A former Pagan tries to revitalized America's churches. Nepal's Hindus celebrate dogs. And a practitioner of China's discriminated Falun Dafa minority seeks the Miss World crown. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly summary of news about religion from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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Religious groups around the world rally to fight global warming. Hindus around the world commemorate the fight between Vishnu and his demonic adversaries with a month-long festival. And practitioners of Shinto in Japan honor their ancestors in the traditional way. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly take on news about religions from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
You could say idolatry is in my blood.
I was raised Catholic, which included attending Catholic school from kindergarten through freshman year of high school, and mass every week (plus the high holy days). Which meant I spent a lot of time studying the art and architecture of the churches we attended – my grandparents' church in South Philadelphia, the incredibly ornate from floor to ceiling St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (the first Italian parish in the US) to our home base St. Charles Borromeo in South Jersey which was very mid-century modern, clean yet with very colorful, large stained glass windows.
Growing up in an environment where Catholicism was the majority, I wasn't exactly prepared at age when we moved to South Carolina (3% Catholic at the time), and discovered that Protestants considered Catholics idol-worshipers and not “true Christians.”
Welcome back to Faithful Friday, our weekly survey of religions from around the world. After taking a look at the diverse religions of India and China we've turned out attention this week to the country of Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world by population and the largest Muslim majority country. In addition to Islam, Indonesia also officially recognizes four more religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Join us as we take a tour through all five faiths in the country.
Yesterday, on Oct 15th, mega-church Mars Hill's pastor Mark Driscoll resigned after a number of allegations and scandals. I have stayed out of the discussions and conversations, but there is one memory that keeps haunting me and I finally chose to share it. May our religions, whichever they may be, always bring out the best in us and encourage us to be our true selves.
In my post “What I used to miss about Christianity” I mentioned the article How Playing a Good Christian Wife Almost Killed Me by Vyckie Garrison. The reason I mentioned Vyckie Garrison’s article was the parallel she drew between literalist biblical theology and the power & control wheel, a tool used for understanding abuse. For her, Christianity and abuse go hand in hand. Garrison opens her story by saying
Who is Mary Magdalene? We may never know, historically.
But I might have met her one day last spring in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Thistle Stop Café.
The energy in and around this breakfast-and-lunch spot was overpowering, literally. I felt as if an archangel hovered, as if some sky-high bird sheltered this place within its indestructible wings — guarding, protecting, sustaining.
What’s so special about this storefront café? It’s one of several enterprises run by an outfit called Thistle Farms. It fronts the slogan “Love Heals.”