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Of all the coping mechanisms I developed during the pandemic, Zillow-ing is the strangest. Though I had no real intention to buy a house, I downloaded the house-purchasing app around the time restaurants and theaters closed in New York City, where I live and rent a 500-square-foot garden apartment. I couldn’t go see Waitress on Broadway, but I could look at a two-bedroom house in Denver and imagine hiking, throwing snowballs, and discovering hidden hot springs surrounded by aspen groves. I’m getting carried away.
I want to get carried away. News broke that the Hillsong founder did indeed cover up child sexual abuse, and I sighed, prayed, and Zillow-ed myself to a one-bedroom in San Diego, so close to the beach that you know there will always be sand in the bed, sand in the couch, sand under the dinner table.
A new COVID-19 variant; a new Zillow listing in San Antonio. ICU beds filling in Austin; an A-frame in Asheville. I cannot afford these houses. It’s a fantasy, but it’s also distorted form of hope. In her essay “Cicada Season: Pandemic, Faith, and Apocalypse,” Jessica Ripka describes buying a house in Baltimore for her niece and nephew, who she gained temporary custody of in the wake of her sister’s death: “Signing a thirty-year home loan during the apocalypse is a strange thing. One full of such hope and absurdity, I simultaneously laughed and cried at the bank while signing the initial deposit check. Who will inherit this house? What will be left of us in thirty years’ time?”
There’s something hopeful in imaging the future in a time of great global loss. Below, you’ll find 10 Zillow listings to drool over. Just kidding! Below are 10 stories, many of them about people trying to make this spiraling, beautiful world a better place.
1. What Is Church Now?
Churches across North America grapple with how they’ll be different in the post-quarantine era. By Christina Colón via Sojourners.
2. Moms Spent the Equivalent of a Fulltime Job on Child Care Last Year — While Working at the Same Time
Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on how Americans split their time last year shows moms of young kids spent about eight hours a day on childcare while spending six hours on average working. By Chabeli Carrazana via The 19th.
3. Can Coffee Cultivate Peace in Colombia?
The Catholic Church, which is investing in farmer training initiatives, seems to think so. By Andrew J. Wight via sojo.net.
4. Cicada Season: Pandemic, Faith, and Apocalypse
“I can tell God doesn’t want us to wear masks,” the nine-year-old told me recently in the car. “Because He rewarded Mommy with heaven for not wearing hers.” By Jessica Ripka via Men Yell at Me.
5. Using the Bible to Debunk 10 Myths About Reparations
How two pastors in Illinois have been addressing their churches’ concerns about reparations. By Michael Woolf and Michael C.R. Nabors via sojo.net.
6. Author Nneka M. Okona Encourages Us to Embrace Grief
Okona on her new book, Self-Care for Grief: 100 Practices for Healing During Times of Loss. By L’Oreal Thompson Payton via Shondaland.
7. ‘In God We Lust’ Is a Gossipy Take on the Falwell Saga. We Need More
A new podcast entertains, but fails to interrogate the dangers of purity culture. By Devi Abraham via sojo.net.
8. ‘I’m Willing to Put My Body on the Line’
Over 200 were arrested at the Poor People’s Campaign’s nonviolent direct action event. By Mark Dovich and Hazel Tang via sojo.net.
9. The Founder of Megachurch Hillsong Has Been Charged With Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse
This comes months after the church, which has locations around the world and celebrity members, fired its star pastor Carl Lentz for cheating on his wife. By Paige Skinner via BuzzFeed News.
10. Sending Your Prayers to God — and Facebook
The social media giant has introduced prayer tools in the U.S., but many faith leaders and privacy experts are skeptical of the company’s intentions. By Gina Ciliberto via sojo.net.