Century Marks

Century Marks

Because we are

Reflecting on depression among African Americans and its isolating effects, Wynnetta Wimberley of Emory University says the African adage “I am, because we are” should be used to combat depression in the black community. One study has shown that African Americans are more likely to seek help from clergy than from mental health counseling or medication. Hence African-American pastors play a key role of helping to overcome the shame of depression and restoring people’s place in their communities (Journal of Pastoral Theology, March).

The Iran deal

A small but growing number of ex-commanders in the Israeli defense and intelligence forces are saying that the nuclear deal with Iran is not as bad as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims. Some say the deal is good for the state of Israel; others say it’s not a good deal, but it’s one Israel can live with. Former prime minister Ehud Barak, who was once defense minister under Netanyahu, is among the latter voices. He said it is time for the Israeli government to reestablish relationships with the White House and to stop inserting itself in the U.S. Congress (Forward, July 23).

God’s patience

Paul Dafydd Jones of the University of Virginia argues that patience should receive a starring role in theology—the patience of God, first of all. This move would help to dispel some negative images of God: God as a control freak, God as a puppeteer. It would help people see that God grants human beings time and space to make sense of themselves and to grow. It would encourage people to be patient with themselves and others. There is a place for impatience—the Hebrew prophets and Jesus demonstrated an impatience for injustice—but impatience must be marked by patience for people to live into the future that God hopes for them (Theology Today, April).

From dust to compost

Katrina Spade, founder of the Urban Death Project, plans to compost human remains with wood chips inside a three-story concrete core. She argues that this approach is even more ecologically sound than cremation, which creates greenhouse gases. Bob Fells, executive director of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, thinks treating human remains as a waste product is disrespectful. Spade is hoping to break ground for the composting facility in Seattle by 2022 (Slate, July 15).

Risks of faith II

Ten Sudanese Christian students were recently arrested and detained for allegedly wearing indecent clothing, a criminal offense. The young women, who were wearing mini­skirts and pants, were stopped outside the Evangelical Baptist Church in the war-torn region of the Nuba Moun­tains. Islamic law is strictly observed in Sudan, and Christians are increasingly persecuted. Two pastors in the Sudan Presby­terian Evangelical Church are being tried for spying, which could lead to a death penalty conviction (RNS).