17 April 2014

"Love All Around This World"

If you look at gotcha videos from Moscow, you see Russian speakers being beaten by Ukrainian fascists. Videos from Kyiv show how Russians are the guilty ones. In so many of them, young men are sure that fists, clubs, and guns are going to put things to rights. Such an old story, and (setting aside for a moment the resulting bitter grief), so utterly boring.

There's an occasional voice of sanity:
We are on the eve of the Holiday of all holidays--the Resurrection of Christ. Therefore I appeal to all leaders of social movements and political forces: in the days of Holy Week, as Christ goes to his death for the salvation of each one of us; and in the following days of Easter Week--days of universal jubilation--cease the bloodshed, stop the acts of anger and hatred that defile people's hearts and delight Satan. (Archbishop Luke of Zaporozhets, Ukraine, serving in the Moscow Patriarchate; quoted here.)
In my high school classes yesterday and today, I used another voice of sanity to resist this constant polarizing drumbeat of national and ethnic hostility. At the end of my lessons I use a song as a listening comprehension gap-fill exercise--this week I used Bill Jolliff's "Love All Around This World." I normally don't expect a sing-along, but it was interesting and moving to me that an unusual number of students sang along, in all four of my groups.

Go ahead and try the gap-fill exercise for yourself. (I'm using the MP3 file from the Northwest Yearly Meeting Web site, kindly provided by Bill on this page for Peace Month 2012.)

Today in Elektrostal: spring comes to City Hall's front
lawn. (Our institute's building is in the background.) 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5, context)

May the remembrance of Good Friday and the promise of Easter be with everyone who reads these words, especially if you too are sometimes discouraged by the threats, the beatings, the constant electronic one-upmanship. The darkness cannot overcome!

"The day the Pope asked me to pray for him."

A brief word from Anthony Bloom: "Let us be attentive not to destroy the gifts of God...."

Another "Exile and the Prophetic" feature from Marc H. Ellis: "Resurrecting Passover?" "Here’s the irony: Jews need Passover today like Christians need salvation – to be diverted from the injustice we are enabling. Has Passover become our (Christian) salvation? A faux prophetic trope to banish the unstable Jewish prophetic?"

Andy Freeman, "5 Books That Taught Me Prayer."

Here's a Russia-centered view of today's developments in Geneva concerning Ukraine. And here, courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is a lecture by Valerii Solovei on the role played by network television in Russia.

"Looking for Tom Lehrer, Comedy's Mysterious Genius." (Thanks to Margaret Fraser on Facebook.) Here's the song that keeps him in our institute's memory.

Norwegians getting happy. (Oslo Gospel Choir.)

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