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Showing posts from December, 2011

Advent Crossroad: Fourth Sunday in Advent

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Malachi 3-4 (Narrative Lectionary)            This time of year I think a lot about the fact that I had two Jewish grandparents whom I knew and loved. I had four Jewish great-grandparents who died before I was born, whose parents came from Eastern Europe to escape the horrific persecution of Jews. From my Jewish grandparents came my mother who came to know and believe in Christ in her mid-twenties, but still shared with her children some of the celebrations of her youth- Chanukah, Passover, Sabbath.
            This time of year, when we all reflect on families, I think of the Chanukahs of my youth and I think about the people who came before my great-grandparents. My family tree with many branches cut short on one side because of the violence against Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. When I read stories of pogroms in ghettos and shtetls, I wonder if those were my distant cousins whose descendants the world will not meet, whom I…

Unexpected, Mysterious and Fun

I've been trying to think of what to say about this article from the New York Times, in which the author calls himself a "None"- meaning no religious affiliation. It's not this designation that bothers me. I'm also not too upset when he goes on to comment on how many such Nones get turned off religion by religious people. Been there, seen that, had it happen to me.

Here's the thing that gets me:


We are more religiously polarized than ever. In my secular, urban and urbane world, God is rarely spoken of, except in mocking, derisive tones. It is acceptable to cite the latest academic study on, say, happiness or, even better, whip out a brain scan, but God? He is for suckers, and Republicans.I used to be that way, too, until a health scare and the onset of middle age created a crisis of faith, and I ventured to the other side. I quickly discovered that I didn’t fit there, either. I am not a True Believer. I am a rationalist. I believe the Enlightenment was a very …

Father Knows Breast

Today I was at a sushi bar and a Dominican priest was seated one chair away from me. I knew he was Dominican because he had a white robe and a large wooden rosary- like other Dominicans I have known.

I wonder if I should greet him. Why? I'm not Catholic. He doesn't know I'm clergy (no collar on today). He probably wants a peaceful lunch. I want a peaceful lunch.

I do not leave well enough alone. I ask if he is, in fact, Dominican. Yes, new in town (of several months). We know someone in common. We talk briefly about where we're from. All good. No problems.

I'm reading from a Nook and he has a paperback by Wallace Stegner.

Him: We're thinking about starting a Theology and Literature group. I'm checking out Stegner.
Me: (Trying to make a joke) So, not Father Greeley. (A Roman Catholic priest who is a prolific writer and some of whose novels are famously or infamously sexy.)
Him: No, not Father Greeley. Too many breasts.
Me: (Raising my eyebrows) Well, breasts…