Wednesday, April 30, 2008
When the Iron Curtain fell on the Soviet Union a half-century ago, government officials were determined to extinguish the practice of religion, along with other personal freedoms. The same policy was soon to follow in China. Many people were hopeful that the fall of communism in Russia would have a positive effect on organized religion. Thankfully, their wishes are becoming a reality. After so many years of repression, the church in Russia is flourishing, and an even bigger surprise is what is happening in China. Today, almost a third of the young people in China identify themselves as religious, with 300 million of them professing to being Christians. Another surprise is the fact that the government is either ignoring or encouraging this resurgence of faith. Economic, cultural, and language barriers can sometimes seem insurmountable. Perhaps we can reach out as followers of a common faith.
Posted by Joe Prentis at 8:39 AM
Saturday, April 19, 2008
In a world capable of producing enough food to eradicate hunger and starvation, it is astonishing that we seem to be slipping further and further behind. Almost 850 million people in the world are malnourished, with over 5 million children perishing each year of starvation. As bleak as this picture seems, it is likely to get much worse. On a worldwide basis, the cost of food has jumped almost 50 percent in the last year. Rice, the staple food of over half of the world’s population, has gone up 100 percent. Factor in the expected storms, droughts, and other natural disasters, plus political unrest and war, and you have a bleak picture that will probably get even worse than the current estimates. Relief organizations are already overtaxed. It is time for churches and other private organizations to do what they can. Check with your church, synagogue, or mosque and see if they already have a program in place. If they don’t, you might want to start an effort yourself to elevate some of the suffering.
Posted by Joe Prentis at 2:44 PM
Friday, April 18, 2008
I was pleased when NEWN Magazine printed the first chapter of Abraham’s Bones in their Spring Issue. NEWN is a small but prestigious magazine that has served writers since 1994. During those years they have published many hundreds of stories, poems and essays, many of them by beginning writers. At the end of the year they will cease publication, but will continue to serve writers with correspondence courses, workshops, and personal contact. I salute Glenda Baker and the fine staff who have meant so much to struggling writers through the years.
Posted by Joe Prentis at 9:22 AM