This Associated Press article says that the Vatican newspaper said this today:
"Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism
as the world's largest religion."
"Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism
as the world's largest religion."
In Stop-Loss, it is a reality that Army Sergeant Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) knows all too well. After two combat tours, one in Afghanistan and another on the killing streets of Baghdad, the decorated squad leader returns home to Texas. Haunted by the friends he's led to gory deaths and the civilians who have inadvertently fallen into his crosshairs, King, who is due to get out, wants nothing more than to retreat to the sanctuary of his parents' ranch and begin purging the bile of the past several years from his life.This story is way to familiar for my family. My son is scheduled to be released from his four and a half year service to our country a week from Monday. His release was originally scheduled for last October but was extended so that he could be deployed for another tour of Iraq. I hope that he will be released and not recalled.
But home is far from the respite that soldiers like King expect. No matter where in the world they go, they cannot get away from their own memories. Shattered by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), King and his fellow soldiers find adjusting to stateside life impossible. Likewise, their families no longer recognize the boys they sent off to war. The soldiers' wives and lovers can no longer relate to men who live teetering on the edge of profound brutality and who, like Lady MacBeth, cannot seem to wash the ever-present blood from their hands. Iraq, for all of its carnage, made sense; home is a land of foreign customs and alien peoples.
Everything comes to a head for King when, based on a contractual loophole, he is ordered back to the front lines. The controversial technicality, which prohibits servicemen and women from getting out of the military once their required term of service is complete if their loss is deemed too grave to America's war effort, is known euphemistically as the "Back Door Draft" or, more officially, "Stop Loss." It is estimated to have affected more than 100,000 men and women in uniform.
I chose McCain because of his leadership abilities, his practicality, his willingness to say what he believes and not just what people want to hear, and his proven conservative (yes, that’s right) track-record on moral issues. I believe he will do the right thing by our military, our economy, illegal immigration and given the opportunity will appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. Another reason I chose McCain is his ability to reach across the aisle.I am still on the fence.. probably won't decide for a while yet.. but I echo Gordon's sentiments about McCain and like him for the reasons he cited.. I also like that people like Dobson, Limbaugh and Coulter don't like him.. he doesn't seem to owe those folks anything.
Obama's call for change and renewal, itself a standard evangelical theme, has resonated. “I visit a lot of evangelical colleges and what I see is Obama stickers and Obama T-shirts all over the campuses,” says Campolo. “His is a voice that can inspire.” Although Hillary Clinton lacks the same capacity to excite, Campolo believes that many younger evangelicals consider her an acceptable alternative.I think that young evangelicals are a bit tired of the evangelical rhetoric that their parents (KB included) embraced.. maybe we older types should embrace this younger rhetoric.. yes rhetoric for now.. until we see something actually done all of Obama's ideas fall into that category.. but maybe it will be more than that.. of course he has to influence those of us that are still politically-right-leaning.. or not :)
Both Wallis and Campolo are quick to distance themselves from the “Christian left”. Progressive evangelicals are hardly liberal on issues like abortion, but are anxious to “move away from endless symbolic legal debates which never change anything,” as Wallis puts it. He advocates instead practical methods of making abortion rarer, such as better support for low-income women. And he says that “the sanctity of life is a broader, deepers concern that includes Darfur, that includes the 30,000 children who will die today from hunger and disease.”
This attitude, says Campolo, is in tune with a younger generation of evangelicals. “Young people have a broader agenda and are interested in poverty and environmental issues. Gay marriage and abortion are at the bottom of the list. They are conservative on them but they have have gay friends and don't want to start a crusade against them.”
He died, I'm told, of alcohol poisoning. He was truly homeless - that is, unsheltered - and came to our public meals program. In more than a year, I've never seen him sober. Not once. On one occasion I asked him point blank if he was going to let the booze kill him. He looked me in the eye and said, "Oh yeah, it is going to kill me". This statement was made without emotion except, perhaps, a grim determination. He was a man under sentence of death.I too mourn his passing today. Will you take this opportunity to remember with me the disenfranchised and homeless in our world.. and say a pray for them and for those of us who have become callous to their plight.
A man came into the Mission to tell us of his passing, so I know he had at least one friend in the world, such as this world is. I'm writing this tonight because I want the universe to know that someone will mourn his passing. I want the universe to know that I know he was loved of God, and that I - to the best that I am able, will honour his life, will honour the image of God that was in him, and will lament that he is gone from our world.
Reading these quotes is so therepeutic - especially when I am tempted to feel sorry for myself :)
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.
I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.
It gives me a deep comforting sense that "things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal."
It is hard to interest those who have everything in those who have nothing.
Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
No one has a right to consume happiness without producing it.
Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.
No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.
Once I knew only darkness and stillness... my life was without past or future... but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.