Century Marks

Century Marks

From the ground up

Christians typically think of humans as stewards of creation, says Theodore Hiebert, an Old Testament professor. That view, based on the Genesis 1 account of creation, needs to be counterbalanced by the Genesis 2 account of creation. In the latter account, humans aren't portrayed as  stewards over creation, but as an integral part of and servants of nature. In the second account, humans aren't created in the image of God as the crowning achievement of creation; rather, they are formed out of the fertile earth just like other forms of life. This vision of creation emphasizes human interrelatedness with nature and the need to serve it, rather than using it to serve human needs (Interpretation, October).

Folly of war

In 2010, Bob Woodward interviewed President Obama as part of his research for the book Obama's Wars. As the president ushered Woodward out of the Oval Office at the end of the interview, Woodward showed him a quotation from a book on World War II. The quotation said that war is corrupting and that it tarnishes the soul and the spirit. Obama said, "I have sympathies with this point of view." Then he told Woodward to go home and read his Nobel Peace Prize speech. Woodward took the president's suggestion. In that speech President Obama concluded that though "war is sometimes necessary . . . war at some level is an expression of human folly" (Woodward, Obama's Wars).

Courage to be

Bonnie Ware has long worked in palliative care, spending time with the dying during the final weeks of their lives. Over the years she's heard the same regrets from the dying. They wish they had had the courage to be themselves, rather than trying to meet expectations. They say they should not have worked so hard—a lament heard especially from the older generation of males. They regret not having had the courage to express their feelings, even if doing so would have caused others pain. They say they should have stayed in touch with their friends and given more time to nurturing friendships (Activist Post, November 30).

A hitch in the review

Christopher Hitchens thought ethics was a matter of action, not intention. To illustrate his point he told how he had had a chance to review a book by an author who had given one of Hitchen's own works a bad review. It was a wonderful opportunity for revenge, but Hitchens realized the book he was reviewing was brilliant and he had to say so. His only obligation was to the truth. Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, died last month at age 62 of esophageal cancer (Chicago Tribune, December 17).