Is sugar toxic? That's the argument being made by Robert Lustig in a 90 minute presentation here. The NYT magazine article about the topic is here. As Dr. Lewis Cantley, director of the Cancer Center at Harvard Medical School says, "Sugar scares me."
When Jerusalem was sacked in 597 BC, its inhabitants were raped, tortured, and murdered. The Babylonians even committed infanticide according to the Jewish history as found in the book of Ezekiel. So how do we read this as Christian scripture given a loving God? Dr. Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer (via Michael Bird) suggests that we, "read Ezekiel in tandem with Lamentations [and Job] and so complain that God has gone too far, and leave the response up to God."
Josh Rowley passes along a quote from Ron Sider (of Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger fame): "What the Almighty will do if thousands of praying, loving Christians
non-violently face death in the search for peace and justice will remain
shrouded in mystery--at least until we have the courage to try it"
John Updike sounds like the Protestant version of Flannery O'Connor here: "This age needs rather men like Shakespeare, or Milton, or Pope; men
who are filled with the strength of their cultures and do not transcend
the limits of their age, but, working within the times, bring what is
peculiar to the moment to glory. We need great artists who are willing
to accept restrictions, and who love their environments with such
vitality that they can produce an epic out of the Protestant
ethic ... Whatever the many failings
of my work, let it stand as a manifesto of my love for
the time in which I was born.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer from a 1932 essay: "Praying for the kingdom cannot be done by the one who tears himself away
from his own misery and the misery of others, who lives unattached and
solely in the pious hours of his 'own salvation.' The church may have
hours in which it can sustain even that, but we cannot. The hour in
which the church prays for the kingdom forces the church, for better or
for worse, to identify completely with the fellowship of the children of
the Earth and world. It bind the church by oaths of fealty to the
Earth, to misery, to hunger, to death. It renders the church completely
in solidarity with that which is evil and with the guilt of their
brothers. The hour in which we pray for God’s kingdom is the hour of the
most profound solidarity with the world, an hour of clenched teeth and
trembling fists. It is not a time for solitary whispering, 'Oh, that I
might be saved.' Rather, it is a time for mutual silence and screaming,
that this world which has forced us into distress together might pass
away and Your kingdom come to us."
Cool picture of a gorilla being evacuated from a Congo war zone here.
Walter Burghardt offer five suggestions for creating a contemplative life of prayer and expands on each of them at this link. First, seek out some sort of desert experience. Second, cultivate a feeling for festivity, the experience of doing something utterly lacking in utilitarian value. Closely related is the third suggestion: cultivate a sense of play. Fourth, learn to let go, to not posses, to let experiences and things be ephemeral. Finally, make contemplative friends, friends who radiate wonder, whose sense of delight is finely tuned.
The Afghan tribal elders know that America will go the way of all empires who enter The Graveyard. It's only a matter of time.
Here's a bunch of art indexed by biblical text.
List of messianic pretenders.