Monthly Archives: May 2008

Torture Is Not a Methodist Family Value

Guest Column by Andrew Weaver Editor’s Note: Andrew Weaver is a good friend of mine and a close observer of the United Methodist Church. I asked him to write the first guest column for this blog. Andrew is a United … Continue reading

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Obliteration and Wright

Which is the greater threat to humankind,  the sermon snippets of Jeremiah Wright or the promise by Hillary Clinton that she will obliterate Iran if it attacks Israel?  The answer should be obvious. Except that by the strange political and … Continue reading

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Promises, Promises

Update on this post, May 8: Prime Minister Olmhert has said he will resign as Israel’s Prime Minister if he is indicted.  This will further delay a peace agreement by the end of the year.  Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now says … Continue reading

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Greg Maddux, Andrew Miller and My Family

by James M. Wall This blog is concerned with many topics, including “the ambiguity of human existence, as addressed from a religious perspective”.  In today’s Chicago Tribune sports section I experienced that ambiguity when I read the headline, “Win No. … Continue reading

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Carter’s Coup

by James M. Wall William James Martin’s essay in CounterPunch provides the most encouraging perspective I have seen on the importance of Jimmy Carter’s latest trip to the Middle East.  Martin’s post (May 2) is a stern reminder that presidential elections … Continue reading

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“I Weep for my Country”

We should have listened to West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd (D) on March 19, 2003. At the start of his prophetic speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Byrd said: Today I weep for my country. I have watched … Continue reading

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Sister Rose and Desperate Housewives

this episode is all about what faith and worship mean in practice. Lynette, battling cancer, sees Bree and family on their way to church on a Sunday morning, and decides that her family needs to go. Of itself, this may seem trite. But the dialogue, the conversations between the characters, is priceless. Lynette and family go to the Presbyterian church with Bree (though Lynette’s husband was raised Catholic; wait til you hear one of their son’s description of who Jesus us…) but Lynette has questions that the sermon doesn’t answer so she stands up and queries the minister. Bree’s embarrassment makes her dis-invite Lynette so the next week they go to the Catholic Church…. but what has suffered is the friendship between Lynette and Bree – and how this is resolved is what faith in life is all about.

At the end (this is television, so I get to give away the ending), when Lynette and Bree are laughing and talking again, with a Bible in front of them, they are not reading the Word, they are being the Word. This is not extreme drama; it is ordinary, filled with light, and fine.

If you are engaged in evangelization in any way, this thread of the show will launch many conversations; it will show what any number of lectures and homilies won’t be able to do.

Now, Gaby, the token Catholic who stays Catholic for all the wrong – and right – reasons, is surprisingly well-informed about the canonical status of her marriage … again, the dialogue offers lots to talk about. Her very ineptitude at living her faith evokes conversation about what it means to be who she loudly professes herself to be. (The priest’s knowledge about ritual and canon law seems flawed, but I think Gaby so exasperates him that he goes along. This says as much about his faith as Gaby’s.

The women of Wysteria Lane are not perfect, they are greatly flawed – and seemingly criminal. But they have hearts and souls and it looks like the writers are back on track with the heart and humanity, truth and consequences apsects, of the show.

This episode is about asking questions and asking and asking, even when it makes others socially uncomfortable. Lynette may not be seeking next week, but this week she is. In their own ways, all the characters on DH are.

If the tornado episodes re-run, be sure to get them. Again, humanity and heart can emerge even from shows with a bottom drawer reputation in the faith community.

If you have access to the first season of DH, check out the Valentine’s Day episode. The thread about Lynette and Mrs. McCloskey is the epitome of what living faith is all about.

Be surprised. Continue reading

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Carter’s Middle East mission

 Christian Century Impression  An editorial in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz (April 15) sharply criticized Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert for Israel’s “boycott” of Jimmy Carter during the former president’s recent trip to the Middle East. Olmert refused to meet with … Continue reading

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