With our office in downtown Chicago, members of the Century staff are becoming used to the drifts of red-shirted teachers moving about the streets, some with placards, some with their families, most looking energized and purposeful—though that may well change if this strike continues. On the fourth day of the strike, the power play between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis is wearing thin on many Chicagoans as they weave their way around rallies to delayed and rerouted buses and trains.
Lewis says that 43 issues are keeping the strike unresolved; the school board claims that only two issues remain. One is the protocol for rehiring teachers who have been laid off. The knottier one is teacher evaluation.
My favorite book of the summer is Turn Here Sweet Corn, a memoir by organic farmer Atina Diffley. Her husband Martin started delivering vegetables from his family’s land to co-ops in Minneapolis in the early ‘70s, when co-ops were a new idea in Minnesota and few outside resources existed.
While Americans debate contraception coverage, women elsewhere in the world are dying in childbirth (pregnancy is the biggest killer of teenage girls worldwide), despairing because they can’t feed their children, or living with debilitating wounds incurred because of inadequate labor and postpartum care.
Last spring I visited the Paris exhibition Cranach in His Time, where I was introduced to a sampling of Lucas Cranach Sr.’s diverse and sometimes puzzling range of work. Cranach (1472–1553) produced more than 1,500 paintings, not to mention engravings, decorative work and altarpieces.
I began my tour with his portrait of the powerful and shrewd Frederick the Wise, who was Saxon’s ruling elector, Cranach’s patron and Luther’s protector. A little further on I studied a portrait of Luther, Cranach’s friend and partner, painted as a nonthreatening monk—an effort to persuade his critics that he was not dangerous.
My church's adult Sunday school class ended up doing a six-week study of one of John Ortberg’s inspirational and easy-to-read books. A member of the class loved the book and wanted to share and teach it—and who can argue with six weeks off as a teacher?
Before that, we’d been through many of N.T. Wright’s “For Everyone” study guides, and we'd organized a successful unit on Islam and Christianity, taught well by an instructor from our county college. We’ve read Adam Hamilton; we've added online conversation to our Lenten study. Now what?
When the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated comes through the door at my house, I know better than to grab it. First dibs go to my husband. Unlike me, he won’t just “feast” on the photos of cakes, BBQ ribs and soufflés. He’ll actually read the recipes, select one, shop for ingredients and prepare a meal--and that’s where I come in.
Sandra Steingraber, ecologist, activist and author, was in Joliet, Illinois, Wednesday to present a lecture on our era of “extreme energy extraction.” (See the Century interview with Steingraber.) According to Steingraber, we’re acting more and more foolishly as we hold on more and more tightly to our dependence on fossil fuels.
April 4 issue of the Century offers Ruth Burrows's witness to her life as a
contemplative Carmelite; it also includes an homage to a community
of students shaped by their experience with Trappist monks, which in turn shaped Faith Matters writer Stephanie Paulsell in her
faith and thinking.
Yet Carmelite, Benedictine, Trappist and other
monastic communities find themselves in a precarious place these days, with many
of them closed or closing. Must we lose these Catholic (and Protestant) communities before we
realize that they are a profound presence
to those of us out wandering in the world?
a blog post at the Wall
Street Journal, Conor
Dougherty describes a video game behavior that demonstrates what Century
Paeth calls "a distaste for playing evil."
According to Dougherty, gamers are finding ways to take some of the most
violent games and tweak characters or characters' behavior so that they
participate in the game with one notable difference--they don't kill.
have a life that is rich in experience, and is now rich in spirit." This is how
Bob DeMarco opened the new year on his blog.
At 61, DeMarco is sole caretaker of his 96-year-old mom, Dotty.
one time he was an institutional salesman of derivatives, futures, options and
mortgages; at another time he was chief executive of a small software company.
He was once married and is now divorced. But according
to Jane Gross, DeMarco always knew he would drop it all to
care for his mother when the time came.
I found myself
staring at the wall. I'd done two- and three-day retreats, but this was four
days alone in a cottage, and the stretch of time was unnerving. I had to go
outside to get cell phone reception and (horrors!) walk a quarter of a mile if
I wanted to get online. At first the disconnection was deafening.
Rash writes stories that have as much impact as any I've read; those in this
collection often left me feeling as if I'd been kicked. Rash lives in and writes
about Appalachia, and his stories never leave that home, even when they're set
at the end of the civil war ("Lincolnites").
In the 1830s most Americans were finding plenty of adventure in their own country. It was just over 50 years old, after all. Some were trudging along the new Oregon Trail; some were pushing Native Americans west of the Mississippi with legislation or guns; others were involved in increasingly volatile arguments over slavery.
"Occupy Wall Street may not come up with solutions, but at
least it is asking the right questions in a nonviolent setting," says Shane Claiborne. "I don't believe
that love can be forced, but I believe it can be provoked."
When I walked into a
screening of The Way, which opens today, I knew very little about the film; only that it
stars Martin Sheen and is directed by his son, Emilio Estevez, and that it
involves pilgrims hiking El Camino de Santiago, a
450-mile historical pilgrimage route across northern Spain.
The world will
always be fascinated with Vincent van Gogh. It doesn't matter that his
sunflowers are on mugs, t-shirts, calendars and billboards, or that
psychologists have spent years studying every facet of van Gogh's emotional and