Century Marks

Century Marks

Extreme measures

Larry Ellison, one of the wealthiest Americans, is spending millions of dollars on research to prolong life. “Death makes me very angry. It doesn’t make any sense,” Ellison ex­plained. Mortician Caitlin Doughty says it shouldn’t surprise us that almost all the people who want to use extreme measures to stay alive are rich, white males, “men who have lived lives of systematic privilege and believe that privilege should extend indefinitely” (Vox, October 30).

Keeping the faith

Parents are the largest factor in whether youth remain religiously active as young adults, according to the National Study of Youth and Religion. When parents talked about faith at home, were active in their congregations, and attached great significance to their faith, 82 percent of their children were highly religious in their mid to late twenties. Two-thirds of young adults raised by black Protestant parents and one half of those with conservative Protestant parents had high or moderate levels of religious commitment as young adults. Seventy percent of young adults raised by mainline Protestants showed minimal or lower levels of religious commitment (Huffington Post, October 29).


Louisville Presbyterian Seminary theology professor Shannon Craigo-Snell and student David Wigger were arrested last month during a protest rally in Ferguson, Missouri. Wigger said his faith fuels his passion for social justice. He said he went to the Moral Monday rally that protested the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in order to support the leaders in the movement and the local youth who are trying to get justice for the unarmed youth shot by a Ferguson policeman back in August. At a rally with big-name speakers like Cornel West and Jim Wallis, youth leaders stood up and de­manded to be heard (WFPL, October 17).

Payroll boost

Raymond Burse, interim president of Kentucky State University, is giving up $90,000 of his $350,000 annual salary to increase payment to minimum-wage earners on campus. Their pay will increase from $7.25 an hour to $10.25 an hour, more than the $10.10 minimum wage President Obama is advocating. The increase will stay in effect even after a permanent KSU president is put in place. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, other college presidents have made similar moves. At Hampton University the president donated over $100,000 to boost low-wage earners to $9 per hour (Vox, October 15).

Best books

Church Times (August 16) has published a list of the 100 best Christian books of all time, drawing on nominations from their book reviewers, with the final decision made by a panel of judges. Enduring value was a key criterion. The judges acknowledged a dearth of female authors. The top ten: Confessions, by St. Augustine; The Rule of Bene­dict, by St. Benedict; Summa Theologica, by St. Thomas Aquinas; Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich; the Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri; Pensées, by Blaise Pascal; The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan; City of God, by St. Augustine; The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis; and The Complete English Poems, by George Herbert.