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Fifteen Things that Caught My Eye Today: Prayer and Fasting in Louisiana & More (July 17, 2020)

1. I endorse:  Newsweek: Louisiana Gov Calls for 3 Days of Fasting, Prayer During Lunch Over COVID

He said the prayers are intended for the people of Louisiana, the sick, caretakers and the families of those who have passed on. The idea arose from a telephone conference he had last week with religious leaders from across the state of Louisiana—Edwards said he hosts such a call every three weeks.

2. Chinese Activist Journalist Stands up Against Torture in Prison

Despite various tortures, Lu has never pleaded guilty. He said that the prison had a two-month training for new offenders. “It was to brainwash you into making a confession and pleading guilty. I rejected it.”

Last year, the prison told him that if he “confessed” to his crimes, the sentence would be reduced by eight or nine months. He refused the offer.

“If I could persist (with the blog) for so long, there’s no way I would give up anything half way,” he said.

3. America Magazine: Are Nigeria’s Christians the target of a genocide?

“The future of Nigeria is bleak for Christians,” said Benjamin Kwashi, the Anglican archbishop of Jos. “I have seen far more funerals than I have seen any wedding ceremonies.”

Archbishop Kwashi said, “This thing is systematic; it is planned; it is calculated.” He complained that “the world doesn’t want to hear that, including the Nigerian government.”

4. The Washington Post: Michigan department announces child care reforms after death

Change is more than just addressing bad actors, MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said at a news conference announcing the emergency rules. He said the entire system has to transform to afford children who are in the state’s care the same health and happiness everyone wants for their own children.

“We are moving toward the goal of ending the use of restraints in institutional settings,” Gordon said. “Restraints are too often used as an easy way to control youth, in place of the harder, but unnecessary work of evidence-based practices that help young people address mental health challenges and heal and overcome trauma.”

5. BBC News: Fertility rate: ‘Jaw-dropping’ global crash in children being born

Japan’s population is projected to fall from a peak of 128 million in 2017 to less than 53 million by the end of the century.

Italy is expected to see an equally dramatic population crash from 61 million to 28 million over the same timeframe.

They are two of 23 countries – which also include Spain, Portugal, Thailand and South Korea – expected to see their population more than halve.

Who pays tax in a massively aged world? Who pays for healthcare for the elderly? Who looks after the elderly? Will people still be able to retire from work?

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8. “My suffering has great power”: Alexandria Priest shares ALS diagnosis story

9. The New York Times: Grandparents, Kin and Play Cousins: The Soul and Survival of Black Families

10. Wesley J. Smith: Human Exceptionalism Is the Solution to Racism

In the bad old days, racists claimed slanderously that African-Americans were incapable of maintaining stable families, were not rational thinkers, were lazy, and could not speak with proper articulation. But here, the [National Museum of African American History and Culture] promotes the canard that achieving excellence is somehow “white.” What a travesty.

11. Edward L. Glaeser: Cities and Pandemics Have a Long History

We will get through this pandemic, and we will get through the economic dislocation that has come with it. But if the threat of future plague is going to be a permanent part of our existence, cities will be far less appealing. Remote working is rarely a close substitute for being there, especially in knowledge-intensive occupations. My teaching and advising over Zoom is much less ideal than when I can work face-to-face. The move to electronic co-working will mean less productivity, fewer innovations, and less joy in personal connection. (For an optimistic assessment of remote work’s potential, see “Remote Work’s Time Has Come.”)

12. Tom Hoopes: This Sunday, Jesus Tells a Church in Pain: Hold On

13. How Ignatian principles can help us cope during the pandemic

St. Ignatius is an apt guide for those suffering from illness, despair, or isolation. His own conversion took place in the context of an injury he sustained in battle. While recovering in solitude, he had ample time to dwell on the reality that he would never walk properly again. It was a time of grief.

According to Ignatius, a key factor in changing one’s mindset is gratitude. “I will call back into my memory the gifts I have received — my creation, redemption, and other gifts particular to myself. I will ponder with deep affection how much Our Lord God has done for me, and how much he has given of me of what he possesses, and consequently how he, the same Lord, desires to give me even his very self, in accordance with his divine design,” he wrote after having moved from despair to hope during recovery.

14. A New Orleans priest on anointing COVID patients

15. On Hope

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