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AIDS in Africa: Up-Close and Personal

Africa is dying. Americans are luxuriously distant from that, sitting in their easy chairs, watching TV ads that assert "AIDS is a great plague upon humanity that has already claimed the lives of over 21 million people." AIDS is rather different for me. It's personal, and about this I don't have a choice. My parents moved the family to Ethiopia when I was seven years old. There, I have seen the staggering statistics as actual, very real people staggering towards…
Becca Morrison
February 15, 2003
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Liturgy and Starbucks

Recent reports have some in the post-baby-boomer generations returning to traditional expressions of Christianity, including Eastern Orthodoxy. At the same time, there abound "pundits" who have all but written off the so-called "Generation X" from the church, contending that they are too "lost" for any outreach. Meanwhile, both denominational officials and ecclesiastical entrepreneurs are hatching strategies to do what they can to get young adults back inside the church. My impression of the upshot of all this is that many…
Quinn Fox
February 15, 2003
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The Real Thing

"Lew," I complained recently in an e-mail to him about his latest manuscript, his spiritual memoir, "you've got to quit sending in revisions, or we'll spend the rest of the month collating and never get to the editing." Lew cared about his prose. In fact, Lew was what editors call a nuisance! He was also thereby what every writer worth his salt must be and what every editor worth her salt deeply loves. Lew was the real thing as a…
Jon Pott
February 15, 2003
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Of Sheep, Goats, WWJD, and Jimmy Carter

In all actuality, we don't know for sure. We do know what the author of the Gospel According to Matthew wrote. And we know what the other synoptic authors Mark and Luke wrote, and we have the Gospel of John. We also know their sources and approximately when the gospels were recorded. We know that they recorded many of the same events in different words, chronology and for differing theological purposes. The gospel lesson from Matthew for the last Sunday…
Robert E. Dahl
February 15, 2003
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The Icon

When Papa's widow, Della Kley, died in 1966, her estate's inventory resembled a Salvation Army Store--cheap stuffed furniture not worth recovering, kitchen appliances long outdated and chipped remnants of a Sears Roebuck dinnerware set. Della saved Papa's Bible, a leather-bound Scofield edition, several of his favorite gospel tracts and the remainders of the moderately priced jewelry he'd given her during their courtship near the turn of the last century. Everything suggested the life and times of a poor Protestant widow,…
Herb Brinks
February 15, 2003
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POETRY by Kathe L. Palka

Clover Hill Reformed Church (Hillsborough, NJ) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5 It stands as it always has, constant even in the wake of December's celebrations. Along the Old Amwell Road, a white clapboard sentinel whose vigil spans three centuries. Circa 1834. Built in a wave of revival that swept the East then rose up in a hundred wooden steeples, its church spire rises still, visible by day on all approaches…
Kathe L. Palka
February 15, 2003
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Haggai, Mathematical Dynamics, and the Nature of Good and Evil

When I was a college student, I spent three years systematically reading through the Bible for my morning devotions. One benefit of a comprehensive read-through is that passages typically overlooked by others as insignificant sometimes leap out. Such was the case when, as a mathematics student, I first came across the Old Testament prophet Haggai speaking for the Lord in Haggai 2. In this passage, Haggai uses an analogy between the purity codes and the unfaithfulness of the people. But…
Timothy Pennings
February 15, 2003
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Where’s the Outrage?

A week after last November's mid-term elections in the United States, magazines like Time had cover stories about the Republican "breeze." Some of these covers showed prominent Republicans beaming broadly over their historically unusual success. This motivated many writers to project what may happen as a result of this ostensible "mandate" for the party presently in power. Chief among the items flagged are issues relating to the environment. As it stands, despite an early defeat on the push for oil…
January 16, 2003
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A Frugal Capitalism

As a 60 year-old teacher, I am different from most of my students in many ways. One way is that I am able to remember a time when things were significantly different from the way they are today. The decade of the fifties, which began when I was eight and ended when I was eighteen, is of all the decades of my life the one that was probably the most formative, the one that is most clearly my decade. I…
Dave Schelhaas
January 16, 2003