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A Washington Post article today quoting words against racism from a Catholic archbishop and words from a Baptist reverend saying Donald Trump isn’t racist illustrate the division in how Christians are responding to recent violent, hate filled shootings and “tweet-storms.” This episode begins reflection on “Barmen Today: A Contemporary Contemplative Declaration.”
Today I discovered and showed my students an extremely valuable video (pictured above) which illustrates through dollars and cents how unbearably difficult it can be to get out of poverty. It’s created by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and their “Poverty USA” initiative and it is found directly HERE and indirectly (in a list of other videos) HERE.
To say that the internet and devices to access it are powerful tools is a gross understatement. Not being a guy who can crunch numbers, but who is nevertheless interested in data and statistics, I am grateful that the internet offers ways to find, present and then communicate data to the world.
A favorite recent example of this threefold use of data is this “interactive heatmap” infographic displaying the most common birth date in the U.S. (the answer to the question is below the image):
Data and presentation tools can be used for much more than answering trivia questions. In the hands of skilled practitioners, data can be used to show the need for social, political and economic change. Take about six minutes to watch this video, which clearly shows how much wealth the “one percent” in America holds. Perhaps more interestingly, the video also shows how vastly different the actual wealth distribution is from either what the public thinks it is or what people surveyed think it should be.
So what can you and I do about this? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that this massive disparity cannot be sustainable for much longer. And that remedying it will take significant courage, sacrifice and commitment to fairness and justice. Do we the people have what it takes?
I’m starting a new feature which I’ve been thinking about launching for a while. The name comes from an excellent little book by the highly esteemed John L. Allen Jr. – “The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know.” Typically any book with the subtitle “everyone needs to know” should be taken with a measure of suspicion – who is this author and why does he think I need to know this? Of course John L. Allen Jr. is an expert on today’s Catholic Church and thus I’ll trust his judgement.
So here I am posting about what I think you should know. Pretty presumptuous, right? Perhaps.
But hear me out. I’m a fellow teacher to readers, many of whom I imagine are teachers, connected to the world of education and/or people of faith. I peruse the web daily to learn and discover information, links, and resources which inform both my teaching and my life of faith. So, what I’m sharing in this category are only the items which I think are most valuable for my personal and professional life. Perhaps you’ll find them valuable too.
Before class prayer yesterday, I showed my students this graph, which I think speaks for itself:
Tomorrow, as a companion, I’m going to show the photo at the top of this post.
But today, I showed this excellent video. It covers much ground in about 6 minutes and is a must-see for anyone who wants to understand this crisis. I particularly like how it notes and summarily dispels some key objections that many in Europe and elsewhere are using to block the entrance of refugees. Really, please take 6 minutes and watch this now. It’s that important…