Century Marks

Century Marks

Tracking Jesus

Some churches with public nativity displays have had problems with vandalism. Stealing baby Jesus is a common prank. A security company has come to the rescue. It plants a GPS device in the nativity items so that the stolen objects can be tracked. One church reported that by publicizing its use of the tracking devices it had stopped the vandalism and stealing. The company, BrickHouse Security, is also donating its services to churches, synagogues and schools for displays other than nativity scenes (SFGate.com, December 2).

No surprise?

We Can Know, a Christian group based in Raleigh, North Carolina, believes that Jesus will return in May. Using an analysis of scripture, particularly biblical genealogies, it has designated May 21 as the day (AP).

Power of poetry

Kim Rosen (author of Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words) visited a safe house in Kenya for young Masai women who had run away from home to escape genital mutilation. The girls liked to sing and asked Rosen if she knew any songs. When Rosen said that what she really likes is poetry, the girls asked her to recite a poem. The first poem to come to Rosen's mind was Mary Oliver's "The Journey," a poem about leaving home, which begins: "One day you finally knew / what you had to do." By the time Rosen was done reciting this poem, she and some of the girls were in tears. One of them asked, "Who is this woman, Mary Oliver? Is she Masai?" (The Sun, December).

Service begins at home

Some people wonder why Michael J. Brown would want to remain in Rochester, New York, a city marked by such poverty and joblessness that bright young people are fleeing it. Brown says he remains because Rochester has given him economic independence and he's surrounded there by familiar people who have helped to orient his life. The U.S. doesn't need a national youth service that sends young people away from home, Brown says. It needs what he calls a CIVIC (Citizens Involved in Community) program that gives young people a "chance to shape the future of their own communities." He envisions youth at work developing urban gardens, transporting people who can't drive, tutoring students and serving as election inspectors (Dissent, Fall).