Century Marks

Century Marks

Virtue, not vice

Justin Welby, the recently named archbishop of Canter­bury and a former oil executive, sits on a commission in the United Kingdom reviewing the culture and standards of banking. He does not think that adding regulations is the way to address the crisis in the banking industry. He noted that the head of a major bank told him that it has 3,500 compliance officers and 900 lawyers on staff. What banking needs is virtue, according to the archbishop. “Financial services must serve society, not rule it. They must be integrated into the economy, not semidetached,” he said (Bloomberg, January 10).

Enlightenment

A student asked the Zen master Gasan if he had ever read the Bible. Gasan replied that he hadn’t and asked the student to read it to him. He started with Matthew, and words from chapter 6 caught Gasan’s attention: “And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed liked one of these. . . . So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.” After he heard these words, Gasan said, “I would say that the man who spoke these words is enlightened” (Notto R. Thelle, Who Can Stop the Wind? Liturgical Press).

Strike two

New York University student Josh Begley has been tweeting about every U.S. drone strike since 2002. He has pointed out a tactic called “double tap,” which is considered by some a war crime. It involves a strike on the first responders who try to rescue the people hit in the initial strike (Business Insider, December 12).

Making peace

When Lu Lobello returned from duty in Iraq, he was haunted by the memory of one particular incident. Early in the takeover of Baghdad, his marine unit had shot up a suspicious car that turned out to contain civilians, the Kachadoorian family. Only the mother and a daughter survived; all the men were killed. Lobello was discharged from the marines due to actions related to his suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. He eventually researched what happened to the survivors in the Kachadoorian family. They had moved to California and lived not far from Lobello. Through a reporter who had written about the Kachadoorians, a meeting was arranged. The conversation was awkward, but the mother and daughter, both Arminian Christians, told Lobello that they forgave him and welcomed him as a son and brother (New Yorker, October 29).

Despiser of religion

Robert Inger­soll was a late 19th-century agnostic who spoke to more Americans than U.S. presidents did, at a time when public lectures were a source of information and entertainment. Known by his clerical opponents as Robert Injuresoul, he argued that the United States was the first secular government in world history, and he introduced Darwinism with skillful humor. Ingersoll was the son of an unsuccessful Presbyterian minister and, like his hero Abraham Lincoln, self-taught. Though little known today, he influenced such figures as Clara Barton, Clarence Darrow, Mark Twain and Mar­garet Sanger (American Scholar, Winter).