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Book review: Souls in Full Sail

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SOULS IN FULL SAIL
A CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY FOR THE LATER YEARS
By Emilie Griffin
Published by InterVarsity Press, $15

In this beautifully written book, Emilie Griffin, to paraphrase one of her favorite and most frequently-cited authors, C. S. Lewis, looks “along” rather than “at” what it means to grow old as a Christian.

Self-help books about aging generally discuss coping with it or doing all one can to slow it down, but Griffin sees this period in her life as one in which she can enjoy looking back at her life while at the same time living and growing in the present .

Griffin is a wonderful storyteller, and she illustrates all her points with good tales. Each chapter ends with practical suggestions for applying what she has talked about in that chapter as well as a few questions for reflection.

In the later years, she writes, we are reaching to complete our lives, to be what God destined us to be. We ask ourselves fundamental questions. We think about what vocation has meant in our lives in the sense meant by John Henry Newman who wrote:
God has created me

One year after the Gulf oil spill

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of the worst maritime oil spill in U.S. history. Last year on April 20, the Deepwater Horizon rig, leased by oil giant BP, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and releasing nearly 200 million gallons of oil, tens of millions of gallons of natural gas and 1.8 million gallons of other chemicals.

A year later, how much has changed? “[Another spill] could happen tomorrow and the response would be just as bad,” says Carl Safina, author of the new book, “A Sea in Flames.” Safina is interviewed on Democracy Now about his book and about the oil drilling situation a year after the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Catholic Climate Ambassadors available

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The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change has introduced 24 trained Catholic Climate Ambassadors. These ambassadors are available to offer presentations on the moral implications of climate change consistent with Catholic teaching as outlined by the pope in his World Day of Peace Message of 2010, If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation, and in the U.S. Catholic bishops’ statement, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.

Since 2006, the Catholic Coalition on Climate has played a pivotal role in the U.S. Catholic response to the enormous challenge of climate change. levels. The Catholic Climate Ambassador program is intended to accelerate these efforts by raising the awareness of Catholics around the U.S. who worship in our parishes, learn in our schools and lead our many ministries. The Ambassadors are charged with promoting the Catholic Climate Covenant: The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.

For more information, visit the Climate Ambassador page on the Coalition Web site. .

The truth of Easter: Jesus is a living presence

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The question we might profitably ponder this Easter is: What profound reality is God trying to communicate through the resurrection and how can that have significance and power for us today? God knows our world is a mess, so surely a reality this central to Christianity has something vital to say, some great grace to impart. It's not just something that happened once and for all in the past.

Ways to celebrate Easter

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Most of us come back from Mass on Easter feeling uplifted from the experience. The full church adorned with colorful decorations, bright flowers, soaring Alleluias, the presence of family members usually absent, and perhaps an egg hunt for the kids, leaves us feeling as warm as the sunny spring morning.

After Mass is over, we generally move on to a special meal, watching TV, munching lots of candy, and interacting with the family (if we’re fortunate in that line).

This year, before Easter comes and goes as usual, I invite you to think about ways to fashion your home festivities more in harmony with the life-giving values of the Risen Lord.

Let’s start with Easter dinner, usually the highlight of the day. Often it’s a very unhealthy meal, built around meat, rich and fatty foods, and lots of sweets, all the things the doctor tells us to avoid. Many times it’s served on plastic plates because no one wants to wash dishes. Then there’s the rest of the paper, plastic, and bottles thrown into the trash or perhaps recycled.

Has BP really cleaned up the Gulf oil spill?

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Almost a year later, one scientist thinks that much of the oil could remain. Suzanne Goldenberg, writing on the On Earth blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, reports the explorations of ocean scientist Samantha Joye. The intersection of oil, gas and marine life in the Mississippi Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico has preoccupied the University of Georgia scientist for years.

Joseph Campbell: 'Earth is in the heavens'

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Joseph Campbell was a scholar, teacher and thinker who achieved enormous popularity addressing the disenchantment of modern life with a message of renewal and hope. His message had great influence. Today when you hear someone say, “I’m spiritual but not religious,” Campbell is partly to blame.

Campbell once spoke about the famous image astronauts took of the Earth rising over the moon’s horizon that first appeared during the 1970s. The space age, he felt, had brought us an awareness that is still slowly sinking in: The world as we know it is coming to an end.

“Our world as the center of the universe, the world divided from the heavens, the world bound by horizons in which God’s love is reserved for members of the in group: That is the world that is passing away,” said Campbell. “Apocalypse is not about a fiery Armageddon and salvation of a chosen few, but about the fact that our ignorance and our complacency are coming to an end.”

Today when books about the end times and antichrists soar to the top of the bestseller lists, Campbell’s view is as timely and helpful as ever.

April star of the month: Vindemiatrix

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Vindemiatrix is the third brightest in the constellation Virgo following brighter Spica and Porrima. It's in the Western skies in the evenings now. The planet Saturn is not far away.

The name is a somewhat corrupted feminized Latin form for the original Greek name that meant "the Grape Gatherer," as the first visibility of the star in morning light after the Sun cleared out of the way (the "heliacal rising") told rural people in the Roman Empire that it was time to pick the grapes.

Vindemiatrix is a somewhat unusual star, a middling temperature yellow class G giant only a bit cooler than the Sun. As a giant, however, it is considerably brighter than the Sun. From its temperature and distance of 102 light years, its luminosity is 83 times solar, these combining to give a radius 12 times that of the Sun, all similar to the brighter, cooler component of Capella.

The star seems to be a about 15 percent richer than the Sun in metals, and is somewhat distinguished by having most of its motion in the direction perpendicular to the line of sight, making it appear to move rather rapidly against the background stars, a second of arc in five years.

'Bon appetit, y'all': Oklahoma Food Cooperative links local farms and ranches with eaters in cities and towns

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The Oklahoma Food Cooperative is one of the many efforts around the country that links local farmers and other entrepreneurs with eaters who want tasty, nutritious food in cities and towns. The OK Food Co-op only sells Oklahoma-grown or value-added food and non-food products. It operates with an innovative online order system coupled with a mostly volunteer delivery system.

Organized in 2003 with 60 members and four pick-up sites at its first order in November of that year, the coop today has nearly 4,000 members and 45 pickup sites. Last year's sales totaled $850,000, a 20 percent increase in 2010 over 2009.

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September 12-25, 2014

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