Stephen Green would be the first to tell you that he has led a
privileged life. Indeed, he acknowledges his privilege throughout his
book. As chair of HSBC, the global banking powerhouse, he has traveled
the world and has engaged deeply in the global economy. He has sipped
champagne and exchanged ideas at retreats with the world's most powerful
For the healing we need, we cannot do better than to rely on the ancient assurances of Zechariah's hymn. Written in a time of occupation and economic disarray that eclipses our own in its uncertainty, the hymn proclaims that we are indeed free, whatever our brokenness, to worship God without fear.
When I sit in church on Sunday mornings, I sometimes look
around at the other congregants and ask myself, "Why are these people here? Why
did they choose to come to church?" Some people prefer staying at home to
leisurely read the Sunday paper, or go out for a relaxed Sunday brunch. Why
have these people given up their precious spare time to be here?
On my neglected Facebook page sits an even more neglected
"Like" button. Although I read what others post and occasionally add a comment,
I grumpily avoid this particular feature. Technology based on personal
preferences-a rapidly expanding group that includes Hunch, Pandora, various
Google products and others-is a source of anxiety for me.
This book is a series of icons painted by Catholic priest William Hart McNichols, accompanied by prayers written by acclaimed translator and self-described "Jewish Sufi Buddhist who loves Christ" Mirabai Starr. Their collaboration deserves lingering attention, even by Protestants dubious about appearances of Mary.
Christopher Pramuk sees a connection between Thomas Merton and Pope Francis. What binds them together is St. Francis’s awareness that the fate of the earth and the fate of God’s creatures are integrally related. As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato si’: “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. . . . There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology.” Pramuk says that Merton’s writings embody what Pope Francis calls an “integral ecology,” challenging modern certainties and envisioning a different way of being human in the world (Los Angeles Review of Books, April 23).