The Common Good

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St. Francis, Pray for Us

Today (Oct. 4) Christians around the world celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the bright lights of the church and one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

The life and witness of Francis is as relevant to the world we live in today as it was 900 years ago. He was one of the first critics of capitalism, one of the earliest Christian environmentalists, a sassy reformer of the church, and one of the classic conscientious objectors to war.

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Who is Organizing the California Prison Hunger Strike?

Behind Bars. Fremantle Prisonphoto © 2009 Amanda Slater | more info (via: Wylio)On the first day of this month, inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison, joined by inmates in other prisons around the state, began a hunger strike to protest "inhumane and torturous conditions" in the Security Housing Unit, which holds inmates in solitary confinement for decades at a time. They're still at it; the state has admitted that as many as 6,600 inmates around the state have participated in the strike. Last week, corrections officials offered the prisoners a proposed deal, which they unanimously rejected.

This comes after a Supreme Court decision in May that ordered California to reduce its prison population, as overcrowding was causing "needless suffering and death."

Part of what's making the standoff worse is the belief that the strike is, in essence, a form of gang activity. For one thing, as Colin Dayan noted in passing in a New York Times op-ed, "How they have managed to communicate with each other is anyone's guess." The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), though, isn't so stumped.

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What Would Jonathan Edwards Say About Twitter?

As I play with my young son, walk to the grocery store, or wait for a subway, I feel the presence of emails I haven't answered, Facebook invites I haven't responded to, tweets I haven't sent.
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The Most Interesting Woman in the World

Have you seen the Dos Equis commercials starring actor Jonathan Goldsmith as "the most interesting man in the world"?
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Was Jesus a Passive Doormat?

This past Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week for Christians -- a week of remembering Jesus' suffering and death.
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My Letter to the IRS: 'I Reserve the Right Not to Kill'

As a Christian, Easter marks the most stunning act of grace and enemy-love in human history -- Jesus' death and resurrection.
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Wisconsin Strengthens Ties Between Labor and Environment

Corporations have long used the false rhetoric of "jobs versus the environment" to pit what would be natural allies -- environmentalists and labor activists -- against one another.
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