The Common Good

Blog Posts By Cathleen Falsani

Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 4 weeks ago
"High nigh br-eye-n, K-eye"? Come again? Rend Collective and Bart Millard (of the band MercyMe) give us a lesson in how to speak Northern Irish.http://youtu.be/-S9R6CspOvs
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 7 weeks ago
Eleven songs in memory of 9/11 from Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Suzanne Vega, Moby and Sinead O'Connor, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, Leonard Cohen, Tori Amos, John Hiatt, U2, and Hunter Parrish (from 2012's Broadway revival of "Godspell").
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 8 weeks ago
New music from Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan, The Avett Brothers, Dave Matthews Band, Kathy Mattea, and David Byrne & St. Vincent.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 10 weeks ago
New music from Rufus Wainwright, World Party, Beth Orton, Glen Hansard, Alanis Morissette, and the wonderful new Anglo-Ugandan singer songwriter Michael Kiwanuka.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 11 weeks ago
New music from :Mary Chapin Carpenter (with James Taylor), Sixpence None the Richer, Matisyahu, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers, and Band of Horses.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 12 weeks ago
Rarely — frankly never before, if my memory is correct — have I literally burst into tears upon hearing a song for the first time. But that is exactly what happened when I listened to Mumford & Sons' new single, "I Will Wait," this morning.This summer has been a difficult season for my family of origin. My parents are getting older and facing physical challenges that are testing all of our resolve and the core of our spirits. I've been away from my own family in California for a month — the longest I've ever been apart from my son. And it has been ... the word "hard" doesn't quite capture the feeling. Soul wrenching is closer.In the midst of a roiling sea of emotions, I'm clinging to faith like a life raft, while at the same time wondering desperately what God's up to in all of this tsouris, as my rabbi friend might say.Perhaps that's why "I Will Wait" put a lump in my throat and filled my weary eyes with hot tears. The author Frederick Buechner says that we should pay careful attention to the things that bring about such reactions, because they are signs that the holy is drawing nigh.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 12 weeks ago
Dozens of Muslim women are competing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London — several of them as the very first female athletes chosen (and allowed) to represent their countries in the Olympic games.These women are vanguards, shattering stereotypes, subverting cultural-religious mores, and creating a legacy that will benefit female Olympians of all creeds for years to come.As has been widely reported and celebrated (in many quarters), Saudi Arabia sent two women athletes to represent the Arabic nation for the first time at the Olympic games — 16-year-old judoka (judo competitor) Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar, 19.Attar, who is a California-born American but holds dual-citizenship in the Arabian kingdom because her father is Saudi, trains in San Diego, not far from Pepperdine University where she is a junior art major and also runs on the university's track team.Shahrkhani, whose father is a judo coach and an international referee in the sport, won a dispute with Olympics officials earlier this week to be allowed to compete while wearing her hijab or traditional head covering worn by many observant Muslim women.Saudi Arabia is not the only majority Muslim country sending its first women competitors to the Olympics. Brunei and Qatar also followed suit, sending five female athletes in total. Runner Maziah Mahusin is the lone woman on Brunei's three-person Olympic team. Qatar's four women Olympians are swimmer Nada Mohammed WS Arakji, sprinter Noor Hussain Al-Malki, table tennis player Aia Mohamed, and air rifle competitor Bahia Al-Hamad.Both Mahusin and Al-Hamad were chosen as flag bearers for their nations at the opening ceremonies in London last week. Twelve majority Muslim countries — Tajikistan, Qatar, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Djibouti, Comoros, Brunei, Bahrain, and Albania — chose women as flag bearers at the opening ceremonies that were viewed by an estimated 1 billion people worldwide.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 14 weeks ago
I liked this film so much I've already seen it twice. Moonrise Kingdom is so good, in fact, I almost couldn't bring myself to write about it for fear of not doing it justice.And yet, since I first took my 11-year-old nephew, Ethan, to see it last month, I've been talking about Moonrise Kingdom nonstop, encouraging everyone I know to go see it. It has captured my imagination completely, an absolute tour de force — wholly original and an "instant classic," as I heard one film critic utter tell a companion on his way out of the theater.Perhaps Ethan, a mythology buff who's never met a fantasy film he didn't like, put it most eloquently when he said (surprising no one more than himself), "That was the best film I've ever seen."Moonrise Kingdom is director Wes Anderson's seventh feature-length film to date. In an iconoclastic cinematic oeuvre unrivaled among filmmakers of his generation, Anderson's latest stands above the rest of his stellar films — Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tennenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Darjeeling Limited — as an eloquent, funny, enduringly poignant homage to childhood and, moreover, to innocence.In a word, the film is perfect. I wouldn't change a thing.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 15 weeks ago
 So, you've seen Politicians Who Look Like Disney Characters.Maybe you've perused Celebrities Who Look Like Historical People and already wasted some time checking out Cats That Look Like Hitler, Men Who Look Like Kenny Rogers or Pugs That Look Like Things. Today it's our great pleasure to bring you 16 Christian Leaders and Their Cartoon Counterparts, including our buddy Brian McLaren (over there with Turtleman from Finding Nemo), Rick Warren, Rachel Held Evans, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Rob Bell, God's Politics contributor Shane Claiborne, Pope Benedict XVI, our very own Sojourners Chief Executive Awesomeness Jim Wallis ... and many more.You're welcome.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 16 weeks ago
Last year, Phil Wyman, pastor of The Gathering church in Salem, Mass., trekked across the country with five adventurous friends to Burning Man — a week-long event described by its attendees as "an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance" in the Black Rock desert of Nevada.At the 2011 Burning Man, Wyman and his merry band of "crazy friends" built an art installation called "The Pillars of the Saints" — three meditation towers constructed of wood in the desert, asked people to sit on top of them, listen for a voice (presumably of the Holy), and write what they heard on the walls of the pillars.This year, Wyman (who you might recognize from photos at the Wild Goose Festival last month where he played the "Holy Fool" in a Sunday morning worship service),  has invited more than 15 friends to join him in the Nevada desert at the end of August for Burning Man 2012 where the group plans to build another art installation — this one even more ambitious and whimsical than the last.Wyman & Co., have christened it "Theophony: The Mighty Interactive Faux Theremin." It involves an enormous, specially-built  theremin placed at the center of a 32-foot canvas-and-wood yurt, with walls comprised of a series of 22 four-by-eight-foot murals with themes reflecting the "success and failures of spiritual pursuit.""The particpant will feel a sense of dissonance while trying to 'play' the theremin," in tune with the chants and ambient music piped through the yurt, Wyman explains. The idea of Theophony is "to illustrate that spiritual pursuit is a discipline, but that even the imperfect attempt is both holy and fun."
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 16 weeks ago
The first wave wrenched the board loose from my fingertips, sending it crashing into my knee and knocking me off my feet. “You OK, Cath?” I heard someone call from behind me. “Not really!” I hollered, as someone reached around me to steady the huge stand-up paddle board while I struggled to regain my footing in the icy-cold waters of the Pacific. My friends, experienced surfers Joel and Rob, appeared at my side, holding onto the board and gently coaching me to wait for the next set of waves to pass before attempting to paddle out toward Second Reef, several hundred yards beyond the shore break. “You got it?” Rob said, “OK. You’re good to go!” Gripping the long-handled paddle in one hand, I foisted myself forward (if with less grace than I had hoped) onto the board, while Joel pushed it forward into the momentarily glassy sea between sets.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 17 weeks ago
1) Tune in. Log off. Let go.Darting fireflies supplied most of the light that pierced the rural darkness when I arrived at the Wild Goose Festival site on a farm in Shakori Hills, N.C., late last Wednesday night. I left my ballast — a huge duffel bag containing a pup tent and enough bug spray to cover a small village, a suitcase full of mostly tie-dyed clothing, a large computer case and a camera bag — in the 15-person van that had spirited me from the Raleigh-Durham airport to the farm about an hour away.While I’m not exactly known for packing light when I travel, my unusually cumbersome luggage for the festival contained the various gadgets and gizmos that would allow me to work from my campsite on the farm — live blogging about the festival, complete with video, audio and photos, and the help of four Sojourners interns who were set to arrive Thursday afternoon.I had barely stepped foot on the campground when I checked my smart phone to see if cell service and the festival’s WiFi were working. They were. Good, I thought. All set to work. It would be a hectic few days covering the festival’s numerous speakers and musical performances, but we’d get it done.Ah, hubris. Humans make plans. God chuckles and says, “Oh, really?”The Almighty, it would seem, had better ideas for how I should spend my time at Wild Goose, which takes its name from the Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 19 weeks ago
Looking for a last-minute gift for Fathers Day or a graduate?How about doing something for someone else in honor of your loved one?Give a gift that helps the poorest of the poor feed their families, earn a living, protect themselves from disease or educate their children.Inside the blog, find several suggestions of unique gifts that keep on giving.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 20 weeks ago
Author Anne Lamott, one of our favorite Jesus-loving subversives, recently delivered the undergraduate and interdisciplinary studies commencement address at the University of California at Berkeley.Lamott's funny, irreverent, and yes, profound, words of wisdom for the Berkeley graduates included the following, about what she thinks the "truth of their spiritual identity" might be:Actually, I don’t have a clue.I do know you are not what you look like, or how much you weigh, or how you did in school, and whether you get to start a job next Monday or not. Spirit isn’t what you do, it’s … well, again, I don’t actually know. They probably taught this junior year at Goucher. But I know that you feel it best when you’re not doing much — when you’re in nature, when you’ve very quiet, or, paradoxically, listening to music....
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 20 weeks ago
In the last two years, 17 women — journalists, photojournalists, novelists, poets and playwrights — were honored with a Pulitzer Prize for their work.We know from Sandi Villarreal's post, "10 Reasons Why I Don't Know What Century I'm In,"  what some folks' skewed mental image of what a woman journalist or writer is, so we thought we'd show you what a few of the REAL women of journalism and letters actually look like.Learn more about these accomplished real-life women of letters inside the blog. 
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 21 weeks ago
My eyes locked with those of the priest just as his right hand, gripping the aspergillum, went back (in a wind-up that would impress many baseball enthusiasts) and then forward, sending a shower of water across my face and torso.While I wiped water from the bridge of my nose, we both laughed and I could see the jolly Irish priest’s arm go back once again as he prepared to douse the people seated in the pew behind mine.So began the annual Blessing of the Artists in Laguna Beach, the sleepy seaside village where I live in southern California. Blessing the artists is a community tradition that goes back almost 15 years, begun at the behest of the artists themselves. The ritual is held the first week in June, in advance of the opening of the Sawdust Festival and the Festival of the Arts, art exhibitions held here each summer and populated largely by artists and artisans from the town itself.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 21 weeks ago
Ah, the life of the church. So many arguments, so little time. The list of subjects about which the saints disagree is seemingly endless, encompassing both the profound and the woefully mundane. The ordination of women. The proper role of religion in politics. Climate change. Homosexuality and same-sex unions. Pre-, Post-, or A-millennialism. Biblical translation.  Gender pronouns for God. How best to aid the poorest of the poor. How best to support the sanctity of marriage. Hell. Heaven. Baptism. Which brand of fair-trade coffee to serve in the fellowship hall. The use of “trespass/es” or “debts/debtors” in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Whether to use wafers, pita, home-baked organic wheat, gluten-free or bagels at the communion table. What color to paint the narthex. It should come as no surprise to most Christians that the world outside the church looking in sees it rife with conflict, bickering, arguments and castigation — of the “unbeliever” and fellow believers alike. Frankly, it also should come as no surprise to the rest of the world that the church — by virtue of being a community of humans — naturally would have such disagreements and discord.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 22 weeks ago
“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.” ~President John F. KennedyTwenty-five years after the release of Paul Simon's Graceland album, the singer-songwriter returned to South Africa to visit the musicians who worked with him on what many believe is his musical masterpiece. A new documentary film, Under African Skies, which premieres tonite (Friday, May 25) on A&E, chronicles Simon's journey and the role that music — and artists — may have played in bringing about the end of apartheid.This masterful film, which debuted earlier this year to wide acclaim at the Sundance film festival, makes a convincing argument for the important role that artists play in changing the world for the better.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 23 weeks ago
In a room filled with African heads of state, captains of industry, leaders of international development and countless executives from NGOs at the G8 Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security in Washington, D.C. late last week, stood one Irish rock star — Bono, the lead singer of U2 and co-founder of the ONE Campaign.At first blush (to the uninitiated, perhaps), Bono's presence might seem incongruous, but most of the folks in the room at the Ronald Reagan building a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue know the Irishman more for his tireless humanitarian efforts than his closet full of Grammy awards. For more than 25 years, Bono, 52, has been involved deeply and effectively in international affairs as a champion for the poorest of the poor."Can we manage the oil as well as the farmland? Manage it properly, responsibly, transparently?" Bono asked the audience. "Because when we don’t, you know what happens. Hundreds of billions of dollars got lost to oil and gas corruption in Nigeria. That’s what the watchdog groups are telling us. Just mind blowing. Huge numbers."Crops need sunlight. So does resource extraction. Both need sunlight’s disinfecting glare. Isn’t transparency the vaccine to prevent the worst disease of them all? Corruption. Everybody here knows that corruption kills more children than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. So that’s what I want to leave you with. That very simple word. That very simple concept. Easy to say. Much harder to realize, especially in law. The word 'transparency.'"We won’t have food security without it," he said. "But we will have oil riches without it but those riches will be held and hidden by very few hands."
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 24 weeks ago
“My mother... she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” ~ Jodi Picoult When asked to describe my mother, Helen, my usual answer is: Queen Esther in espadrilles and a matching purse.Esther comes to mind when I think of Mom because she was fiercely loyal, smart, determined, brave and deeply faithful. The sartorial descriptors capture my mother’s somewhat less spiritual side – always put together with a classic sense of style (although these days she leans more toward head-to-toe matching ensembles from Chicos and alligator flats, now that her penchant for wearing pointy-toed heels in the ‘60s and ‘70s have caught up with her poor feet.)Mom has impeccable style and staggering grace, particularly in the midst of trials and tribulations. She is flinty (think Katharine Hepburn) and has an abiding, deep-in-her-DNA faith [think St. Therese of Liseux.]Helen is a force with which to be reckoned and woe to you who would make the mistake of messing with anyone she loves.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 24 weeks ago
You might not be a fan of Justin Bieber, but I'm willing to bet there's at least one young person in your life who is.And while it may be hard for us adults to believe, young Bieber, the Canadian pop superstar, has brought the Gospel -- of social justice and otherwise -- to millions of fans (who call themselves "Beliebers") around the globe.Today -- just in time for Mother's Day -- Bieber, 18, released the new single "Turn to You" from his forthcoming album BELIEVE. It's a love song -- a tribute to his mother, Pattie Mallette, who gave birth to her only child when she was just 17 years old. Both Bieber and Mallette are devoted Christians (evangelicals, in fact) and neither is shy about speaking about their faith publicly.“God is the one that is orchestrating all of this and giving [Justin] such incredible favor,” Mallette said in an interview with the Hollywood Prayer Network last year. “And he knows that it’s for a purpose and a plan. And he’s not sure what all that entails yet and how he fits into that, but he knows that it’s by God’s hand.”Listen to the new song inside the blog ...
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 25 weeks ago
How do you step out and take a risk — as a pastor, as an artist, as a parent, as a person — when the job description of a pioneer or a vanguard comes with the assurance of persecution?“Surrender the outcomes,” Rob Bell told the audience at his intimate gathering, Two Days with Rob Bell, in Southern California on Tuesday.“Surrender the outcomes of your presence, your influence, your work, your leadership,” Bell said. “They may drink the coffee. They may not. That’s just how it is. When you come to terms with this, then you’re actually free.In other words, it’s not about you.If, as a pastor, parent, or person, if you do what you do because you’re called to do it — without expectations, without needing a particular response, without hitching your wagon of joy to someone else’s reaction (or lack thereof) — you free not only yourself, you liberate others as well.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 25 weeks ago
“Oh, a dolphin.”The speaker, dressed in khaki jeans, a blue t-shirt and flip-flops, interrupts his train of thought about spiral dynamics and the church when some movement in the ocean a few hundred yards away on the other side of the beach house’s open briefly catches his attention.The audience of 50 — mostly 30- and 40-something-year-old pastors, the vast majority of them men, but with at least a few young clergywomen too (a refreshing change from most evangelical gatherings of this kind) — laughs heartily and more than a few attendees crane their necks to try to catch a glimpse of a dorsal fin in the distance.The sounds of the Pacific crashing on the shore mix with a reggae tune playing on the outdoor stereo of the bar next door as the speaker, a 41-year-old former pastor and bestselling author, resumes his riff on categories of consciousness and the spiritual practice of meeting people exactly where they are.Rob Bell isn’t in Kansas … I mean Michigan … any more.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 25 weeks ago
On Tuesday, the Rabbit Room in Nashville, Tenn., invited Dr. N.T. Wright to speak to a fairly small gathering. He brought his message in both word and music. Here is, for more than a few in the room last night , the highlight of the evening. Behold, Tom Wright sings Bob Dylan.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 25 weeks ago
“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go - we’ll eat you up - we love you so!” And Max said, “No!” The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws, but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.” ~ Maurice SendakMaurice Sendak, the author and illustrator of unmatched and unfettered whimsy, whose fertile imagination gave children (of all ages) Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Pierre and most recently Bumble-Ardy, died today in Connecticut. He was 83.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 25 weeks ago
This is a love story. An unlikely love story, perhaps, but a true love story just the same. Not 10 minutes after meeting her for the first time in the shadow of a 33-foot-tall metallic statue of the Virgin Mary at a convent in the Rust Belt suburbs of Chicago’s south side, Sister Annunziata told me she loved me. Reaching out an elegant, wizened hand from her wheelchair to touch my cheek, she first asked me whether I was Irish and then said, “You have the face of an angel.” I was a goner. Annunziata, who was 83 at the time, had me completely from that moment forward — utterly devoted to her for the rest of her life. I was Annunziata’s and she was mine — and that was that. She became the Maude to my Harold, showing me how to love without limits.++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++ 
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 25 weeks ago
++ Join us in showing our appreciation for Catholic women religious (aka nuns or "sisters") on Thank-a-Nun Day, May 9. Click HERE to send a thank-you note online. ++Silly and serious, strict and kind, profoundly faithful and sometimes hilarious — Catholic nuns are evergreen characters on the big (and the small) screens. Here's a list of some of our favorite portrayals of Catholic women religious from film and television.1. Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) in Dead Man Walking . Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) in The Sound of Music
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 26 weeks ago
Watch videos of President Obama's surprise visit to Afghanistan today and read the transcript of his address to the American people tonite inside the blog."As we move forward, some people will ask why we need a firm timeline. The answer is clear: our goal is not to build a country in America's image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban. These objectives would require many more years, many more dollars, and many more American lives. Our goal is to destroy al Qaeda, and we are on a path to do exactly that. Afghans want to fully assert their sovereignty and build a lasting peace. That requires a clear timeline to wind down the war. Others will ask why we don't leave immediately. That answer is also clear: we must give Afghanistan the opportunity to stabilize. Otherwise, our gains could be lost, and al Qaeda could establish itself once more. And as Commander-in-Chief, I refuse to let that happen."I recognize that many Americans are tired of war. As President, nothing is more wrenching than signing a letter to a family of the fallen, or looking in the eyes of a child who will grow up without a mother or father. I will not keep Americans in harm's way a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security. But we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly."~ President Obama speaking to the nation from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan
Posted by Cathleen Falsani, Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
A playlist for the working class: Ten songs in honor of May Day and workers everywhere.John Lennon, "Working Class Hero"This song from John Lennon's first post-Beatles solo album, 1970's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, is about working class folks being "processed" into the middle class or the "machine," according to what Lennon told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview the same year the album released. "A working class hero is something to be," is the song's mantra and refrain.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 28 weeks ago
Authorities in Florida have charged George Zimmerman, 28, with 2nd-degree murder in the shooting death of unarmed Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla., in late February.The charges, announced by special prosecutor Angela Corey, at a news conference in Jacksonville, Fla., Wednesday evening, come six weeks after Zimmerman, a self-appointed community watch "captain" in a gated Sanford community where Trayvon was visiting his father on Feb. 26, shot the teen -- who was armed only with a cell phone, a can of iced tea and a packet of Skittles -- in what the shooter claimed was self-defense under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows victims to use deadly force against an attacker if they believe their lives are in danger.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 29 weeks ago
The Washington Post is reporting: Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to a law enforcement official close to the investigation.It was not immediately clear what charge Zimmerman will face.Martin, 17 and unarmed, was shot and killed Feb. 26 by Zimmerman, who said he was acting in self-defense. Police in Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place, did not charge Zimmerman, citing the state’s “stand your ground” law.Corey told reporters Tuesday night that she would hold a news conference about the case within 72 hours. A news release from her office said the event will be held in Sanford or Jacksonville, Fla.Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Martin family, said this week that Corey’s office had asked where Trayvon’s parents would be each day this week. They arrived Wednesday in Washington for a civil rights conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, where they are scheduled to speak.This story is developing ...
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 29 weeks ago
Images from Day 1 of the 2012 Q Conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday April 10, with speakers including Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis, philanthropist Roberta Ahmanson, the Rev. Joel Hunter, researcher Ed Stetzer, NYT columnist Ross Douthat, Michael Cromartie and Q founder Gabe Lyons.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 29 weeks ago
In a video address Tuesday, President Obama told hundreds of young evangelical Christian leaders gathered at the Q Conference in Washington, D.C., that they had a partner in the White House in their humanitarian and social justice efforts.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 29 weeks ago
Veteran television newsman Mike Wallace died Saturday night, surrounded by family in a long-term care facility in New Haven, Conn., CBS News announced Sunday. Mr. Wallace was 93.According to the Huffington Post:Mr. Wallace had been ill for years. Bob Scheiffer revealed the circumstances of his death on "Face the Nation," after Charles Osgood broke the news of Wallace's death on "CBS News Sunday Morning."Wallace was one of the original hosts and correspondents of "60 Minutes." He was a trailblazer, known for confronting his subjects and originating the newsmagazine format. His style became standard for television news.On Sunday, Schieffer and Morley Safer paid tribute to Wallace on "Face the Nation." The show opened with a memorial piece about the newsman, in which Safer recalled Wallace's defiant spirit."There will never be another one quite like him," said Schieffer, who teared up when he introduced the segment. He called Wallace a "mentor," and recalled that he "even gave [him] a compliment, once."
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 29 weeks ago
The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 28 tells us:The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed."Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."To listen to a playlist of music for this Resurrection Day 2012, CLICK HERE.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 29 weeks ago
As we walk with Jesus ever closer to Good Friday, we recognize today as Maundy Thursday, commemorating the day that Jesus celebrated his last Passover meal — the Last Supper — with his disciples and washed their feet. Later that night, he would go with them to the Garden of Gethsemane, to wrestled with his humanity and the mission God the Father had called him to — to suffer and die on the cross at Golgatha the next day. Jesus asks his disciples to stay awake with him, to keep him company and join him in prayer. But they fall asleep, leaving Jesus alone in his dark night of the soul.This is my body ... broken for you. We've compiled a playlist of songs inspired by or that speak in some way to the Holy Week journey that brings us to Maundy Thursday and the great mandate from which the day takes its name: "If I, the Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet." 
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 30 weeks ago
The music of Manchester, England is, for me, the soundtrack of my college years. The Smiths. Joy Division. Oasis. James. The Happy Mondays.It was the music I danced to in Chicago nightclubs, the songs of seeming disillusionment that I walked around campus listening to (on cassettes and "cassingles" -- remember those?) on my Sony Walkman.I love that music that put a spring in my step and gave voice to my youthful ennui. But I had never thought of it as particularly spiritual music...that is until earlier this week when my charming British colleague, Jack Palmer, brought to my attention The Manchester Passion, an hourlong 2006 BBC special broadcast of a massive public reinactment of Christ's passion and crucifixion staged in a public square in Manchester set to the music of that enigmatic northern city in England.The Manchester Passion took the music and lyrics of The Smiths and their Manchunian contemporaries and used them -- brilliantly and powerfully -- to retell in a thoroughly modern milieu the greatest story ever told.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 30 weeks ago
President Obama hosted his third annual Easter prayer breakfast for about 150 members of the clergy from across the nation in the East Room of the White House Wednesday morning. In his six-minute address, Obama reflected on the spiritual messages of Easter -- Jesus' triumphant overcoming of his own human doubts and fears so that all of humanity might do the same."For like us, Jesus knew doubt," Obama said. "Like us, Jesus knew fear. In the garden of Gethsemane, with attackers closing in around him, Jesus told His disciples, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.' He fell to his knees, pleading with His Father, saying, “If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” And yet, in the end, He confronted His fear with words of humble surrender, saying, “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”"So it is only because Jesus conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection. It’s only because He endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that He burdened -- that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, 'He is Risen!'"
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 30 weeks ago
Seven people died and three others were injured Monday afternoon when a gunman opened fire on the Oakland, Calif., campus of Oikos University — a small Christian college that caters largely to a Korean and Korean-American student body.According to CNN, police have detained a man in his 40s who police believe to be the shooter. Oikos University founder and president, the Rev. Jong Kim, told the Oakland Tribune that the gunman was a nursing student who was no longer enrolled at the school.An update of the Oakland Tribune story shortly after 9 p.m. EST Monday police have arrested 43-year-old One Goh of Oakland in connection with the deadly shooting.The Tribune reports:A former nursing student who opened fire in a small Christian university Monday morning, killing seven and wounding three more, first told his former classmates to line up against a wall before pulling a handgun and sending students fleeing in panic, a witness said....Police said five people were dead at the scene; of five others who were taken to the hospital, two later died. Authorities said most of those killed and wounded had been in a classroom near the school's entrance; one was shot in an administrative office. The gunman reportedly went to another classroom and fired through its locked door but didn't hit anyone there.The gunman was caught a short time later in an Alameda shopping center, about five miles away, police said. Safeway employees who did not give their names said the suspect told a store staffer that he had shot people and needed to be arrested.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 31 weeks ago
In a move that surprised many in the world of economics and politics, on Friday morning President Obama nominated Jim Yong Kim, the South Korea-born physician, anthropologist and president of Dartmouth College, to be the next president of the World Bank. Prior to taking the helm at Dartmouth in 2009, Kim, 52, led the global health and social medicine department at Harvard Medical School, of which he is a graduate. Widely considered one of the leading minds in world health, Kim also has served as a director of the HIV/AIDS department at the World Health Organization, where he focused on helping developing countries improve treatment and prevention programs. Obama called Kim, “an innovative leader whose groundbreaking work to fight disease and combat poverty has saved lives around the globe.” The President said Kim is exceptionally well qualified for the position but brings “more to the role than an impressive record of designing new ways to solve entrenched problems. “Development is his lifetime commitment, and it is his passion,” Obama said. “And in a world with so much potential to improve living standards, we have a unique opportunity to harness that passion and experience at the helm of the World Bank.”
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 32 weeks ago
To bless someone, in the most literal sense of the word, is to confer your hopes to them.That's why so many traditional blessings begin with the word "may."Take, for instance, what is perhaps the best-known Irish blessing (or toast, as the case may be this time of the year):May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand."May" doesn't mean "so be it." May implies that something is possible, but not a done deal. May hopes that God puts it in play and that you get out of your own way and allow it to happen.John O'Donohue, the great contemporary Irish poet/philosopher (and former Catholic priest), knew the power of "may."
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 32 weeks ago
Howling wind whipped my long, unruly hair in penitent lashes across my face as I stood in the rain, staring at the churning sea at the northernmost point of Ireland. This place, Malin Head in County Donegal, for some mysterious or mystical reason — perhaps because it is such a broody, dramatic place, or maybe it’s got something to do with ancestry, or both — is the spot I love most in the world.It is a wild land, the kind of place where myths are born, where giants and saints might come bounding over the next hillock followed by a troupe of little people or a herd of magical sheep.Whatever the reason, I feel at home here and have returned time and again over the last 15 years, drawn to stand on its rocky cliffs like water to the shore.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 32 weeks ago
Good morning, y'all,You may recall back a post back in January where I expressed our ongoing concern about the tenor of many comments on our site. I said at the time that in order to (hopefully) curtail the snark that had infiltrated our comments sections, we would be rolling out new protocols for readers who wish to leave their public feedback on posts, including a mandatory sign-in via Facebook.Well, the day of reckoning is upon us.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 33 weeks ago
Last fall on God's Politics, we ran a few posts on the plight of Youcef Nadarkhani, a Muslim convert to Christianity who was arrested, charged with apostasy, tried, convicted and sentenced to death in Iran in 2010. We asked for continued prayer for the pastor and his family, and for people of conscience to speak out on his behalf.Fast-forward five months...As I was browsing through Facebook last night, I noticed a post on my news feed with the photo of a blindfolded man standing next to the executioner's noose and a headline that read, "Youcef Nadarkhani Executed."My heart stopped for a moment. Please, no, I thought. And the guilt began to flood in: How could I have dropped the ball? If we had continued to sound the alarm on his behalf, would he have been hanged? Could we have helped save him if we'd done more?I quickly went to Google to look for news reports of Nadarkhani's execution, reportedly on March 3. But I couldn't find any. Nothing on CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, NPR.After searching for a while, I found a post by the American Center for Law and Justice that confirmed what had become my hope: Reports of Nadarkhani's execution were false.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 33 weeks ago
When Marilyn and Larry Johnson sold their computer business in suburban Detroit about a decade ago, they figured they'd settle into the next phase of their lives with ease. Retirement meant more freedom, fewer pressures and ample time on the golf course. But a life of leisure turned out to feel terribly hollow for the Christian couple."I remember coming in from a golf game and Larry asking me how my game was, and I just started crying," Marilyn told Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom recently. "I said, 'My life has no purpose.' "So the Johnsons began volunteering at shelters, treatment programs and soup kitchens. On Thanksgiving eight years ago, they wound up serving turkey dinner to the homeless. It was a turning point.  An epiphany.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 33 weeks ago
If you've ever seen or heard Kristin Chenoweth sing, you know she is a pint-sized ray of sunshine. She oozes joy and grace and love for her audience from every pore of her 4-foot-11-inch frame. Plus, girlfriend has a spot-on, finely calibrated sense of comic timing. (I dare you to watch her perform and not at least crack a smile. She is enchanting, her natural ebullience utterly infectious.)What you may not know is that Chenoweth, 44, is a Christian. Born and raised in the Southern Baptist tradition where she accepted Jesus into her heart at the tender age of 8, "Cheno," as she is known to her legion devoted fans, now describes herself as a nondenominational "non-judgmental, liberal Christian." Her devotion to Jesus and His Way is something she's never been shy about, both before and after she took Broadway by storm in her early 20s.“I'm sick of people who've never been to church telling me that church is full of hypocrites, and people who've never read the Bible telling me that it's baloney," she wrote in her 2009 memoir, A Little Bit Wicked. "I'm a very controversial figure in the Christian world. I don't believe if you're gay or you have a drink or you dance, you're going to hell. I don't think that's the kind of God we have. The Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world are scary. I want to be a Christian like Christ — loving and accepting of other people."
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 33 weeks ago
Over the weekend, Newt Gingrich decided to wade into a minor cultural skirmish by claiming that the new ABC dramedy GCB is an attack on faith fueled by anti-Christian bias. As Gingrich is, from my perspective at least, prone to flights of intellectual fancy, I was at first prone to roll my eyes and ignore his latest sojourn into the ridiculous. But upon further reflection, I thought it merited a response because his notion that a satire could be the latest cannon fodder in the alleged war on religion (which usually means “war on Christianity” to those who invoke it) speaks to a larger cultural conundrum: Christians and our sense of humor (or, rather, the lack thereof.)
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 33 weeks ago
Desert skyDream beneath the desert skyThe rivers run, but soon run dryWe need new dreams tonight ~ from "In God's Country" by U2On March 9, 1987, U2 released The Joshua Tree, its fifth studio album and one that would catapult the Irish rock quartet from popularity to international superstardom.Twenty-five years later, today The Joshua Tree is one of the most bestselling albums in history — with more than 25 million copies sold — and is considered to be among the best rock albums of all time.Its spiritual and socio-political heft has, for me at least, only grown more powerful over the years. As I listened to it again today, the soul-shaking music and lyrics sounded even fresher in our current nervous times than they did to my teenage ears in the twilight of the Reagan era.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 33 weeks ago
Last week, I spent a couple of days listening to Eugene Peterson share stories and precious wisdom from his 80 years on this little blue planet. It was a blessing of unparalleled riches to sit at Peterson’s feet (literally — I was in the front row and he was on a stage that put me at eye level with his black tassel loafers) and learn.For the uninitiated, Peterson is a retired Presbyterian pastor and prolific author perhaps best known for The Message, his para-translation of the Bible and titles such as Practice Resurrection  and A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. A native of Western Montana, Peterson and his wife of more than 50 years, Jan, returned to Big Sky Country several years ago to the home his father built on the shores of Flathead Lake when Eugene was a child.Undoubtedly, it will take me many months — or years — to digest all that Peterson shared with a smallish group of youngish Christian leaders at the Q Practices gathering in New York City. But I can say what struck me most indelibly is how at ease — content, yes, but more than that — Peterson is in his own skin. Fully present. Mellow but absolutely alert, energized, fascinated by the world and the people around him.Relaxed — that’s it.
Posted by Cathleen Falsani 2 years 34 weeks ago
is it appropriate — nay, even encouraged, both socially and spiritually — to turn up at your house of worship in full costume, make a boisterous racket, and proceed to get drunk as a lord?Well, if you're a Christian (or a Muslim or a Buddhist) the answer is never.But if you're Jewish, it's Purim!