Century Marks

Century Marks

Take the bus

Last month Nuns on the Bus kicked off a national tour aimed at giving a faith-based push to immigration reform legislation that’s now hanging in the balance in Congress. The nuns hope to replicate their much publicized tour last summer, when the sisters traveled 2,700 miles through nine states to protest Republican budget plans. This year they plan to cover 6,500 miles, stopping in 15 states, especially in communities with large Latino populations (RNS).


Help, Mom! There Are Arminians Under My Bed! by the Rev. J. D. Hall is a picture book intended to teach children the Calvinist doctrine of sovereign grace. A reviewer at Amazon by the name of B. Ditto says facetiously: “We bought this for our three boys, Beza, Calvin, and Van Till! . . . The joy they got out of this book made me almost as happy as when little Calvin started quoting the Institutes, little Van Till argued for the existence of God by assuming He existed, and little Beza threw rocks at that Methodist kid in his class! I know that God has predestined them to great things!!!” (amazon.com).

Ending slavery

Historian Michael T. Bernath argues that the formation of the Confederacy allowed Southern reformers to raise questions about slavery and it provided an opportunity for Southerners to discuss slavery in ways that they couldn’t while being pressured by Northern abolitionists. While part of the Union, white Southerners felt their way of life was under attack and so they put up a united front to protect it. After secession, Southern reformers more freely argued for at least the reform of slavery—the right of slaves to learn to read and to marry and an end to the mistreatment of slaves. Their opponents, with good reason, thought even small reform measures would lead to the demise of slavery (Journal of Southern History, May).


In response to anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar, over 1,000 Muslims have taken refuge in a Buddhist monastery that is protected by the Myanmar military. Anti-Muslim unrest, precipitated by Buddhists, started last year and has been spreading across the country. The present government, which took over from a military regime two years ago, has been criticized for not doing enough to quell the violence (AP).

Breathing in and out

There is an ongoing tension in Christian faith between contemplation and activism, being and doing. M. Robert Mulholland compares this alternation to breathing in and breathing out. Both are essential; we can’t live without spiritual formation (breathing in) and Christian mission in the world (breathing out). “Genuine Christian spirituality views humanity as spiritual beings created in the image of God and participating with God in a fallen creation which God intends to redeem,” says Mulholland (Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Spring).