March 2013 Newsletter
This March is chock full of events for Christians, and Catholics in particular. Of course the big news is that there is a new Pope. Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a first of his kind in a few respects: he is the first ever Latin American pontiff, the first papal Jesuit, and the first Pope to take the name of Francis. The Catholic Church seems to be making a gesture to other parts of the world where their membership is growing by electing a non-European to the position - something not done for over one thousand years.
The selection occurred in time for Pope Francis to usher believers into the celebration of Easter, arguably the most significant holiday in Christianity. Perhaps it is fate that March is a month where Catholics honor many important people in the faith. It boasts the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the feasts of the saints David, Joseph, and of course, Patrick of Ireland.
According to a wild prophecy about the ascension of the Popes, Francis is to be the final pontiff to take the job, and at the end of his reign, the city of seven hills will be destroyed.
This mimics a passage in the Biblical book of Revelation that describes this city as resting upon many waters and as the center of important events leading to the end of the world. While folks throughout the years have assumed that these predictions denote Rome, we have some ideas of our own. Check out our sister site, and this unconventional interpretation of prophecy.
Even in the shadow of fear and darkness, there is still hope. Just ask Lauren Drain, previously a member of the hateful and oppressive, Westboro Baptist Church. The group's "you all are damned, neener neener neener" message is terribly un-Christian.
Normally, when a constituent questions religious doctrine, it is a great opportunity to make a solid believer, if handled properly. The WBC sees any questioning as insubordination. Read about Ms. Drain's experiences with the organization on our primary blog.
As we can all agree, the members of the Westboro Baptist Church are not good people, despite their devotion to religion. In contrast, we can all think of someone who is not religious, but whose actions are widely considered to be morally good.
A professor from Hofstra University has posited that we are wrong in our assessments because of a simple, necessary relation. Read about his supposed connection between morality and religion here.
If we are worried about the Biblical end of the world, there might some solace in knowing that according to Hindus, the world has been saved from total destruction before.
Shiva, the god of destruction, swallowed poison that appeared in our oceans during the creation of Earth. March 10th was the Night of Shiva, which involves milk, honey, urine, dung, drugs, and phallic symbols! Check out the conversation on our Facebook page about this celebration.
Many of those preparing to celebrate Easter may not realize there are others who celebrate Ostara around the same time. The two holidays are actually closely related and draw upon similar historical roots.
Ostara is essentially the pagan incarnation of the traditional Christian Easter. According to myth, pagan children would present eggs as a gift to the goddess in return for the coming of the spring. Oestre traditionally carried an egg to symbolize birth and new life. Christian traditions incorporating eggs have not strayed very far from this practice. Interested in learning more about these holidays? Read our blog here.