When I saw the headline in the New York Times—“The Hidden Prosperity of the Poor”— I thought of something very different than what Tom Edsall’s commentary is actually about.
Edsall highlights an insidious and specious argument about income inequality made on the right. In essence, the cost of basic human needs has gone down in relation to income, while consumer goods have become cheaper and cheaper.
Someone asked a question along these lines on Facebook recently, asking what one piece of evidence in particular persuades people to adopt the view that they do.
There are multiple things that I find particularly indicative. The reference to a dome in Genesis 1 is itself significant. But the point becomes even clearer if one knows other creation stories from the Ancient Near East.
The verbiage is a bit dense, but here's the upshot: the ACA requires health plans to provide contraceptive coverage to all insured members. Some religious organizations and even a few for-profit companies objected to this requirement, citing religious beliefs.
For this Transfiguration Sunday, the preacher faces at least two temptations.
The first is to move too quickly to the pastoral and personal dimensions of these texts, to consider how we, too, are transfigured by God’s love, glory and grace. And the epistle lesson does bring this theme up. But Exodus and Luke invite us to explore the natureof God’s glory itself, and it’s rewarding to focus first on these rich texts.
Some of my Facebook friends have been posting beautiful, excruciating articles about the loss of Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of Newtown. He was a twin. He was a darling child. And his family has been thoughtful, yet unflinching, in their mourning of him.
You can read the articles here and here—please be warned that they are wrenching. You may forget to breathe.
One of the oddest bits of Genesis is this from chapter 6:
When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. Then the Lord said, ‘My spirit shall not abide in mortals for ever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.
What on earth—or heaven for that matter—is this all about?
What does it take to replace a culture that tolerates violence against women with one that insists on respect? According to Breakthrough, an organization based in the U.S. and India, a key element is enlisting men to actively enforce nonviolent, respectful norms.
A couple years ago, the group's Bell Bajao (Hindi for "Ring the Bell") project produced some amazing PSA videos in India.