Macedonia Morning.” Dana Wiser relates an inspiring account of a group of people committed to leading lives in the service of peace, despite the many attendant challenges: “Staughton once told me, ‘I try to live by Matthew 25 to the extent that I am able to do so.’ He understood that fundamentally everyone’s calling is to love the hungry, the sick, the stranger, the prisoner. He was heartened to see that the vision that had taken root in him on those frosty mornings on Georgia hillsides and that led him to decades of fruitful antiwar, civil rights, and labor activism was continuing to bear fruit in other lives, like mine, indelibly shaped by the ventures dared at Macedonia.”

“‘We’re Going to Die Here.’” Yair Rosenberg talks with his friend Amir Tibon, who lives in a kibbutz near Gaza, about waiting for his father to rescue him and his family on Saturday morning: “I told myself, Okay, right now I’m asking my two young daughters to put complete faith in me and my wife, in their parents, to do what we’re telling them in order to save their lives, which is to be very, very quiet and understand that we cannot get out of the room, we cannot go get food, we cannot go to the bathroom, we cannot go out to play, and I’m asking them to put their faith in me completely. And I told myself, I have to do the same thing right now. I have to trust my father, who is a trustworthy man, that if he said he will come here and save us, he will do it.

Israel’s Liturgy of National Suffering.” Nadya Williams reflects on the Jewish poet—living in a part of Poland that is now part of Ukraine—who composed Israel’s national anthem. He, like those suffering in that part of the world and in the Levant today, serves as “a reminder of who suffers and what is lost in wars like this one: the people who simply want to live their lives”: “What neither Imber nor, perhaps, later generations of immigrant-dreamers envisioned is that modern Israel’s history would continue to be a history of suffering so intense that the days of commemoration of traumatic events would come to form a liturgy of national suffering on the nation’s calendar.”

Saving St. Louis One Block at a Time.” Rachel Ferguson describes the multifaceted, patient work required to revitalize damaged urban neighborhoods: “It’s not so much that the market solves everything as that the state causes lots of problems that it then cannot solve. So in the end, it’s civil society for the win. And since I’ve shared several of Lucas’ rebukes from his neighbors, I’ll share his rebuke of me. When I announced excitedly to him that I was getting a chance to speak about the neighborhood stabilization model all over the country, he looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘Remember, Rachel—this is Jesus work.’ Neighborhood stabilization isn’t a ‘microwave’ solution, fast and easy. That’s why we so often choose toxic charity instead. Those who enter in must not only have a radical love for their neighbors but also a deep store of grace upon which to draw.”

Fearing Third-Party Spoilers vs. Trump, Biden Allies Try to Squash Them.” If only the two major parties in America would invest their energies in fielding viable candidates rather than trying to squelch efforts to nominate more qualified and competent ones. Reid J. Epstien and Lisa Lerer describe the backstage wrangling: “In Washington, Democratic allies are working alongside top party strategists to spread negative information about possible outsider candidates. Across the country, lawyers have begun researching moves to limit ballot access — or at least make it more costly to qualify.”

“‘Starter Cars’ Go the Way of Starter Homes.” Addison Del Mastro mourns the loss of affordable cars and considers the consequences of removing that option from the market: “But car prices are not just being driven up by scarcity, labor issues or other economic disruptions. They’re also escalating because of the removal of smaller—and less profitable—cars from manufacturers’ product lines. The station wagon essentially evolved into the minivan; other common models, like the Subaru Forester or the Toyota Corolla, have grown subtly larger; and, most significantly, smaller cars have disappeared from the market.”

Reality Television and the State of Our Souls.” Ashley Anthony explores the draw of reality TV and considers what it might reveal to its viewers: “As one producer suggested, reality television is purposefully like candy, easy to consume. It’s manipulated, false reality that gives the viewer exactly what they want, taking the interior life and making it a spectacle.”

Jon Fosse’s Fiction.” Jonathan Geltner tries to identify the power of the new Nobel laureate Jon Fosse’s fictional vision: “These images and many others that recur in Fosse’s fiction—usually images of landscape and weather and of basic, crafted things like food, fiddles, boats—compose a kind of fantasy in the root sense of that which shows forth, something tangible, promising and beguiling which one can contemplate and behold as both its earthly self and otherworldly.”

Reading Ulysses in Autumn.” Carla Galdo reads Tennyson’s poem, “Ulysses,” with an eye to what it might suggest about how to hold creative ambition and limiting responsibilities—aspirations to pursue knowledge and understanding alongside love for the obligations of home and children—in fruitful tension: “Perhaps with these slight readjustments in our approach to the everyday—learning to see again and making space in the margins for beauty and creativity—the tension of our desires can be channeled towards that which is fruitful rather than destructive.”

Why I Became an Evangelist for Pittsburgh.” David Mills explains why he’s fallen in love with Pittsburgh: “My wife and I moved here 35 years ago some day this month and have lived here ever since, and in the same house (very Pittsburgh). We moved for a job, but over the years, I found myself becoming an evangelist for the city and the whole area.”

Who’s Afraid of the Still, Small Voice?” Cassandra Nelson considers what James Davidson Hunter’s notion of “faithful presence” might look like in today’s fractured educational realm: “Faithful presence must be local, meaning in person and focused on those in your immediate physical vicinity (family, neighbors, fellow parishioners, those in need), both because we are embodied creatures and because that is where — although the internet would have us believe otherwise — our real sphere of influence lies.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture