Depressed, weary, or frightened by stories of USIS and ISIS and other horrors, plus by debates over "religious extremism" and the role of Islam, we focus instead on the not-unimportant figure of Pope Francis, who makes news and inspires reflection.
Pentecostal presidential candidate Marina Silva didn't make it into the runoff against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, but her charismatic faith remains a significant factor in the final round of voting.
The word "Pentecostal" has implications that, unless you identify already as a Pentecostal Christian, is usually a bit of a turnoff. But if we consider the Pentecost story -- the birth of the Christian Church, as many understand it -- as a story of liberation, it's actually pretty exciting.
Biblically informed observers observe that there is something biblically-nuanced about movements which, though obscure and once-powerless, are now changing the Christian Church in European and other parts, while the big and powerful churches rarely prosper. Yes, how ironic.
Pope Francis is a charismatic. Though I made the case for this in another HuffPost blog almost a year ago, the Argentine pontiff's penchant for Spirit-centered Catholicism has been one of the most underreported aspects of his dynamic papacy.
This strange early twentieth-century expression of religious faith is not widespread -- confined to a small number of churches in the southeastern United States -- but has its roots in a literal reading of a cluster of biblical metaphors.
Greater attendance at Mass. The flowering of a Catholic charismatic movement with lay leadership and culturally sensitive worship that also shares the Pentecostal commitment to evangelism. And a revered global leader emerging from its ranks.
I am suggesting that the irony of this show is that the very ideals these preachers are lifting up as emulative are the practices that are providing impetus for what people within these communities are coming to see as wrong.
While the Argentine pontiff weighs in on diverse issues in his groundbreaking interview, he clearly emerges as a pastor who is profoundly influenced by what have been two competing tendencies in the Latin American church.
The 20th century chapter of Christ's church was written by this Pentecostal outpouring, a revival movement of global proportion. No longer the brunt of jokes, it is now a church in which one can say "Pentecostal theologian" without a snicker.
As shocking as it may be to some observers and Catholics in the Global North, Pope Francis' informal exorcism neatly captures the rise of the Global South, where prayers for deliverance from evil are common Catholic currency.