The Tango of Bowe Bergdahl’s Unreality (from Patheos, June 11, 2014)
A striking 2009 photo of one of the nation’s most talked about people, Bowe Bergdahl, recently surfaced: the then 23-year-old, wearing his Army fatigues and a yellowish scarf around his neck, is standing at an Army outpost in Afghanistan. He is smoking a pipe. His right hand is on a sand bag, the left hand comfortably in his pocket. The young soldier’s entire pose, down to his right foot about to casually cross the left, bespeaks a man living in an alternate universe. That universe might well be one of classical Greek warrior statues, standing contrapposto, too confident in their martial mastery to be perturbed. Whatever Bowe Bergdahl was thinking when he struck that pose, it worked: the photo illumines a young man trying to square his conceptions of himself into a wartime reality that did not fit.
Bishop Katherine: Seeing the Divine in All People (from Tikkun Daily, July 30, 2013)
In May, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, came under blistering criticism within her own and other Christian denominations for a sermon she gave on the island nation of Curaçao. The sermon was so provocative that it led critics on the Christian right to charge that the first presiding woman bishop in the Anglican Communion was possessed by the devil.
In six sentences, the bishop upended a longstanding interpretation of an event recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, in which St. Paul is said to have delivered a young pagan slave girl from demonic possession. The slave girl was also a fortune-teller in the city of Philippi, and her craft brought great profit to her slave masters. When Paul and his companions arrived in Philippi to spread the Gospel, the girl followed them around, shouting to everyone, “These men are servants of the Most High God; they will make known to you a way of salvation.” The slave girl did this for several days until Paul finally got annoyed, turned to her and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you, come out of her!” (Acts 16: 17).
From then on the slave girl was silenced.
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Nuns Who Commit Sexual Abuse (from Tikkun Daily, August 15, 2013)
Steve Theisen, 61, is the Iowa director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Unlike the vast majority of men and women whose lives have been positively affected by the support SNAP provides to victims of clergy abuse, Theisen was not sexually abused by a Catholic priest: he was sexually abused by a Catholic nun.
The abuse began in the 4th grade, when Theisen was just nine-years-old. He stayed after class one day to wash the blackboards. Alone with the nun in the classroom, she showed him how the Eskimos kiss: by rubbing noses. Some weeks later, she then showed him how Americans kiss. Then a few more weeks passed. The nun then said to the boy, “This is how the French kiss.” And with that, the forty-something nun stuck her tongue in the boy’s mouth. It escalated from there. As Thiesen recalls, the nun never touched his genitals, and neither of them were ever disrobed. But from 4th through 6th grade, after school and sometimes on weekends, the nun would have him on the floor, French kissing and necking. Sometimes the nun would be on top of him, other times she put the boy on top of her.
Theisen also recalls sitting next to the nun in chapel. She would hold his hand under her religious habit so that no one would see.
Continue reading at Bishop Accountability