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For whom the guitar strings toll as I play

Originally posted on Colinology:

The common acoustic guitar is actually one of the oldest instruments we know of. There are stone carvings of long-necked instruments with wooden sound boxes which are thousands of years old. For instance, in Alaca Huyuk in Turkey there’s carving of a Hittite playing the instrument.

The name of the instrument comes to us from Sanskrit. and Arabic. Chartarra in Old Persian means ‘four strings’ and in Arabic it became Qithara, which became Guitarra in Spanish through the influence of the Moors. It was the Italians, of course, who departed from the original form of four strings to have five, six, and up to twelve.

So, when I sit down to plonk out my tunes on my trusty Ibanez, I’m connecting with history in a real way. Through the name, through the form, and through the music, I connect with all the guitar players throughout history – whether they entertained…

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A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus

Invisible Mikey:

Happy Easter, for those of you that observe it.

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:

Pen

Dear Christians In Indiana (and those elsewhere, who might read this),

I’ve seen what’s been going on there lately. Actually, I’ve been watching you all along and I really need to let you know something, just in case you misunderstand:

This isn’t what I had planned.

This wasn’t the Church I set the table for.

It wasn’t the dream I had for you, when I spoke in those parables about the Kingdom; about my Kingdom.

It was all supposed to be so very different.

It was supposed to be a pervasive, beautiful, relentless “yeast in the dough” that permeated the planet; an unstoppable virus of compassion and mercy spread person-to-person, not needing government or law or force.

It was supposed to be that smallest, seemingly most insignificant of seeds, exploding steadily and gloriously with the realized potential of my sacred presence, becoming a place of safety and shelter for all people.

It was supposed to be…

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Originally posted on Silver Girl:

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The Most Radical Reaction to Ebola is Compassion

Originally posted on Dr. Scott Morris:

Over the weekend, my wife, Mary, told me that she intends to get a flu shot this year (which she never does) because she believes it will prevent her from contracting Ebola.

I think she is only partially kidding.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that a nurse in Dallas has contracted Ebola from the patient who died there last week. It was the lead story in my local paper, and I’m guessing that it was on the front page of your go-to news source as well. We can’t look away from disaster.

Or, in this case, perceived disaster.

Ebola is indeed a terrible disease, but I’m convinced that it does not warrant the hysteria it has created in the United States.

Ebola has been linked to Liberia, and anyone from that country is now considered a potential carrier of the disease. Until recently, few Americans could find Liberia on…

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NY Mag: Read a Powerful Letter About Michael Brown and Ferguson

Invisible Mikey:

Many are writing about the larger issues behind this tragedy. This letter proposes thoughtful ways to improve the future.

Originally posted on Sociologists for Justice:

It’s no surprise that sociologists, perhaps the group of researchers most dedicated to understanding issues of race and inequality, have strong feelings about the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent violence in Ferguson, Missouri. A letter just released by Sociologists for Justice  has been signed by more than 500 of them (and counting), and it’s worth a read, in part because it contains some practical suggestions for how to prevent these sorts of tragedies from occurring in the future.

Full article on our statement: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/read-a-powerful-letter-about-ferguson.html

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Syria: An Atheist’s Prayer

Originally posted on The Irish Atheist:

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My heart is breaking as I sit in my flat, watching the news coverage of Syria. It’s the current ‘hot topic.’ All cameras from CNN, Fox News, the BBC, MSNBC, are pointed at that tiny chunk of land half a world away. Hundreds of millions of people from around the world are catching a glimpse of the suffering of the Syrian people, of the war that has torn their homes apart. Across the media, the debate rages. War, or no war? Interference or non-interference? I have friends on both sides of the political spectrum, so I sit here in sweatpants and watch my Facebook wall practically debate itself.

It’s during times like these that I understand the urge to pray. I’m thousands of kilometres from Syria, sitting safely in America with a cup of tea. There is nothing, nothing I can do that will make the situation in Syria better…

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Saving Face vs. Human Life

Originally posted on Asma Alabed:

This isn’t a political article. This is about human beings.

I’ve only been to my parent’s home twice. Their childhood stories are just that – stories of cities that are now reduced to piles of rubble. Yet the onset of the revolution reminded me again why I rarely have visited – why a regime made sure I would never grow up in Damascus, never hear my grandmother speak before her paralysis, and never understand the Syrian references in the memories my parents cherish. The revolution reminded me that despite my blood, I would never know Syria.

But the United States government, this country that I grew up in, that is more a home to me than Syria will ever be continues to astonish me. A government should represent its people and I’ve met countless numbers of loving Americans, yet if I were to judge us solely by the impression that…

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