This past weekend I attended the annual Midwest Catholic Worker gathering in eastern Iowa. Summoned from across the country, over one-hundred and fifty Catholic Workers from twenty-seven different houses of hospitality came to share their experiences, find companionship, and join worship amid the rolling Iowa farmland.
Among this community I found a vision of the church that was stunning in its authenticity, vigor, and sense of renewal.
During his tour of all five major Sunday news programs, President Obama addressed the situation in Afghanistan where the new commander is calling for more troops. President Obama selected General McChrystal for the job so it will be difficult not to take his advice, especially in the one theater that Obama expressed time and again was vital to American national security.
"The best way to know God is to love many things," said the artist
Vincent van Gogh. James Conlon’s new book, Beauty, Wonder and Belonging: A Book of Hours for the Monastery of the Cosmos, is a book of prayer, meditation and reflection about the many things that we can love in the universe.
Conlon is director of Holy Names University’s Sophia Center in Oakland, Calif. He is author of many books, including From the Stars to the Street and At the Edge of Our Longing. This new book invites readers to engage the rhythms of the day and of the seasons to explore the divine mystery in our lives and in our world. Bring to your prayer the curiosity of a child, the heart of a mystic and the voice of a prophet, Conlon counsels.
It is available from Wyndham Hall Press (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at bookstores.
Oprah Winfrey has named U.S. educated Nigerian Jesuit Fr. Uwem Akpan as her 63rd influential book club selection. Uwem Akpan said he was humbled to learn his debut collection of short stories had caught Oprah's eye.
Oprah said that Akpan's 2008 collection, Say You're One Of Them "left [her] stunned and profoundly moved".
This is the first short story selection Oprah has chosen as a book club selection. The five short stories give voice to an African child growing up in the face of incredible adversity.
Read an excerpt from the story "An Ex-Mas Feast."
A guest writer for NCR, U.S. Ambassador to Malta Doug Kmiec, was interviewed by the Times of Malta.
"Barack Obama was someone who caught my attention in 2006 when he gave a speech at a conference called the sojourner's conference. It demonstrated to me someone of great discernment, someone who understood that one of the things that had gone wrong in our country was political figures unthinkingly using people's faith as a basis to divide them from one another. Obama says we should understand the significance of faith to every person," he says.
In the interview, Kmiec says:
This is the teaser Religion News Service sent out today on a story it will publish later today. The quote caught my eye:
WASHINGTON -- Health care reform may be the No. 1 topic in Congress and the White House, but for conservative religious activists gathered at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, the topic barely registered. "To me, there are so many more important issues than health care right now," said Linda Leaman of Lancaster, Pa.
I can't wait to see what some of those "more important issues" are. The full story will be posted to the NCR web site as soon as it becomes available.
Where does your trash go?
Karin Landsberg, 42, a Seattle resident, was curious. She invited researchers from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology into her home in Sept. to tag 12 items out of her garbage and recycling bins -- a can of beans, a compact flourescent light bulb, and other items -- with small electronic tracking devices.
The Architectural League of New York went through a smiliar trash-tagging process as part of the same project last month as well. Items tagged in New York included an empty plastic bottle, a broken wine glass, a book shelf, a coffee cup, and a discarded filing cabinet.
Through the project, overseen by MIT's Senseable City Laboratory, 3,000 common pieces of trash, mostly from Seattle and New York City, will be tracked through the waste disposal system over the next three months. The researchers will display the tracked routes online and in exhibits opening at the Architectural League of New York and the Seattle Public Library.
"House," the best and most spiritually-themed show on television, begins its new season tonight with a two-hour episode. Last year, I offered this reflection on this amazing program.
Throughout much of the oft-times misleading and incendiary campaign against health care reform, voices of authority within the church seemed fairly silent. But here in California, there are signs of a shift.
According to the Los Angeles Times, several Southern California religious leaders have begun to speak out in favor of health care reform -- and the need to include illegal immigrants in any plan.
Last week, more than a hundred parishioners from Our Lady of Angels Church launched a phone bank to tell officials of their support for an all-inclusive health reform plan. The parish -- also known as "La Placita" -- has been a center of immigrant activity in Los Angeles for decades. Parish pastor Fr. Roland Lozano, says he began the phone bank because "it's what God wants us to do."