OliverJuan2By Juan Oliver

As we enter the season of Christmas, I want to reflect on the readings likely to be heard in our churches. The stories center on God’s work of bringing about the “Kingdom of God,” or, as the Syriac tradition calls it, a “New World” characterized by justice and peace. The interesting thing is how weird God is.

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Rush Limbaugh attacked the pope’s Evangelii Gaudium on his November 27th show, calling it Marxist and accusing the Catholic Church of being “made of money.” This comes on the heels of the words of Sarah Palin on this matter. At the Threshold urges you to lend your voice, to join with all of those who support of the Roman Catholic Church in the strides being made towards a Future Church of inclusion, equality, and justice.

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has a petition on their website for Catholics and allies to demand an apology from Rush. So far, it has less than 7,000 signature. Sign the petition and add your voice to let people know  that those of us who support a more progressive future for the church are not going to stand silently by, but we are going to support this Pope and call on him for more reform—not less.


Martin E. Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at The University of Chicago and one of the most prominent interpreters of religion and culture today.

Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty

By Martin E. Marty

As Pope Francis was an exhorter bidding for attention last month, not only Roman Catholics were his exhortees. Count us in. The dictionary tells us that adding “-ee” to a word turns it into one which means a person or thing that is the object of that verb. The pontiff issued an “apostolic exhortation,” Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), whose 85 pages have inspired uncommon attention in the media. It was clear that he focused on Catholics, but he probably wouldn’t mind if the rest of us joined his faithful in heeding the exhortation. The document concerned “economic inequality,” “unequal wealth,” and in it he denounced the current economic system as “unjust at its roots” because it defends “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” He calls the result “a new tyranny,” which “unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”

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The marriage of Bill Gatewood and Rich Taylor on Saturday, the pastorally sensitive and institutionally defiant decision of The Rev. Robin Hynicka to perform their wedding, the thirty Methodist pastors who offered a blessing to them on their special day and were threatened with charges by the United Methodist Church, and the outpouring of support from members of different religious faiths are all examples of the kind of reforms we at At the Threshold are trying to enact within the Church. As an organization, we stand for inclusion, social justice, and community.

We understand that reform does not happen in a vacuum. We are currently working with organizations like Faithful America, Reconciling Ministries Network, and Integrity USA to make sure that important issues, like marriage equality, become vital topics of discussion within the Church.

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