Sunday, February 23, 2014

Recommended Reading 2-23-14 Edition

Each week I send out a weekly e-mail of my thoughts to folks in my church.  I include in it what I found worth reading in the past week.  Here's this week's recommended reading:
  • I have read a lot of platitudes about Pete Seeger since his death, and that's too bad, because Seeger wanted action and he wanted people to organize to build a better world.  He did not want platitudes.  Here's a piece that gets it right about what the legacy of Seeger should really be; it's called "Pete Seeger was No Saint.".
  • You have to be proud of Mizzou this week (even if you're a Jayhawk) because of the way MU students formed a human wall to block Westboro Baptist Church from protesting Michael Sam.   
  • Have you ever sponsored an impoverished child in a developing country through Compassion International or another similar agency?  If so, did you ever wonder if your money really made a difference in that child's life?  Here's a thoughtful article by a reporter who went to meet the boy in Haiti he had been sponsoring for 13 years.
  • Bill Tammeus had a great piece this week regarding the gatherings of African American youth on the Plaza.  He asks what congregations in KC are doing to offer young people--especially low-income young people--alternative activities?  He mentions The SWECC Coalition, a group of congregations working with students at the Southwest Early College Campus (formerly Southwest High School).  We are one of the churches in the coalition thanks in large part to the faithful work of Jan Parks.
  • I hate to admit it, but I actually liked one of David Brooks' columns this week. In it, he uses Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son to address how middle and upper class Americans should respond to low-income people who have made bad choices.  He seems blind to how his analogy breaks down (most low-income people are not born into wealth like the prodigal of the story nor are they necessarily poor due to their own choices), but I always like it when conservative thinkers are open to compassion.    
  • J.E.Dunn Construction this week filed a friend-of-the-court brief to support Hobby Lobby's lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act's requirement that companies provide insurance that covers contraception.  The Dunn family is Roman Catholic and claims it is against their religion to offer insurance that provides contraception.  However, as this KC Star editorial points out, the Dunn family has no problem taking federal dollars to build a plant which makes nuclear weapons parts, despite the strong moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church opposing nuclear weapons.    
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