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Some articles to commend:

Russell Moore explains the connection between our adoption in Christ and our adopting children in this world, in Abba Changes Everything , published in Christianity Today .

Adoption is, on one hand, gospel. Our identity and inheritance are grounded in our adoption in Christ. Adoption is also mission . In this, our adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the poor, the marginalized, the abandoned, and the fatherless. Without the theological aspect, the growing Christian emphasis on orphan care too often seems like one more cause wristband for compassionate conservative evangelicals to wear until the trend dies down. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily becomes mere metaphor, just another way to say “saved.”

On the National Catholic Register ‘s site , one of their bloggers reports on the astonishing reaction in Holland to policemen dressing as Jews to catch and discourage anti-Semites.  Pat Archbold writes:
This kind of undercover work is common for the Dutch police.  They have police who disguise themselves as prostitutes, gay persons, or the elderly to apprehend those who would victimize these populations and as a disincentive those who might consider such bad behavior.  Seems reasonable, no?

Not when it comes to Jews.

There are certain political parties who object to such undercover work on the basis that to dress as a Jew is an incitement to violence and purposeful provocation of a crime.  Get that?  To be identifiable as a Jew in public in Europe is to invite violence.

A sad story, and a lesson in the practical value of forgiveness, from the Daily Telegraph : Albania’s Modern Day Blood Feuds . In Albania, unlike other cultures in which such feuds are pursued, the people observe an ancient law.
The Kanun, or canon, is a 500-year-old code of conduct covering every aspect of medieval life, from births and marriages to hunting and grazing rights . . . . [I]it lays out detailed procedures for blood feuds, with a chillingly loose definition of an eye-for-an-eye. When someone is killed, revenge can be exacted not just against the killer himself, but all males in his extended clan.

The state even funds a program to educate boys (some of them very small) who cannot leave home for fear of being killed (home is a sanctuary).

Another from the DT Slavoj Zizek: the world’s hippest philosopher . He is hip, but not over-bearingly so, and he often says something you don’t expect from someone so extravagantly hip, like:

“My psychoanalytical friends are always telling me that we once needed classical therapy to free us from internalised repression so we could do it. But today you feel guilty if you do not have wide-ranging sexual desire and experience. Once enjoyment becomes permitted it slides imperceptibly toward the obligatory.

“You have to do it and you have to enjoy it. Think about extremely hedonistic gay communities in America: life there is totally regimented. They eat the same food, take vitamins, watch the same films. We live in a permissive society but the price we pay is that there never was so much anxiety, depression, impotence and frigidity.”

Waving his pasty arms and tugging at increasingly soggy, proletarian grey T-shirt, Žižek tells me a favourite parable about “the falsity of permissivity”: “Say you are a little girl and I am a totalitarian father. It is Saturday afternoon. I say, ‘I don’t care what you want to do, you have to visit your grandmother.’ You go but you secretly hate me and try to revolt and that is OK. That is good.

“But the monstrous permissive father will say: ‘You know how much your grandmother loves you, but visit her only if you really want to.’ Beneath the appearance of a choice is a much more severe order. Not only must you visit grandma but you must want to and like it. ”

And finally, French civil servant lifts lid on five-hours-a-week culture .
Upon arrival, her boss gave her a week to write a précis of a few sheets of paper. “Is this some kind of joke?” she asked.

“It’s a tough assignment I know,” he replied. “Listen, you can have until the middle of next week if you can’t finish it,” he added. One and a half hours later, she had completed the task.

Update : One I forgot to include: A Life in Books , a profile of the English Catholic writer Piers Paul Read. Catholic in the doctrinal and disciplinary, not just the cultural, sense, that is, which explains the tone of the profile. His religious essays can be found in Hell and Other Destinations .

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