Century Marks

Century Marks

Prayer list

A former military chaplain has set up a website (arfg.org) encouraging people to "adopt a terrorist for prayer." The site lists 165 terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, who can be prayed for. The list of terrorists comes mostly from the FBI and the State Department (CNN.org).

Shady business

A 2006 study of trees in New York City concluded that trees saved the city roughly $28 million annually, or about $47.63 per tree in energy savings. Each tree also removed about 1.73 pounds of air pollutants, saving the city more than $5 million, and trees reduced the amount of stormwater runoff by nearly 900 million gallons each year, for a saving of an additional $35.6 million. Trees add to property values and reduce stress. Hospital patients who could watch a tree out their window were discharged a day earlier than others, and shopping areas with trees had more customers than those that didn't (Wilson Quarterly, Winter).

Self-policing

A suit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations charges that the FBI targeted Muslims in Southern California for surveillance based solely on their religious affiliation, violating their constitutional rights. Information collected by a paid informant helped the FBI start a case against one mosque member, but that case collapsed. The operation ended when members of the Muslim communities of Southern California reported the informant to the police (RNS).

True metaphor

Modern commentators on Ezekiel's vision of dry bones coming to life (Ezek. 37:1–14) say it is a metaphor for Israel's exile and restoration. But there is a long tradition of both Jewish and Christian exegetes who claim that it is a metaphor for the resurrection of the dead. Might it be both? Steven S. Tuell cites Rabbi Judah from the Babylonian Talmud and says it is a "true metaphor," perhaps even what Jesus called a parable. Ezekiel's vision of dry bones does refer to the historical exile and restoration of Israel, but, argues Tuell, it is too powerful an image to be restricted to that historical incident (Theology Today, January).

Dream on

Last summer, when Isabel Castillo told Virginia governor Bob McDonnell that she had graduated from college in three and a half years with a 4.0 grade point average, the governor responded that the state needed more people like Castillo. Then she told the governor, "But I'm undocumented." Castillo, who came to this country when she was just six years old, went on to ask McDonnell to support the Dream Act, a bill that would make it possible for undocumented immigrants with college degrees to become U.S. citizens. The governor was not persuaded: "People who come here illegally need to be detained, prosecuted and deported," he said (New York Times, February 20).