Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Monthly Reading Links

"To be prophets of life is to demonstrate God's uniquely personal love for every human life. If we can understand God's love for the least among us – for the poor, the vulnerable, the unborn, or the disabled – we can understand his love for all of us. If we can witness to the dignity of disabled lives, we're likely to witness deeply to all human dignity. Our dignity is rooted not in what we can do, but in how much God loves us."
James Conley, First Things

"Sissy Goodwin is out shopping … He walks through a mall, a linebacker-sized figure in a pink skirt, lacy yellow blouse and five-o'clock shadow; a gold lamé purse slung over his shoulder and a white bow affixed to his receding gray hair. The 67-year-old college science instructor looks straight ahead, ignoring the stares and the catcalls … Back in the car, the object of such scorn puts on pink sunglasses adorned with a tiny red plastic bow. 'I got them in Reno,' he says. 'Aren't they cool?'"
John Glionna, Los Angeles Times

"I felt selfish for finding love when the man I once knew as my dad was disappearing, and for thinking about my future when my stepmother's own true love was receding into the past. But with every visit to New Mexico – barbecuing burgers, chopping firewood, shoveling snow off the roof – David stitched himself deeper into our lives. Every time he left, I missed him more."
Tanya Ward Goodman, Los Angeles Times

"The easy way to look at TOMS is to praise their charitable work. The harder, more troubling way … is to acknowledge [TOMS] as an example of how corporations have assumed work most often associated with self-identified religious organizations: building community, engaging in charity, and cultivating morals … So it is worthwhile to risk looking behind the appeal of charity to the transformed meaning of consumer spending … that occurs in the background."
Lucia Hulsether, Religion & Politics

"When I remember that Blue Ridge panhandler, I always end up thinking of Lazarus and the rich man. The story is a very disturbing parable … There is none of the information we like to have when deciding when or even whether to hand a dollar to someone. We know only that [the rich man] ate sumptuously and dressed well, and that Lazarus was hungry and sick, with no one but dogs to bathe his lesions. That is all we are told of the two men and that, Jesus seems to say, is all we need to know."
Russell Saltzman, First Things

"Like a Third Testament, the changes of the natural world … reveal God's unfolding work of creation. This book of nature, with its seasonal chapter headings, surprises me with each go-around. More than any other, the chapter on autumn stirs the mind and heart to higher things – look how few pages remain! Autumn reminds us that this created beauty is ours, but only for a little while longer."
Joe Simmons, The Jesuit Post

"According to the New Mexico Chile Association, about 78,000 tons of chile were harvested in New Mexico in 2012 – a crop worth about $65 million … The people who pick it, however, barely eke out a living, and some of them can't even afford their own lodging. Sin Fronteras Organizing Project's shelter in El Paso, Texas, opened in 1995 to house farmworkers who don't earn enough to rent an apartment."
Joseph Sorrentino, Commonweal

Follow me on Twitter, @jwbidwell, for additional reading recommendations.