Friday, October 28, 2011

Ritual Whiplash...and Spiritual Concussion

If you follow advertising at all you know that some campaigns work and some do not. When the Pepsi logo changed to its current version, test groups showed negative reaction. The same with several Tropicana campaigns. And more recently when Netflix announced it was splitting into two services, they lost over 500,000 customers in the weeks following (and their 3Q earnings took a huge hit) before they recanted and apologized for the very thought of the idea. Their mea culpa came too late, though.

The changes to the mass ritual will no doubt result in some interesting reactions. The headline should be changed to: Mindless Repetitious Prayer by Rote Changes...oh, the irony.

Recently, the Pope refused to pray with the heads of other faiths. Nothing says agenda-laden elitism like snubbing your frenemies. Oh, except the following change (particularly this one) to the mass: The line that said Jesus died on the cross “for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven” will change to “for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

So, Jesus did not die for all? Really? Will they also change the part of the mass when the priest regards the Eucharist and says "He who takes away the sins of the world?"....or will it be changed to "He who takes away the sins of many."? This change helps to polarize, divide, and judge. It contradicts the following scriptural citations, which I find to be spiritually comforting. But I guess fear, not comfort, is what the Church is best at.

1 John 4:14 - And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Rom 5:18 - Therefore as by the offense of one judgment (because of Adam) came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (because of Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 - I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

1 John 2:1-2 - My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1Timothy 4:10 - For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe.


1) God sent his Word to be the savior of the whole world.
2) In the same manner that judgment came upon all men due to one man Adam, so also the free gift came upon the same lot, all men.
3) God desires all men to be saved.
4) He sent his word to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, not just our own sins, and
5) Jesus is the savior of all men, especially (ie not exclusively, but especially) those that believe.
And the last sentence of the article, which tries to calm the fervor over the changes, is a quote by a reverend who tries to redirect what people should be concerned about in a Hey, look what's that over there? method. Smooth.So, while the Vatican Boys' Club decides to change things up, they tilt their hand as white-knuckling harder that elitism which they are desperate to sell to their tithers. The difference is that now it is actually said out loud. During mass.
I have the feeling that this might ALSO be an offensive play toward the growing number of believers like myself - Christian who believe that the all-encompassing, unspoiled-brat-like love of Christ WILL save everyone in the end and that the death of Christ was not to save a mere "many". That would mean the crucifixion was pretty much a failure. And this is the shortfall that the Catholic church will be reminding you of every week.

Catholics’ Mass liturgy changing; ‘ritual whiplash’ ahead?

By Michelle Boorstein, Published: October 27, 2011 - Source Link

English-speaking Catholics are bracing for the biggest changes to their Mass since the 1960s, a shift some leaders warn could cause “ritual whiplash.”

The overhaul, which will become mandatory Nov. 27, is aimed at unifying the more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide with a translation that is as close as possible to the original Latin version. It allows for less independence and diversity of interpretation in a church that in recent decades has tried to retain more control over how Catholicism is defined.

Recent popes have emphasized orthodoxy and hierarchy, particularly in the West, where religious identity is increasingly fluid. Catholic hospitals and schools have been required to more clearly espouse church teachings, and Pope Benedict XVI has stressed the sole truth of Catholicism over other faiths, even declining this month to pray with Hindus, Jews and others at an interreligious event.

The new translation changes the majority of sentences in the Mass. The prayers and call-and-response dialogue between the priest and the congregation are different, transforming the dialogue that Catholics under 40 have used in church their entire lives. Some leaders warn that the shift could cause “ritual whiplash” among those accustomed to a worship script so familiar that most recite it from memory.

Reaction to the changes has been intense, in some ways fueling a Catholic culture war that began when the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s imposed far more sweeping changes designed to open up and modernize the church. Some traditionalists say the new translation of the ritual is richer and — because it’s less conversational — more mysterious and spiritual.

“At first I thought it was an affront, the Vatican coming down on us. But after thinking about it, I see it as something that will bring us all back toward the center,” said Emily Strand, 35, a former campus minister at the University of Dayton who has attended Mass regularly throughout her life. “Vatican II was an excuse for people to do whatever they wanted with the liturgy.”

But more modern Catholics, and some who are already disaffected, say the new language is an awkward imposition that will distance people from the church. The translation “wouldn’t affect me going [to church] or not,’’ said Vilma Linares, who was walking near St. Matthew’s Cathedral earlier this week with a friend at lunchtime. “But the less conversational the Mass, the more they will alienate people.”

Erie, Pa., bishop Donald Trautman says that such words as “consubstantial” and “chalice” and a Jesus “born ineffably of the inviolate Virgin” won’t help Catholics get closer to God.

“We have to keep in mind these are prayer texts being used by priests at a Mass,” he said. “People should be able to understand them when they are heard.”

Others, including clergy, have protested that the new translation replaces ones approved by the U.S. bishops.

Perhaps the most basic change will be when the priest says: “The Lord be with you.” The congregation will no longer say “And also with you.” The new response is “And with your spirit.”

Some changes are more controversial. The line that said Jesus died on the cross “for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven” will change to “for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Other changes emphasize the difference between common English and Latin: “When supper was ended, He took the cup” becomes: “In a similar way, when supper was ended, He took this precious chalice in His holy and venerable hands.”

A poll of Catholics done early this summer by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate showed that 77 percent of respondents were unaware of a forthcoming new translation. Catholic dioceses and schools began preparations a few months ago, running workshops and podcasts and updating Web sites to lay out what’s happening and why.

Millions of books are being replaced; each parish must buy its own. (What becomes of the old books? The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recommends burying them on church grounds or in a parish cemetery.) While parishes wait for the new ones, laminated cards will be put in the pews as a guide for worshipers.

Still, church officials say they expect serious confusion when those Catholics who aren’t connected with Catholic institutions and attend church only on big holidays, show up for Christmas. The Rev. Michael Wilson of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Solomons, Md., said he will offer this advice next month to his congregants: “Okay, folks: Everyone take a deep breath.”

The new translation has been in the works since a decade ago, when Pope John Paul II called for a full replacement of the one that came out of the 1960s Second Vatican Council. The thinking that came out of Vatican II was that the Mass script should be contemporary and paraphrased, that people should pray the way they speak in regular life.

As a result, pivotal changes were made. Mass was no longer said in Latin, and priests began facing the congregation (instead of standing with their backs to the crowd) and preaching more about the Bible rather than only on church doctrine.

Traditionalists worried that having different translations around the world opened the door to confusion. The past decade has seen much debate in the church about the new translation, with the Vatican rejecting less-literal translations that some saw as more poetic and contemporary.

When asked this week about the issue, several priests repeated an inside joke: What’s the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Catholics who speak other languages are on a later schedule and won’t see any changes immediately. There is no timeline yet for Spanish-speaking Americans. But the English version is perhaps the most important to the Vatican, because booming areas in Asia, including China, use it, not the Latin one, as the basis of their translations.

Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the commission in charge of English translations of liturgy, said the reforms will promote unity. “The way we worship is what we believe,” he said. “If you want to have unity of belief, texts used in worship need to be the same.”

Several priests in the region said the controversy was being overblown.

“There are other things more important to focus on,” said the Rev. Gerry Creedon of Holy Family in Dale City, “like drone bombings.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Insurrection" by Peter Rollins

Ok, the following description and reviews are taken directly from's listing for this book, but I'm pretty stoked to get my hands on a copy of Peter Rollins' book Insurrection - found here on Amazon.

In this incendiary new work, the controversial author and speaker Peter Rollins proclaims that the Christian faith is not primarily concerned with questions regarding life after death but with the possibility of life before death.

In order to unearth this truth, Rollins prescribes a radical and wholesale critique of contemporary Christianity that he calls pyro-theology. It is only as we submit our spiritual practices, religious rituals, and dogmatic affirmations to the flames of fearless interrogation that we come into contact with the reality that Christianity is in the business of transforming our world rather than offering a way of interpreting or escaping it. Belief in the Resurrection means but one thing: Participation in an Insurrection.


"What does it mean when the Son of God cries out, 'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?' Brilliantly, candidly, and faithfully, Rollins wrestles here with that question. You may not agree with his answers and conclusions, but you owe it to yourself and to the church at large to read what he says.

 —Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence

"Peter Rollins is the Anti-Christ for all fake Christians."

--Creston Davis, Professor, Rollins College, Department of Philosophy and Religion
"What Pete does in this book is take you to the edge of a cliff where you can see how high you are and how far you would fall if you lost your footing. And just when most writers would kindly pull you back from edge, he pushes you off, and you find yourself without any solid footing, disoriented, and in a bit of a panic…until you realize that your fall is in fact, a form of flying. And it's thrilling."
--Rob Bell, author of Love Wins and Velvet Elvis

"While others labor to save the Church as they know it, Peter Rollins takes an ax to the roots of the tree. Those who have enjoyed its shade will want to stop him, but his strokes are so clean and true that his motive soon becomes clear: this man trusts the way of death and resurrection so much that he has become fearless of religion."

  --Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Leaving Church and An Altar in the World

“Rollins writes and thinks like a new Bonhoeffer, crucifying the trappings of religion in order to lay bare a radical, religionless and insurrectional Christianity. A brilliant new voice—an activist, a storyteller and a theologian all in one—and not a moment too soon.”

--John D. Caputo, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus, Syracuse University

“What does it mean when the Son of God cries out, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me’? Brilliantly, candidly, and faithfully, Rollins wrestles here with that question. You may not agree with his answers and conclusions, but you owe it to yourself and to the Church at large to read what he says.”

--Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence

"Excellent thinking and excellent writing! I hope this fine book receives the broad reading it deserves. It will change lives, and our understanding of what religion is all about!"

-- Rohr,O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation; Albuquerque, New Mexico

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Checking In & A Friendly Reminder

Life has gotten busy and I'm hoping for a renewal of time to be able to read and write on spirituality soon. I just wanted to check in and remind readers of this truth:

Unconditional love means you do not need to do anything to earn it. Not even believe in it.

I believe God is unconditional love. So that whole thing about believing in God in order to be 'saved'...yeah, I don't buy it.

I think as far as The Good Book goes, thinking believers should to take a closer look at its interpretations and the origins of those interpretations with reference to the suspiciously unChrist-like texts citing the heavenly privilege of elitist believers. That passage needs to be reviewed within the context of the political, and social upheaval of the time in which it was written. That is something few pastors or priests will expound upon.