Century Marks

Century Marks

Trash and treasures

Before officials at Old North Church in Boston turn an adjacent courtyard into an outdoor classroom, the site must be probed for historical artifacts. Archaeologists have uncovered a 19th-century privy and cistern, along with broken dinner plates, bottles, marbles, dolls, and dice. Their findings will help them tell the story of the people who lived in the area when the industrial economy was emerging and Irish immigrants were moving in (Boston Globe, September 12).

No comment

Allen Joyner, an Ala­bama pastor who serves as a high school football announcer, reportedly told the crowd, “If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they’re taking shots for you.” School officials denounced the remarks. (Huffington Post, September 12).

Looking for warmth

What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).

Tacos for all

Marco Gutierrez’s warning that if Donald Trump is not elected president, there will be a taco truck on every corner seems to have backfired. His remark was condemned as racist by some, and others jokingly said they wish it were a campaign promise that would be fulfilled. Soon after Gutierrez made his remark on MSNBC, the leading hashtag on Twitter became #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner. One blogger estimated that there are 3.2 million intersections in America (The Christian Science Monitor, September 3).

Whose Patriotism?

Christian Chris­ten­sen, an American who teaches journalism at Stockholm University in Sweden, finds it laughable that NFL player Colin Kaepernick is being criticized for not standing during the national anthem—his act of protest against racism in America. Christensen notes that when the national anthem is playing, fans don’t immediately drop what they are doing and stand to attention.  Many check their phones or use the occasion to buy hot dogs and beer. “This is the utter perversity and hypoc­risy of the criticism leveled against Kaepernick: the idea that he needed to double-check in advance if his mode of expression met some kind of approved community standard for patriotism” (billmoyers.com, September 8).