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Repaso: January 4, 2013


1. Slavery’s global comeback
J.J. Gould has an important piece in The Atlantic on slavery, a sobering reminder having just marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Gould writes:

Some of what’s obscured contemporary slavery, then, has been a matter of quantitative analysis; but some has been conceptual: In the West, and particularly in the United States, slavery has long settled in the public imagination as being categorically a thing of the past. One consequence of this is that when people apply the idea of slavery to current events, they tend to think of it as an analogy. That is, they tend to use the word to dramatize conditions that may be exploitive – e.g., terrible wages or toxic working environments – but that we’d never on their own call “slavery” if the kind of forced labor we used to call “slavery” still existed… But there’s an inverse consequence to seeing slavery as a thing of the past, too: It can mean having a harder time recognizing slavery when it’s right in front of us.

2. #EndIt
If that first article leaves you depressed, here’s one small reason to take heart: this week in Atlanta, 60,000 college students and young adults have gathered in the Georgia Dome for Passion 2013, as they put it, to “make Jesus famous” and “end modern-day slavery.” The leaders of the conference are calling on attendees and those watching at home to donate to the End It campaign, supporting the work of a number of leading anti-slavery organizations. The live stream for the sessions is here, and Christianity Today’s Allison Althoff is providing day-by-day updates here.

3. Thinking about reading
I’m working on a post for next week, reflecting on the need to consider why we read what we do in any given year. In the meantime, to get us thinking about the topic, consider Scot McKnight’s thoughts, spurred in part by Ross Douthat’s piece, “How to Read in 2013.” As McKnight notes, Douthat is focused rather narrowly on politics (while McKnight himself is focused rather narrowly on the Apostle Paul). Regardless of each of our interests and areas of focus, it’s interesting to think back on our 2012 reading and to identify which books should be thought of as insulary, compulsory, or desultory kinds of reading.

4. Losing a hero
Forty years ago this week, Puerto Rican baseball star Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash on his way to Nicaragua, where he intended to deliver relief to victims after an earthquake. Clemente, of course, was well known for his humanitarianism, and each year the MLB awards one player “who truly understand[s] the value of helping others” in Clemente’s honor. First Things gathered links to several tributes, including a good one from ESPN (though I’m not sure “humanism” is really the best word to describe his humanitarianism).

5. Phoenix observation tower
It’s debatable whether this will ever get built, and not even sure whether to hope it will, but it’s interesting to envision a tower like this in downtown Phoenix.

6. Justice Conference plug
We’re now seven weeks away from The Justice Conference, taking place February 22 and 23 in Philadelphia and available via simulcast in Phoenix and cities across the country (more on the simulcast here). Register soon and please help spread the word!

Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!

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