Jen Pollock Michel considers our cultural devotion to the vice of ease: “The decline in sexual activity and cereal sales hardly seem correlated, but both seem to point to one of the most seductive promises of a technological age: that ours should be an unbothered life. As our lives (at least in the developed world) get easier, we are increasingly formed by the desire for ease. Of all the cautions we raise about technology—its distractions and temptations, its loneliness and superficiality—this promise of unencumbered living is perhaps the most insidious danger and also the one we talk the least about.”
Beth Barron takes a look the statistics regarding the place of refugees in the American economy: “A South Dakota turkey processing plant faced recruiting challenges and tapped into the Karen community, refugees from Myanmar. At that time the company had a hundred and fifty employees. The availability of refugee workers enabled the processing plant to expand. Today the company employs six hundred, half of them native-born. Rather than taking jobs away from others, refugee labor enables businesses to expand, creating jobs.”

Onize Ohikere delivers some good news: “The lawyer for Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy against Islam, said Friday she has arrived in Canada, which granted her asylum. Meanwhile in Pakistan, protests against her release drew a smaller-than-expected turnout.”

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra  sheds light on the impending economic disaster facing Illinois and what churches can do to prepare: “‘My main concern is that the problems are so overwhelming and macro in scale that the average pastor will think that there is nothing to do but hunker down, get a handle on the church’s budget, and pray that the state’s disaster days occur after one’s retirement or relocation,’ said Bryan Chapell, TGC Council member and pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria. ‘A paradox of sorts is that the more pastors and church leaders are warned of an impending crisis, the more they will turn inward to shore up their own resources, facilities, constituencies, and future.’”

Dorothy Greco meditates on the long work of sanctification: “Because the shame was so suffocating and so pervasive, I shut down emotionally. I lost track of my heart. Over time, my false self became so meticulously crafted that I would sometimes forget who I was and do or say things I later regretted. Which of course led to more shame.”

Charles Camosy discusses the new abortion law in New York State and what it means for women in crisis: “The disturbing relationship between pregnancy and violence is persistent, and one of many reasons both pro-life feminists and reproductive justice activists believe it is often a mistake to speak as if women are genuinely ‘choosing’ abortion at all. Indeed, there is a strong correlation between women who seek abortions and those who are facing violence from an intimate partner.”

Myles Werntz defines the theological virtue of simplicity over against modern-day minimalism, and discusses how a different viewpoint might bring peace into the complicated lives of Christian parents: “Theologically, an ethic of simplicity (as distinct from minimalism) can be put this way: because the life of God is undivided, we are–as creatures of God–meant to seek a unity of action, to refuse having two masters. If the works of God are not only for the flourishing of creation, but undivided in this pursuit, the works of God’s creatures should mirror this, being ordered around the things of God such that our lives are lived with a singularity of purpose and orientation, with the accumulation of goods an overflow of that singularly situated desire.”

Alia Wong draws attention to the difficulties faced by parents in big cities: “Monday’s accident, however, showed that the problem of accessibility extends beyond ADA violations. The incident sparked a flurry of visceral reactions from fellow moms and dads who, like most New Yorkers and many residents of other large U.S. cities, use public transit nearly every day. ‘EVERY New York City parent has experienced having to carry a stroller by themselves into the subway because of the appalling lack of elevators,’ tweeted the New York Times journalist Dana Goldstein.”