Century Marks

Century Marks

Shelter chef

Jonathan Gushue was an internationally regarded chef at an upscale restaurant in Cambridge, Ontario, but he left the job in 2013. Now he can be seen volunteering as a cook at a homeless shelter in Cambridge. A recovering alcoholic, he says it has been good for him to work alongside the homeless. People at the shelter are thrilled to have him teach them new ways to use the food that is donated. “He taught us there’s five ways to make gravy,” said one shelter staff person. “We just thought there were two” (Cambridge Times, January 20).

Protest as prayer

Susannah Heschel, daughter of the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, says it was a big mistake for the makers of the film Selma to leave her father out of the picture. By excluding him, Selma fails to convey how diverse that civil rights march was. It included “an extraordinary gathering of nuns, priests, rabbis, black and white, a range of political views, from all over the United States.” For her father, marching with Martin Luther King Jr. was both a political and a religious act. He said after the march: “For many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was about protest and prayer. Legs are not lips and walking is not kneeling. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even without words, our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying” (Forward, January 18).

Pope in a hurry

Pope Francis has an apocalyptic sense of urgency about the world in which we live. That may be fed partly by his fondness for the 1907 novel Lord of the World, by Robert Hugh Benson. In this dystopian novel featuring a conflict between secular humanism and Catholicism, an Antichrist savior figure emerges who attacks Christian symbols and believers and advocates euthanasia. The pope appears to believe that on issues like economics and the environment, decisions are being made from which there is no turning back. His own peripatetic style and extensive travel plans evince his sense of urgency about his papal role (Crux, January 25).

Jury duty

Jury selection in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defendant in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, is expected to take a long time. On the first day of interviewing, juror no. 10 identified himself a professor of theology at a Catholic college and said he is opposed to the death penalty except in situations where there is no prison to house a person for life. He said that if he were to support the death penalty, his department might deny him tenure. “They would wonder what I know about Catholic social ethics,” he said (New York Times, January 15).

How to grieve

Asra Q. Nomani found it impossible to mourn the loss of her dear friend and colleague, Danny Pearl. Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was beheaded in 2002, purportedly by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. After attending his 2012 arraignment at Guan­tánamo for the World Trade Center attacks, Nomani asked psychologist Steven Stosny the question she had long avoided: “What is grief?” “It’s an expression of love,” he told her. “When you grieve, you allow yourself to love again.” “How do you grieve?” she asked him. “You celebrate a person’s life by living your life fully,” he replied (Washingtonian, January 23, 2014).