1. Give me your tired, your poor…
The Statue of Liberty turns 125 today, and a New York Times blog post has the fascinating story of how it became an enduring immigrant-beckoning symbol:
Emma Lazarus’s poem only belatedly became synonymous with the Statute of Liberty, whose 125th birthday as a gift from France will be celebrated on Friday by the National Park Service. Lazarus’s “New Colossus,” with its memorable appeal to “give me your tired, your poor,” was commissioned for a fund-raising campaign by artists and writers to pay for the statue’s pedestal. But while the poem was critically acclaimed — the poet James Russell Lowell wrote that he liked it “much better than I like the Statue itself” because it “gives its subject a raison d’être which it wanted before quite as much as it wants a pedestal” — it was not even mentioned at the dedication ceremony.
2. “Latinos are saving American Christianity”
NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty had an interesting report for Morning Edition on the rise of evangelical and Pentecostal churches among Latinos in the US, focusing on one Assemblies of God congregation in Chicago:
It’s a truism that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week. But the people streaming into New Life’s sanctuary are black, white and Asian, as well as Hispanic. Most, like de Jesus, are second-generation Latinos. And three of four services are in English. Indeed, much of the church’s growth is fueled by Hispanic-Americans shedding the faith of their parents. De Jesus says he can spot them every time.
3. Foster care (or kidnapping?) of Native American kids
Thanks to my friend Jared Hankee for sharing the link to an NPR investigative series on foster care and adoption issues in South Dakota involving Native American children. It seems like a very sad situation and a very complicated issue, but one worth learning about:
“Cousins are disappearing; family members are disappearing,” said Peter Lengkeek, a Crow Creek Tribal Council member. “It’s kidnapping. That’s how we see it.” State officials say they have to do what’s in the best interest of the child, but the state does have a financial incentive to remove the children. The state receives thousands of dollars from the federal government for every child it takes from a family, and in some cases the state gets even more money if the child is Native American. The result is that South Dakota is now removing children at a rate higher than the vast majority of other states in the country. Native American families feel the brunt of this. Their children make up less than 15 percent of the child population, yet they make up more than half of the children in foster care.
4. Cultivating the imagination
Earlier this week I blogged about being related to Eugene Peterson. I’ve linked to interviews and articles about him before (here, here, and here). But I just think he’s worth listening to, so here we go again, this time in an interview with Response about art and imagination in the life of a pastor:
From artists I learned never to look at just the surface of a person, but to look for the interior life, to consider what I know of their past. An exterior is never just an exterior. In our culture, we’re trained to focus on the exterior, for instance, through advertising and publicity. Being present to a person long enough to start sensing that they’re never just themselves, they’re their parents, their grandparents, their kids, their neighbors – all of that becomes part of their story. Artists help me do that, because they are attuned to the interior life. I think it’s interesting that Karl Barth, the theologian who has influenced me most, was mostly influenced by Mozart. Mozart was a theme in his life. I think he learned a lot about writing theology by listening to Mozart.
5. “Fly-by-night” gold mining (and resistance) in Guatemala
Mike Allison, a professor at the University of Scranton and one of the best bloggers on Central American politics, passed along a link to a paper on the expansion of the gold mining industry in Guatemala which I hadn’t seen before. It was published in the Bulletin of Latin American Research; here’s the abstract:
Over the past two decades, the gold mining industry has increased its activity in Latin America. Growing contestation and conflict around gold mining projects have accompanied this shift. This article draws from the case of Guatemala, where metal exploration has grown by 1,000 per cent since 1998, to illustrate how the proliferation of small ‘junior’ firms – together with neoliberal investment policies and suitability of mineralisation – set the stage for fly-by-night gold mining and, therefore, intense resistance from host communities to mineral development.
6. Tell Obama to help stop gun smuggling to Mexico
We all know about the terrible violence that’s been consuming Mexico in recent years — 40,000 killed in five years — but for many of us, our concern stops with keeping it from spilling across the border into the US. It’s time to deal with the fact that the vast majority of weapons used in drug-related crimes in Mexico come from north of the Rio Grande. The Washington Office on Latin America is urging President Obama to take concrete steps to stop it. Please sign the petition here.
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!