Stories I’ve Found, 12/21/2012

For those of us who’ve survived the End of the World so far, some interesting stories I’ve found:

In the light of last week’s tragedy in Newtown, Conneticut, Rev. Emily Hughes offers excellent advice on dealing with the unexpected death of children. This is good advice in dealing with grief of any kind.

“We reaffirm that as a society we cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing more people.” Religion News Service report that the Death Penalty has become more rare in the United States, which is very welcome news.

To Fight Hatred, We Need. . .The Beatles (and Love) is a tale about a confrontation in Times Square between the radical anti-Islam preacher who burned the Qu’ran and the crowd that reacted against him in song. I couldn’t watch all the video, but the story is powerful. This is the season of love and peace, isn’t it?

Since this is a season of love and peace, Leah Libresco gives us Three Stories of Forgiveness.  The first story, of Nobuo Fujita, a man who sent bombs our way during World War 2, is especially poignant.

In the wake of last week’s massacre, a video gamer decides to give up violent games.  I never really took to them myself, but after my giving up football, I can understand where this guy is coming from.

Seeing Christ in ‘The Hobbit?’ is an excellent reflection on Tolkein, faith, and heroism.  I think we need more Tolkein-like heros in today’s fiction and fewer Supermen/women. Jesus may have been a Superstar, but He was never a superhero.

Gandalf and Goodness–Today is an excellent reflection on how small deeds by ordinary people keep the darkness at bay.  I’m a fan of Gandalf, and I think more of us should be.

The Washington Post reports the latest Pew Survey on religions around the world.  Some of you may be surprised which religion has the most number of adherents, and where it still has a majority of believers.

Bill Tammeus shares some interesting thoughts from Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel Enemies: A Love Story.  It includes a reflection by a fictional Jewish Holocaust survivor on what it means to be Jewish. We should all reflect from time to time what it means to be what what believe.

Omid Safi prays for the Apocalypse, today and every day.  After reading this reflection, I do as well.

Fruitcakes at Christmastime are the butt of many jokes, but these fruitcakes are not only delectable, but made by men with a different purpose in life than profitAssumption Abbey (Trappist) in southern Missouri is a beautiful place to make a retreat (I did once), and they blend prayer and work in a lovely way.

GetReligion reminds us not to mention the war.  It’s an excellent reflection on current taboos in humor and news these days, and how often they get casually invoked.  The best example, mentioned in this piece, is the recent German ban on circumcision, which was NOT based on Nazism reborn.

And a Happy New B’ak’tun to one and all!

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