Happy Thanksgiving! On the day before Wisdom Wednesday, we hope a Tuesday story comes true: “Hamas ‘close’ to truce agreement with Israel.” We include some Navajo wisdom, how Turkey saved the People. We offer a personal reflection, why going to a Taylor Swift concert is like going to church, and a reasoned opinion that the best line of the synod is “Excuse me, Your Eminence, she has not finished speaking.”
Items this week range from Thanksgiving dinners served to people in need, to luxury water available only to a wealthy few in India, to one singer’s boycott of Elon Musk’s X and another whose concerts are said to be like going to church.
We offer opinion pieces from Massimo Faggioli, Phyllis Zagano, Bob Mickens, Michael Sean Winters and a few other writers with less-than-familiar names.
Among the passing, we offer a tribute to Rosalyn Carter whose cause was mental health and a reflection opon a Pentecostal minister whose life beliefs changed to include salvation available to all.
First, a Tuesday report in the Guardian gives hope for a truce in Gaza.
But since a day has passed since that hopeful note, we offer two links to look at the latest news: The Guardian and the Associated Press.
National Catholic Reporter offers a story on how “Sisters across US serve thousands of Thanksgiving meals.”
Looking at the mountain of Thanksgiving food, but appropriate any time of the year, NCR Earthbeat offers “small, sustainable changes to combat kitchen waste.”
Also at NCR’s Earthbeat, Damian Costello, director of an indigenous learning community and co-chair of the Indigenous Catholic Research Fellowship, offers a Navajo story on how “Turkey, our national bird of gratitude, carries the seeds for a new world.”
Thanks to Steve Newton for a link to America Magazine. Pope Francis’ call to synodality is an opportunity for U.S. Catholic priests to name divisions and seek reconciliation, and in the process draw synodality deeper into the mystery of Christ’s priesthood. (May be behind a paywall)
Massimo Faggioli offers a recent column. Pope Francis calls Catholic theologians to a “cultural revolution.” Will the Church and its universities help promote the pope’s theological vision?
Thanks to Michael Hickin for a link to Discerning Deacons and a synod debrief. If you weren’t able to join the meeting live, you can watch the recording here.
Phyllis Zagano opines: Without doubt, the best line to emanate from the synod on synodality is “Excuse me, Your Eminence, she has not finished speaking.” She says that sums up the synod and the state of the Catholic Church’s attitude toward change.
Religion and politics
Rebecca Bratten Weiss, digital editor for U.S. Catholic magazine, offers an opinion – and an answer to her question: Have the US bishops learned anything about abortion?
Robert Mickens, English editor for La Croix International, offers an essay on “A house divided…” The Roman Catholic Church is experiencing deep and polarizing divisions at various levels. How might that influence the election of Pope Francis’ eventual successor?
A Federal appeals court deals a blow to the Voting Rights Act. A divided federal appeals court ruled that private individuals and groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People do not have the ability to sue under a key section of the act.
Republican Presidential candidates are consistently evasive on religion. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a cradle Catholic who calls himself a Catholic and worships in Catholic churches. But, as Molly Olmstead demonstrates in her latest opinion piece in Slate (“Will Anyone Buy Ron DeSantis’ Religious Muddle?“), he looks like an evangelical Christian, walks like an evangelical and quacks like an evangelical.
Argentina’s new president is a far-right populist who slams the pope.
Across US, NCR reports that Catholic groups are often behind LGBTQ book banning efforts.
Hundreds more US United Methodist congregations have recently disaffiliated amid LGBTQ+ tensions. Over 7,000 congregations have been approved to break away since 2019, when the church strengthened bans on same-sex marriage
Christianity and organized labor
Michael Sean Winters observes that Christianity and organized labor continue to march together.
News in Media
‘Join or Die’ documentary insists that community groups will save democracy. At the core of this political film is a very Catholic concept: a commitment to the common good.
Singer Neil Young boycotts X, saying Elon Musk used an anti-Semitic tweet
Amid thirsty people, luxury water sells
In India, a country that has 18% of the world’s population, but only 4% of its water, some luxury hotels, restaurants and richest families pay about $6 per bottle, roughly a day’s wage for an Indian laborer. The Associated Press reports on the disparity.
Tribute to Rosalynn Carter
After leaving the White House, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter launched programs that have, among other things, monitored elections in at least 113 countries and nearly eradicated the Guinea worm parasite in the developing world. But the former president has said that The Carter Center would have been a success had it accomplished nothing but his wife’s mental health work. The Associated Press responds to Rosalynn Carter’s death Sunday at age 96.
From fundamentalism to inclusion
Bishop Carlton D. Pearson, a preacher, singer and author who moved from Pentecostalism to what he called “The Gospel of Inclusion,” has died at age 70.
Pearson died in hospice care Sunday night (Nov. 19), after a brief battle with a returning cancer, according to a post on his Facebook page. “If I am judged for perceiving Christ or Christianity in error, I’d rather be wrong for overestimating the love of God than underestimating it,” he said. “I’d rather err on the goodness, greatness and graciousness of God than the opposite.”
Battle: Preventing AIDS vs. Family Planning
African church leaders have sent a letter to the U.S. Congress urging them to reauthorize one of President George W. Bush’s signature achievements, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The program, passed in 2003, has afforded significant gains toward an HIV/AIDS-free generation on the continent, helping save more than 20 million lives, according to the leaders. They are writing in response to a letter sent to Congress in June by religious groups and legislators asserting that the funds for the program were financing family planning and reproductive health programs, including abortion.
Nov 19: 60th Anniversary of Gettysburg Address
Critic Edward Rothstein offers a probing essay on the fascinating and hidden history between Abraham Lincoln and the Jews. For American Jews, Lincoln’s death was associated not with Good Friday but with the simultaneous holiday of Passover and not with Jesus but with Moses.
Academic download: Women and Diaconate
Greg Perry, a faculty member at Covenant Theological Seminary, offers an essay on Phoebe of Cenchreae and Women of Ephesus. (This is one of many essays and papers available on the topic, from various points of view, not all in agreement.)
Worshiping at the church of Taylor Swift
The goodness of a Taylor Swift show points to our need for a deeper goodness.