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Wealth Vs. Money

“There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” The words are those of Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, speaking to Edward R. Murrow in 1955, as quoted recently in an essay by Paul Buchheit. What was he thinking? Six decades later, the words have such a counter-resonance with prevailing thought. They exude an old-fashioned humility and innocence, like… striking it rich isn’t necessarily th ...

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Crosscurrents

By the time I leave Kentucky's federal prison center, where I'm an inmate with a 3 month sentence, the world's 12th-largest city may be without water. Estimates put the water reserve of Sao Paulo, a city of 20 million people, at sixty days. Sporadic outages have already begun, the wealthy are pooling money to receive water in tankers, and government officials are heard discussing weekly five-day shutoffs of ...

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Rocka My Soul

“I wanna be ready . . .” And suddenly the glass case shattered. You know the one, perhaps. I’d been agitated by it for the past hour or so, sitting as I was maybe 25 rows back from the stage at Chicago’s ornate Auditorium Theater, watching the Alvin Ailey troupe dance their hearts out, moving their bodies with such lithe precision and grace. A huge hunger, a wanting, a hope stirred in the cage inside my bre ...

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Frat Boys On The Bus

“You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me . . .” Yeah, something had to happen. The cellphone video went public and the frat boys on the bus, who were just having a little politically incorrect fun, y’know, singing about Jim Crow exclusionary practices and, well, lynching, suddenly found themselves thrust into a national context, embarrassing the hell out of their fraternity and their sch ...

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When the Way of Jesus Doesn’t Work: Finding Peace with a Divided Self

It was a rough week at work. It got off to a bad start and didn’t improve much. Maybe you’ve had one of *those weeks.* It all started when one of my supervisor decided to observe me talking with a client. In my view, the conversation went really great. In fact, in the middle of our discussion, I literally thought, “I’m so glad my supervisor is witnessing this! I’ve built great rapport with the client, I’ve ...

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The Idolatry of Violence

Editor's Note: This article was submitted by guest author Matthew Distefano. I cannot understand the fascination conservative Evangelicals have with the movie American Sniper: The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. History. Recently, I have witnessed what seems like overt idol worship for the late Chris Kyle, whose killings are highlighted in the film. There is a particular affinity for him and the movie in which h ...

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Peace Behind Barbed Wire

As media ownership converges and technology “unites” us, the concept of national identity grows ever easier to exploit — and therefore, I fear, increasingly, and dangerously, simplistic. This is the war on terror. This is the war on crime. They march on, despite the magnitude of their failures. They march on . . . because America is tough. America is exceptional. If our news and mass-entertainment outlets v ...

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Alive And Bleeding

Good and evil leap from the headlines: “Egyptian planes pound ISIS in Libya in revenge for mass beheadings of Christians.” It’s nonstop action for the American public. It’s the history of war compressed into a dozen words. It’s Fox News, but it could be just about any mainstream purveyor of current events. Once again, I feel a cry of despair tear loose from my soul and spill into the void. Our politics are ...

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An Open Letter to President Obama on The National Prayer Breakfast

Dear President Obama, I first want to commend you on your wise, humble, and Spirit-led remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. The backlash that your remarks have generated is unwarranted and yet, sadly, unsurprising. In a speech of nearly 3000 words, about 50 critiqued not Christianity itself, but a fraction of the violence committed in the name of Christ. All violence committed in the name of ...

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The Sociology of Dead Children

Experts have put urban violence under the microscope. You might call it the sociology of dead kids. There’s a lot less here than meets the eye, or so it seemed when I read about a new study by researchers at Yale called “Tragic, but not random: The social contagion of nonfatal gunshot injuries.” It’s an attempt to create categories of likely future shooting victims in Chicago and, thus, determine who among ...

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