It's been a fantastic week in the progressive religious blogosphere, and we've got a great carnival for you today: reflections on worship, practice, religious visibility, social justice, politics, poetry, and more. Here's a sampling of what folks in our extended community have been saying.
(A quick note on how this carnival post came together. Only a couple of people sent me links to posts, so I spent some time reading my aggregator and browsing the Progressive Faith Blog Con blogroll. I wound up choosing eighteen bloggers to highlight this week. In Jewish tradition, the number eighteen represents life; I wish long and happy life to all who read this! And if you'd like to be featured next time, don't forget to email a link to the carnival host...)
The Feminarian reflects on the nature of Christian worship. "Two concepts in particular 'fence' Christian worship for me," she writes. "[I]t must be Trinitarian, and it must be about, to, and for God."
This is the first full week of Lent for those in Christian traditions, and that manifested in several blog posts. Even though his post went live a couple of days before this week, I can't resist linking to Real Live Preacher's Ash Wednesday post, which describes how everyone in his church administered ashes to one another (and how his kids clowned around when the service was through). Beautiful and funny and wry.
On a related note, Chris of Even the Devils Believe posts his Homily for the First Sunday in Lent, which is beautiful. He has some powerful things to say about what to give up, and what not to give up, in order to open oneself to the radical teachings of the season.
Poor Mad Peter of Another Country posts about feeding the hungry, and about need, in Of Hunger. Of Loss. And he continues to explore themes of worship experience, Biblical literalism, and liberal theology in in Strugglng, Part 2.
Andrew of Semitism.net celebrates the spread of progressive values with Jewish Voice for Peace Goes National. You'll find here his usual smart and cogent analysis of the Israeli/Palestinian situation, as well as excitement about the possibility of a new chapter of JVP...in my neighborhood!
Junaid Afeef at An American Muslim Journal shares A Muslim Layer's Defense of Publishing the Muhammad Cartoons, which was also published at Beliefnet:
I am a Muslim. As a Muslim I am offended, disturbed and dismayed by the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 and subsequently in numerous European publications. I am also offended by the whole brouhaha that erupted after the cartoons’ publication... Despite my personal feelings about the cartoons, I am helping Acton Gorton, the young man who reprinted some of these same cartoons in the Daily Illini, a newspaper that serves the University of Illinois community in Champaign, Illinois. I am Acton’s attorney...
On a semi-related note, Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam posted recently (not quite within the last week, but it's a great post, so I'm happy to include it) about the Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoons Contest. "Why can’t we talk about it like we talk about any other subject that is important to us? Why can’t we poke fun at the anti-Semites using their own graphic weapons (big noses, horns, the works)? And most of all, why can’t we poke fun at ourselves as Jews have done for millenia?"
It might seem to us that they don't deal with anything having to do with us today, without a sacrificial cult. Most of us don't really pray for the restoration of that cult. It seems primitive, messy. Nevertheless, these parashot are Torah, so we must learn from them, we must find in them points to cling to, stepping stones, just one small outcropping that we can then stretch and shape, until we have found our way inside them and taken ownership. We must examine them until we have found something within them that speaks to us.
And of course, here at Velveteen Rabbi, I posted a call for panel ideas. If you have thoughts about what we should discuss at the Progressive Faith Blog Con, hop over to that post and let me know!
That's this week's Progressive Faith Blog Con Carnival; thanks for reading. Next week's iteration will be hosted over at Blue Texas, so if you've got posts to submit, let the Blue Texans know.