The Common Good

Weekly Wrap

Weekly Wrap 4.18.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

Editor's Note: As we head into the weekend with eyes toward the resurrection, we must first journey through the darkness of Good Friday. Here are some reflections to help you reflect on that journey.

1. Simply Service
"Jesus is The Servant of Servants. If we wish to be like Jesus, we cannot forget this.There is no empire building. There is no entrepreneurial vision. There is no institution keeping. There is simply service."

2. Lent Hymn
"For in this desert silence
And dark night of the soul
I am rooting you deeper
I am making you whole"

3. How Does Dying for Our Sins Work?
"The cross is not what God inflicts upon Christ in order to forgive. The cross is what God endures in Christ as he forgives. Once we understand this, we know what we are seeing when we look at the cross: We are seeing the lengths to which a God of love will go in forgiving sin."

4. The Five Lessons of Good Friday
"The sufferings and death of Jesus, which Christians commemorate on Good Friday, may seem far removed from our everyday lives. … So what can the story of Jesus's crucifixion, as recorded in the Gospels almost 2,000 years ago, teach us about our own lives?"

5. Good Friday and the Prophets in Detention
"'Holy Week is a special time for us…' Ruth told me in her detention robe. 'Jesus’ passion gives us perspective to see that our situation is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered on the Cross. His journey encourages us to keep going.'"

6. Five Errors to Drop from Your Easter Story
Number 4: "Don't bypass the role of the women as the witnesses of the resurrected Christ."

7. Easy Easter Girl
"For people to whom life has been hard, there is a form of solace in praying to a God who does not look spotless, shining like the sun. For many, love is the very wounds of Christ, the greenish-purple skin tones, the bruised and battered life. By his wounds we are healed, the scriptures say. I didn’t realize another way to read it is like this: only the wounded can truly experience a savior."

8. The Enthralling Art of Easter
"… the agony and Crucifixion and Resurrection are no footnote. They are the bedrock we deal with. It's not hard to see why Bob Dylan became enthralled with the Christ story. It's not hard to see how people who stare too long at Titians can end up in monasteries."

9. The Risen Christ: The Call to Conversion
" For so many of us, Easter is not just a religious holiday — it is a personal celebration and re-commitment. How do we personally experience the resurrection? Every year, as I hear and say “He is risen,” I remember that it’s not just a theological affirmation, but something I need personally."

10. 

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Weekly Wrap 4.11.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Stephen Colbert and the Death of Protestant America
The move to name Stephen Colbert as David Letterman's replacement for his late-night slot was a surprise to many — but a cultural bellwether announcing the changing tide of religion in America? … Maybe?

2. 
What Is the Heartbleed Bug? 
New news platform Vox has the breakdown for you. Basically — change all your passwords. Change them now. 

3. The Feminists We Forgot
In a great piece for her.meneutics' Womens' History Month series, Sandra Glahn writes: "The teaching that women's involvement is a new phenomenon in church history has been used to silence those whom the Spirit has gifted for leadership. And advances made on behalf of women have been attributed entirely to secular feminism. We ourselves have been complicit because we haven't known our own history."

4. Is the Internet Killing Religion? 
A new study suggests it might be — as the uptick of those claiming no religious affiliation correlates to higher Internet use. 

5. The Big Environmental Problem Highlighted By the Search for Flight 370
"If nothing else can be learned from this bizarre hunt, one thing has become clear: There's a ton of trash in the Indian Ocean."

6. Hobby Lobby, Christian Women, and Contraception: More Complicated Than You Might Think
A new Public Religion Research poll shows that 60 percent of Christian women believe employers should be required provide health care plans that cover contraception at no cost. Jonathan Merritt explores the data.   

7. On Pilgrimage: 20 Years After the Rwandan Genocide
Artist Nikole Lim's beautiful words and images capture her pilgrimage alongside survivors and perpetrators of genocide. View her gorgeous photos and haunting narratives here. Her series will continue weekly on the Sojourners blog, so check back!

8. A Fascinating Visualization of World Migration
Because who doesn't love charts? "Every year, millions of people leave their birth countries to try their fortunes in foreign lands. Where are the most popular destinations for these people? What countries are sending out streams of residents who may never come back?"

9. The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken That Perfectly Capture the Human Experience
War. Love. Tragedy. A must-see gallery. 

10. Can I See Your Belly Button? 
What happens when your daughters ask you to shed your insecurities with a simple curiosity? "In that holiest of moments, they had become divine mirrors: reflecting all the beauty of co-creation. (And what is left in its wake.) But it was more than that ..."

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Weekly Wrap 4.4.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Afghanistan: Seen Through the Lens of Anja Niedringhaus
AP photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was shot and killed today in eastern Afghanistan when an Afghan police officer opened fire. AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was also injured. Last year, The Atlantic published this beautiful gallery of photos from Niedringhaus, telling the country's tragic story through her lens.

2. 'Nobody Deserves to Be Raped' Campaign Responds to Shocking Brazilian Survey
"According to a survey released late last week, 65.1 percent of Brazilians think that if a woman is 'dressed provocatively,' she deserves to be 'attacked and raped.'" Here's how social media responded.

3. Borderland
"You have no idea what people will do to reach the United States — until you hear their stories." After spending two weeks driving along the U.S.-Mexico border, NPRtells those stories in this beautiful interactive series. 

4. Ten Thousand Kids in 2 Days
World Vision President Richard Stearns chatted with a few bloggers about the events of last week. "Ten thousand kids — … that was the two-day cost of their decision, a decision to hire married gay folk, a decision that was decided on last fall and leaked to Christianity Today last week. That was the cost."

5. WATCH: Slow Life
Need a reminder of the beauty of creation? Take a three-and-a-half-minute break to check out this gorgeous film of marine life under high magnification. It will brighten your day.

6. Mets Player Daniel Murphy Defends Decision to Take Paternity Leave. Yes, It's 2014
"New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy was ripped this week for, of all things, leaving his team to be with his wife as she gave birth to their first child." His response, here.

7. Why I Am Troubled By 'God's Not Dead'
"Specifically, I am troubled by the racial stereotypes that underwrite characters, such as the Muslim father who is controlling and violent, the white pastor who counsels people in their moments of crisis, the cheery African missionary with simple faith, and the godless Chinese exchange student who is good at science and math. I am troubled by the gendered stereotypes that elevate men to positions of authority and relegate women to positions of weakness."

8. How Access to Cars Could Help the Poor
"Housing voucher recipients with cars tended to live and remain in higher-opportunity neighborhoods — places with lower poverty rates, higher social status, stronger housing markets, and lower health risks. Cars are also associated with improved neighborhood satisfaction and better employment outcomes. … those with cars were twice as likely to find a job and four times as likely to remain employed."

9. Coffee Shop Christianity
This one's for you, croissant-drunk sermonizers, you small group organizers, you slow-drip sippers blogging that $1.25 away for hours. How about some coffee shop ethics?

10. At Border Mass, Bishops Call for Compassion, Immigration Reform
"We come to the desert today because it is the road to Jericho," said [Boston Cardinal Sean] O'Malley in his homily. "It is traveled by many trying to reach the metropolis of Jerusalem. We come here today to be a neighbor and to find a neighbor in each of the suffering people who risk their lives and at times lose their lives in the desert."

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Weekly Wrap 4.4.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Afghanistan: Seen Through the Lens of Anja Niedringhaus
AP photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was shot and killed today in eastern Afghanistan when an Afghan police officer opened fire. AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was also injured. Last year, The Atlantic published this beautiful gallery of photos from Niedringhaus, telling the country's tragic story through her lens.

2. 'Nobody Deserves to Be Raped' Campaign Responds to Shocking Brazilian Survey
"According to a survey released late last week, 65.1 percent of Brazilians think that if a woman is 'dressed provocatively,' she deserves to be 'attacked and raped.'" Here's how social media responded.

3. Borderland
"You have no idea what people will do to reach the United States — until you hear their stories." After spending two weeks driving along the U.S.-Mexico border, NPRtells those stories in this beautiful interactive series. 

4. Ten Thousand Kids in 2 Days
World Vision President Richard Stearns chatted with a few bloggers about the events of last week. "Ten thousand kids — … that was the two-day cost of their decision, a decision to hire married gay folk, a decision that was decided on last fall and leaked to Christianity Today last week. That was the cost."

5. WATCH: Slow Life
Need a reminder of the beauty of creation? Take a three-and-a-half-minute break to check out this gorgeous film of marine life under high magnification. It will brighten your day.

6. Mets Player Daniel Murphy Defends Decision to Take Paternity Leave. Yes, It's 2014
"New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy was ripped this week for, of all things, leaving his team to be with his wife as she gave birth to their first child." His response, here.

7. Why I Am Troubled By 'God's Not Dead'
"Specifically, I am troubled by the racial stereotypes that underwrite characters, such as the Muslim father who is controlling and violent, the white pastor who counsels people in their moments of crisis, the cheery African missionary with simple faith, and the godless Chinese exchange student who is good at science and math. I am troubled by the gendered stereotypes that elevate men to positions of authority and relegate women to positions of weakness."

8. How Access to Cars Could Help the Poor
"Housing voucher recipients with cars tended to live and remain in higher-opportunity neighborhoods — places with lower poverty rates, higher social status, stronger housing markets, and lower health risks. Cars are also associated with improved neighborhood satisfaction and better employment outcomes. … those with cars were twice as likely to find a job and four times as likely to remain employed."

9. Coffee Shop Christianity
This one's for you, croissant-drunk sermonizers, you small group organizers, you slow-drip sippers blogging that $1.25 away for hours. How about some coffee shop ethics?

10. At Border Mass, Bishops Call for Compassion, Immigration Reform
"We come to the desert today because it is the road to Jericho," said [Boston Cardinal Sean] O'Malley in his homily. "It is traveled by many trying to reach the metropolis of Jerusalem. We come here today to be a neighbor and to find a neighbor in each of the suffering people who risk their lives and at times lose their lives in the desert."

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Weekly Wrap 3.28.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

 1. The 5 Photos You Need to See of President Obama's Meeting With Pope Francis
Laughing, joking, exchanging gifts. Check out these photos of President Obama's Thursday meeting with the pontiff.

2. Alarm raised over violence in Sudan's Darfur
The United Nations and the African Union have sounded an alarm over worsening violence in Sudan's western Darfur region, which is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and hampering the distribution of aid.

3. Again, Don't Stop Sponsoring Kids
And while the responses to the controversy were many and varied, one thread rang throughout: regardless of the organization's policy, change of policy, reversal of change — don't stop sponsoring the kids World Vision serves. 

4. What I Saw When I Gave Up Mirrors for Lent
"As Christians, we subscribe to the belief that we all bear the image of God. Our best faces are already put forward—not because of Botox or Clinique but because of a divine Creator. As parents, we have the responsibility to model what it means to be secure in our identities, not only spiritually but physically as well."

5. WATCH: Everything You Hate About Advertising in One Fake Video That's Almost Too Real
McSweeny's "This Is A Generic Brand Video" script comes to "life" in this hilarious of actual stock footage. "Lest you think we’re a faceless entity, Look at all these attractive people. Here’s some of them talking and laughing And close-ups of hands passing canned goods to each other. In a setting that evokes community service."

6Lawmakers Call for Full Accountability From BP on Lake Michigan Oil Spill
The spill, while likely cleaned up soon, is of concern to many given plans to begin shipping tar sands across the Great Lakes by barge. 

7'Noah:' Deeply, Passionately Biblical
Since trailers started trickling out, people have criticized filmmaker Darren Aronofsky for taking the story of Noah to Hollywood. But, as Cathleen Falsani points out after interviewing the producer and writer and seeing the film, "They breathed new life into an ancient story, putting flesh and blood and a racing heartbeat into one of the Bible’s most emotionally complex and spiritually confounding stories."

8. Leaving the World a Little Better
Not the type to fast or give something up for Lent? Maybe it's not part of your faith tradition. But if you're still looking for a way to observe the holy season, read this blogger's take. "Every relationship is an opportunity to leave others better than we found them."

9. Will Women Ever Feel Completely Safe on Mass Transit? 
"As cities try to figure out how to boost transit ridership, and unpredictable gas prices force people to reconsider their commute, the threat of harassment and assault has been granted surprisingly little airtime. But short of solving the widespread societal problems of harassment and sexism — a tall order for even the most committed activist — there are piecemeal solutions cities can undertake to convey to women that they care about their safety on public transportation."

10. Supreme Court Divided as it Hears Argument on Contraceptive Coverage
The Washington Post offers a helpful breakdown of the two cases before the Supreme Court on the matter of the contraceptive coverage mandate. 

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Weekly Wrap 3.21.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. 'Frozen,' Evangelical Purity Culture, and What It's Like Being a Girl
"
The narrative of purity culture — not unlike the narrative of many, many Disney princesses — implicitly and sometimes explicitly promises that passive virtue will exert a sort of magnetic pull on worthy young men, who will come flocking to her father for permission to ‘court’ her."

2. Urban Church Planting Plantations
Christena Cleveland examines the trend of white suburban church planters flocking into urban centers to "save the city," disregarding the indigenous religious leaders already working. A helpful reminder.

3. WATCH: ReMoved
This is why fostering is so important: "It would be impossible to fully understand the life and emotions of a child going through the foster care system, but this short narrative film portrays that saga in a poetic light, with brushes of fear, anger, sadness, and a tiny bit of hope." - Santa Barbara Independent
Watch the full short film.

4. A God With Teeth
Esther Emery writes for A Deeper Story about the transforming power of nature, and a God who is bigger than it all. "I never had a pastor say, 'It says it right here, on page three. We were charged to steward the earth. Now get to stewarding.' I did it anyway."

5. 7 Deadly Sins: A Lenten Series
We all know the seven deadly sins. From pride to sloth and envy, our daily sins sometimes go unnoticed. Join Sojouners as we dig into how the deadly sins still root themselves in our lives today. And while you're at it, you might as well listen to the 7Deadly playlist curated by our own associate web editor, Catherine Woodiwiss.

6 . Patriarchy and Abusive Churches
Rachel Held Evans highlights the Bill Gothard abuse allegations to talk about sexual abuse in the church: "My evangelical brothers and sisters, we have an abuse problem and we need to talk about it."

7. Generational Poverty: Understanding a Different Culture
"The church that wants to reach its neighbors with the message of the gospel and see the community thrive must understand its neighbors’ culture. Offering middle-class solutions to generational poverty problems can be extraordinarily helpful, but without knowing, loving, and appreciating the venerable aspects of the generational poverty culture, those solutions will not be embraced and will fail to generate lasting change."

8. Ukraine, Russia, Crimea: How the Story Evolved
With new news coming out of Crimea by the day, USA Today provides a helpful breakdown of the crisis.

9. American Jesus Madness
Who needs March Madness when you can vote in a bracket that includes Rachel Held Evans v. Every Calvinist Dude on the Internet? They're down to the final four, and it's between A God Article's (and Sojourners') Mark Sandlin v. Nadia Bolz-Weber's Tattoos and Willem Defoe (in The Last Temptation of Christ) v. Greg Boyd. Cast your vote!

10. WATCH: Elementary School Choir's Cover of Pharrell's 'Happy' Will Make Your Whole Week Better
Because you need a little happy to kick off your weekend.

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Weekly Wrap 3.14.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Pope Francis' 10 Most Quotable Quotes of the Year
Yesterday, the pope celebrated his one-year anniversary. And while there was certainly many, many to choose from, Catholic News Service compiles his top 10 quotes.

2 . Twitter Conversation Responds to Myth That Clothing Encourages Sexual Violence
"Pink princess pajamas. Jeans and a t-shirt. Sweatpants and a baggy sweater. When Twitter user Christina Fox (@Steenfox) asked her followers, “What were you wearing when you were assaulted?” some answered with these clothes."

3. America's Most Unequal Metros
Income inequality has risen across the board in U.S. metro areas over the past two decades. But which metros are feeling it the most? Does your city make the list?

4. Fake Magazine Covers That Expose Real Inequality
"What would happen if, instead of celebrities and supermodels, magazine covers showcased women and girls who are invisible to society?" Check out the photo gallery to see.

5. Catholics, Evangelicals Press GOP on Immigration
Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders joined together Wednesday to meet with top House Republicans and tell them a vote on immigration reform must come before August.

6. How Helpful — and How Christian — Is Dave Ramsey's Financial Advice?
Anyone who has gone through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class can probably extol its virtues and it's debt-free result. But how biblical is its basis?

7. BP Closer to Restoring U.S. Operations After Deal With Government Agency
An agreement that includes five years of EPA monitoring means the BP is allowed to bid for new projects in the Gulf of Mexico. The company is still mired in civil lawsuits and cleanup efforts after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.

8. Poll: Americans Think Hurricane Katrina Worse Crisis Than Syria
On the 3-year anniversary of the conflict in Syria, a new poll shows how little Americans still understand about the issue. So far the conflict in Syria has affected more than 9 million people. Read more about the conflict at the link.

9. Brief Moments When I Did Not Hate the Bible
"Over and over, I commission myself to read Scripture in a way that makes my heart sing. To interpret it in ways that free me. To regard it with joy instead of obligation. To read it, or not read it, and know that Jesus loves me anyway."

10. Dads Pose With Their Babies in New Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign
While the American Academy of Pediatrics has affirmed and reaffirmed its guidelines that breastfeeding is recommended for at least the first year of life, many women struggle due to lack of support — like one mom who was told she couldn't breastfeed onboard an airplane. The new "If I Could, I Would" photo series shows men with their babies as a sign of support for breastfeeding moms.

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Weekly Wrap 3.7.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Why Do We Need an International Women's Day?
Saturday is International Women's Day. The Guardian offers a great take on the day as four gender-equality campaigners share their views on feminism and the backlash against women's rights.

2. The Bible Reduced to Minimalist Posters
Design nerds, unite! This beautiful series of graphics depicts the books of the Bible as retro posters. Fast Company highlights designer Joseph Novak, a Presbyterian pastor, and his gallery of biblical graphics. His intent? Encouraging people to think more deeply about the Bible. Done and done.

3. To #Ashtag or Not to #Ashtag?
The age-old debate of publicly wearing ashes to commemorate the beginning of Lent (a time of self-examination and repentance) vs. the biblical "pray in a closet" exhortation went on steroids this year as Christians pondered whether #ashtag selflies were an appropriate form of prayer and penitence.

4. Everything I Know About Racism I Learned in the Church
"As a millenial, I’ve lived most of my years in our so-called 'post-racial' American church. Yet my earliest and most painful experiences of racism have all occurred in the church – at the hands of sincere Christians. And unfortunately, my stories are consistent with the stories of many other people my age and younger."

5. Unreal Sales for Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage
Did the megachurch pastor buy his way on to the New York Times bestseller list? And what are the implications for bestseller lists and for Christian witness?

6. Baptist Target Gun Enthusiasts for Outreach
It's long been a staple for some large evangelical churches to lure in the unchurched with raffles, bands, bright lights and bold colors. But now … guns?

7. Millennials in Adulthood
While many in the media still paint millennials with a certain teen-angsty brush, it's worth noting that the high end of the generation is now in their 30s. Pew Research takes a closer look at the generation as adults in its new study. Highlights = less religious, less attached to political parties.

8. QUIZ: Do You Really Have a Clue How Much Water You Use?
Answer: probably not. Take this quiz at The Atlantic Cities to find out.

9. So, What Is This 'Lent' Thing?
Want to go a step further in your lenten study and reflection? Check out this blog series on Lent, and follow throughout these 40 days for weekly study and inspiration.

10. WATCH: Baby Girl Directs Her Church Choir
CUTE BABY ALERT! This future church choir director takes her job very, very seriously.

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Weekly Wrap 2.28.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Walking the Second Mile: Jesus, Discrimination, and 'Religious Freedom'
Rachel Held Evans addresses the failed anti-gay legislation attempts in Arizona and Kansas: "Crying persecution every time one doesn’t get one’s way is an insult to the very real religious persecution happening in the world today.  It's no way to be a good citizen and certainly no way to advance the gospel in the world."

2. How Obama Is Trying to Lift Up Young Men of Color: A Q&A with Joshua Dubois
Joshua Dubois, former director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, sits down with the Washington Post to talk about President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative: "What I believe the president is saying … is that these boys and men matter just as much as any other American. And if they succeed, that’s something that will help all of us. It will help the entire country."

3. Border Control Killings of Migrants Raise Questions on Training, Accountability
More than 20 fatal shootings of civilians by U.S. Border Patrol agents since 2010 expose massive problems within the federal agency. 

4. MAP: Does Your State Pay a Fair Wage?
As the federal minimum wage stagnates at $7.25 an hour, many states have taken the lead to raise wages on their own. Check out the map to view the 21 states that now have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage. Where does yours stand?

5. Recline! Why 'Leaning In' is Killing Us
Another take on the ubiquitous and ever-evolving "having it all" debate, this time from Foreign Policy: "Ladies, if we want to rule the world — or even just gain an equitable share of leadership positions — we need to stop leaning in. It's killing us."

6. 10 Mr. Rogers Quotes You Need to Read
On the anniversary of his death, Relevant magazine compiles some of his wisdom, like: "We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say, 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."

7. How Anti-Poverty Measures Marginalize Fathers
"The biggest flaw in anti-poverty policies is that they don’t take into account the role that fathers play in children’s lives."

8. A Prayer: Belong
From Sarah Bessey at SheLovesMagazine.com: "For those of us who have been told that we are too much—too loud, too opinionated, too smart, too bold, too quiet, too curvy, too skinny, too sexual, too intense, too feeling, too soft, too tough, too bossy, too tender, too young, too old, too liberal, too conservative—may we say: you belong here with us."

9. A Study Claims Global Warming Could Cause 180K More Rapes by 2099
The Atlantic Cities reports on a controversial new study that correlates a rise in temperatures with a rise in violent crime and property crime. 

10. To Young Christians Speaking Out Against Anti-Gay Discrimination: Thank You
From Jim Wallis: "Differing theological views on important issues of sexuality will need time, patience, deep biblical reflection, respectful discourse, and religious liberty to be worked out in the churches. But the perception of Christian faith is in grave danger when Christians try to use the law to publically discriminate against those who don’t adhere to their point of view."

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Weekly Wrap 2.21.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. From Modesty to Maxim
Are Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry the unintended consequence of evangelicalism's modesty mandate?

2. The Problem with Little White Girls (and Boys): Why I Stopped Being a Voluntourist
"I don’t want a little girl in Ghana, or Sri Lanka, or Indonesia to think of me when she wakes up each morning. … I want her to think about her teacher, community leader, or mother. I want her to have a hero who she can relate to — who looks like her, is part of her culture, speaks her language, and who she might bump into on the way to school one morning."

3. WATCH: What's Going On in Venezuela in a Nutshell
(Warning: Some graphic images) This 7-minute film, produced and posted on YouTube by 21-year-old Andreina Nash, paints a picture of the violence going on amid student protests in Venezuela.

4. An Evangelical's Plea with the GOP on Immigration Reform: Put People Before Politics
"It has become abundantly clear that immigration reform is the moral test of our politics."

5. The Dalai Lama Talks Pot, Facebook, and the Pope
Elizabeth Dias of TIME sits down with the Dalai Lama, who says "Ecology" is the issue the U.S. should be paying more attention to.

6.How Not to Raise a Daughter
"This week I caught myself doing something that has the potential to harm my daughter more than being drenched in pink and purple for the next 18 years ever could."

7. Feminism, Depravity, and Power in House of Cards
Is Claire Underwood a feminist icon as many articles have asserted? Another take: "America is in deep trouble if the prevailing reaction to a ruthless, self-serving, power-hungry sociopath is to assess her political effectiveness."

8. What the Most Violent Nations in the World Have in Common
"It's important to remember that correlation does not equal causation, but, overall, it is certainly intriguing to note that inequality, rather than poverty, appears to be associated with higher levels of violence — and that pride and machismo appear to be significant factors as well."

9. 3 Reasons the Abortion Rate Is at it's Lowest Since Roe v. Wade
Activists at both ends of the political spectrum are using the news to promote their own narratives, but Jonathan Merritt writes in his Religion News Service blog about what is behind the statistics and offers good news for the future: "Pro-life Americans have reason to celebrate, and it seems the party is just getting started."

10. 'Nones' and the Common Good
Eboo Patel poses interesting questions: "Right now, one out of every five checks “none of the above” on U.S. surveys of religious identity. … And so the question remains: What will happen to U.S. civil society as the pews empty out? Who will support all those schools, hospitals, and social service agencies? Who will build new ones?"

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