By Maria French
“In a century that has seen rape as a part of military strategy, poverty as the result of lack of reproductive choice, industries based on the economic exploitation of sex, race joined with gender and class to determine the employment option of groups, the development of a sexual ethic cannot be a trivial concern.”
-Margaret A. Farley
Sex and sexuality-It is the one thing that ties us all together. We find it to be a very complicated issue in the 21st century, although there is more work being done than ever to transform sexual categories into a spectrum in which one can move freely, liberally and experimentally. While sex is nothing new, our forms of expressions and engagement are ever changing and evolving.
Human sex and sexuality is something that is of great fascination to me. I must say, when it comes to thinking about sex in a faith context, I was fairly (completely!) messed up. I grew up Catholic. ...
By Barry Taylor
“When Darwin or Einstein proclaim theories that modify our ideas, it is a triumph of science. We do not say that there is another defeat for science, because its old ideas have been abandoned...Religion (should) face change in the same spirit...”
Whitehead’s quote taps into an important question that we need to ask ourselves: Why in the face of such an evident need for reframing the way we speak about religion is it so difficult for us to let go of old ideas?
Part of the answer might lie in the fact that many people don’t think they have ‘ideas’ about God. They think they’ve happened upon an unchangeable truth and therein is the challenge. It is a difficult notion to overcome. Many of us have been schooled in forms of religion built around crystallized dogmas that are presented to us as the truths we need to embrace in order to be the ‘right kind’ of Christian.
But as the writer Adam Phillips...
By Barry Taylor
Whether it’s Star Wars or Star Trek, Mars Attacks or Minority Report, 2001 A Space Odyssey or Dr. Who, film and television has long been enthralled with a future shaped by science, technology and visions of the future. Using incredible technologies and great stories, imagined worlds are made to look believable and real and have shaped so much of the ways we think the future might unfold. But as the philosopher Slavoj Žižek has noted, even though we know that something is fiction, that it is not real, it still fascinates us because there is something real in the illusion. We choose the things we watch because they trigger our desires even though we aren’t always aware of what we are desiring for when we watch a film or tv show. Žižek also said about cinema, the ‘ultimate perverts art’ because visual media doesn't simply give us what we desire - it tells us how to desire.
What those illusions are, what cinematic desire looks like and...
By Maria French
What makes the church more than a self-help option? In the name of ‘essential work,’ what are the categories of community the church provides for its congregants that are integrally Christian?
I don’t ask these questions because I know the answers.
I ask them because I think they must be asked and deeply considered.
If you are keeping up on the news across the U.S. when it comes to church openings (or non-openings) you will find that many pastors have fought against the continued government mandates not to assemble for the purposes of worship. There has been outrage, citing infringement on their first amendment rights, calling for churches to be seen as essential work as well as an invoking of mental health statistics among church goers who no longer have the comfort and community of their in-person Sunday gatherings.
There has been a distinct ‘us vs. them’ narrative when it comes to churches re-opening and...
By Maria French
“What do you believe, Maria?” is a question I am asked more than you can imagine.
Only the question sounds more like this…
“Do you believe that Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead?”
“Do you believe in hell?”
“Do you think Jesus was kidding when he said, ‘I am the way, the truth
and the life’?
There was a time in my life when I took the bait; hook, line and sinker!
I’ve learned the hard way, more than once, that these are questions I will never answer for people. And I don’t mean theologically. I literally mean that I will not physically open my mouth and attempt to answer them.
In reality, we need to take the...
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