Moratorium on prayer: Anthony Bloom, longtime head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, was a noted authority on prayer. In an article published posthumously (Theology Today, April), Bloom admits that his prayers were once driven by the thought that if he didn’t pray his world might collapse.
Plague on their house: People tend to think of strangers as the spreaders of contagion. The Mongols were accused of spreading the Black Death in Europe and the Dutch were held responsible for the Great Plague in London of 1665. Tanzanians blame the high rate of AIDS on the Ugandan troops who invaded their country in the late 1970s.
Mea culpas: Counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke’s apology for the government’s failure to stop the 9/11 attacks has brought mixed reactions: some family members of 9/11 victims were deeply moved, others thought the apology was opportunistic.
For better or for worse: Intercultural and interracial marriages are on the increase, according to Marsha Wiggins Frame (Pastoral Psychology, January), and the trend is likely to increase. Differences can initially be a source of mutual attraction, but in time the couples have to negotiate different assumptions about religion, gender roles, money, sexuality and child-rearing.
Organ grinder: The dean of Northwestern University’s School of Music has proposed ending its organ degree programs, citing low enrollment (only one undergraduate enrolled in the program in the past three years) and the need to use the school’s resources wisely. Some students and alumni are incensed at this proposal, with one graduate vowing to take the program out of his will.