Century Marks

Century Marks

On the dark side

Eric Fair wrote about his wartime experiences in Conse­quence. He admits that he engaged in torture at Fallujah and Abu Ghraib and says he believed that he had the support of the American people. Fair comes from a “long line of Presby­terians who valued their faith and marched off to war.” He says more public discussion is needed about what it means to have an army. His own experience has reshaped his understanding of human nature. We do bad things, he says, not because it is the nature of warfare, but because it is the nature of human beings (Church Times, September 9).

Faith in pictures

When Stacy Johnson Myers of First Con­gregational Church in River Falls, Wisconsin, asked illustrator Amy Sands to create 36 images of Bible scenes for the congregation’s faith formation, the results were vivid and engaging. Now Myers has collaborated with Kathryn Brewer to create three books of these colorful images. “There are different kinds of darkness . . .” begins Light in the Darkness, which tells biblical stories from creation through Pentecost with a focus on God’s covenantal relationship with the world. Many congregations across the country are now purchasing copies of the books and prints of the artwork from the congregation’s website (firstchurchrf.org, October 4).

Driven to distraction

Andrew Sullivan realized his life was consumed by the Internet and his smartphone. His friendships were hurting and even his health was impacted by his Web compulsion. He decided to go offline and try to recover natural connections with people and the world by going to a meditation center. Sullivan thinks that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction. “Perhaps [churches] might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation.” He commends the “mysticism of Catholic meditation” (New York, September 18).

Reading habits

Print books remain significantly more popular than digital books, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. The bad news is that the number of people who reported reading a book in any format last year was 73 percent, down from 79 percent in 2011 when Pew first started gathering data on the reading habits of America (Publishers Weekly, September 16).

Hot item

Between 300,000 and 600,000 guns are stolen in the United States every year, according to gun ownership researchers at Harvard and Northeastern Universities. That’s about one stolen gun every minute, enough guns to provide for every instance of gun violence in America several times over. A gun stolen in Atlanta was used in three different crimes before police retrieved it at a shootout. There’s an increase in the theft of guns from parked cars (Guardian, September 21).