Welcome again to Sunday Social Hour, where we tune into our social media communities on Facebook and Twitter to see what you all are talking about--and mostly, the chatter is about blessings of the animals. But other, more sobering highlights from this week include:
Via Twitter, Neil Willard sends us this story of an artist protesting a church DVD against gay marriage, who was suspended from her part-time job at Minneapolis' Basilica of St. Mary. From page 2:
She said her anger with the church's actions on gay marriage dates to the spring when three friends with gay children protested Nienstedt's interpretation of the Catholic position on homosexuality.
She said the archbishop wrote back to all three, telling them that those who could not agree with "the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality ... ought not participate in the sacramental life of the church." The archbishop added that the mothers' "eternal salvation" could depend on their adopting the church's position on homosexuality.
Willard's tweet replies: Y'all are, however, welcome to "participate in the sacramental life of the [#Episcopal Church in Minnesota]."
From our Facebook page: The apology from Elder Jensen of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints got folks on Facebook applauding. But Seamus Welsh reminds us:
Many of my unchurched friends point to such injustices as reasons to continue to shun communities of faith. The obvious and direct injustice of discrimination is only one part of his wrong. Alienating those who might otherwise have searched among us is a more obscure injustice. We believe that infinite forgiveness is available to all for the asking. I hope he understands the full measure of compassion he is asking for.
The call to action brought on by Clementi's suicide had people talking about the broader issue of bullying.
From Chris Rosenthal:
We live in a world where we are conditioned to avoid confrontation, we witness bullies daily in the work place, in the stores on the highways and we go our own way. Have you ever seen someone whack their child in the face in a store, I have and I was afraid to comment. Why, I am fearful of the response. Each of us needs to be first accountable for our own participation in allowing these behaviors. We need to not ignore the behaviors, because each time we do, we are saying it is OK. It is not. We are all children of God and violence whether emotional or physical is not what we are taught nor is it what I believe.
In other words, how many times have we turned a blind eye to someone else's suffering, and not spoken out because it wasn't our place? In one of those random weeks where my blog reading lists converged, I ran across this post via my parenting buddies that might be worth sharing, reading, musing over in that very vein: From "Single Dad Laughing," You Just Broke Your Child; Congratulations." Waiting in line at Costco, he witnesses that horrible, heartbreaking kind of bullying: that of a son by his father.
I was agitated. I was confused. How could this man not see what I see? How could this man not see what a beautiful spirit stood in his shadow? How could this man be so quick to stub out all happiness in his own boy? How could this man not cherish the only time he'll ever have to be everything to this boy? To be the person that matters most to this boy?
We were three from the front now, and the boy started to come towards his dad yet again. His dad immediately stepped out of the line, jammed his fingers into his son's collar bones until he winced in pain, and threatened him. "If you so much as make a sound or come off of that wall again, I promise you're going to get it when we get home." The boy again cowered against the wall. This time, he didn't move. He didn't make a sound. His beautiful face pointed down, locked to the floor and expressionless. He had been broken. And that's how his father wanted it. He didn't want to deal with him, and breaking him was the easiest way.
And we wonder why so many of our kids grow up to be screwed up.
John Andrews challenges clergy readers to address this matter from the pulpit.
Unfortunately, in my church I hear little about current issues and a Christian response to those issues from the pulpit. Our priests must teach and encourage their congregations to respond to these issues using scripture as the foundation to those responses. Such messages from the pulpit take courage and leadership. It is part of preaching an authentic Christianity that will transform lives and communities.