Esau McCaulley writes about jogging while black: “The tragedy is not simply what his death reveals about how black life is valued here. The tragedy is not only the freshly invigorated fear that black men and women will feel as they jog the streets and trails of America. The tragedy is that his black life ended. For those who believe that all life is sacred, there is no bigger catastrophe.”


Dante Stewart mourns the death of Ahmaud Arbery: “If our theology today has nothing to say or do about the terror of being black in a world made for whiteness and the tragic structures of oppression, as one of my friends said, ‘You have nothing to offer black people.’”


Leslie Bustard walks through the valley of the shadow of death: “I know, as the Apostle John stresses through his gospel, that if I look to Jesus as the Son of God and believe in Him, I will have eternal life, and that He will raise me up on the last day. What a great hope and comfort we have been given in this—one I have held onto even as the veil of heaven seems a little thinner now. But what does it look like to receive life from Jesus when He has called me to walk through this valley of the shadow of death? What does it look like to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living, now, while I wait on Him, still desiring to make a life with my husband, family, and community?”


Dorothy Greco reflects on spiritual pruning: “The young trees had been cut back by at least a third. They looked scrawny and naked. Since the arborists were working, I ventured in hoping to learn why they deemed it necessary to trim them so severely. Fruit trees are high maintenance, especially in a region like New England where our winters are severe, our springs are sometimes non-existent, and summer rains are unpredictable. Fruit trees are vulnerable to pests and disease, which is part of why organic orchards are rare here. Additionally, fruit-bearing trees send out a lot of shoots. Too many shoots and branches block sunlight from hitting the tree’s trunk which ultimately impedes growth and potentially limits the tree’s longevity. Bottom line? Arborists prune the trees in order to maximize their potential.”


Joe Forrest thinks through why Christians might believe conspiracy theories: “We don’t like random. We don’t like chaos. We don’t like ambiguity. And we don’t like living under the realization that we’re at the mercy of forces outside of our control that we don’t understand or can’t comprehend.”


Tod Bolsinger sheds light in the darkness: “Adaptive leadership is called for when you are facing something you have never faced before. A term made famous by Ronald Heifetz and his colleagues at Harvard, adaptive leadership begins the moment you find yourself without expertise, and when you are truly facing the unknown. It is that daunting moment when someone is looking at you for direction, and you have to take a deep breath, exhale slowly, look into their frightened eyes and admit, ‘I have never seen anything like this. Right now, I really don’t know what we are going to do.’”


James Gallagher reports on some excellent news: “At the very least, 40% of mosquitoes in a region need to be infected with Microsporidia in order to make a significant dent in malaria. The microbe can be passed between adult mosquitoes and is also passed from the female to her offspring. So, the researchers are investigating two main strategies for increasing the number of infected mosquitoes.”


Kathryn Jean Lopez agrees that human life is priceless: “Maybe inadvertently, the governor of New York stumbled on all of this during a recent press conference about the slow reopening of things. He asked rhetorically, ‘How much is a human life worth?’ He continued, saying: ‘That is the real discussion that no one is admitting, openly or freely. That we should. To me, I say the cost of a human life — a human life is priceless. Period.’”


Tom Holland remembers his favorite book from childhood: “There is no danger so great, in most of Moomintroll’s adventures, that his mother is not there to comfort him. Moominmama, warm-hearted, practical, and possessed of an infinitely capacious handbag, is the assurance provided to readers throughout the books that everything will ultimately be well. But in Moominland Midwinter, when her son pulls gently on her ear, she does not wake. ‘She just curled into an uninterested ball.’”


Podcast of the Week: Brant and Sherri talk about the Ahmaud Arbery shooting, their personal reactions, and how cross cultural friends can talk during racially tense times.