Archives For illegal

1. Mayans weigh in on the end of the world
We’ve all heard about the supposed ancient Mayan prediction that the end of the world would come in 2012. Kevin Rushby with the Guardian has an interesting piece taking a look at the Mayans of today, and how rumors of an impending apocalypse have been greatly exaggerated. Rushby focuses largely on the Mayan religious landscape, including a look at the historical roots of their religious syncretism born out of a survival instinct:

The Mayans have had to survive for a long time as underdogs and they have done it by accommodation. When the Spanish came in 1523, plotting total cultural destruction, the indigenous people (Mayan is a catch-all term for several related languages and peoples) responded with guile. Images of Catholic saints were stuffed with old Mayan gods; parts of temples were incorporated into churches; at Nuestra Señora de la Merced in Antigua Guatemala you can see how Mayan masons carved symbols of maize and hummingbirds into the church facade.

2. The rise of Latin America’s economy
Al Jazeera English has a 25-minute feature on Latin America and how it has fared remarkably well in the midst of our current global economic woes. The show touches on mining in Peru and the rise of middle-class consumerism in Brazil. It’s encouraging to see much of the region rising out of poverty, but obviously the situation is not 100% rosy, and it will be interesting to see how these trends shape the region in non-economic terms:

3. Faith/religion trends for 2012
CNN’s Belief blog asked 15 faith leaders to offer their predictions for the coming year. Among them is Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, representing Latinos/Hispanics in the US:

America’s evangelical community will have its hands full addressing both a presidential election and offering a biblical response to “end of days” Mayan prophecies surrounding 2012. With the economy emerging as the primary issue for the November election, America’s born-again community will have an opportunity to contextualize an alternative narrative to the polarizing elements from both the right and the left by reconciling the righteousness message of Billy Graham with the justice platform of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. By offering compassionate, truth-filled solutions and focusing on the message of grace, love, reconciliation and healing, evangelicals will demonstrate that the greatest agenda stems neither from the donkey nor the elephant but rather from the lamb.

4. Churches and the problem with “welcoming the stranger”
The Los Angeles Times has a lengthy feature on one particular Southern Baptist Church in Alabama, which is seeking to navigate the difficult tension between anti-immigrant legislation in the state and its responsibilities as a faith community. The Get Religion blog also has an interesting analysis on the piece’s coverage of the religious angle in the story.

5. Anne Lamott on writing
Legendary writer and memoirist Anne Lamott had an essay in Sunset a couple of years ago (HT Michael Hyatt) with her best tips for writers, including how we use our time:

I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day.

6. 95 theses & 140 characters
The Economist has a fascinating take on Martin Luther and how earlier forms of “social media” had a lot to do with the success of the Reformation:

It is a familiar-sounding tale: after decades of simmering discontent a new form of media gives opponents of an authoritarian regime a way to express their views, register their solidarity and co-ordinate their actions. The protesters’ message spreads virally through social networks, making it impossible to suppress and highlighting the extent of public support for revolution. The combination of improved publishing technology and social networks is a catalyst for social change where previous efforts had failed. That’s what happened in the Arab spring. It’s also what happened during the Reformation, nearly 500 years ago, when Martin Luther and his allies took the new media of their day—pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts—and circulated them through social networks to promote their message of religious reform.

Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!

[Photo credit: Datadirect.com]

1. The lasting legacy of Lesslie Newbigin
Michael Goheen writes for Q Ideas about the contributions Lesslie Newbigin made to Western Christianity and our understanding of mission:

It is a peculiarity of Western culture to isolate the domain of religion from the rest of life. Religion, he said, is a “set of beliefs, experiences, and practices that seek to grasp and express the ultimate nature of things, that which gives shape and meaning to life, that which claims final loyalty.” Thus religion includes the comprehensive worldviews that shape Western culture, like the modern scientific worldview in both its Marxist and its liberal-democratic-capitalist expressions. If the Western church is to be faithful to the gospel and its mission, we will need to work hard to understand the religious beliefs of our culture in order to extricate ourselves from idolatry.

2. Gerson on prudential politics
Michael Gerson writes for Capital Commentary about competing political priorities and the choices facing GOP voters especially:

[N]early every political choice involves the weighing of competing priorities—freedom and the common good. This is the reason that prudence is the highest of political virtues. And prudence is exactly what some political ideologies lack. Socialism places an unbalanced emphasis on equality above all else—resulting in the routine violation of individual rights. Libertarianism places an unbalanced emphasis on autonomy above all else—resulting in a nation without airport security and food safety laws. Raising a single, pure, simple principle in politics can be powerful—but it is almost always dangerous. Complexity is the nature of politics. It is also the sign of a serious political thinker or candidate.

3. The gospel of immigration
Dr. Russell Moore, from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, urges us to remember the personhood of immigrants – documented or otherwise:

I’m amazed when I hear evangelical Christians speak of undocumented immigrants in this country with disdain as “those people” who are “draining our health care and welfare resources.” It’s horrifying to hear those identified with the Gospel speak, whatever their position on the issues, with mean-spirited disdain for the immigrants themselves. While evangelicals, like other Americans, might disagree on the political specifics of achieving a just and compassionate immigration policy, our rhetoric must be informed by more than politics, but instead by Gospel and mission.

4. Radical cartography
I find this kind of stuff fascinating: a Yale professor named Bill Rankin created a map of Chicago that shows racial and ethnic segregation in the city. It is here. Below is a spin-off map of Detroit from another guy named Eric Fisher. That one is here. If you click on the links you can see info on the various color designations.

Photo courtesy of The White House

Yesterday in El Paso, President Obama gave a speech on “building a 21st century immigration system.” Although immigration reform is a divisive issue for some, seemingly everyone agrees that the status quo isn’t working. So I’m glad that Obama is bringing the issue back into focus, and while there’s not much indication this will happen, I sure hope it may signal a new beginning for constructive, healthy, bi-partisan debate that will lead to real results that work both for our immigrant families and for our country as a whole.

For thoughtful, Christian perspectives on the immigration debate, I’d recommend two books:

Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang, both with World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll R., a Guatemalan-American seminary professor and author.