Around the Horn :: 5.02.13

May 2, 2013

Around-the-Horn[1]The Presidential Wheel Turns
All this felt like an antidote to Obama—to the imperious I, to the inability to execute, to the endless interviews and the imperturbable drone, to the sense that he is trying to teach us, like an Ivy League instructor taken aback by the backwardness of his students. And there’s the unconscious superiority. One thing Mr. Bush didn’t think he was was superior. He thought he was luckily born, quick but not deep, and he famously trusted his gut but also his heart. He always seemed moved and grateful to be in the White House. Someone who met with Mr. Obama during his first year in office, an old hand who’d worked with many presidents, came away worried and confounded. Mr. Obama, he said, was the only one who didn’t seem awed by his surroundings, or by the presidency itself.

All In Good Fun
At an annual art school parade, a female student dressed up as the pope, and was naked from the waist down while she passed out condoms. Even more, witnesses say the woman had shaved her pubic hair in the shape of a cross.  “It’s all in good fun and it’s not meant to harm anyone,” Ivy Kristov told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan.

Playing Politics With The Sacraments?
The Eucharist is a gift, it is not an entitlement. There’s no right to the Eucharist. It has always been the food of the faithful, and there has never been an open invitation. In the ancient church the unbaptized were not even allowed to witness it. To hear of people demanding the sacrament violates the very spirit of it. It’s something received with thanksgiving, not seized like a union benefit.

’42’ And Us 
When the packed crowd in that Minneapolis theatre burst into applause at the end of the movie a few weeks ago, I didn’t read it as an endorsement of Methodist theology or piety.  Rather, it seemed to me welcome evidence that, amidst vast cultural and political confusions, Americans still believe in moral truths, moral absolutes, and moral courage—and yearn for opportunities to celebrate them. There’s an important lesson in that for the country’s religious and political leaders.

George Jones: Troubadour of the Christ-Haunted Bible Belt
I’m not sure whether Jones sought repentance with tears, but he certainly sang of the longing for it with a quavering voice. In that sense, Jones communicated exactly what Flannery O’Connor wrote of when she spoke of a “Christ-haunted South,” a region with a ubiquitous gospel, but without the ubiquity of gospel power.

The Socially Acceptable Sin
Most Christians today like to say that all sins are “equal” in the eyes of God, that there is no scale of less or worse sins, that a white lie or a homicide alike would have been enough to require Christ to die on the cross. We say this in theory, but in practice, we know that a white lie won’t get you kicked off the church leadership team. And a homicide likely will.