Century Marks

Century Marks

Peace of the city

Iraq's first new church since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion opened in a poor Christian neighborhood of the northern city of Kirkuk last month. The inauguration of Mar Bulos (Saint Paul's) Church in the multiethnic and multireligious city comes despite the sharp fall in the number of Christians in Iraq be­cause of attacks and threats by al-Qaeda. The new church serves a community of about 200 Christian families who fled to Kirkuk and nearby regions from other parts of the country. In a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the Christian community, the Muslim imam of Kirkuk recited a prayer before the congregation of about 300, asking God for peace and security for Kirkuk and the rest of Iraq (AFP).

Text or talk?

On average Americans spend 2.7 hours each day on their mobile phones. Nearly half that time is spent socializing. Women aged 35 to 54 are the most active socializers with mobile devices (National Catholic Register, July 10).

Back to the future

New Saint Andrews College, a conservative Christian college founded in 1994, follows the curriculum at Harvard—the one used at Harvard in the 17th century. Located in Moscow, Idaho, the college is part of a growing movement of new Christian colleges that follow a Great Books program taught from a Christian perspective. These colleges maintain their independence by not accepting federal funds or seeking regional accreditation. Some of them also do not have dormitories, placing their students in local homes instead. It is not unusual for them to have standards of conduct for their students that proscribe smoking, drinking and premarital sex, as well as requiring adherence to a faith statement that includes belief in a six-day view of creation (InsideHigherEd.com, July 12).

Deep thought

Writer-historian David McCullough is often asked how much time he spends researching his books and how much time writing them. People don't ask him how much time he spends thinking about them. McCullough says he does his best thinking while taking early morning strolls. He began his early morning walks while researching his biography of Harry Truman, who had his own tradition of taking strolls (CSMonitor.com, June 24).

Unself-conscious

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams recalled for the Guardian (July 8) how he once was an angst-ridden young man who worried about whether he was suffering enough or was compassionate enough. But then Mary Clare Millea, a Catholic nun, said to him, "You don't have to suffer for the sins of the world, darling. It's been done." If we're not preoccupied with justifying ourselves, said Williams, then we can focus on other things and can even afford to be wrong. "Jesus is the human event that reverses the flow of human self-absorption."