Century Marks

Century Marks

Church accident

A man accidentally shot himself in the foot with a gun he was carrying while attending a Wednesday evening service at a Baptist church in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Police were called to the church. The wound was minor, and no one else was hurt (Longview News-Journal, January 22).

Formerly owned

As sales of digital books slow, used bookstores are making a comeback. In some communities used bookstores are the only ones that have survived competition with Amazon. Used bookstores are able to beat Amazon and other online booksellers on price, while giving customers the pleasure of browsing through books. Some new bookstores have added used books departments (Washington Post, December 26).

Choir abuse

Allegations that more than 200 boys in a Catholic-run choir and two connected schools in Germany were abused over the span of several decades, some of them sexually, have brought the church’s abuse scandal uncomfortably close to Benedict XVI. The former pope’s older brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, directed the Bavarian choir during that time. A lawyer hired by the Diocese of Regensburg last year to look into the allegations of abuse between 1953 and 1992 said that at least 50 of the 231 alleged victims made “plausible” claims of sexual abuse. When reports of sexual abuse in the 1,000-year-old choir first surfaced publicly in 2010, Georg Ratzinger insisted that he was unaware of them. The cases are too old to be prosecuted (RNS).

Liberating exegesis

Rachel Mikva, who teaches Jewish studies at Chicago Theological Seminary, says that she introduces her students to the rabbinical tradition of interpreting scripture so they learn that there is not necessarily only one right interpretation of texts. Jewish exegesis is dynamic, multivocal, provisional, and can even be contradictory. Jewish interpretation liberates the students to a sacred discontent that allows not only protest against the status quo but against God as well (Theological Education, vol. 50, no. 1).

Alternative discipline

Restorative justice programs are gaining popularity in public schools because they contribute to dramatic declines in disciplinary problems, improve the social environment, and increase academic performance. Typical is the program in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, where low-level offenses are handled by a student-run justice committee, supported by administrators and teachers. The goal of these programs is to address underlying issues, encourage offenders and victims to talk through the issues, and see that offenders make amends to victims and the larger community (Atlantic, December 29).