Our common lot: Ethicist Daniel Callahan asks why it is that the U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't provide universal health-care insurance. One reason is that Americans don't have a strong tradition of thinking about the common good. "Suffering, disease, and death are our common lot," argues Callahan. "They ought to be dealt with as our common problem . . . in the recognition that we all have bodies that go awry and fail" (Commonweal, October 9).
Left behind: An atheistic group in the United Kingdom claims to be serious about its offer to provide care for pets left behind by Christians when they are taken by the rapture. For a small donation the group promises to make sure pets are fed and cared for (postrapturepetcare.com).
God for a change: The Shona people of Zimbabwe have many names for God. Janice McLaughlin's favorite is Chipindikure, which means "the One who turns things upside down." It comes from the word kupinduka, which means "to be uprooted." Says McLaughlin, a longtime Maryknoll missionary: "What an amazing concept to explain God's presence in the often unwanted and unplanned changes that happen to us throughout our lives" (Ostriches, Dung Beetles, and Other Spiritual Masters, Orbis).
Pill popping: Sales of the antidepressant drug Cymbalta are up 14 percent since the summer of 2008. Unfortunately, some of the people who might benefit the most from the drug aren't getting it. A study of homeowners in Philadelphia on the brink of foreclosure revealed that 37 percent suffered from severe clinical depression, yet nearly half said they were too poor to buy prescription drugs (Toronto Star, September 2).
Pain too shall pass: The great French painter August Renoir suffered from painful arthritis in his later years, and had to strap a brush to his paralyzed fingers to do his creating. When friends suggested he give up painting, Renoir responded, “Pain passes but beauty remains forever” (Paul Coutinho, S.J., in Just As You Are).