Something struck me yesterday as I was studying the emaciated figure of Christ on the crucifix behind the altar at my parish: Had the story of the incarnation taken place 2,000 years later, in our own time, that figure of Jesus would almost undoubtably be overweight.
Think about it. From the Gospel we know that Christ was an outcast who was economically impoverished. That means he probably ate only two types of food: cheap stuff and what was offered to him by the people he encountered on his journeys.
In his era the cheap stuff probably included lentils, beans and vegetables at market. In our era it mostly includes canned goods overpumped with sodium, juices which are mostly high fructose corn syrup and fast food sandwiches or hamburgers.
Even with all the exercise he did getting from place to place, I think it’s fair to say the difference in diet may have had the Lord looking a little more filled in.
Perhaps that’s just another sign of his solidarity with the trials of those who are forgotten by society.
Top-ten stories on NCRonline.org
The five parts of the five-part essay by Sr. Sandra Schneiders, Religious life as prophetic life form, took five of the top-10 most-viewed stories on the NCR web site in January.
If we pull Sr. Schneiders' essay out of the line-up, the top stories are:
Michelle Cottle’s essays over at The New Republic are always worth reading but her takedown of Republican pollster Frank Luntz’s new book is a must-read. (You don’t need to know the name of the book because after reading Cottle you won’t want to shell out the $24.99 to get it. In fact, I will give you $24.99 to read anything else!)
Luntz is a pollster and polling is, as Cottle calls it, a “dark art.” It is also the principal reason our politicians are so bland: They are afraid to go to the bathroom without having a pollster tell them the decision will sit well with the voters. More than that, polling is a principal reason our politics are so bad. They turn campaigns into marketing strategies, they ignore the fact that voters are, at any given time, motivated by a medley of concerns that change from morning to night and from yesterday to tomorrow. For example, I will bet, although I have never been polled on the subject, that my concern about rising food prices is higher after I go to the market. Just a hunch.
On the most recent "Interfaith Voices," I interviewed Dalia Mogahead, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. She reported on a new poll of Americans that found that 43 percent admitted feeling prejudice toward Muslims. And that’s the percentage who admit it. Not surprisingly, Islam registers a much higher negative rating than other religions. Given the negative media coverage of Islam, and careless political language used by some public officials, that’s not surprising.
For years the bylaws of most not-for-profit organizations contained a provision related to dissolution and transfer of assets. Rarely has this provision ever been invoked.
These days, however, it is employed, studied and used as more and more charities fold their tents and/or merge with other charities. Today's Wall Street Journal describes this relatively new phenomenon.
For many boards of directors, casting a vote in favor of closure is not a comfortable role to be in. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of charities which should close.
We've probably all heard it by now. During a press event last Wednesday in San Francisco, Apple announced its version of the tablet computer: the iPad.
We've also probably all heard the hype. You know, the chatter about how this new product is going to save the world. How it's loaded with all the goodies you absolutely need: clean aluminum and glass styling, an innovative touch-screen interface, wireless internet, and on and on and on.
As an Apple user for the past few years, I've got to admit that I'm not immune to this chatter. Apple certainly knows how to create a product that is intuitive and just darned easy to use.
Apple fanboy in me aside, however, I just can't understand what the company was thinking with this newest creation. Yes, sure, the possibilities of the tablet computer for specific purposes are exciting. (Just for one example, can you imagine the time and energy a doctor could save by having a small, easy to use tablet computer to record and search for information?) But the iPad seems almost purposefully constructed so as to make it as useless as possible.
So, putting aside my Catholic worker sensibilities and my questions about the need for new technology, here are my four (thoroughly unresearched) reasons why the Apple iPad simply stinks, in no particular order:
I want to reflect on the death of a good friend, extraordinary human being, and outstanding scholar, Professor Luis Leal, my colleague here at the University of California, Santa Barbara who died on Jan. 25 of this new year. Prof. Leal, or Don Luis, as we affectionately called him, was 102 years old and his age finally caught up to him.
tTwo new documents concerning Pius XII and the Holocaust unearthed in an English archive seem destined to add fuel to the fire of an already polarized debate about the World War II-era pope’s alleged “silence.”
tItalian news agencies are reporting today that the first document is a brief account of an Oct. 19, 1943, meeting between Pius XII and the American Ambassador to the Holy See, Harold Tittmann. Although that session came just three days after the deportation of Roman Jews by the Nazis, the subject apparently did not arise.
Instead, Tittmann reported that Pius XII urged the Allies to ensure that the city of Rome did not become a battleground.
tPius XII also expressed concern, according to the document, about “small bands of Communists” operating around the city which might commit acts of violence between the departure of German occupying forces and the arrival of the Allies. Reportedly, he also stated that up to that point, the German occupiers had demonstrated respect for the Holy See.
This morning I was reading this enlightening piece on the BBC Web site when I heard from a friend who told me of a small business owner who was puzzled that most people in his firm's work force oppose health care reform. He was puzzled about why his employes could be opposed to something that would so clearly be to their benefit.
The BBC story asks much the same question and reports some very interesting answers.