Another mass shooting. Do you care about the details? Do you? Do I? What about the mass shooting that takes place every day in the United States, one murder and one suicide at a time? Do you care about the details? Do you? Do I?
Firearm violence in the United States is rampant, pervasive and it seems intractable. It starts to seem like it is a force of nature, like a hurricane or a tornado or a flood, a force that exacts its inevitable death toll; a force that cannot be…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on September 18, 2013 at 3:00pm — No Comments
On Friday, December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut a man used the energy of his life, and he used guns and bullets to take the lives of twenty school children, six school staff, his own mother and finally himself.
No one knows what to say in moments like this. But we utter many things about God. Do we really mean these things?
I am devastated to hear how many people, the President included, have said that God called those children to heaven.
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on December 21, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments
Saint Ronald Reagan.
The news today reminds me how intertwined religiosity is with the political consciousness of our times. If you had not heard, and even if you had heard, there is an auction at www.pfcauctions.com that claims to be selling a vial of the blood of Reagan. This is scintillating.
On the one hand, the sale is…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on May 24, 2012 at 1:46pm — No Comments
Are you ready for the cries from right-wing Christians about the war on Christmas? It happens every year, and we ought not be surprised by it. One by one, conservative pundits bring forward scandalous stories about retail establishments that substitute the term "happy holidays" for "Merry Christmas," and instruct us to prime our outrage in like fashion.
Even more oddly, it seems they are decrying a war on the holidays in aggregate, since we have already been informed by them that the…Continue
The Occupy Movement has identified itself using the term 99%. On the face, this seems to present a permanent dichotomy between the 1% of richest people, and the 99% of the rest of us. Of course, there is no way to erase the simple fact that there will always be a richest 1%, and so it is a permanent dichotomy. However, we may also look at this in another way. The Occupy Movement, in my estimation, has stumbled upon a profound insight: In human terms they have identified the…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on November 4, 2011 at 2:11pm — No Comments
According to their own testimony, God has called Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum to run for President. God has even, reportedly, called Mike Huckabee to keep his cushy media job and not to run. There is no shortage of coverage of these divine vocations. Much of the writing on the subject is barely pronounceable due to the tongue's affixation to the cheek. One writer after another jokingly complains that God needs to figure it out, make a decision and get with…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on October 22, 2011 at 4:00am — No Comments
As we hurry forward toward the tenth anniversary of 9/11/2001, all sorts of discussions are popping up, and many of them have an interfaith perspective. I am a huge fan and proponent of, and participator in interreligious dialogue. But, I honestly don’t see what the actions of fanatics on 9/11 has to do with an interreligious encounter. In fact, I propose that there may not even be an interreligious dimension to the terroristic events of that day. Why not? Because fanaticism is not…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on September 7, 2011 at 7:11am — No Comments
Harper Simon, son of Paul Simon and inheritor of a voice with breathtaking semblance to his dad’s, sings us a hymn at the beginning of his beautiful self-titled collection of songs:
“No, I never did believe / That I ever would be saved /Without giving my all to God… / So I freely give my whole / My body and my soul / To the good Lord /Amen.”
Giving all to God, means worshipping God. So, yes. Let us give our all to God. But let’s be careful who that God we…Continue
Okay. Let me throw this out there, and then let me know what you think…
The TeaParty Republicans who are seriously threatening to rain down suffering in every direction through dismantling the world economy by thwarting efforts to increase the US debt-ceiling must believe that the vast structures and infrastructures and services that are the hallmarks of American life together come to us by some kind of magic. Surely, the Grover Norquist vow never to raise taxes, which has been…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on July 29, 2011 at 11:57am — No Comments
No doubt we are all aware of the outcomes of the collaboration of Republican and Democratic politicians in New York on 24 June 2011 which made New York the sixth state (in the United States) to legalize same sex marriage. In the wake of this, so much has been said about this triumph of equality, while others lament this very same achievement of ‘equality’ as a tragic dissolution of our social fabric. In other words opponents see in it the elevation of same sex…Continue
These used to be regarded as failings, deficiencies and sins: greed, envy, gluttony, lust. Now our highest values seem to be embodied in these once deadly sins which are now reformed into virtues. By the forces of materialistic consumerism and consumption we are being consumed. Every day we are fed a steady diet of dissatisfaction, frustration and desire; we consume dissatisfaction, frustration and desire. And what we consume we become.
Christianity has long known this…Continue
President Barack Obama announced on May 1, 2011 that “the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
In his speech to the nation late on Sunday night, the US President said that we “reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on May 2, 2011 at 5:49pm — No Comments
February's State of Formation topic is bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. The recent and ongoing campaign is to impress upon the victims of bullying the message that “it gets better.” Which means, there can be a happy life after bullying, if you can just endure the present torment.
You can check out the project here: http://www.itgetsbetter.org . While I agree with the sentiment, it rings eerily close to a religious…Continue
Each new suicide resulting from anti-gay bullying begs the question: when will enough be enough?
We Americans don’t know the meaning of the word “enough.” We don’t know when to stop consuming: if everyone on the planet consumed at the level that Americans consume, we would need five planets to accommodate the greed. We also don’t seem to know the meaning of enough when it comes to violence. For instance in the wake of a recent gun tragedy in Tucson Arizona, Utah is…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on February 10, 2011 at 6:19am — No Comments
Perhaps you have seen the website, http://www.jesushatesobama.com/. That’s right, the American free market, where business rules, and all is fair because, after all, business is business, has produced a website proclaiming the Good News that Jesus hates Obama™; proclaiming the Gospel that Jesus hates the President of the United States, Barack Obama. In case you didn’t know.
But, to be fair this website begins with a jocular…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on January 22, 2011 at 7:36pm — No Comments
We think too simply about cause and effect. We Americans are submerged in the tragic illusion that we are separate individuals who make ourselves. No one is self-made. And the politician Hubert Humphrey was right to say that there is nothing worse than for a person to think that she has made herself. Because nothing could be further from the truth.
So many times in the past week or so it has been said that the lethal actions of Jared L. Loughner are ‘not connected’ to Tea Party…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on January 17, 2011 at 11:07am — No Comments
What is our model of interreligious dialogue? What scriptural models could we choose from?
Well, on the one hand we might choose the model of Moses and the Pharaoh. This might be called a kind of fanatical and violent exclusivism. In the encounter of Yahweh and the gods of Egypt, the side that wins is the side that can out-catastrophize the other. And it really is one catastrophe after another, one tragedy after another, isn’t it. In the interreligious encounter between Moses and…Continue
Added by Paul Joseph Greene on December 24, 2010 at 3:00pm — No Comments
Here's the question: Can you come as you are to the interreligious dialogue?
A peculiar strain of interreligious dialogue warrants an entire chapter of Raimundo Panikkar’s book, The Intra-religious Dialogue. Because of the long history of Christianity’s participation and support for empire and quasi-imperialistic endeavors that have wrought devastation to impoverished peoples across the globe, some Christians have sought to approach interreligious…Continue