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Real Community

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For most parishes, a sense of "community" is the modern-day Holy Grail — to create a tight-knit atmosphere that allows a parish to grow and thrive in even the most challenging times.

I found the best example of that brand of community last week on — of all places — a cruise ship.

How about an interfaith memorial instead?

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LaVonne Neff, a blogger over at Sojourners, has an interesting counter-proposal for the proposed Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero: an interfaith memorial.

Here's her take:

Since we follow someone who suggested loving our enemies and forgiving 70 times seven (which we tend to ignore when we rant against the Islamic center), this would allow us to be more literal about our faith. And since we believe in our constitutional rights of religious liberty and freedom to assemble (which we might jeopardize by refusing to allow the Islamic center to be built), this would allow us to be more traditional about our politics as well.

Quote of the day

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Barry Levine, editor of the National Enquirer, talks with New York Magazine.

“I hate where we are today. I hate the Internet. I hate the instant-news cycle,” Levine says, cutting into a juicy pink veal chop. “I yearn for the days when we could pass off a reporter as a waiter at Liz Taylor and Larry Fortensky’s wedding and get the inside scoop. They were the best days, no question about it."

Levine says has little use for the fake celebrity world of Us Weekly and OK! Instead, he wants to open a D.C. bureau.

Read more: 128 Minutes With Barry Levine

Obama: one term president?

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The Daily Telegraph has an interesting, if unlikely, story up today. It alleges that President Obama may intentionally wish to be a one-term president.

From the story:

There are few Americans who see themselves as bigger than the presidency but Obama could well be one of them. In 2008, Obama showed little appetite for the down-and-dirty aspects of political campaigning.

When things got tough against Hillary Clinton, he all but conceded the final Democratic primaries and let the clock run out. Against John McCain, he developed a campaign plan and refused to deviate from it. McCain was level in the polls when the US economy imploded, handing Obama a relatively comfortable victory.

Obama is the first black American president, an established author, multi-millionaire and acclaimed figure beyond American shores.

Three stories on the priesthood

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Three recent stories on the lives of three priests are quite interesting -- one is breaking barriers, one has been a priest of 60 years and another is praying for president of France to suffer a heart attack.

Fr. Chester Arceneaux has become the first non-Caucasian priest to be pastor of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in the Lafayette, La., diocese.

From the Sranton, Pa., diocese, comes a heartwarming story of the oldest priest of the diocese. At almost 99 years old, Fr. Harry Lewis has been a priest for 60 years.

Over in France, Fr. Arthur Hervet of the church of St. Martin Esquermes of Lille in northern of France said he was turning to God because he did not believe those in power have any plans to help the Roma, except deport them.

"I pray, I beg your pardon, that Mr. Sarkozy has a heart attack," said the 71 years-old priest, saying a war was being waged on the Roma community.

How to find the best food at farmers' markets

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It's still the peak of the season at most of the nation's farmers' markets. Here are some general questions to ask on first contact with a grower at a Farmers Market:

• Do you grow all of the food products you sell?
• Is your produce organically-grown?
• Are your animals given access to the outdoors? How are they confined?
• Do you use antibiotics, hormones, or arsenic to promote the growth of the
animals on your farm?
• Do you welcome visitors to your farm?

You should be able to ask any questions that you want but a key to getting them answered well is how you ask them. Your tone of voice and the way you ask the question can make all the difference.

“Do you have a minute to answer a question? I’m really interested in finding out if you grow/raise your food using organic or sustainable practices.” is likely to get you a better response than a short “Is your stuff organic?” Here’s why.

John Swomley, long time pacifist, dead at 95

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John Swomley, an old friend, pacificist, and long time NCR supporter died Aug. 16 at the age of 95.

A couple years back, I was asked to write a tribute to this gentle souled, radical. The following tribute appeared in The Human Quest magazine:

'Pacificism builds on commitment to a free society'

By Thomas Fox

The perpetually restless and rebellious John M. Swomley, theology student turned pacifist turned author, social ethicist and radical activist, eventually found a home as chairperson of the Board of Directors of The Human Quest journal (see story, page XX), a fearless publication where no social force or authority was too large to take on in the name of human freedom.

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