Monday, September 26, 2011

R.I.P. Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel peace prize, passed away on Sunday night. She had been fighting ovarian cancer and was 71 years old.

An excerpt from her obituary:

"Her work with voluntary groups alerted her to the struggles of women in rural Kenya, and it quickly became her life's cause. Noticing how the rapid environmental degradation was affecting women's lives, she encouraged them to plant trees to ensure future supplies of firewood and to protect water sources and crops.

"Maathai's agenda quickly widened as she joined the struggle against the repressive and corrupt regime of Daniel arap Moi. Her efforts to stop powerful politicians grabbing land, especially forests, brought her into conflict with the authorities, and she was beaten and arrested numerous times. Her bravery and defiance made her a hero in Kenya."

Related Posts: Go and Do Likewise

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What part of Acts 4:32 did you not understand?

Personally, I am enthusiastically in favor of class warfare, but this is still a pretty good article.

It’s not ‘class warfare,’ it’s Christianity

Washington Post, September 20, 2011
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
Professor, Chicago Theological Seminary

"... the complete breakdown in the United States these days of realistic thinking about how markets and financial systems actually do work has three sources: “homage to financial assets,…market efficiency” and “evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal Christianity, infused with a millennial preoccupation with terrorism, evil, and Islam…” These are the three legs of the stool that caused the “de facto anesthetizing, over the last twenty years, of onetime populist southern and western” regions. It should be noted that these are the same sections of the country that are demographically the regions with the highest Tea Party concentration, especially the South."

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Best Answer I Can Find to Religion

Many summers ago, as a teenager staying at my grandparents' farm in Suffolk County, Long Island, I read this short story by Ursula K. LeGuin: "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" It was just a few pages out of an immense stack of paperback library books, mostly fantasy and science fiction. Looking back, years later, this parable is still probably the best and most concise answer I can find to dilemmas of religion, morality, and ethics.
"These people go out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes alone, youth or girl, man or woman. Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas."
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all you need

You know that tired old saying that you can't love anybody else, unless you also love yourself?

Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.