Usually when you find “religion” and “sex” in the same sentence (or on the same website), it’s bad news. Either someone’s going to hell or someone’s really pissed off that they’re being shut out or judged or sent to hell. Which is why — no matter your position on sex, religion, or hell, for that matter — the site Religious Institution is a refreshing change. It is a “multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society.” Yep, that’s faith and sex in the same sentence — and on the same website — and no one got a black eye.
The folks at The Story of Stuff Project have been keeping busy! In early March, Annie Leonard’s book The Story of Stuff came out; later that month, the project released “The Story of Bottled Water” for World Water Day. This month, the project moves in some interesting new directions: on Earth Day, they announced the release of Let There Be… Stuff?, “a six-session curriculum that helps Christian teenagers explore the relationship between their consumption, their faith, and the health of the planet.”
While The Story of Stuff has been used for educational purposes since the launch of the first web video, the move into churches (and eventually synagogues… a Jewish version comes out this summer) demonstrates the power of the “creation care” movement. According to the Project, faith leaders began reaching out almost immediately after the original Story of Stuff video came out. In response, The Story of Stuff Project partnered with Green Faith, an “interfaith coalition for the environment,” to produce the curriculum.
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During the Pope’s visit to Malta this past weekend, he visited with abuse victims, paying a lot of lip service to “healing” and “investigations.” Yeah right! He also commended Malta for keeping divorce and abortion illegal. What century is this!? So here’s a roundup of some recent abuse scandal pieces to keep you riled up:
- Last week we mentioned Dr. Lothstein, a psychologist who’s treated more than 300 priests who was interviewed for a New York Times article; more recently he was interviewed by NPR, with more revelations about pedophile priests being reinstated.
- This 2003 This American Life story, recently re-aired, profiles a priest who was a “fixer”, sent in by the Catholic Church to places rocked by sex scandals, in order to restore order via deception — he eventually flipped and worked for lawyers prosecuting abuse cases! (It’s Act 1, so you won’t have to weed through the entire episode.)
In a blog post this morning for CNN’s American Morning, the Progressive Jewish Alliance’s executive director Elissa Barrett uses the occasion of Passover and the traditional Seder meal (which happens tonight) to discuss the issue of urban food deserts. According to Barrett,
On Passover we trace our path from oppression to redemption, from suffering to opportunity. As we recall our wandering through the desert on the way to freedom, our minds turn to those who are suffering today, to those still wandering the desert. The Progressive Jewish Alliance seeks solutions to repair injustices in our cities here and now, calling attention to the reality that millions of Americans live – unnecessarily – in “food deserts.”
It’s Fat Tuesday, and you may be gearing up for a parade, a party, or a big meal featuring Cajun cuisine. While Mardi Gras has become a largely secular celebration, for many Christians around the world, it represents the last blow-out before the season of Lent. Tomorrow, many will attend Ash Wednesday services, and commit to fasting, prayer, meditation, and confession in anticipation of Easter.
As Baptist minister Chad Crawford noted a couple of years ago at sustainablog, the concepts and practices associated with Lent ties in well with green thinking and activity. No, that doesn’t mean that environmentalists are gloomy and demand constant sacrifice; it does mean that this period of reflection and simplicity can allow for meaningful thought on our relationship to the natural environment.
To kick off your Superbowl weekend, check out these 3 bits that you won’t (but should!) see during the game this Sunday — all are in response to the anti-choice, anti-equality, anti-gay Christian group Focus on the Family’s 2.5-million-dollar spot (that we mentioned the other day) featuring football star Tim Tebow and his mom talking about how she refused to have an abortion after doctors advised her to. Hey, good for Mrs. Tebow, who had the right to make her own decisions about her reproductive health! Guess we can now hold our breath until CBS runs an equally “appropriate” ad about preserving that right to choose:
Two more after the break.
Despite its rich history and culture, when Westerners think of the Middle East, two things likely come to mind: oil production and religious conflict. A small group of bloggers and journalists from the region, and from Islamic, Jewish, and Christian faith backgrounds, are out to address those perceptions, as well as the real issues behind them, by gathering in Jordan on December 20-21. Responding specifically to the United Nations’ call for more reporting on environmental issues in the region, the bloggers will discuss a range of topics, including “…activism, design, urban health, religion, and clean technologies.
Today, Planned Parenthood is organizing a “National Day of Action” to inform people about the Stupak Amendment and to lobby the Senate for health care reform that ensures women’s access to reproductive health care. Their bullet points below very clearly (finally!) outline how exactly the Stupak Amendment would affect women’s lives and health (because let’s face it, when you hear “The Exchange” and “affordability credits” and “subsidies” mentioned vaguely in the news, it goes in one ear and out the other). So if you’re a woman or you care about one (i.e. everyone) then take a minute to familiarize yourself with this important — and frightening — info.
photo by cliff1066™ There’s been a lot of self-congratulatory back-patting around the House’s passing of the Health Reform Bill this past Saturday — but it’s come at a huge price. The Democratic Congress pretty much abandoned women’s reproductive rights by including the last-minute Stupak-Pitts Amendment to appease some religio-conservative members of Congress, including several male…
Article: Science and the city
Brian Greene, festival co-founder and theoretical physics professor at Columbia University, with the respected Dr. Bunson Honeydew
From June 10-14, New York City will host the second annual World Science Festival, a series of programs and lectures that highlight the big questions in science and how they influenced the big questions in other fields, like philosophy, ethics, and the arts. The festival’s primary mission is “to cultivate and sustain a general public informed by the content of science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future,” a reminder that that science part of all of our lives, from the philosophical to the practical, and is worth knowing about.
We’ve heard quite a bit about the Christian Evangelical “creation care” movement in the past few years; members of the Jewish community have also weighed in on the relationship of their faith to the environment. But what about Islam?
Article: Prom is hell
FOOTLOOSE came out in 1984. We saw it before we got our periods and even way back then the premise seemed antiquated: Could places where dancing and music were forbidden really still exist, when we live in a such modern world with Walkmans and drum machines? So imagine our surprise at this week’s news story about a kid getting suspended from his Christian high school for attending his girlfriend’s prom at another school where rock music and dancing are — cover your ears! — actually allowed.
The talented New York-based monologuist Mike Daisey performs his dark, hilarious work in a format similar to the one perfected by the late Spalding Gray: a spare stage, a simple table, a glass of water, and some notes. Daisey, who is an acquaintance of mine, just got back from a remote South Pacific island called…