Friday, March 10, 2017

Items of Interest: Second Week of Great Lent

To Fast Again
by Eamon Duffy (First Things). «So fasting is now confined to a derisory two days of the year, and compulsory Friday abstinence has been replaced by a genteel and totally individualistic injunction to do some penitential act on a Friday—an injunction, incidentally, that most Catholics know nothing about. What had been a corporate mark of identity has been marginalized into an individualistic option.»

In America, We Don’t Have Guns to Our Heads, But We Have Lawyers at Our Throats
by David Mills (The Stream). «In America, we don’t have guns to our head, but we have lawyers at our throats. Better lawyers than guns, sure. But the Constitution read as the Founders intended would mean no lawyers either. Or just a few, in the genuinely difficult cases. That’s an argument we’re going to have to make over and over if Trump signs an executive order on religious liberty. We’ll have all the new experts telling everyone that religious freedom doesn’t mean much.»

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Decision to Investigate Russell Moore Has Huge Implications for Black SBC Churches
by Dwight McKissic (SBC Voices). The spiritual descendants of Bull Connor in the SBC leadership double down in their firehosing of Russell Moore.

Capitalism’s Theologian
by Kyle Edward Williams (Jacobin). «Perhaps one of Novak’s greatest legacies was to help inoculate an entire generation of Protestants and, particularly, Roman Catholics against the more economically radical elements of their own traditions...[N]ow, as Novak’s generation of neoconservatives comes to an end, there seems to be an opening for a new coalitional politics, empowered by a new constellation of ideas, and an opportunity for American Christians to recover the radicalism of their heritage.»

How We Talk About the Least Among Us: Poor People in Public Discourse
by Annie Selak (Political Theology Today). «Language is important because it can create a false distance or closeness. By blaming poor people, we wash our hands clean of any responsibility we have to them or complicity in the conditions that allow this to happen. Likewise, romanticizing poor people creates a closeness that is also false, or a cheap grace. It makes us feel like we are in solidarity because we shared a post on Facebook, absolving us of the hard work that solidarity entails. Language can create a distance as well as a sense of patting ourselves on the back, regardless of where that language falls in the spectrum of blame to romanticization. Catholic social ethics calls us to shorten this distance, working to nurture solidarity with the least among us.»

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