1. Good neighbors on the crowded margins
Kent Annan (@kentannan), whose work I’ve discussed here and here, wrote this month’s cover story for CT on the New Friars who are serving incarnationally in some of the world’s most difficult slums:
The New Friars don’t seem to merit high-profile attention. Their efforts to alleviate poverty are small next to the work of many missionary and nonprofit groups and the problems they address. Yet we do well to listen to the New Friars, because of the way they themselves are listening to God and neighbor, to suffering and hope on the crowded margins of society. They address vital questions about missions today, and about how all Christians might practice our vocations with sacrifice, devotion, and hope. I knew some of these missionaries. I had read books by others. I had experimented with similar ideals in my own life. So I was eager to see their ideas in action. What better time to do so than over the weekend marking the culmination of Jesus’ life?
2. Architecture and the common good
An insightful half-hour (or so) interview with architect David Greusel (@lesuerg) from the good folks at Cardus. Greusel specializes in designing places where people gather publicly, and he has some great thoughts here on why architecture matters.
3. Go with God
Stanley Hauerwas wrote a letter a few autumns ago to incoming college freshmen who are Christians. It is long, rambling, and wonderful – for college students and for all of us:
You are a Christian. This means you cannot go to college just to get a better job. These days, people talk about college as an investment because they think of education as a bank account: You deposit the knowledge and expertise you’ve earned, and when it comes time to get a job, you make a withdrawal, putting all that stuff on a résumé and making money off the investment of your four years. Christians need jobs just like anybody else, but the years you spend as an undergraduate are like everything else in your life. They’re not yours to do with as you please. They’re Christ’s.
4. Religion at its best and worst
Chris Seiple (@CSeiple), the president of the Institute for Global Engagement, raises some important questions about the role religion has played in the conflict in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, and the extent to which faith groups could be part of the solution – if given the chance:
If religion is a part of the problem, can it be a part of the solution? Can the best of faith defeat the worst of religion? Can practical, multi-faith peace-building efforts and standing structures pre-empt religiously motivated violence? … Are peaceful faith-based organizations prepared to engage in the diplomatic realm of states, and are state diplomats prepared to not only receive, but also proactively engage such possibilities?
A surprisingly heartfelt three minute spot from Thai telecommunications conglomerate True that’s been making the rounds.
[Image: Word Made Flesh via Facebook]