be ruled. The principles of all these movements are to be found in the perennial philosophy on which all ancient civilization was based, and it would have been possible for the modern world to have developed organically from the ancient world instead of making a violent break with tradition. Protestantism would have been a movement of  reform within Catholicism, bringing about a renewal of the Church by a return to the bible for which we are looking today. Humanism and democracy, science and technology, capitalism and socialism, could all have grown out of the medieval order of Europe and India and China, in which they were already present in principle. But each has advanced by a violent break with the ancient order and thrown the whole world out of balance. The only way in which the world can recover is by a return to the eternal religion, the divine law on which human society is based. But this eternal religion cannot be discovered now exclusively in any one religion. We cannot return to the past forms of Catholicism or Buddhism or Confucianism or Hindu or Islamic orthodoxy. Each religion has to return to its source in the eternal religion, freeing itself from the limitations which historical circumstances have imposed upon it and rediscovering the principles on which modern society must be based.

Jun 10, 2010

Jun 7, 2010


Another powerful prophetic warning from Chris Hedges at TruthDig
Posted on Jun 7, 2010
Truthdig collage based on a White House photo by Pete Souza
Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.

The followers of deviant faiths, from Judaism to Islam, must be converted or repressed. The deviant media, the deviant public schools, the deviant entertainment industry, the deviant secular humanist government and judiciary and the deviant churches will be reformed or closed. There will be a relentless promotion of Christian “values,” already under way on Christian radio and television and in Christian schools, as information and facts are replaced with overt forms of indoctrination. The march toward this terrifying dystopia has begun. It is taking place on the streets of Arizona, on cable news channels, at tea party rallies, in the Texas public schools, among militia members and within a Republican Party that is being hijacked by this lunatic fringe. 

Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote “The Red Network” and was a Nazi sympathizer, is touted as required reading by trash-talk television hosts like Glenn Beck. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is ignored in Christian schools and soon will be ignored in Texas public school textbooks. The Christian right hails the “significant contributions” of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, has been rehabilitated, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is defined as part of the worldwide battle against Islamic terror. Legislation like the new Jim Crow laws of Arizona is being considered by 17 other states. 

The rise of this Christian fascism, a rise we ignore at our peril, is being fueled by an ineffectual and bankrupt liberal class that has proved to be unable to roll back surging unemployment, protect us from speculators on Wall Street, or save our dispossessed working class from foreclosures, bankruptcies and misery. The liberal class has proved useless in combating the largest environmental disaster in our history, ending costly and futile imperial wars or stopping the corporate plundering of the nation. And the gutlessness of the liberal class has left it, and the values it represents, reviled and hated.

The Democrats have refused to repeal the gross violations of international and domestic law codified by the Bush administration. This means that Christian fascists who achieve power will have the “legal” tools to spy on, arrest, deny habeas corpus to, and torture or assassinate American citizens—as does the Obama administration.

Those who remain in a reality-based world often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons and simpletons. They do not take seriously those, like Beck, who pander to the primitive yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal. Critics of the movement continue to employ the tools of reason, research and fact to challenge the absurdities propagated by creationists who think they will float naked into the heavens when Jesus returns to Earth. The magical thinking, the flagrant distortion in interpreting the Bible, the contradictions that abound within the movement’s belief system and the laughable pseudoscience, however, are impervious to reason. We cannot convince those in the movement to wake up. It is we who are asleep.  

Jun 5, 2010


The Prague Fringe festival is underway in this city of many theaters (almost as many as there are churches). One of the venues hosting events is the lovely little Hussite Church of St. John the Baptist in Mala Strana at the edge of Kampa Park. I attended a concert there last evening - local pop/folk singer favorite, Alasdair Bouch, accompanied by friends on sax, oboe, cello and exotic timpani. The musicians entered the church carrying lighted candles and placed them around the sanctuary, which only increased the sense of  holiness of this tiny place of worship. The feeling was palpable and I'm far from the only one to pick up this vibe from Kostel Sv. Jana Kritele Na Pradele, as the Church is known in Czech. This is a holy place of prayer and worship which also serves as a concert venue for some carefully chosen artists, from Japanese flute players to performers of Tibetan ritual instruments, the Dun, Kangling and Drill-bu - celebrating the Tibetan New Year of the Metal Tiger. Yesterday evening we listened to the soulful melodies of Alasdair Bouch, who performed under the very striking wooden sculpture of the Risen Christ above the chiseled stone altar. Seen from the distance of the back row, the figure above the altar seems to be a young woman. Squint a little and it appears to be an angel with upraised arms and hands. After the concert, I went up for a closer look. The figure does indeed have feminine curves, but looks more like a very youthful male with blond ringlets, page boy style, arms upraised over his head, palms turned upwards - with wounds in the palms, signifying that this is indeed a figure of the crucified and Risen Christ. The angel image? An angel is behind the figure embracing it with its wings, it's left arm around the torso of the Christ with it's hand placed over the youthful Christ figure's heart. It is an astonishingly homoerotic and deeply spiritual, joyful image of liberation, freedom, intimacy and love. Who designed it and when? Don't know, but it reflects a very liberated artistic vision. This is indeed a holy place imbued with the spirit of the Risen Master - embraced like a lover by a youthful angel.

This peaked my interest in the Hussite Church, and a bit of research later that evening revealed that it was founded in 1931 as yet another breakaway  Church from Rome, with ties to the Old Catholic Church. It's heresies were the familiar ones. The liturgy should be celebrated in the vernacular, the faithful should receive both elements of Communion, celibacy should be optional, women should be ordained. And in fact, in 2000, the Hussite Church ordained it's first female bishop, with Catholic representatives attending the consecration. What this tells us - yet again - is that, while it is important to respect and preserve the uniqueness of particular religious traditions, the boundaries are slowly dissolving, and the Spirit of the Risen Christ is no respecter of dividing walls, but moves and blows where she will. She was certainly moving and stirring last night, during the concert of Alasdair Bouch, and many of us in this sacred space felt deeply moved.

Relations between the Church and its fellow members of the ecumenical movement are cordial, but remained strained with the country's Roman Catholic leadership. The first female bishop of the Czechoslovak-Hussite church was elected to a 7-year term of office in April 1999. In January 1999, Catholic Archbishop Miloslav Vlk initially made a public statement of disapproval, warning against election of a woman to this position and saying that it would cause deterioration of ecumenical relations.[1] Following criticism by the Czech-Hussite Church for interfering in their affairs, the Roman Catholic Church distanced themselves from his remarks and stated that they would exert no pressure against her election.[2] In 2000, Catholic representatives attended the consecration of Jana Šilerová as the Hussite Church’s first woman bishop.[3]

 From BNET 

Jana Silerova, Eastern Europe's first woman bishop, distanced herself from feminism and said she will be guided by the "femaleness" of Christ's mother. Of her election as bishop of Olomouc by the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, she said, "This step had to be taken, since women already make up almost half of the church's clergy. However, it has also needed its own time, as well as more forthcoming ecumenical attitudes and a greater spirit of unity." A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church rejected suggestions that Cardinal Miloslav Vlk of the Czech Republic condemned Silerova's appointment. "The emergence of a woman bishop does not create any barrier at all," said Daniel Herman, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference. "This is an internal matter for the Hussite Church and Catholics have no right to interfere." 


 Found this at Michael Baley's Wild Reed: In the Garden of Spirituality - Jeanette Blonigen Clancy

For greater spiritual depth, we have to take the focus off worshiping an external god, a certain image of God named Jesus, and instead facilitate awareness of every person’s Higher Power, whatever that person likes to call it — the Force, the Holy Spirit, the Buddhist observer, the Hindu Atman, the humanist center of integrity, the inner Christ, the self, the soul . . . It is the wisdom that knows better than our surface thinker. It is our link to the Source of All.

Here is where, I’m afraid, I lose atheists who deny all spiritual reality. I can’t bridge the divide with them, but I hope to bridge with those who scoff at belief in Christian myth but also accept the existence of a spiritual dimension in the universe. They share common ground with thoughtful Christians who have graduated from literal belief to realizing that no religion can define spiritual reality.

We have to realize that all religious language must be understood figuratively, that is, non-literally. Fierce literalism now holds sway among Christians, which, I warn, signals the impending death of Christianity as the prevailing spiritual paradigm.

To us in this period of transition is given the task of preserving the tradition’s spiritual treasures—they are many—by heeding promptings from the Deep, whatever our name for it. We cannot reverse the evolution of human consciousness. Change happens.

Jun 4, 2010


This just in from John McNeill on the recent  Vatican decision to deny ordination to openly gay men:

I see in this move by the Vatican the shrewdness of the Holy Spirit! The celibate male priesthood is dying out. The number of candidates entering the seminary are rapidly declining. The average priest is over 60 and a vanishing breed with no adequate replacements in sight. The Vatican has resisted all calls for married priests and the ordination of women. Now by denying ordination to gay men the Vatican has almost certainly achieved the death of the cultic celibate male priesthood! But this is in all probability the outcome that the Holy Spirit intended.