You can own a saint's house
Also, surprise! Chris Pratt is a wife guy
Quick announcement to begin, this Sunday I am preaching at my church, Leichhardt Uniting. It’ll be streamed on the LUC Facebook page from 10am Australian Eastern Daylight Time.
Again, don’t forget about the Modern Relics Discord.
Chris Pratt wifeposting
Not going to dwell on this much because I’ve already written at length about this guy, but Chris Pratt is back in the discourse. All eyes are on him partly because in addition to being the voice of Mario, he’s now Garfield too, for some reason.
He posted the Instagram post above about his wife and everyone lost it for a day or two.
“Guys. For real. Look how she’s looking at me! I mean. Find you somebody that looks at you like that!! You know!? We met in church. She’s given me an amazing life, a gorgeous healthy daughter, she chews so loudly that sometimes i put in my ear buds to drown it out, but that’s love! …”
MamaMia has a good summary of the controversy if you’re interested, but it all feels a bit confected, tbh. I reckon people just found the whole thing a bit cringe and it’s kind of funny because being a wife guy is a meme.
Meanwhile, Chris Pratt has not taken the sudden and unexpected deluge of criticism well!
Anyway, I bring this up because I think Liz Bruenig and Jennifer Martin have identified what’s going on with the reaction to Chris Pratt generally.
Also user @willystaley calls the reaction to the post a “disordered rejection of Chris Pratt”, which is an inherently funny sentence to me.
Jake Flores @feraljokesIf you couldn't tell Chris Pratt was a creepy Christian from his aw shucks comedy on Parks n Rec then this is on you for pretending like the feel-good inoffensive nature of that show was good and not some kind of smokescreen for the most evil shit on earth
A good religious shitposting Insta
The Facebook Papers priest
A detail of the Facebook Papers saga I had previously missed is that whistleblower Frances Haugen was motivated to release the confidential documents after spending time with her mother, who is an Episcopal priest.
“I am really lucky that my mother is an episcopal priest,” says Haugen, who was born and raised in Iowa. “I lived with her for six months last year and I had such profound distress because I was seeing these things inside of Facebook and I was certain it was not going to be fixed inside of Facebook.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Haugen’s mother was the one who told her she “should go public with her concerns if she believed that lives were on the line.”
All humanity is descended from 2 Jon Arbuckles
Never thought I’d use this newsletter to write about Australia’s property market, which is absolutely broken and insane, but a few interesting things came up this week!
Want to own a Sydney house once owned by Australia’s first and (so far) only saint? If you have over $2.2 million dollars, you can!
“St Mary MacKillop acquired the property in 1901 from the Quigg family and converted it into a convent for local nuns. ...
The three-bedroom house is made of sandstone and features original interiors such as high ceilings, wooden floorboards and a dated bathroom.”
The price is slightly higher than similar properties in the Canterbury area, but it isn’t unusual for a standalone house on such a big block of land. The real estate agent goes to great pains to explain that although the property is heritage listed and can’t be knocked down to build apartments,
“Buyers could look to subdivide the rear the property, as at one point there was an opportunity for the current owners to do three terraces.”
Cool cool cool. She also speculates a “diehard Catholic” might buy it instead and install a swimming pool.
Also, want to own the former headquarters of a group described as a “bizarre cult”? Well get in quick, because this retreat in the town of Bright, Victoria is on the market until 25 November.
Formerly run by a group called the Church of the Firstborn, this property features a pyramid-shaped roof with a glass capstone they believed Jesus would one day remove and put it on top of a pyramid in Giza.
I can’t find details about the former Church of the Firstborn anywhere but in this article unfortunately, but the pictures included are great! It’s being marketed as a potential wedding venue or health retreat, or in true Australian tradition… for being knocked down and subdivided.
There’s no list price.
Reporting on ‘cults’
Speaking of unusual religious groups, I was originally just going to put this in the “more links” section at the end, but really want to highlight this interview with American religion reporter Sam Kestenbaum.
Author Kali Handelman describes him as having “a particular talent for telling stories about complicated people with a kind of lucid nuance — taking them seriously without entirely taking them at their word,” which is pretty key to all religion reporting, imo.
As an Australian I have to chuckle at the idea that religion reporters are “a too-rare thing these days” - I work for the only media organisation in the country that hires dedicated religion specialists anymore. In comparison, America is absolutely crawling with them.
Sam’s description of reporting on groups sometimes called cults is also very interesting:
“The credo in some circles, I know, is that “cult” is a straightforward pejorative that has no responsible use. But I’m struck by the number of times I’ve seen groups lean into the cult-y brand. As just one example: There was a self-styled vampire guru I spent time with as part of a feature for the Times.”
He also talks about the idea that “the media doesn’t get religion” and whether that’s a useful way of thinking about things. It’s a good read!
What if we kissed in the VeggieTales Giggle Pod
Vintage car shop restores Buddha statue
“The major branches of Buddhism are often known as “vehicles,” or ways of spiritual practice.
So it’s only fitting that when the monks of the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center needed a major restoration of its outdoor statue of the Buddha, they turned to an auto restoration shop specializing in classic cars.”
Becoming such a pantheist you reinvent monotheism
Zabulon Simantov, last Jew from Afghanistan, has been denied entry to the United States is now asking for $10 million to move to Israel, where his (maybe divorced now?) wife and daughters currently live