Archive | November, 2013

The pope and Mara Vanderslice Kelly

November 29, 2013

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Mara Vanderslice Kelly, the coordinator for the president’s advisory council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, describes how she grew up in a nominally religious home in the shadow of the the religious right. She studied at a Quaker school and traveled to Columbia, where she met honest-to-God Christians with compassion for “the least of these.” It spurred her into a soul-search and an eventual spiritual awakening.

Think of her testimony, consider the Pope Francis’ recent encyclical.

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Stop the press: Nature-lovers can love humans

November 25, 2013

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Leah Kostamo has liberated me. I can now face my dark side: I love everything from sloths to moss and serve on three eco-friendly boards, but most environmental literature reminds me of toothpaste-flavored herbal tea – with no sweeteners allowed (carcinogens, you know). Guilt is slung like linguini. Humor and joy are banned, and bang the drumbeat of shame on Christians, who supposedly believe in the biosphere’s annihilation.

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Climate change, a fast, and the Hartford Declaration

November 13, 2013

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Many sympathized Yeb Sano’s impassioned plea for a substantial agreement on addressing climate change at the first day of the United Nations conference in Warsaw. He pledged to fast through the conference. Members of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network have pledged to fast as well. Here is their letter, along with an invitation for others to join:

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“It is time to stop this madness”

November 11, 2013

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“To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of you armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce.

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Just how big was Typhoon Haiyan?

November 11, 2013

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It seems that Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the history’s most powerful storm, has killed roughly 10,000 in the Philippines. Just how big was it? Perhaps this jaw-dropping photo can help Americans understand. It would have covered much of the US East Coast — with winds far stronger than either Karina’s or Sandy’s.

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

November 8, 2013

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There’s is a huge swirl of garbage in the Pacific Ocean composed mostly of plastic, which never dissolves. Some of its is swept onto Midway, scene of the great World War 2 naval battle.

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Bill Maher’s fundamentalism vs. sophisticated faith

November 2, 2013

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I’ll violate my unspoken rule (more of guideline, really) of only one daily post. I came across this video of Bill Maher’s interview of Ross Douthat, author of Bad Religion: How We Became A Nation of Heretics. Maher thinks and talks like a fundamentalist but passes himself off as sophisticated. Besides, atheists are ipso-facto more intelligent, right?

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All this soul-searching from a baseball game?

November 2, 2013

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But here’s the punch line: I didn’t appreciate any of that while I was there. Scratch me and you’ll find a frustrated visionary. We visionaries conjure up pristine futures and, if we’re not careful, contrast them with the exasperating present. We pout. We annoy everyone else and we blind ourselves to this morning’s blessings. I couldn’t see the city’s pleasures and opportunities through the fog of my utopian dreams.

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