Across the road from the Colosseum, the ancient Roman stadium consecrated as a holy Christian site, clients at a busy bar are raising a glass to the pope: toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine.
This week's religion news summary has a couple tear-jerking stories: a minister tells his gay son that he's thankful to be his father, and the Presbyterian church imposes ashes on the foreheads of people who feel unwelcome in the church.
The bios of the musicians who make up the band Micah’s Rule read like many Christian artists. Grew up singing in the church. Preacher’s son. Then became a preacher. In many bands. Degrees in music and ministry. Recorded some albums.
Joey made a request, possibly trying to see just how far he could push this strange breed of Christians loitering outside of the subway station. He wanted ashes, not in the form of the cross, but spelling out "gay." We were about as surprised as when he announced his sexuality. Kimberly Knight reached up with her pinky finger and carefully etched "gay" into Joey's forehead with the ashes of Palm Sunday. Joey chalked up his request to an artistic statement, but I experienced it as a theological claim and reconciling act.
Max S. is a 15 year-old member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he joined the Boy Scouts of America through an LDS Church-affiliated troop. He’s a member of his school speech and debate team and is working hard to get good grades so he can “get a scholarship to a good college” and study physics. Over the years, he has worked his way up to the ranks of Life Scout; in the past few weeks, he’s also confronted anti-gay discrimination within the BSA.