Stories I’ve Found, 7/12/2013

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

Jonathan Merritt offers an excellent reflection Should Christians Oppose the Surveillance State?

Michael Sean Winters shares some good history and some very pertinent thoughts in his post Wal Mart and Catholic Social Teaching.  Catholic Social Teaching says very clearly that employers have an obligation to pay their workers a living wage.

Bill Tammeus offers a challenge to faith communities: confront gun idolatry. There’s nothing wrong with owning a gun or using it responsibly; it’s quite another to deify gun ownership. My community, the Kansas City Province of the Society of the Precious Blood, just adopted a statement in favor of responsible gun ownership.

Pope Francis’ homily on Lampedusa speaks out on the “globalization of indifference”.

The Vatican has just updated its civil code to cover crimes against children more forcefully, as well as punishment for official document leaks.  More is promised here.

A snapshot from the past: Religion in America on July 4, 1776.

The CNN Belief Blog provides this quick guide to Ramandan, which began Tuesday in North America.

Omar Sacirbey shares stories of the loneliness some recent American Muslim converts feel during Ramadan, the holiest time of the year, and how some Muslim communities are trying to address it.

Tonight I Dine With a Queen is an appealing poem about the spirit of Ramandan, shared by Omid Safi.

Evidently, the hope China would take a softer line toward the Dalai Lama was wishful thinking, as Buddhist Monks celebrating his birthday have been shot.

Singing is good for your health. This Swedish study indicates that as a choir sings, their hearts start beating at the same rhythm. Another article expands on this idea, and says singing in a choir is as good as yoga. Join a choir today, it’s good for you! (I’m serious)

The spirit of any holy season can be undercut by luxury, and this slideshow gives us some Ramadan luxuries that can be purchased for the right price.  It reminds me of a radio ad I heard from the Lobster Pot restaurant many years ago: “It’s Lent. Come get your lobster!”  Somewhere in Paradise, St. Augustine is shaking his head.

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