Southern Religion

‘The trouble with Twibles’ and writing one


Bible up, Star Trek fans. It’s twitterature time. Or twitlit, if for your 140-character tweets you prefer the shorter term.

Jana Riess (@janariess) is writing a twitter bible, she explains on her blog, by “tweeting out a chapter of the Bible every morning:”

This is for a humor book I’m writing, tentatively called The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less (Now with Snarky Commentary!).

She’s on Exodus as this is written. For example:

#Twible Ex 11: Phar, don’t say you weren’t warned. 1st born sons in Egt’ll be toast unless you FINALLY give up. Which (spoiler!) you won’t.

#Twible Ex 10: Locusts, then 3 days of darkness. G tells Mos He’s made Phar obstinate so there’ll be a better story for the grandkids later.

#Twible Ex 9: Pestilence, boils & hail. G not playing around w wee gnats anymore. But why does G harden Phar’s heart? Why not end it now?

Her background:

Jana Riess was the Religion Book Review Editor for Publishers Weekly from 1999 to 2008. She is now an acquisitions editor with Westminster John Knox Press, as well as a freelance writer and editor. She holds degrees in religion from Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University. … She is the author or co-author of six books, and a regular contributor to She lives in Cincinnati, which is the most underrated city in America.

At her current pace, she expects the project to take perhaps three years, “unless the Good Lord strikes me down first.”

We hope He doesn’t.

[H/T: Faith & Reason]

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, WWW | , , , | Comments Off on ‘The trouble with Twibles’ and writing one

Christa Brown draws the line

Commenting on charges alleging a Southern Baptist maga-church pastor molested a 14-year-old girl, Slick wrote:

It’s unfortunate that the person charged and his love interest couldn’t wait a couple of years.

Christa Brown responded

What was done to the 14-year-old in that Florida mega-church — and what was also done to me in a Baptist church — is something that doesn’t deserve the respect of even being considered “sexual,” much less “love.”

It’s not love. It’s hate.

And it doesn’t deserve to be called anything other than what it actually was.

Exactly. There was nothing worthy of being called romance. Even adult relationships between parishioners and their clergy aren’t romance, as earlier documented:

Dr. Gary Schoener, Executive Director of the Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis which serves both offenders and victims of clergy sexual abuse, told the St. Petersberg Times that “17 states see even adult relationships with priests as a type of statutory rape. The victim can’t possibly consent because the power relationship so clouds the issue.”


Ted Haggard’s relationship with Grant Haas, who was barely of legal age, is a notorious recent example.

With teenagers and children, the force of the power relationship is multiplied.

No, rape isn’t romance.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Crime | , , | 1 Comment

Heschel: The faith of a prophetic activist

Heschel is at right, with beard.

At the first conference on religion and race, the main participants were Pharaoh and Moses,” Abraham Joshua Heschel began his January 14, 1963 speech “Religion and Race.”

Speaking of Faith this week offers an extraordinary broadcast/podcast looking back at this “a mystic who wrote transcendent, poetic words about God. At the same time, he marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and organized religious leadership against the war in Vietnam, embodying the social activism of the biblical prophets he studied.”


December 4, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Heschel: The faith of a prophetic activist

A disturbing new view of victims being sacrificed to abusive priests

Documents released Tuesday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport (CT) for sexual abuse lawsuits against priests were revealing. The Hartford Courant

In 448 pages of depositions that [Cardinal Edward] Egan was forced to give as part of 23 lawsuits against seven priests that eventually were settled, the Bishop showed little compassion for the alleged victims and instead argued with attorney’s that only a “remarkably small number” of priests have ever been accused of wrongdoing.

For example:

At one point, Egan said he wasn’t interested in allegations — only “realities.” He added that “very few have even come close to having anyone prove anything” against a priest.

For example, regarding a dozen people who made complaints of sexual abuse and violence against Pcolka, of Greenwich, Egan said, “the 12 have never been proved to be telling the truth.”

Egan also acknowledges that he never attempted to seriously investigate the truth of such allegations — accusers were not interviewed, witnesses were not sought, and no attempt was made to learn of other possible victims.

The New York Times in its summary reveals Eagan to be heartlessly bureaucratic:

Then the lawyer sprang his big question: You could have prevented someone from hurting people and you decided not to. Why?

The witness was Edward M. Egan, then the Roman Catholic bishop of Bridgeport, Conn. The question was about a priest who had been accused of sexually molesting children.

“I didn’t make a decision one way or the other,” said Bishop Egan, whom the lawyer suggested had failed to act quickly against the cleric. “I kept working on it until I resolved the decision.”

The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and the Hartford Courant fought “for eight years to get the documents unsealed.” They include more than 12,000 pages from 23 lawsuits against the seven priests.

In attempt to minimize the documents’ impact, diocese said in a statement that “this is very old news” because so much had been leaked to the press and published years ago. When in fact reading the summaries is enlightening in ways that make clear why the Catholic Church fought so hard for so long in an attempt to prevent their release.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Religion | Comments Off on A disturbing new view of victims being sacrificed to abusive priests