Century Marks

Century Marks

National story

The negativity in this year’s election is the consequence of Americans not having a truthful story about their common history, says Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary in New York. The story we tell about ourselves as Americans is relentlessly positive, avoiding the truth about our failures—including the near-genocide of America’s original residents and the brutality of chattel slavery. We live the lie that we are good and those who oppose us are bad. This bifurcation manifests itself in the contentiousness of an election in which neither side can admit any bad about themselves or good about their opponents (Time, September 7).

Location matters

In a survey conducted by Charity Navigator, five metro areas were judged to have the best climate for charities: Houston, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Dallas, and San Diego (a tie). Their research shows that performance on financial, accountability, and transparency matters is influenced by the metropolitan context. CEO compensation, which has a bearing on the operating expenses of a charitable orga­nization, is much lower in a city like Orlando than it is in Washington, D.C. (charitynavigator.org, September 6).

Trash and treasures

Before officials at Old North Church in Boston turn an adjacent courtyard into an outdoor classroom, the site must be probed for historical artifacts. Archaeologists have uncovered a 19th-century privy and cistern, along with broken dinner plates, bottles, marbles, dolls, and dice. Their findings will help them tell the story of the people who lived in the area when the industrial economy was emerging and Irish immigrants were moving in (Boston Globe, September 12).

No comment

Allen Joyner, an Ala­bama pastor who serves as a high school football announcer, reportedly told the crowd, “If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they’re taking shots for you.” School officials denounced the remarks. (Huffington Post, September 12).

Looking for warmth

What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).