Friday, April 18, 2014

Recommended Reading 4.13.14 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 (okay, actually it was last week, it took me a long time to post this):

Here's some stuff I found meaningful to read this past week:
  •  I'm really not a fan of David Brooks, but his column this week on suffering was a powerful meditation on the subject.
  • Once again, Leonard Pitts is copying from my sermons.  Although, be sure to read this response to Pitts' article from UCC minister Rev. Jane Fisler Hoffman, member at Southwood UCC in Raytown. 
  • Historian George Marsden literally wrote THE book on American fundamentalism and evangelicalism over 20 years ago.  Now, he has a new book coming out explaining why conservatives and liberals talk past each other.  It looks to be supremely important and powerful.  
  • The Noah movie is still generating some good discussion out there about the meaning of the flood narrative from the Torah.  Did you know that similar flood narratives from Babylonia and Sumeria pre-date the Bible?  What about similar flood narratives in Islam and Hinduism?  Here's a good discussion of them.  
  • Bill Tammeus has powerful words about the sad events this week at Southwest Early College Campus (formerly Southwest High School) which sits directly across Wornall from our church.   
  •  I still love Chick-Fil-A's food, even though I have big problems with the politics and religious views of the family that owns the restaurant chain.  I'm glad to read that the current CEO, Dan Cathy, has at least learned from the uproar generated when he spouted off about his opposition to same gender marriage.  I doubt his personal views have changed, but I respect that he is listening to people in the company whose views differ from his and even to LGBT rights activists.  He is also a smart businessman and recognizes that the tide of history is against him if he wants to be publicly anti-LGBT while he tries to market to the Millennial generation.     
  • Katherine Edin moved her family to the impoverished post-industrial city of Camden, NJ to learn firsthand about poverty in America.  What she found upends much of what ivory tower writers on poverty have traditionally thought.
  • Now that Stephen Colbert will be taking over David Letterman's spot when the latter host retires, that means a devout Roman Catholic will be hosting one of the premiere late night shows on American TV.  Colbert not only teaches his kids' Sunday School but also explains good Catholic social teachings on caring for the poor to Congressmen.   
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