Holy Father, in the name of our Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank you:
for our weaknesses. For without our weaknesses, we would be all the more tempted to rely on our own strength rather than on you and your strength;
for our critics. For our critics keep us ever mindful that though we may think at times we are made of iron, we too, like them, have feet made of clay;
for our limitations. For without our limitations, we we might grow proud and have little room in our heart for others;
for our enemies. For without enemies to love, our love would remain forever stunted in growth;
and for our troubles. For without our troubles, we might come to think that we can get along just fine in life without you.
Climate change & global warming: Not in 27 Years
“If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average.”
Health & sanitation: Raise a Stink About Global Sanitation by Florence Davey-Attlee
“We each spend an average of three years of our lives sitting on them … and 2.5 billion people still do not have access to one.”
Houston: Kinder Houston Area Survey [downloadable .pdf files]
“The annual Kinder Houston Area Survey has measured this region’s remarkable economic and demographic transformations and recorded the way area residents are responding to them. No other metropolitan area in America has been the focus of a research program of this scope. None more clearly exemplifies the trends that are rapidly refashioning the social and political landscape of urban America. … The 2012 Kinder Houston Area Survey findings are now available.”
Israel, Palestine, peace & war: War Does Not Work in Israel/Palestine by Bob Roberts
“As one Palestinian scholar told me – the biggest problem is they are both ‘victim’ cultures. The Jewish statement ‘never again’ causes overreach on the part of the Jews in how they can be heavy handed with the Palestinians. The displacement of millions of Palestinians having been driven from their homeland after centuries and millennia prevents them from thinking about moving forward with where things are versus what they wish they could go back to.”
Just for fun: The Difference Between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England
“Are Great Britain, the UK and England the same thing? Is Ireland part of the UK? What’s Wales!? To help explain things, I put together this infographic to define the parts that make up the UK and how it came about.”
# 20. Think twice before asking favors. … a request for a favor is often an imposition, it can also be a request for a privilege unfair to others, and, finally, when we receive a favor we are, to a lesser or greater extant, beholden to those who granted it. All this is reason enough to think twice before asking for favors. I don’t mean that there should be no place for favors in our lives. What I do suggest is that we always consider trying first to be the solvers of our own problems. We are so used to relying on favors that we often forget to look for the alternative – and we also forget that doing the work ourselves in the long run is more gratifying and satisfying.
There are two kinds of favors. The first affects on those doing the asking and granting of it. … Favors the second kind have consequences affecting others as well…. There is nothing wrong with asking for favors of the first kind as long as we keep our requests reasonable. The system works until someone ends up doing most of the asking and someone else most of the granting. Fairness is of paramount importance here.
Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 131-132