“God is for the poor – the oppressed, the widow and the orphan – and he is for humanity in our collective poverty, our ultimate powerlessness in the face of sin and death. But he makes known his redemptive purposes for us through both the powerless and the powerful, using both to accomplish his purposes. When God acts in culture, he uses both the powerful and the powerless alongside one another rather than using one against the other.”
1. What does a CEO with integrity look like?
Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College, had an op-ed yesterday in the New York Times about Gerard Arpey, the American Airlines CEO who just walked away after 30 years out of a belief that filing for bankruptcy — a procedure that’s become standard in the airline industry — is wrong. That he is a man of integrity is worth celebrating; that he is a rare exception among CEOs, though, is lamentable. Lindsay writes:
Over the last eight years, I have interviewed hundreds of senior executives for a major academic study on leadership, including six airline C.E.O.’s. Mr. Arpey stood out among the 550 people I talked with not because he believed that business had a moral dimension, but because of his firm conviction that the C.E.O. must carefully attend to those considerations, even if doing so blunts financial success or negates organizational expediency. For him, it is an obligation that goes with the corner office.
2. Culture wars and Pentecostalism in Brazil
The days of the Religious Right might be mostly behind us here in the US, but in Brazil, it seems to really be catching on. The New York Times has a profile of Silas Malafaia, a televangelist with a massive following who is known for his polarizing views, and takes a look at the rise of Pentecostals and other Protestant groups in Brazil:
About one in four Brazilians are now thought to belong to evangelical Protestant congregations, and Pentecostals like Mr. Malafaia are at the forefront of this growth. In a remarkable religious transformation, scholars say that while Brazil still has the largest number of Roman Catholics in the world, it now also rivals the United States in having one of the largest Pentecostal populations. Not everyone in Brazil is enthusiastic about this shift.
3. Evangelicals rethink nuclear weapons
Members of the National Association of Evangelicals board of directors have written a piece for Washington Post’s “On Faith” column that’s worth prayerful consideration:
Christians hold that all people bear God’s image (Genesis 1:27).Therefore, human life and freedom are precious and should be defended from injustice and tyranny. Nuclear weapons, with their capacity for terror as well as for destruction of human life, raise profound spiritual, moral and ethical concerns. We question the acceptability of nuclear weapons as part of a just national defense. The just war tradition admonishes against indiscriminate violence and requires proportionality and limited collateral damage. New scientific studies reveal that even a limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would have profound global consequences, harming billions of innocents. The very weapons meant to restrain evil could potentially destroy all that they were intended to protect.
4. “Our voice, our memory”
Mike at the Central American Politics blog shared this 30-minute documentary about the 36-year civil war in Guatemala, which, according to the makers of the film, meets the international criteria to be considered genocide. Needless to say, it’s not for the faint of heart, but is important for the understanding of history, as well as what you might call “the roots of the present illness.” It’s in Spanish, too, by the way.
5. How free music makes more than sense
Derek Webb, one of my favorite artists who started NoiseTrade (a great place to get free music legally!), has a new reflection on the state of the music industry and what it means for those who make and listen to music (hint: he’s not a fan of Spotify):
There has never been a better moment to be a middle-class or an independently thinking artist making and performing music than right now. The costs and complications of creating, recording, manufacturing, and distributing music are at an all-time low, enabling more music to be made and more artists to make a living than ever before. If your ego can bear not being rich and famous, you can make a respectable and sustainable living as a blue-collar musician. The problem used to be access; now it’s obscurity. And this brings with it a completely new set of problems and opportunities.
Poverty in Latin America is at its lowest level for 20 years, the UN’s regional economic body, Eclac, says. From 1990 to 2010, the rate fell from 48.4% to 31.4%, which means 177 million people currently live in poverty… “Poverty and inequality continue to decline in the region, which is good news, particularly in the midst of an international economic crisis,” said Alicia Barcena, Eclac’s executive secretary. “However, this progress is threatened by the yawning gaps in the productive structure in the region and by the labour markets which generate employment in low-productivity sectors.”
8. Top 100 global thinkers Foreign Policy has released its latest list of top global thinkers for the past year. A number of the leaders of the Egyptian revolution are atop the list. I was especially interested to see that Yoani Sánchez, Cuban dissident blogger, and Dr. Paul Farmer, medical anthropologist with a long history in Haiti, made the cut as well.
9. And justice for all [infograhic] GOOD and Column Five Media have produced an interesting infographic on how the US is doing in terms of income equality and providing all citizens with access to the market economy (click on the image below to view the full-size infographic).
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!