NIU
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Shock and awe in De Kalb, Ill. The staffs of Time of Grace and St. Marcus Church join with grieving people in Illinois and all of America, stunned at another senseless string of shootings. Our hearts go out to the families of the slain and wounded students. It might seem to some as though the Apocalypse is upon us, that the Day of Judgment must be at hand. That may be. We should be ready for Christ’s return at any... Read More
Mitt
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So Mitt is gone. The Republican Party, mocked just a few days ago as hopelessly divided, now beats its Democratic Party rivals to the primaries’ finish line of having a united party behind one candidate. Mike Huckabee’s realistic chances seem slim to none. The political theater now belongs to the Dems until either Hillary or Barack triumphs. Was it his Mormonism that sank Mitt? Honestly, I don’t think so. I personally did some serious soul-searching to see whether I as... Read More
The Power of One
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I bet you’re glad that you aren’t an investor in Societe Generale. The French investment bank recently announced anticipated losses of over $7 billion. (!) What is astonishing is that the losses seem to be the work of one man, but not the CEO. In fact it was Jerome Kerviel, a 31-year-old trader, who contrived a way to bet $73 billion on futures markets, a sum greater than the bank’s market value. (!) How is it possible that one individual... Read More
Barack
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One of the small consolations of having to endure another election season is that the field is much more diverse (and thus much more interesting to me). For the first time there is a black candidate with a real shot at winning. Er, well, sorta black. One of the interesting ironies of the politics of race is that Barack Obama has to demonstrate that he’s black enough to claim to be a black leader. In a sense, he’s as white... Read More
Subprime
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So Bank of America is buying Countrywide Financial, rescuing it from impending bankruptcy. What had been the country’s largest home financing lenders now will disappear into the Charlotte powerhouse. A terribly risky purchase? BoA’s CEO thinks he got a great bargain. In the last six months Americans have learned a new word: subprime (cue the “Jaws” soundtrack here). “Subprime” is one of those newly minted words that a lot of people don’t understand. Here’s what’s really going on:  At lot... Read More
Magi
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Danny is a fourth-grader and is new at our church. After worship this morning he asked me where all the food was. “Huh? What food?” “Well,” he answered, “you said in church that today was a feast.” Oops. I guess I did. In church talk, today is indeed a feast, though unfortunately not one that guaranteed a lot of food. The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord is a marvelous time, and not only if you are Orthodox and... Read More
R.I.P.
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It might be my imagination, but it seems as though 2007 claimed the lives of an unusually high number of notable people. Our world was made much more interesting by Lady Bird Johnson, mime Marcel Marceau, motorcycle stunt showman Evel Knievel, Anna Nicole Smith, Luciano Pavarotti, and Boris Yeltsin. Whom will you miss most? One of my childhood heroes, Milwaukee Braves ace Lew Burdette, won three games in the 1957 World Series. Dan Fogelberg wrote and sang some of the... Read More
Long Distance Relationships
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“Seeking LTR.” You’ll find that code in a lot of personal ads in the back of newspapers. “LTR” is abbrevo-speak for “long-term relationship.” The seeker evidently is tired of one-night stands. People seem to want LTRs. They are not so wild about LDRs, that is, long-distance relationships. As more and more businesses require their employees to travel a lot or relocate, is it possible to have a Phoenix/Orlando romance? Dr. Laura Berman, a therapist in Evanston, writes that there are... Read More
O Littler Town of Bayt Lahm
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In the Old Testament Hebrew, the name for the little town of Jesus’ birth was Beth-Lechem, the “House of Bread,” or as we would call it, the area’s breadbasket. For Boaz and Ruth, for Jesse and his illustrious son, King David, it was home. Christians call it Bethlehem, and for centuries its population was 80% Christian. It now lies in territory governed by the Palestinian Authority, and its Christian demographic has shrunk to 20%.  The Muslims who live there now... Read More
Magna Carta
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One of the most important pieces of paper in the world is up for sale. One of 17 known copies of the Magna Carta will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in a week. It is expected to fetch $20-30 million. Although the original was signed by King John at Runnymede in 1215, it was initially ignored and had little influence. A later (and briefer) version was forced on King Edward I (Longshanks) in 1297, and this signed copy is what... Read More