The Crystal Cathedral of “Hour of Power” fame is the subject of my latest New York Times Magazine mini-column. Not so long ago the most lavish symbol of U.S. Protestantism, the building sold in bankruptcy last month to a Catholic diocese.
Although the congregation has agreed under the terms of the deal to vacate the premises after three years, pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, daughter of founder Robert H. Schuller, assures her flock, “lest you think that it’s too late for a miracle, I want to reassure you and remind you that it is not too late. There is still time for God to step in and rescue Crystal Cathedral Ministries.”
Bonus reading: Joseph Clarke’s “Infrastructure for Souls,” on the “parallel histories of the American megachurch [including the Crystal Cathedral] and the corporate-organizational complex.”
By Thomas A. Tweed
Whose country is this? It's ours. That's been the recurring answer to that persistent question. Of course, in religiously and ethnically plural America that means many groups have claimed the nation as their own. As Reverend Josiah Strong did in his 1885 book Our Country, some have proposed that this is an Anglo-Saxon Protestant nation. But others have proclaimed primacy too. There was already a grid of tribal nations here when Europeans started planting flags and raising crosses.
Cloudscome at A Wrung Sponge is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday – and in her post she suggests putting poems out into the “face-to-face world” as well as through blogging… hmm, now there’s an idea…
Nights are drawing in here in the UK, as we move towards wintertime but in the southern hemisphere, the world is heading into summer: so here are two beautiful picture-books which each contain a poem – one for winter and one for summer. One thing is certain: reading time will feel warm, whichever one you read; and they are such a visual treat too, that really they have to be a face-to face encounter.
The first is Jorge Luján’s poem Tarde de Invierno, translated into English as Winter Afternoon by Elisa Amado and empathetically illustrated by Mandan Sadat. It’s a short poem about a child looking out into the winter’s evening, waiting for her mother to come home: and when she does, the hug fits perfectly into the “vidrio del portarretrato”/ “the frosty frame” – so that the focus suddenly swings round and the little girl, the observer, is now the observed. And what a beautiful picture it is too. My children like this poem because it’s full of love. I like it , yes, for that reason too: but also because it helps to assuage some of the inevitable guilt of being a working mother…
The other poem transports us to the heat of the Australian Outback. Annaliese Porter was only eight years old when she wrote the poem – so this would also be a great classroom resource for raising aspiration. Here’s a small taste:
On Uluru there are many shades
on the rocky eye –
browns and reds mingling
into a rich earthy dye.
Uluru is immediately recognisable in Bronwyn Bancroft’s glorious depiction – and indeed her illustrations sizzle all the way through the book.
The author of Can a Catholic Support Him?, legal scholar Douglas W. Kmiec, presents the Catholic case for Barack Obama in this newly released video. Kmiec's new book is also the subject of a thoughtful review by Michael Sean Winters in America Magazine: The National Catholic Weekly: "This book is a great help for those Catholics who are wrestling with their voting decision, not only in this election, but in all elections. While Kmiec focuses on Obama, the issues are perennial and will come up so long as Catholics are engaged in public life. His final chapter on "Catholic Officials and Catholic Voters – When Law and Morality Disagree" is a short, concise introduction to an enormously complicated topic. In short, this book is a must read for all serious Catholics. You may agree with Kmiec or not, but you cannot ignore his arguments."
Douglas W. Kmiec's provocative book on Catholics and Barack Obama, Can A Catholic Support Him?, is drawing attention on the campaign trail. Yesterday's feature piece by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune explains Kmiec's support for Obama based on the "social gospel side of my faith." In Sunday's New York Times, David Kirkpatrick examines the fight among Catholics over which party reflects Church teachings."