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When I was a kid, there were several things I could always find on our kitchen fridge: The school’s hot lunch menu, with all the good days (pizza days) circled; photos where one of my eyes was accidentally squinted closed; coupons for our favorite Chinese takeout spot; and — usually taped to the corner — a list of emergency phone numbers. I don’t remember ever needing that list, but I liked knowing the numbers were there if I needed them.
How we respond to an emergency says a lot about who we are. This week, faith-based groups started organizing for disaster relief before Hurricane Ida even made landfall, while health clinics in Texas did their best to help everyone they could before a new law imposed a state-wide ban on abortions. Twenty years ago, the United States decided to respond to the devastation of 9/11 with more violence and we’re still reckoning with that choice.
But emergencies can also be opportunities to find — and offer — grace. After experiencing a mental health crisis, Rachel Lam expected to face her stepmother’s disdain; instead, she received patience and deep understanding. Lam ultimately found space to heal and offer advice to those helping loved ones deal with mental illness: “In addition to your prayers, take action that helps. We need grace, patience, and understanding” — also good advice for those of us wrestling with this week’s news.
1. Could the U.S. Government Take Nonviolence Seriously?
War didn’t work in Afghanistan, say experts — and strategic nonviolence could be a more effective alternative. By Mitchell Atencio via sojo.net.
2. 67 Abortions in 17 Hours: Inside a Texas Clinic’s Race To Beat New Six-Week Abortion Ban
At Whole Woman’s Health in Fort Worth, it was a race to perform as many abortions as possible until midnight, when a new Texas ban on the procedure became law. By Chabeli Carrazana via 19thnews.org.
3. The Dangerous Things Christians Say to Depressed People
As a Christian and a biracial Chinese woman, I often felt ashamed for not being stronger or having more faith. By Rachel Lam via sojo.net.
4. All God Cons: Camping in Churches Has a Record Year as UK Staycations Boom
As conventional campsites fill up, more holidaymakers are discovering the joys of ‘champing’ – and silent nights. By Miranda Bryant via theguardian.com.
5. The Mystical Neon Heart Behind @PaperCutPrayers
Benjamin PowerGriffin started cutting paper art as a way to center himself after heart surgery, but his Twitter project has grown to encourage others. By Cassidy Klein via sojo.net.
6. Faith-Based Disaster Relief Groups Balance COVID Safety With Speedy Response to Hurricane Ida
The surge in COVID-19 rates makes responding to disasters like Ida more complicated. By Bob Smietana via Religion News Service.
7. Isaiah Spoke To Vulnerable People, Not Military Superpowers
The United States is an aggressor, grinding innocent people into ash, not a “shining city on a hill.” By Melissa Florer-Bixler via sojo.net.
8. Texas Abortion Case Highlights Concern Over Supreme Court’s ‘Shadow Docket’
A process intended to help the court deal with emergency petitions and routine matters has grown into a backdoor way of making major policy decisions. By Charlie Savage via The New York Times.
9. The Problem Was Always Bigger Than Mark Driscoll
It would be too convenient to suggest that Driscoll’s authoritarianism was solely a product of his warrior Jesus theology. By Kristopher Norris via sojo.net.
10. After a Long Pandemic Layoff, God Interviews for a New Job
I actually wrote a book — you might have seen that on my résumé. And I’d say it captured everything people in my organization needed to know. By Jonathan Weisberg via mcsweeneys.net.