The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 20, 2018
We’re at or near peak foliage season in many parts of the country this weekend. We’ve even had a little snow in the air here in Illinois and Indiana, though our colors seem to be lagging behind. We have had several really frosty mornings, however, and we’re about to wrap up the yard and gardens pretty soon so that we can get ready to hunker down in front of the fireplace for a few months.
Which means it’s World Series time. My wife’s Boston Red Sox will be there this year, and at this moment when I’m writing, it looks like the Brewers and Dodgers will be playing a game 7 for the NL championship later today to decide the Red Sox’s opponent. Here is one of the key plays that helped the Red Sox win the AL top spot:
Which, of course, requires and leads naturally to this…
Eugene Peterson enters hospice care:
Sad news in the Christian world this week, and especially here at Internet Monk, where we have long appreciated the ministry of Eugene Peterson. The pastor’s pastor went into hospice care this week and the end of his “long obedience in the same direction” in this life is drawing near.
This past Tuesday, Peterson was hospitalized after “a sudden and dramatic turn in his health caused by an infection,” wrote his son on Friday to friends and family (with the encouragement that they share the news). “He is now being treated for pneumonia and is responding well to the IV antibiotics. He is eating again, and went for a very short walk this afternoon. He is much improved as of today.”
Eric Peterson continued:Elizabeth and I joined Jan and Leif in his room this afternoon for a meeting with his health care team of three doctors. They confirmed for us that the two main medical issues he is facing—heart failure and dementia—are advanced and progressing. Based on their recommendation, he will come under the care of hospice and his medical care will be primarily palliative. As of now it looks like it will be 1-3 more days before he returns home, depending on when all the support systems are in place.
Sears declares bankruptcy:
As a kid born in Chicago, Sears has been a sacred name in retail throughout my lifetime. This past week Sears announced that it was declaring bankruptcy. As NBC News reports:
Back in the day, their slogan said it all: “Sears, where America shops.”
But on the day that Sears Holdings declared bankruptcy, Jon White, who worked at the retail giant’s stores in and around Atlanta for nearly four decades, made a sad confession on Monday: “There was a saying that ‘if Sears didn’t have it, we didn’t need it.’ But we don’t shop at Sears anymore, except if it’s a major purchase like an appliance.”
This article describes how Sears was “the Amazon of its day.”
And I have seen a number of different articles like this one, and this one, which have observed that Sears played an important and little appreciated role in helping our nation move toward racial equality.
This week we heard our local Sears would be one of the stores that is closing. Sigh…
If you have no other reason to fight climate change…
NPR reports on one of the more alarming stories of the week:
The price of beer could rise sharply this century, and it has nothing to do with trends in craft brewing. Instead, a new study says beer prices could double, on average, because of the price of malted barley, a key ingredient in the world’s favorite alcoholic drink.
By projecting heat and drought trends over the coming decades, a team of researchers in China, the U.K. and the U.S. found that barley production could be sharply affected by the shifting climate. And that means some parts of the world would very likely be forced to pay much more for a beer.
In Ireland, a leading beer-consuming nation, prices could triple, the study says. Other countries would most likely drink less beer, as their farmers are expected to export more barley to countries that would struggle to grow enough barley under hotter, drier conditions.
The researchers acknowledge that the price of beer is “not the most concerning impact of future climate change.” But in the study published Monday in the journal Nature Plants, the scientists say they wanted to use beer as an example to show the deep and wide-ranging effects of increasingly extreme weather.
Who says this is not “the most concerning impact” of climate change? As a Lutheran, I am nearly beside myself with worry. As is Homer…
However, there may be ways to stave off this disastrous outcome — see this article, also at NPR.
In other environmental news, welcome to the sixth mass extinction:
Science Alert also tried to scare the bejesus out of us this week:
Humans will cause so many mammal species to go extinct in the next 50 years that the planet’s evolutionary diversity won’t recover for 3 to 5 million years, a team of researchers has found.
The Earth may be entering its sixth mass extinction: an era in which the planet’s environments change so much that most animal and plant species die out.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature predicts that 99.9 percent of critically endangered species and 67 percent of endangered species will be lost within the next 100 years.
The five other times a mass extinction has occurred over the past 450 million years, natural disasters were to blame. But now, human activity is killing mammal species.
In a study published Monday in the journal PNAS, scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark calculated how fast extinctions are happening, and how long it would take for evolution to bring Earth back to the level of biodiversity it currently has.
The scientists concluded that in a best-case scenario, nature will need 3-5 million years to get back to the level of biodiversity we have on Earth today. Returning to the state Earth’s animal kingdom was in before modern humans evolved would take 5-7 million years.
Evolution can’t keep up
Evolution is the planet’s defence mechanism against the loss of biodiversity. As habitats and climates change, species that can’t survive die, and new species slowly emerge.
But it takes a long time for new species to fill the gaps – and that process is far slower than the rate at which humans are causing mammals to go extinct.
Some people feel this is a long time coming:
Here is a report from RNS about a splinter Roman Catholic church in Kenya:
At the Renewed Universal Catholic Church in Nyeri, in central Kenya, celebratory ululations filled the air last spring after Bishop Peter Njogu ordained three new priests.
Like Njogu, a former Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Renewed Church, all three of the new priests are married.
“I’m happy because I have been ordained as a priest in this church,” said Philip Muiga, 52, a former Roman Catholic priest. “With the experience I have, I will be able to perform my duties as a priest and also as a father.”
Muiga and others are among more than 20 priests, including several ordained in July, who have renounced their vows of celibacy, proposed to women and joined the Renewed Universal Catholic Church since late 2017.
Njogu, who launched the new church from his Mweiga Catholic parish in Nyeri Archdiocese in 2012, said many Roman Catholic priests are already abandoning celibacy. His new church, he said, was simply acknowledging reality.
“We want priests to get married so that they can live a pure life without pretense,” said Njogu, a 55-year-old father of three. “Many priests and bishops have secret families which they have abandoned because they fear losing the privileges that come with priesthood, such as a good house and vehicles. Some priests even prey on children and abandon them.”
Njogu’s journey toward schism began in 2002, when Pope John Paul II excommunicated him for his relationship with his longtime companion, Berith Karimi. Soon afterward, the priest and Karimi married. Former Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who had also been excommunicated for marrying a woman, then ordained Njogu as a bishop, paving the way for the establishment of a new church.
Questions of the Week…