Friday, May 30, 2014

Recommended Reading 5-30-14

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 some stuff I found meaningful to read this past week:
  • Our church is a part of the Southwest Early College Campus Faith Coalition made up of churches in Brookside.  SWECC, formerly Southwest High School, is of course right across from our church.  At one point in our church's history, our church had a ministry that provided childcare for teenage mothers attending the school, however, in more recent years we have had less interaction with the school.  The coalition provides a variety of support to students and staff, including the upcoming workday on Saturday morning, June 7.  Currently, CCCUCC's Jan Parks represents us on the coalition, but my hope is that more folks from our church would step up to care for this school--especially since it is across the street from our building.  At this week's school board meeting, members of the faith coalition spoke up in support of SWECC students and administrators.   
  • In the latest issue of The AtlanticTa-Nehisi Coates has written a 16,000 word peice entitled "The Case for Reparations."  I haven't made it through this lengthy article yet, but I have heard Coates interviewed and his approach to reparations for African Americans for the institution of slavery, Jim Crow laws and discriminatory economic policies that continued through most of the twentieth century is powerful and well-argued.  When I first saw this article being talked about, I thought, "What's the point reparations will never happen in our political culture?"  Yet, when I heard and read Coates explain how systematic economic oppression continues to impact African Americans even in the Obama Era, I was educated about so many discriminatory policies and programs that continued well after the Civil Rights Era.  The stories he tells are powerful and provocative.   (Watch Coates' interview with Bill Moyers.  Listen to Coates' interview on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show.)
  •  The debate about French economist Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century continues--making it a surprising beach read.  I'm not going to read a 600 page book on economic history, but I am interested in the implications of income inequality for what I believe are Christian principles of justice, so I am trying to stay up on it.  This article was helpful to me, and to my uneducated mind, it seemed a fair analysis.   
  • CCCUCC's own political scientist, Michael Smith, has a great column this week about how Kansas policies towards immigrants and LGBT people are causing millennial members of the "creative class" to leave the state.  (Pssst. . . these are the kind of young people who might be interested in our kind of church.)
  • This week, a church member recommended to me Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter by the great religion scholar Randal Balmer.  Since Balmer has a history of writing about American Evangelicals, he knows Carter well.  One of the fascinating parts of the book examines the rise of the Religious Right in the late 1970's.  To hear Jerry Falwell tell it, they came together to oppose abortion, but Balmer makes a convincing case that what really drove these fundamentalists to seek political power was protecting segregated religious schools in the South.  Check out the excerpt from Balmer's book at Politico.    
  • Paul Krguman has a column in the NYTimes that argues limits to carbon emissions in order to stop climate change would be far cheaper than opponents argue it would.      
  • I like former emergent church pastor Rob Bell; he is a thinking Evangelical who has used multimedia in wonderful ways.  His book Love Wins which challenged the central tenet of Evangelical Christianity--you are going to Hell if you don't accept Jesus as savior and lord--and some say cost him his church.  Well, Bell is now in California and has a new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network coming out.  Given the fact that I can't think of a single example of Christians on TV that has any integrity, this seems like a bad idea to me.  I hope Bell becomes the exception to the long, sad history of Christians and TV.  

Keep up with things I find worth reading by following me on Twitter and Facebook.

No comments: