In a comment to one of the many blog posts about a controversy concerning Georgetown University’s past with slavery, we read: “I did not enslave anyone. I did not profit from slavery.” Such an abrupt dismissal of the moral issues is alienating, but the responder who added this comment hung around long enough to quicken some creative thoughts. He rightfully reminded others that “it has been 150 years” since the founders of Georgetown sold 272 people into slavery, a horror story if we ever heard one, and we hear many. But “time has moved on.” What is more, “there is no one to ask forgiveness from, as the last slave died in the twentieth century.” The same responder went on to propose some practical reparatory and constructive attitudes and actions in our twenty-first century. One of the fortunate by-products of a controversy, which could have degenerated into stale rehashing of charges about “Political Correctness” or blame games in which “the other” is always the errant party, results in part because of the locale and heritage of the current controversy.
“I refuse to answer questions about God or the Bible with neat constructs or nicely buttoned up answers,” Barnabas Piper says. “My aim is to cause a certain amount of discomfort for Christians who’ve never questioned.”
I love spiritual mentors, wise old souls that see beyond, see that something in us that we don’t see in ourselves. I love Yoda, love Dumbledore, love Gandalf. The Gandalf character has grown on me, bit by bit. In the Hobbit movie, there is a line that really spoke to me. He disagrees with his old friend (not yet nemesis) Saruman, about their views on how to confront evil. Here is what Gandalf says:
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (RNS) At houses of worship here, people gathered in pews, crying, kneeling and hugging each other through services that focused on remembering the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, uniting the community, celebrating Christmas and preventing similar disasters.
(RNS) “Oh, God!” That cry has echoed ever since news of the horrific Newtown school shootings. As the names of those who died are made known, that cry is followed by a question: Why? Why does God allow evil? By Cathy Lynn Grossman/ USA Today.
LONDON (RNS) British police have disclosed that they have investigated more than 80 witchcraft-based child abuse cases in the last decade and warned that the practice is “far more prevalent” than previously believed. By Al Webb.
(RNS) Some critics of President Obama's compromise on contraception have called it a “game of let's pretend.” Yet that “game” is actually a venerable tradition in Catholic moral theology that for centuries has provided a way for Christians to think about acting virtuously in a fallen world. By David Gibson.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Bishops from all over the world at a Vatican-sponsored conference on clerical sexual abuse will take part in a penitential vigil in Rome, seeking forgiveness for the church's role in preventing abuse. By Alessandro Speciale.