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Spirituality

Remembering whose we are

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Most of us celebrate our birthdays. Some among us also celebrate their feast day or patron saint day, but how many of us celebrate the day of our baptism? In his book Christianity: The Making of Christians (Kevin Mayhew Ltd., 1979), Mark Searle reminds readers that for many centuries it was the custom in the church to celebrate the pascha annotinum or the anniversary of baptism. It was a sort of class reunion for the baptized, their sponsors and the bishop, at which they celebrated the Eucharist together.

Ethicists criticize treatment of brain-dead patients

The cases of two young women -- a California teen and a pregnant Texas mother -- have generated sympathy for their families, but also have left some doctors and bioethicists upset about their treatment.

Many doctors are questioning continued medical procedures on a 13-year-old girl declared brain-dead nearly a month ago, calling interventions to provide nutrition to a dead body wrong and unethical.

Luminosity

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A well-circulated Hasidic tale tells the story of a rabbi quizzing his students. He asked, "How can we determine the hour of dawn, when the night ends and the day begins?"

One of the students suggested, "Day begins when, from a distance, you can distinguish between a dog and a sheep."

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The Bill Maher interview of Bishop Morrie you'll never see

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Bill Maher, the comedian and atheist, taped an interview with my classmate Morrie, the bishop of Paris, Kan., for airing on his HBO show over the holidays. It was pulled. Fortunately, I have a transcript. Here are the highlights, minus the laughs, oohs and ahhs.

Maher welcomes Morrie, who comes out dressed in a smile, a burgundy cashmere sweater, and non-iron khakis from Banana Republic. They sit.

Maher: Well, I must say I didn't expect a bishop to look so dapper. Did you lose your pointy hat on the way here?

Decoding family codes

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The Lectionary readings chosen for this cycle to celebrate the feast of the Holy Family leave us with difficult questions. By what standards do we evaluate family relationships and why? Who do we include or exclude as family members? And how do we handle family dysfunction, conflict, and abuse?

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