Child Sacrifice, Ancient and Modern

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Earlier this week The Guardian ran a story about human sacrifice and ancient Roman history. During the third century BC, the chief rival of Rome was the city of Carthage on the North African coast.

Carthage was a Phoenician city, and Roman sources always accused the Carthaginians of sacrificing their own children to their gods. I have always believed the Roman stories of Carthaginian child sacrifice, but many scholars dismissed these stories as mere propaganda. They just couldn’t be true.

But some archeologists have been amassing material evidence that seems to support the Roman sources. It looks like the Carthaginians really did sacrifice their children. One of the archeologist told The Guardian that she is experiencing some pushback from her findings.

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Exploring Dante’s Inferno in Disney’s Frozen

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Disney’s Frozen might be the most Christian movie that I have seen this year. That’s saying a lot since Man of Steel was self-consciously trying to be the most Christian movie of 2013. I could probably write a post about how Frozen is a better allegory for the Christian gospel than C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but if I did, my colleagues at HBU might run me out of the university on a rail.

But I don’t want to talk about the Good News in Frozen, I want to talk about the Bad News. Don’t worry. I’m not going to spoil anything that’s not already in the trailer.

Elsa is a young queen, and she can’t seem to control her supernatural ability to freeze things. She runs to the mountain to get away from her problems, and once there she creates a palace of ice and sings with gelid abandon. Her song is one of defiance. She doesn’t need anyone else. She will be true to herself for the first time. She needs freedom.

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Where’s Your Allegiance? A Louisiana Boy in Texas

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I am not a Texan, but I’ve lived in Texas for the last two years. Even after two years, these Texans continue to surprise me. Last night at our city’s Fourth of July celebration, I was once again reminded that I am a stranger living in a strange land.

At the celebration, a military guard presented the flags so that we could pledge allegiance before we demonstrated our patriotism through witnessing a pyrotechnic display. This was all well and good.

I felt very American at that moment. I was standing in a minor-league baseball park with my children, looking upon Old Glory as we listened to a young lady belt out “The Star-Spangled Banner.” What could be more American than baseball parks, the flag, and a family dressed in red, white, and blue? I along with a few thousand compatriots pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. But then things got weird.

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Casual Dress and the Body of Christ: A Plea for Bathrobes

My sister-in-law recently alerted me to a humorous announcement in the bulletin of her Catholic parish. The priest of Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, LA, would like for his parishioners to know:

PLANS FOR PARISH SWIMMING POOL SCRAPPED!

After much study, our finance committee has determined it would not be feasible to construct an indoor swimming pool in our church. As a result, we can now announce with certainty that those who have been arriving for Mass as if dressed for the pool need not do so. Also, we hope to keep the air conditioning cranking until well into October. So you do not need to wear shorts, tube‐tops, spaghetti straps, camis, or mini shirts to Mass.

I hadn’t seen this bit of satire before, but it turns out that it is a variation of a joke that’s been floating around for at least a couple of years. Though the announcement is humorous, it seems that the priest’s complaint against casual dress is real. Why don’t people get dressed up for church anymore?

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