The news networks are all focused on the Vatican today as they await the election of a new pope.
The waiting is focused on watching the specially installed chimney to see a white puff of smoke--the signal that a new pope has been elected.
I'm sure this ancient practice is an honored tradition, but it seems more than an anachronism in light of today's instant communications. (How many of the cardinals tweet?)
However, as an ex-Baptist who has always rejected the concept of the papacy in the first place, I am struck with the similarities between the college of cardinals process and our American political conventions.
At any rate, what amazes me the most is the unintended symbolism of the smoke.
Whoever is elected, the end result comes down to blowing smoke.
Any religion, whenever it seeks to step beyond its humanity and claim infallibility or other divine authority, is blowing smoke.