The Common Good

Weekly Wrap

Weekly Wrap 1.31.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Pete Seeger Was Folk Music
Pete Seeger died this week at 94. The legendary folk singer and champion for social change spurred countless tributes, like the above from Slate. Also see 2. this 2006 profile in The New Yorkerand spend some quality music time with 3. this clip of Bruce Springsteen paying tribute by singing "We Shall Overcome" at a concert this week.

4. The Super Bowl and What It Teaches Us About Inequality
"If you are a family of four and want to attend a Super Bowl, even if you are lucky enough to get tickets, you could easily be looking at a $10,000 outing. The other 99 percent of the tickets are reserved for the teams, advertisers, sponsors, and corporate folk, many of them resold at levels way above the list price."

5. Privilege and The Pill
Rachel Held Evans gives a pro-life defense of contraception coverage and takes on economic privilege and male privilege in this thoughtful piece. "… those who oppose coverage of birth control based on their religious or pro-life convictions must take into consideration the fact that lack of coverage may actually lead to more abortions. And we must remember that shrugging off birth control as something people should be able to easily pay for on their own betrays some of our own economic privilege in this conversation."

6. Women Front and Center in Obama's State of the Union Address
From the wage gap to early childhood education to his Twitter-friendly "Mad Men" reference, President Obama lifted up women in Tuesday night's speech. Al-Jazeera has the breakdown and reaction. 

7. Video of The Beatles' Last Show, On It's 45th Anniversary
Because it's Friday, and you need some more throwback music clips. 

8. God, Same-Sex Marriage, and 33 Weddings at the Grammys
ICYMI: During Sunday's Grammy Awards, Queen Latifah married 33 couples, some of them gay and lesbian, in a 51-second "ceremony(?)" set to Macklemore's "Same Love." Adam Ericksen argues that this "shortest wedding ceremony ever" actually trivializes marriage.

9. Polar Vortex and Climate Change: Why Rush Limbaugh and Others Are Wrong
It's frigid in most of the country (see: the Atlanta mess), so naturally, out stream the blog posts and talk radio noise repeating something along the lines of "it's cold, so global warming must not exist." The Weather Channel sets straight these, ahem, not-climate-scientists.

10. WATCH: Kid President: The Kids Need To Know
And a favorite: the latest installment from Kid President. "You can't spend your life relying on autocorrect. Learn to spell." Wise words, Kid President. This editor salutes you.

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Weekly Wrap 1.24.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Richard Sherman Explains What People Mean When They Call Him a 'Thug'
The day after the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers — and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave his now-infamous sideline interview with Erin Andrews — the word "thug" was spoken 625 times on U.S. television. Sherman tells us why that's a problem. 

2. What We Can and Can't Know About Our Babies Before They Are Born
We can tell gender, possible genetic defects, even see 3D images of babies in utero. But that's only part of the story. Ellen Painter Dollar offers a beautiful reflection on her experience.

3. Victim of Sex Trafficking in U.S. Tells Her Story
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange has the story of one woman caught up in the often overlooked epidemic of sex trafficking right in our own backyard. *Caution: adult language  

4. The Art of Presence
New York Times columnist David Brooks reflects on a story told on the Sojourners blog — a story of trauma, recovery, response, and the importance of being present when trauma enters the lives of loved ones.

5. Study: Upward Mobility No Tougher in U.S. Than Two Decades Age
But: The United States remains among the most difficult industrialized nation to move up the economic ladder. See the NPR report at the link.

6. 40 Must-See Photos From the Past
This stunning photo set offers an interesting glimpse into the past — from times of war to the advent of women's bathing suits, to the sadness of Prohibition.

7. What Really Happened When a U.S. Drone Hit a Yemeni Wedding Convoy?
“Whatever we do, they will never look at us as human beings,” said Dahabiya, the elderly mother of one victim, a cousin of the groom, who left a wife and six children. “We end up with wounds they cannot see."

8. 10 Things You Can't SAY While Following Jesus
If you've ever been frustrated by "Everything Happens for a Reason," this listicle is for you.

9. South Sudan Factions Sign Cease-Fire
After more than five weeks of fighting during which thousands have been killed, warring factions in the fledgling country of South Sudan have announced a cease-fire.

10. The Myth of the Absent Black Father
From the report: "Although black fathers are more likely to live separately from their children — the statistic that’s usually trotted out to prove the parenting 'crisis' — many of them remain just as involved in their kids’ lives. Pew estimates that 67 percent of black dads who don’t live with their kids see them at least once a month, compared to 59 percent of white dads and just 32 percent of Hispanic dads."

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Weekly Wrap 1.17.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Female Methodist Pastor Performs Anointing Ritual for A Roman Catholic Cardinal
While the Roman Catholic has not moved toward officially ordaining women, one U.S. Cardinal recently honored the ministry of Rev. Anne Robertson, a United Methodist minister in Massachusetts. Cardinal Sean O'Malley asked Robertson to administer a baptism reaffirmation ritual to him.

As the war on poverty has reached its 50th year, the U.S. still faces significant issues of income inequality.

2. WATCH: Making House Calls, To People Without Homes
Dr. Jim Withers, one of the pioneers of street medicine, treats homeless people on the streets of Pittsburgh in this heartwarming video by NationSwell. “We would have to stretch ourselves,” Withers said, “And care enough to stretch ourselves into their world, into their reality.”

3. Wealthy Women Can Afford to Reject Marriage, but Poor Women Can’t
Higher-income "single ladies" often push back against "patriarchy." But the statistics don't lie: Low-income, unmarried women face significant economic challenges when they stay single.

4. It Is Expensive to Be Poor
Minimum-wage jobs are physically demanding, have unpredictable schedules, and pay so meagerly that workers can't save up enough to move on.

5. Dead Broke, Not Deadbeat: Baltimore Rethinks Welfare Policy 
Aid can create a wedge between mothers and fathers, experts say, and Maryland officials are trying to change that. “We shouldn't have to say we were separated to get help,” said Darnell, a married man whose wife conceals her married status. “They are saying they want the father involved but won't help you if the father is involved. That is backwards.”

6. How the Haiti Earthquake Launched 'Digital Humanitarianism'
Internationally, new communication techniques helped relief workers connect directly with those who needed help in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. “With the use of the Internet and mobile phones, survivors in Haiti sent out cries for help through tweets, texting, Facebook, and other digital media.”

7. Mexicali has Become Mexico’s City of the Deported as U.S. Dumps More People There 
In Mexicali, Mexico, “the deported sleep in parks, abandoned buildings, and along the train tracks that run through town.” Due easy access to a nearby airstrip, the U.S. has deported at least 113,539 people to the city in the past two years.

8. WATCH: Former 'Lost Boy' Returns to South Sudan
Daniel Majok Gai escaped violence in Sudan, received a Masters degree and became a U.S. citizen. 15 years later he returned to help build schools, only to find South Sudan amidst more fighting.

9. Don't Demonize Gangsters – They're Human Too
Dreda Say Mitchell works with young offenders to improve their writing and find gifts and skills they didn’t know they had. “The truth is that all crime has a backdrop. And in the case of gangs, part of that backdrop is poor communities that have been on a downward curve for decades.”

10. WATCH: 'I Have a Dream'
Finally, in memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this short movie gives a dramatic presentation of his “I Have A Dream” speech from the March on Washington.

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Weekly Wrap 1.10.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. 14 Reasons 2014 Might Not Be So Bad
John Green gives us 14 reasons for some optimism this year, including lower divorce and caner rates and more women’s literacy.

2. And the Winners for Religious Art & Architecture Are...
Faith&Forum announces the winners of its 2013 International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture.

3. 'Wolf of Wall Street' Called 'Profoundly Moral'
It sets a record for expletives, but Laura Turner calls Wolf of Wall Street a profoundly moral film precisely because it depicts those things to which Catholic News Service objects.

4. Burka Anyone?
recent survey taken in seven countries with Muslim majorities finds that most respondents prefer that a woman completely cover her hair, but not necessarily her face. 

5. Five Religious-Themed Apps Banned by Apple
Brian Pellot’s tracking with religious themes that Apple has rejected or pulled from the App Store, including one that allows users to paste their faces onto the bodies of faith leaders.

6. No Charges for 'Snake Salvation' Pastor
A grand jury has decided not to indict Rev. Andrew Hamblin, who’s been featured on National Geographic’s Snake Salvation series, on charges of violating a Tennessee ban on possessing venomous snakes. Hamblin says the Bible commands him to handle the serpents.

7. Snow Chapel
Indiana’s Tyler Watts didn’t stay snug inside when the university where he works shut down in light of weather that was 13 below zero. Instead, he built an 8-foot chapel made of snow.  

8. 5 Films to Make 2014 'the Year of the Bible'
Forget lists about the year past, Jonathan Merritt looks ahead at the films major movie studios are releasing this year.

9. Colbert and the Priest Talk Economic Inequality
Rev. Jim Martin, a Jesuit priest, stops by the Colbert Report to talk economic injustice.

10. Want to Win the War on Poverty?
On the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of a war on poverty, Sojourners' Jim Wallis says liberals and conservatives must work together for the sake of the vulnerable.

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Weekly Wrap 1.3.14: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Utah’s Salvation Army Marches to the Beat of Service
The big red kettles and bell ringers are gone until next Christmastime, but the Salvation Army’s congregations worship all year long.

2. Are You a 'Duck Dynasty' American or a 'Downton Abbey' American?
Fans of these two TV family sagas live in parallel worlds. Which show best reflects your faith and values?

3. Body Atlas Reveals Where We Feel Happiness and Shame
More than 700 people participated in an experiment aimed at mapping their bodily sensations in connection with specific emotions. Turns out we feel different emotions in different parts of the body.

4. And Now There's Facial Recognition for the People in Your Pupils
Shakespeare said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but they’re also a mirror for what we see.

5. Pastor Andy Stanley Tells Christians ‘How to Be Rich’
In his new book, How to Be Rich, Pastor Andy Stanley has a message for American Christians: “You’re wealthy. Now starting acting like it.”

6. One in Four Alums Leading Interfaith Group Is Nonreligious
A survey of young people involved in Interfaith Youth Core — a leading interfaith organization in the United States that works with college and university campuses to equip young people for cooperative service and dialogue around shared values — found that nearly 1 in 4 IFYC alums identify as atheist (4.7 percent), agnostic (7.1 percent), secular humanist (5.3 percent), or spiritual but not religious (6.5 percent). 

7. Faith and the Obama White House
Slide show of President Barack Obama’s moments of faith in 2013.

8. Esquire’s Best-Dressed Man of 2013 Is Pope Francis 
The magazine calls the pope’s attire an outward acknowledgement of his progressive orthodoxy.

9. Three Things Big Data Tell Us About How People Use the Bible
YouVersion, a popular Bible app, released its summary of its Bible usage data from 2013, showing how people use their apps to read and share the Bible.

10. Evolutionary Beliefs
Six in 10 Americans believe in evolution, while a third reject the notion, according to a Pew Research Center study. Sixty-four percent of white evangelical Protestants, meanwhile, believe that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, while only 15 percent of white mainline Protestants share this opinion.

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Weekly Wrap 12.27.13: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

We love providing you with daily scripture passages and quotes! Support this and all of Sojourners' work by giving your year-end gift today.

1. Holiday Deliveries — Tetris Style
Ever think about all the trucks that delivered all those holiday goodies? Check out this three-minute time-lapse video at just one UPS parking lot.

2. Fewer 'Toys from Hell' Under Christmas Tree this Year
This should be a relief as your kids play with all those new toys: There were only 31 toy recalls in fiscal 2013 — and none of them involved a lead violation, one of the most common forms of manufacturing trouble, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

3. 100 Things We Didn’t Know Last Year
Top 10 lists are a dime a dozen, so the BBC has come up with a list of 100 “news facts” from the past year including that the name Lucifer is banned in New Zealand.

4. Myth of Christian Unity
Hollis Phelps wonders if “liberal Christians” and “conservative Christians” are worshipping the same God.  

5. The Bible in 10 Minutes a Day
Justin Taylor gives tips on how to read the Bible in a year.

6. Was There Really a Star Over Bethlehem?
Physicist Aaron Adair, author of the new book, The Star of Bethlehem, says it’s unlikely.

7. Brooklyn Church a Home for Arab Christians
The Salam Arabic Lutheran Church is a kaleidoscope of Middle East Christianity— Greek and Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Iraqi Chaldeans, Lebanese Maronites, Egyptian Copts and Greek Orthodox from the Galilee in northern Israel.

8. Farewell to Iconic Buildings
Among the buildings demolished in 2013 were several once considered futuristic, such as the Pan Am Worldport Terminal at New York's JFK International Airport and Houston’s Astrodome

9. Sojo’s Top 10 Blog Articles for 2013
Sojo editors looked back at the blogs of 2013 and found that these were the 10 most widely read Sojourners blog articles of the past year.

10. The Seven Best Articles You'll Regret Missing from 2013
Jim Wallis lists his favorite posts from the past year.

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Weekly Wrap 12.20.13: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

We love keeping you informed with the Weekly Wrap! Support this and all of Sojourners’ work by giving your year-end gift today.

1. The United States of Religion
Maps highlight such things as which religions are predominant by county and state, which states have the most religious adherents and the biggest non-Christian religion in each state.

2. And, Speaking of Maps
Kansas State University geographers have created a map of the spatial distribution of the seven deadly sins across the United States. Considering high rate of obesity in this country, we’re surprisingly not very gluttonous.

3. Christmas Light Show Like You’ve Never Seen
A Japanese resorts displays 7 million sparkling, colorful and changing LEDs, revolving around Mount Fuji.

4. Airline Pulls Off a Christmas Stunt
Westjet Airline passengers get more than their luggage when the airline plays Santa.

5. When It Comes to Sermons, Live Beats Video
So much for online church services. A new survey by LifeWay Research finds that most people would rather hear real-life preacher than view a video sermon. 

6. Christmas in America: Belief in the Virgin birth and visits from Santa
Nearly one in three Americans, including many with no little children at home and those with no religious identity, pretends Santa will visit on Christmas Eve, while 73 percent of adults in the Pew survey believe Jesus was born of a virgin. Meanwhile a survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Services finds a plurality of Americans agree stores and businesses should greet their customers with “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” instead of “merry Christmas,” and 26 percent see Dec. 25 as a cultural holiday, not a holy day.

7. Is Evangelical Christianity in America Losing Its Power?
Writer Jim Hinch looks at Rev. Robert Schuller’s Chrystal Cathedral in California’s Orange County and sees trouble.

8. The 60 Best Immigration Reform Pictures of the Year
Activists for immigration reform have held rallies, gone on hunger strikes, conducted acts of civil disobedience and tweeted/emailed/called/faxed/petitioned members of Congress, fighting for a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented Americans.

9. 13 for 13 — Intriguing Religion and Faith Findings for the Year
The Public Religion Research Institute’s top 13 findings from 2013 provide such tidbits as how many American believe God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events and what percentage of Americans favor a path allowing undocumented Americans to become citizens.

10. Flying Spaghetti Monster Joins Christmas Trees in Public Holiday Displays
A university group sets up satirical display at a Wisconsin state capitol holiday display whiles other get into the act.

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Weekly Wrap 12.13.13: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

We love keeping you informed with the Weekly Wrap! Support this and all of Sojourners’ work by giving your year-end gift today.

1. Movies for the Soul
Bet you didn’t expect Die Hard to join It’s a Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown Christmas among the feel-good flicks for the holiday season.

2. 101 Christian Women Speakers
In light of recent criticisms that Christian conferences feature few women speakers, Rachel Held Evans has put together a list of 101 women she describes as just a small portion of the talent, wisdom, expertise, passion, and faith present among women in the church. No surprise to us, Sojourner’s own Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilization, makes the cut.

3. Advent, German Embassy Style
The German Embassy has an interactive advent calendar including music, recipes and games.

4. The Number One Target for Religious Lobbyists
Find out which federal legislation draws the most attention from religious groups. You may be surprised.

5. Ten to Tweet
Blogger Jana Reis gives her top 10 list of Christian writers to follow on Twitter. We’ll add one more to her list: @jimwallis.

6. The 500 Muslims of the Year
Forbes has its 400 American billionaires, People has its 50 “beautiful people,” Time has its “Person of the Year,” and the Royale Islamic Strategic Studies Center has its “Muslim 500 — the World’s Most Influential Muslims.” Topping the list: Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar University, Saudi King Abdullah and Iranian Grand Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei.

7. Nuts for Nutella
You probably think the popular hazelnut spread comes from Italy. This globalization map will tell you otherwise.

8. ‘Home Alone’ Can Teach You to Pray?
No, we didn’t know either, but this writer believes that Macaulay Culkin’s character can help us to understand the words of the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:13 and Mark 10:15.

9. Letter to Santa From a 10-Month-Old
Ah, those things that a baby wants to touch — but shouldn’t. 

10. WATCH: ''Evil Did Not Win'' At Sandy Hook
As we approach the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, we remember all those affected by the tragedy. The mother of Emilie Parker, a 6-year-old victim of the shooting, speaks from her pain, "Evil did not win." Warning: Have the tissues nearby.

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Weekly Wrap 12.6.13: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. Research Shows Those Who Give Feel, and Look, Better
Philanthropy isn’t just good for the soul; it’s good for our health and looks, too.

2. A Religious Sting Operation
A Mormon bishop goes church disguised as a homeless man in order to teach his congregation something about compassion

3. Hug It Out for YouTube
A YouTube mascot has been moving through Karachi, Pakistan, with a placard: "If you want me back, hug me.” The video service has been banned in Pakistan for more than a year.

4. In 1968, Minimum Wage Kept Family of Three Out of Poverty
Graph illustrates what would happen to the minimum wage in relationship to poverty if Congress passes a bill to gradually increase the minimum.

5. The Pope in Disguise?
Vatican officials deny reports the pope has been slipping out at night to visit the poor in Rome, but such tales seem in line with Francis’ unconventional and pastoral style.

6. Celibacy, Sex, and the Priest
While Pope Francis speaks a lot about change, clerical celibacy hasn’t gotten much attention. Bill Keller of the New York Times tells the story of one of his teaching nuns who married a priest later in life. Keller says, “If I’m an émigré from the country of Catholicism, the Hydars would be best described as dissidents who stayed. They ended up in one of the many small communities of disaffected Catholics.”

7. Tips for Jesus!
Forget 15, 18, or 20 percent tips for the wait staff, the anonymous person (or people) behind @TipsforJesus has been way more generous than that.

8. A Pastor's Confession on Immigration
A Pastor repents of his previous stance on immigration, telling of the story of those around him.

9. They’re Tough on the Outside, But Inside...
These mean looking bikers aren’t what you might have first thought. They’re helping protect children who have been sexually abused.

10. How the Media Treated Women in 2013
There was a lot to celebrate this year for women in the media. But some things aren't changing fast enough. Check out an overview of how the media treated women this year

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Weekly Wrap 11.27.13: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week (So Far)

(Editors Note: Due to Thanksgiving, we''ve compiled the stories from the week so far. Enjoy that turkey!)

1. What Americans (Still) Want From Immigration Reform
Sixty-three percent of Americans favor providing a way for immigrants who are currently living in the United States illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, while 14% support allowing them to become permanent legal residents but not citizens.

2. Religious Americans Give More, New Study Finds
The more important religion is to a person, the more likely that person is to give to a charity of any kind, according to new research released by Connected America. Among Americans who claim a religious affiliation, the study said, 65 percent give to charity. Among those who do not identify a religious creed, 56 percent make charitable gifts.

3. High Stakes Raids on Religious Groups?
From Scientology to the Apostles of Infinite Love in Canada, the Pinnacle Rastafari in Jamaica and Hikari no Wa in Japan, an expert claims that governments are raiding nontraditional religious groups like never before.

4. Wear Pants to Church Day
Last December, a grassroots effort by Mormon feminists urged women to wear pants to church  — something that is nowhere forbidden by LDS doctrine but in some locations has been frowned upon by the conservative subculture of Mormondom. Women will be doing it again Dec. 15.

5. Looking to Australia to Celebrate Thanksgiving
Australia acknowledges its Aboriginal culture far more than America acknowledges Native American roots. This Thanksgiving, should we look for inspiration Down Under? 

6. The Macy''s Thanksgiving Parade Balloons Used to Be Extremely Creepy
Windy weather may ground the giant balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, but decades ago, you might have preferred skipping these creepy-looking balloons.

7. The Supersized American Turkey
Those turkeys just keep getting bigger and bigger.

8. Solar-Powered Bikes
Here’s a way to give your two wheels extra power without relying on electricity — but balancing might be a bit tough.

9. Five Characteristics of Happiness
The science of positive psychology has revealed five character strengths especially connected with higher levels of happiness. Do you have any of them?

10. A new literary mash-up: Amish romance and vampire tales
Amish Vampires in Space is the latest literary mash-up to gain rave reviews and social media buzz. It’s part of a small but growing group of new bonnet and bloodsucker books that combine two of today’s best-selling genres: Amish romance and vampire tales. 

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