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December 5th, 2012
04:50 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, December 05

By Arielle Hawkins, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: Your Take: Praise, condemnation on ‘gay for a year’ story
It came as no surprise that a story about an evangelical Christian pretending to be gay for a year provoked vocal responses from many different quarters. Much of the feedback centered on the propriety of Timothy Kurek’s yearlong experiment. Some questioned why he would actively choose what they called a life of sin. Others questioned whether the author’s experiment was worthwhile or fair.

Photo of the Day:


Photo credit: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

A statue of the Virgin Mary is paraded on a float during the Grand Marian Procession celebrating the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in Intramuros on December 2, 2012 in Manila, Philippines. Devout Catholics gather in Intramuros to view the ninety statues of the Virgin Mary from different parts of the Philippines being carried through the streets of the walled city of Intramuros. The annual event attracts thousands of devotees and is a mix of rich Catholic tradition along with Filipinos' penchant for year-round festivities.

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: Court upholds Indiana’s ban on secular wedding officiants
A federal court in Indiana has rejected atheists' requests to preside at wedding ceremonies, saying only clergy or public officials are licensed to solemnize marriages. A lawsuit filed by the Indiana chapter of the Center for Inquiry argued that an Indiana law that requires marriages to be “solemnized” - made official by signing a marriage license - only by clergy, judges, mayors or local government clerks - violates the Constitution.

The Guardian: Bristol University Christian Union bars women from teaching
A university's Christian Union is being investigated after ruling that women are not allowed to teach at its main weekly meetings. Bristol University Christian Union also made it clear that women will only be able to teach as principal speakers at away weekends and during its mission weeks if they do so with a husband. Coming just a fortnight after the Church of England's General Synod voted against allowing women to become bishops, the stance of the Christian union has caused consternation at the university.

New York Times: Cheering U.N. Palestine Vote, Synagogue Tests Its Members
Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, a large synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is known for its charismatic rabbis, its energetic and highly musical worship, and its liberal stances on social causes. But on Friday, when its rabbis and lay leaders sent out an e-mail enthusiastically supporting the vote by the United Nations to upgrade Palestine to a nonmember observer state, the statement was more than even some of its famously liberal congregants could stomach.

The Guardian: Colombia's evangelicals feel the pull of their Jewish ancestors
They were committed evangelicals, devoted to Jesus Christ. But what some in Colombia called a spark, an inescapable pull of their ancestors, led them in a different direction, to Judaism. There were the grandparents who wouldn't eat pork, the fragments of a Jewish tongue from medieval Spain that spiced up the language, and puzzling family rituals such as the lighting of candles on Friday nights. So, after a spiritual journey that began a decade ago, dozens of families that had once belonged to a fire-and-brimstone church became Jews, converting with the help of rabbis from Miami and Jerusalem.

Join the conversation…

CNN: After gay marriage successes, activists look to build on new faith outreach techniques
It may not sound very powerful, but gay rights activist Debra Peevey said that a two-inch green button played a major role in convincing voters to legalize gay marriage this month in her home state of Washington. “Another Person of Faith Approves R. 74,” said the button, which refers to the ballot initiative that wound up legalizing gay marriage in Washington.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. gman tello

    great articel

    http://www.airsplat.com/Items/GG-12G-CO2.htm

    December 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  2. Robert Brown

    Short and sweet
    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)

    December 5, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Which God?

      Short stupid and delusional, RB. Revelations is the biggest hoax in the babble, written by a flaming lunatic/hermit. Your credibility, if you ever had any (not), is even further eroded. Jeebus never uttered a word to the writers of your babble book. None were around and the supposed time of jeebus. Im going to ask YOU, directly: how did the writers know EXACTLY what jeebus said, enough to quote him? Please don't tell me it ws "divine revelation." We all know that that is superst.tious nonsense.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Which God?,
      Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote separate accounts of Jesus and while there are differences in the accounts as one would expect from four different people writing about something, you will also notice a great deal of similarities. Yes, I do believe that the writers were led by the holy spirit and that we have accurate accounts. They could quote him because the holy spirit enabled them to recall and record the words of the Lord.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Which God?

      Well, ther you have it folks. Straight from RB's mouth, to the world. He believes in ghosts, an unseen,unknowable sky-daddy, the holy spo.ok, and probably a devil to boot. Wow. Don't they have meds to help with this condition? You need help son (in Foghorn Leghorn voice: boy nevers pays attention).

      December 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Which God?,
      Foghorn Leghorn, that’s hilarious. I try to avoid mind altering chemicals because they impair ones ability to communicate with God. Now that you have enjoyed poking fun at my faith, what is it that you believe? Are you a diehard convinced atheist or agnostic?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ Robert: Think about it.... You posted a verse from scripture and got a replies that were rude beyond the bounds of good taste. I posted a portion of Catholic doctrine that happens to answer about a half dozen of the questions posed here on a regular basis and was told it was too long and boring. BUT... we've got a self-styled sort of pagan posting Q & A and there's not a rude comment or ridiculing atheist remark in sight. Do you REALLY need to have anyone explain why?

      December 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  3. myweightinwords

    It's another wet one here in Northern California. My lungs and my joints protest, but the water is needed.

    This morning I think maybe it would be cool to turn the tables. I'm used to being the first (and or only) Pagan folks meet, and therefore the whosits and whatsits of what I celebrate, what I believe, not to mention the whys, are something of a mystery....or folks think they know, but are basing that on dubious sources (if it comes from Hollywood, chances are its wrong, LOL).

    So...ask me anything about what I believe, the upcoming holiday, Paganism in general or my specific faith. I promise to explain as I can without attempting to proselytize anyone!

    December 5, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Do you observe libations?

      December 5, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • myweightinwords

        Libations are a sacrament!

        On a more serious note, libations of an alcoholic variety are something I enjoy in moderation frequently, and in excess on occasion.

        I believe in the application of personal responsibility, and thus do not drink if I will need to drive or work, nor will I generally get really intoxicated alone.

        December 5, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Huebert

      @myweightinwords

      I was actually planing on asking you about this today, I didn't know till yesterday that you were a pagan. What do your beliefs entail, are you animistic? Also how long have you been a pagan?

      December 5, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • myweightinwords

        I have been a practicing Pagan for...*counts*...close to twenty years. Prior to that I had a couple of years of searching and before that I was an Evangelical Christian.

        My whole belief system is incredibly complex...I am something of an animist, I think. I am trained in Shamanic practices, and believe there is much to be gained and learned from the natural world if we would just slow down and listen.

        December 5, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      You do anything with elemental magic?

      December 5, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • myweightinwords

        I consider magic as an expression of will, and for the most part I find the elements do their job pretty darn well for my purposes.

        I'm more likely to work at balancing the elements than anything, though I will light a candle in the darkness.

        December 5, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Huebert

      What sort of shamanistic practices? Potions and the like or something more mystical than that? When I asked animist I meant the belief that all things, including inanimate objects, have some sort of spiritual property or presence. How did you arrive at these beliefs?

      Sorry for peppering you with questions, you are the first actual pagan I've ever met. There were a bunch of girls in my high school that claimed to be pagan, but I think they just liked watching "Charmed" and wearing pentagrams to freak out their parents.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I believe that all things have...hmmm...I'm not sure how to put it into words. All things exists in both the physical and spiritual realms. Which isn't exactly the same thing, which is why I said I was kinda an animist.

        I certainly believe that all living things have spiritual presence...and I believe that we can imbue certain inanimate objects with spiritual properties, but that sort of moves into the area of magic and will working and energy work and the like.

        My shamanic training was largely in the area of journey work, in seeking the cause/cure of the physical/mental ailment within the spirit, soul healing and the like, though there is a fair amount of practical, hands on stuff too like herbalism....which isn't exactly potions, but many might see it that way.

        Don't be sorry. I invited the questions. I actually enjoy answering them.

        December 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Which God?

      @mwinw. I understand. Blessed Be.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I read a book on druidism several years ago. According to my birth day I was a "child of the wind", so I performed some sort of ritual to honor my element. The weird thing was that the next day there was a crazy storm with strong wind. Back when I was into that kinda thing I was super freaked out.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I'm an earth girl myself. Grounded (sometimes to the point of unable to move), solid.

        I have a few friends who are Druids. It is a beautiful religion. A little too ritualistic for me, but beautiful.

        December 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Huebert

      What does journey work entail? Is that like mediation type practices and counseling/discussion, or something altogether different?

      What do you mean by magic, energy working, and will working? What effects could you produce with a spell or working?

      Thank you for answering questions. I'm a staunch atheist and rationalist, I do not believe in anything supernatural. But I do find supernatural beliefs fascinating especially when they are well thought out.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I just typed a big response and it got eaten by the ether. Let me try again in smaller bits.

        What does journey work entail? Is that like mediation type practices and counseling/discussion, or something altogether different?

        Very similar. Generally it involves counseling, meditations, including the shaman alone, the shaman with the person seeking help and the person alone, and often some herbal remedies or other practice based work (affirmations, reconciliation, journaling, etc).

        December 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        What do you mean by magic, energy working, and will working? What effects could you produce with a spell or working?

        Energy work is a little more esoteric, I suppose. At least in theory. In practice, not as much. Ever walk into a room that was just cold and unfriendly, the people in it all surly and cranky? It only takes one person who's cranky to turn an entire place that way.

        That's the basis of the idea, that what we put out affects those around us. This is why, when I'm in a bad mood, or sad about something, I tend to keep to myself. I don't let my negative energy impact those around me. Energy work then is making a conscious effort to put out a specific energy.

        Of course, there are times when I feel the need to pull out the big box o'magic schtuff and do full on ritual spell work, but I save that for big things, like binding an abusive spouse/parent and the like. Even then, it's little more than energy and will, just with nifty accessories that help me keep a very specific focus.

        Like any prayer or affirmation though, you can not expect magic to do the work for you. It doesn't make things happen. It makes you able to make things happen...if that makes sense.

        I strongly believe that we are each responsible for what we put out into the world, in words, in energy, in actions and reactions. In the end, we can change nothing and no one but ourselves, and in changing ourselves, we change the world.

        December 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Does animism have any mythology or theory for the origin of the universe?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        My personal take is that it doesn't matter.

        Animism is more about what is here and now. Like Theism, it doesn't have it's own mythology...or rather, many mythologies.

        Most often it's equated to Native American belief systems, though there are also elements of it in ancient Celtic beliefs.

        December 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      That take must save you a great deal of time in unnecessary arguments. But do you ever postulate about the origins of the physical universe and spirits, or the intertwinning of the two?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I'm not concerned about the origins. I figure they are far too distant to matter.

        As to the intertwining of the physical and spiritual, I believe they are inseparable, they are one, they are the same.

        I leave the questioning of how and why to those who care about the how and why. Unless it affects the world as it is today, it is of little consequence to me.

        December 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        For a more succinct, less esoteric answer: I tend to go with what science tells me when it comes to the physical world.

        December 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      That's a pretty practical at itude. Some people appear to obsess way too much over whether or not a particular scientific theory threatens thier belief system.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I find science generally compliments my belief system...and when I find dissonance, I examine why and adjust accordingly.

        December 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Huebert

      myweight

      Very interesting. What you call journey work, I call cognitive behavioral therapy. What you think of as the energy in a room, I think of in terms of environmental cues. We are acknowledging the same phenomena, just in different languages. If we kept going I bet there would be many instances of this.

      I believe I understand what you mean by magic makes one able to make things happen. It's a way of giving yourself or someone else permission or impetus to act or feel a certain way.

      And I absolutely agree with your final paragraph. The only thing in this world we can control is our self.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        *smiles*

        Yes, that is often the case. As a side note, in an old job, they used to call me the English to English translator. I would be called into a meeting where the conversation was stalled because the two sides couldn't understand one another, and I'd listen to both and explain in language familiar to both what was being said.

        It is an amazing gift to be given permission to be yourself, to take charge of yourself, to change yourself, to take care of yourself, to feel without judgment...

        December 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Huebert

      I do love finding common ground. Tonight I shall raise a Belgian quadruple abbey ale in your honor.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    And they said among themselves: 'Why do the Lords of the West sit there in peace unending, while we must die and go we know not whither, leaving our home and all that we have made? And the Eldar die not, even those that rebelled against the Lords. And since we have mastered all seas, and no water is so wild or so wide that our ships cannot overcome it, why should we not go to Avallónë and greet there our friends?'
    And some there were who said: 'Why should we not go even to Aman, and taste there, were it but for a day, the bliss of the Powers? Have we not become mighty among the people of Arda?'
    The Eldar reported these words to the Valar, and Manwë was grieved, seeing a cloud gather on the noontide of Númenor. And he sent messengers to the Dúnedain, who spoke earnestly to the King, and to all who would listen, concerning the fate and fashion of the world.
    'The Doom of the World,' they said, 'One alone can change who made it. And were you so to voyage that escaping all deceits and snares you came indeed to Aman, the Blessed Realm, little would it profit you. For it is not the land of Manwë that makes its people deathless, but the Deathless that dwell therein have hallowed the land; and there you would but wither and grow weary the sooner, as moths in a light too strong and steadfast.'
    But the King said: 'And does not Eärendil, my forefather, live? Or is he not in the land of Aman?'
    To which they answered: 'You know that he has a fate apart, and was adjudged to the Firstborn who die not; yet this also is his doom that he can never return again to mortal lands. Whereas you and your people are not of the Firstborn, but are mortal Men as Ilúvatar made you. Yet it seems that you desire now to have the good of both kindreds, to sail to Valinor when you will, and to return when you please to your homes. That cannot be. Nor can the Valar take away the gifts of Ilúvatar. The Eldar, you say, are unpunished, and even those who rebelled do not die. Yet that is to them neither reward nor punishment, but the fulfilment of their being. They cannot escape, and are bound to this world, never to leave it so long as it lasts, for its life is theirs. And you are punished for the rebellion of Men, you say, in which you had small part, and so it is that you die. But that was not at first appointed for a punishment. Thus you escape, and leave the world, and are not bound to it, in hope or in weariness. Which of us therefore should envy the others?"
    And the Númenóreans answered: 'Why should we not envy the Valar, or even the least of the Deathless? For of us is required a blind trust, and a hope without assurance, knowing not what lies before us in a little while. And yet we also love the Earth and would not lose it.'

    December 5, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Has about as much relevance as Chick-a-dee's postings, but is far more poetic.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • niknak

      Too long, too boring

      December 5, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I'm sure Peter Jackson will be making a Silmarillion movie eventually.
      Just wait for the big screen adaptation.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • niknak

      And it will be just as boring as all his other movies.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @niknak
      I take it you've never seen his X-Rated muppets movie, Meet the Feebles.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Thanks for your contribution. I haven't read Tolkien since I was in 7th grade. This reminds me of why.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  5. Chick-a-dee

    This morning's alarm went off on my phone with this. Just thought I'd share since it does touch upon so many of the recurring questions on this blogosphere... ones for which the answer is either not provided to or simply ignored by questioners. Alas, with truth will begin the shrieking and wailing of all posters who will react on cue as if this is holy water splashed on Linda Blair.III. "MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM"
    Equality and difference willed by God
    369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.
    370 In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the se.xes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.241
    "Each for the other" – "A unity in two"
    371 God created man and woman together and willed each for the other. the Word of God gives us to understand this through various features of the sacred text. "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him."242 None of the animals can be man's partner.243 The woman God "fashions" from the man's rib and brings to him elicits on the man's part a cry of wonder, an exclamation of love and communion: "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."244 Man discovers woman as another "I", sharing the same humanity.
    372 Man and woman were made "for each other" – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal as persons ("bone of my bones. . .") and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming "one flesh",245 they can transmit human life: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."246 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents co-operate in a unique way in the Creator's work.247
    373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of "subduing" the earth248 as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator "who loves everything that exists",249 to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.
    IV. MAN IN PARADISE
    374 The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpa.ssed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ.
    375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were consti.tuted in an original "state of holiness and justice".250 This grace of original holiness was "to share in. . .divine life".251
    376 By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die.252 The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman,253 and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called "original justice".
    377 The "mastery" over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. the first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence254 that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-a.ssertion, contrary to the dictates of reason.
    378 The sign of man's familiarity with God is that God places him in the garden.255 There he lives "to till it and keep it". Work is not yet a burden,256 but rather the collaboration of man and woman with God in perfecting the visible creation.
    379 This entire harmony of original justice, foreseen for man in God's plan, will be lost by the sin of our first parents.
    IN BRIEF
    380 "Father,. . . you formed man in your own likeness and set him over the whole world to serve you, his creator, and to rule over all creatures" (Roman Missal, EP IV, 118).
    381 Man is predestined to reproduce the image of God's Son made man, the "image of the invisible God" (⇒ Col 1:15), so that Christ shall be the first-born of a multi.tude of brothers and sisters (cf ⇒ Eph 1:3-6; ⇒ Rom 8:29).
    382 "Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity" (GS 14 # 1). the doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God.
    383 "God did not create man a solitary being. From the beginning, "male and female he created them" (⇒ Gen 1:27). This partnership of man and woman consti.tutes the first form of communion between persons" (GS 12 # 4).
    384 Revelation makes known to us the state of original holiness and justice of man and woman before sin: from their friendship with God flowed the happiness of their existence in paradise.
    Footnotes:

    240 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:7, ⇒ 22.

    241 Cf. ⇒ Is 49:14-15; ⇒ 66: 13; ⇒ Ps 131:2-3; ]⇒ Hos 11:1-4; ⇒ Jer 3:4- 19.

    242 ⇒ Gen 2:18.

    243 ]⇒ Gen 2:19-20.

    244 ⇒ Gen 2:23

    245 ⇒ Gen 2:24

    246 ⇒ Gen 1:28.

    247 Cf. GS 50 # 1.

    248 ⇒ Gen 1:28.

    249 Wis 11:24.

    250 Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511.

    251 Cf. LG 2.

    252 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:17; ⇒ 3:16, ⇒ 19.

    253 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:25.

    254 Cf. I ⇒ Jn 2:16.

    255 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:8.

    256 ⇒ Gen 2:15; cf. ⇒ 3:17-19

    December 5, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • niknak

      @ Chick fil a

      Way too long and way too crazy boring

      December 5, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Which God?

      @ Chick-a-dee. You just became Chicken Little there. Get thee and thy husband to thy chamber and getteth thou some.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ Which God?: I like the suggestion...but what makes you think that's not already what I'm doing when I'm offline?

      December 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.