Hacking Christianity and another blog, and a related item

06 Jul

Hacking Christianity is the blog of US Uniting Methodist pastor Jeremy Smith, a rather progressive person it would appear. It certainly is the most amazing blog in terms of its use of the medium. I would even commend it to my atheist readers on that score; this guy is really Internet savvy. For myself, I find much of his content very congenial: “a bottom-up faith in a top-down world.”

On similar grounds it is nice to see some in the Catholic Church are looking at World Youth Day through Christian eyes.

A CATHOLIC priest has said the money being spent on World Youth Day is an embarrassment and a scandal.

Father Peter Confeggi, a parish priest at Mount Druitt, said there was also a “large amount of dissatisfaction” with the spirituality that will be taught during the event, with many fearing it would be a right-wing brand of Catholicism.

Others within the church who did not want to be named told The Sun-Herald of similar concerns about the six-day event, which will cost the church an estimated $150million and NSW taxpayers at least $86million.

“There is a great dissatisfaction with the Restorationist spirituality, which is also devoid of any commitment to social justice,” Father Confeggi said.

Father Confeggi said his parish was one of the most disadvantaged in Sydney. He said the church and state funds could be directed elsewhere, including to the 120,000 people sleeping homeless in Australia or education of the disadvantaged.

“To keep the church doors open here in Mount Druitt we scratch week after week after week,” he said.

“The bottom line is this is a gross embarrassment to the church that I serve.”

Father Confeggi said it was an “utter scandal” that a chalice, Communion plate and vessel to hold Communion hosts – adorned by Argyle diamonds and being made for a rumoured six-figure sum – would be given to the Pope.

I think he says it all really.

Another blog came my way through my WordPress stats on who has clicked out from my blog lately: Friday in Cairo is a newish blog by Will Ward who brings to his interest in the Near East considerable cultural knowledge, unlike many who have opinions on the subject. This entry particularly attracted my attention: Preparing the PR Battlefield.

I’m neither in the US government nor a Baluchi tribesman so I have no way to confirm the claims in Seymour Hersh’s new article  about clandestine US operations inside Iran. But I am fairly confident that there is a PR push going on to keep the storyline of possible attack on Iran in the headlines.

Exhibit A is a press conference call I was on last week sponsored by the Israel Project to discuss a new WINEP report called “The Last Resort: Consequences of Preventive Military Action against Iran.” The people running the call stressed they were not advocating attack at this time, but urged the journalists on the call to consider (read: write stories about) what such an attack would look like and what its consequences would be. WINEP, for their part, advertise the report on their site as “Thinking about Preventative Military Action against Iran.”

The goals of this seem to be testing the waters, conditioning public opinion for a possible strike, and pressuring Iran on the diplomatic track.  This doesn’t tell us much about if a strike will happen or how close it might be, but it might help put the building media blitz after the Israeli exercises in the Mediterranean in better perspective.

I will be revisiting both blogs.

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4 responses to “Hacking Christianity and another blog, and a related item

  1. AV

    July 6, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Confeggi’s remarks are a sound reminder of why secular democracy and the separation of church and state should be supported. As Bruce and others have observed, by fleecing WYD with taxpayer dollars and introducing laws to shield “pilgrims” from “annoying” messages, the NSW government is not merely preferencing theism over non-theism, Christianity over non-Christian religions or Catholicism over Protestantism. It is preferencing the agenda of conservative Catholicism (for which WYD is a vehicle) over dissident voices in the Catholic community.

    Secularism benefits religious freedom as much as it benefits freedom from religion.

  2. Jeremy!

    July 9, 2008 at 7:26 am

    Thanks for the link, friend. And you’ve pegged me well: I’m a nerd, and I can’t hide it!

  3. ninglun

    July 9, 2008 at 10:01 am

    You’re welcome, Jeremy. I’ll be back. 🙂

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