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November 2009

t r u t h o u t | Good for Children, Good for Society

Children's first experiences, the stimulation from their entourage, their exposure to knowledge, to learning and to emotional and cognitive awakenings exert a form of "neural sculpture." The child can subsequently develop the cerebral structures that in their turn are determinant for behavior around this primary foundation. The impact of the environment on health and psycho-social development goes through several forms of mediation: some are at the very heart of the family; others are more directly linked to the environment in a broader sense: access to health care, exposure to (noise or chemical) pollution, to violence ...

There is clear evidence of the direct relationship that exists between health indicators, life expectancy and child development on the one hand and people's socioeconomic level on the other. The whole field of personal and social development is affected by greater or lesser socioeconomic affluence. But there's another less well-known aspect: each individual's health and development are directly linked to the indicators for the collectivity to which he belongs. In countries with a steep social gradient (the disparity between the most destitute and the most affluent), that distance between people operates negatively on collective health.


This article makes a great case, I think, for a "social-uplift environmentalism" that rests on equal protection for all, equal opportunity for all and reverence for all creation.

Frank Schaeffer: Christian Right Is 'Trolling for Assassins' | | AlterNet

What we‘re looking at right now is two things going on. We see the evangelical groups that I talk about in my new book, “Patience with God,” enthralled by an apocalyptic vision that I go into in some detail there. They represent the millions of people who have turned the “Left Behind” series into best sellers.  Most of them are not crazy, they‘re just deluded.

But there is a crazy fringe to whom all these little messages that have been pouring out of FOX News, now on a bumper sticker, talking about doing away with Obama, asking God to kill him.

Really, this is trolling for assassins.  And this is serious business. 

via Alternet

In this interview with Rachel Maddow, Frank Schaeffer again advises Americans to take the "paranoid, evangelical group" of the Christian right seriously. He speaks to this issue in depth in his latest book, Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism).

The Gospel of Contradiction: An Interview with Mary Gordon | RDBook | ReligionDispatches

Why is the character of Jesus so powerful? Why is he such a hit? Bestselling writer Mary Gordon re-reads the Gospels, asking these questions, among others, and trying to figure out why fundamentalist readings of scripture, grounded in fear and rage, have come to dominate the understanding of religion in this country.


Hawk's Notes: I really enjoyed this article and hope to read Gordon's latest book, Reading Jesus. Some of the broader issues Gordon speaks to were the same ones that inspired the questions behind my paper, Reading Harry Potter. But the article also came in serendipitous time for a post I finished yesterday in which I explore some teachings from my spiritual tradition that have driven much contemplation about my work in social and environmental justice, as well as my interest in psychoanalysis.

Read my post, Cain and Abel in the 21st Century here.

Permalink for Reading Harry Potter (it's long!) here.

Link to Reading Jesus at