When a child is ignoring basic responsibilities, parents rely on a well-known parenting technique to make a point. Mom looks her ten-year-old in the eye while holding a toothpaste tube in one hand and the cap in the other. “This is called toothpaste,” she says, “and this is called a cap. They go together.” The Lord God is not beyond impatience and remedial instruction when people need a reminder about neglected responsibilities. God held a basket of ripened summer fruit beneath Amos’s nose and said, “Amos, what do you see here?” The prophet, sensing that God was serious, didn’t bother joking. “A basket of summer fruit,” he replied. With that brief exchange, strangely similar to a parent remedially instructing a child, the doors opened to a flood of divine wrath.
An impoverished doctor in an Alpine valley of hearty people, lures a naive country boy into his examining room, shows him frightening anatomical charts of the mysteries within, and awakens fears about hiccups and hair loss, acne and gas pains. According to this old French fable, the boy leaves clutching a bottle of medicine and carrying alarming stories to pass along.
"Osama bin Laden hijacked four airplanes and a religion.” So reads a full-page ad that appeared in the New York Times in October 2001 and contains statements condemning the 9/11 attacks from some of the world’s most prominent Muslim leaders.
For some 400 years, the small Reformed Church in America has relied on only three confessional statements of belief, all of them forged in the crucible of the Reformation. Now they have added a fourth, and its unlikely origins—apartheid-era South Africa—speak volumes about the changing nature of global Christianity and its impact on one of America’s oldest denominations.
The number of millennial mothers who are single is on the increase, especially among women who have no college education. Johns Hopkins University researchers report that only about a third of all mothers in their late twenties were married during the years when all their kids were born, and two-thirds of them were single when at least one of their babies was born. Among people between 26 and 31 who didn’t graduate from college, 74 percent of the mothers and 70 percent of the fathers had at least one child while unmarried. The study also shows that unmarried couples have a high rate of breakup in the first few years after the birth of a child (Time, June 17).