From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George

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The Dean Recommends: Of Saints and Clowns

Fr. Gerald E. Murray
June 16, 2016

Malcolm Muggeridge wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times on April 23, 1978 entitled “25 Propositions on a 75th Birthday.” That he was invited to do so, and allowed to publish proposition 23, is sign of how relatively better things were back then: “Alas, the terrible inhumanity of the humane! Herod’s slaughter of the innocents was negligible compared with the millions of babies being slaughtered under the legalized abortion procedures now existing almost everywhere. Again, as legalized euthanasia gets under way the Nazi performance in this field pales into insignificance. At Nuremberg the Nazi practice of legalized euthanasia was condemned as a war crime. So, it takes 30 years to transform a war crime into an act of compassion.” I doubt that would survive scrutiny by today’s guardians of “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

Back in 1978 I was a student at Dartmouth College and had the privilege of hearing Muggeridge speak twice there. I read his magnificent book Something Beautiful for God, which revealed the holiness and love of the soon-to-be-canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The book was the fruit of a TV program Muggeridge did on the saintly friend of the poor. Mother Teresa told him that she wanted to be present at his First Holy Communion when he became a Catholic. That is probably what he was expecting to hear from her.

I reviewed his Jesus: The Man who Lives for the campus newspaper at the time of his second visit and told him how much I enjoyed reading the book. He responded that he never read a book he was going to review; he simply found out what period of history the book dealt with and told some stories he knew about that time. I took this remark as partly a joke, but not entirely false. Read the rest at Catholic Thing.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Friday, June 24, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: Kenneth Bae - How I Kept the Faith in a North Korean Prison Camp

Has a persecuted Christian ever had an unlikelier champion than Dennis Rodman? The eccentric former NBA star made a bizarre cameo in the drama surrounding Kenneth Bae, an American missionary accused of plotting to overthrow the North Korean government and condemned to 15 years of hard labor. Shortly after the April 2013 sentencing, Rodman—who has made several visits to the isolated nation and claims friendship with its reclusive leader, Kim Jong-un—took to Twitter with an urgent request: “I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him ‘Kim,’ to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose.” (The mercurial basketballer later denied his support during a testy CNN interview.)

At the time of his capture, Bae was visiting North Korea for the 15th time in two years as a guide for his North Korean tour company. Under the Nations Tours banner, about 300 Christians had visited Rason, a special economic zone that allowed international investment. Bae hoped to expose them to the country and encourage them to begin praying for it, all while bringing investment income to the government. Bae’s arrest came after he entered the country with an external hard drive filled with files and photos documenting missionary work. Authorities seized on references to Operation Jericho, a prayer mobilization plan that invoked military metaphors, to justify charges of insurrection. Released in November 2014 after intense American lobbying, Bae was the longest-serving US prisoner in North Korean history. He spoke with CT assistant editor Morgan Lee about his imprisonment, his ongoing love for the North Korean people, and his new memoir, Not Forgotten (Thomas Nelson).

What led you to become a missionary?

In 1984, I attended a retreat with the theme “A Vision in Christ.” I started asking God what I should become, and the word I received was shepherd. But I wasn’t sure what that meant.

After graduating high school, I attended a retreat organized by some Chinese churches. The speaker invited anyone willing to dedicate their life for mission to China to come forward. There were 500 people in the hall, and I was first on the stage. Ever since, I’ve known God was calling me to be a missionary to China. Read the rest at Christianity Today.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Thursday, June 23, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: 7 Things Christians Should Know about Refugees

June 20, 2016

Medine Keener with her husband, Craig

In the morning of January 19th 1999, my family woke up as usual in the small city of Dolisie (Republic of Congo). Everyone was getting ready to go and do what we usually did: children readying for school and adults for work. Suddenly we heard gunshot and bombardments. Everybody tried to find shelter amongst the cries of children, wailings of women, and confusion. After two days of trying to hide in our house because we did not know where to go with a disabled father, hunger drove us out. Thus began our long journey as refugees.

For 18 months, we slept on dirt floors, in abandoned schools, churches and hospitals where we were at the mercy of malarial mosquitoes. Our meal that we ate once a day came sometimes from the kindness of the villagers who invited us to their plantations, but mostly from what we could find in the forest. We ate ferns that grow by the riverside and drank water from rivers where dead animals and corpses were discarded and where people cleaned children’s excrement. We did not have toilets or toilet paper. We got sick with malnutrition, malaria, typhoid fever, and hemorrhoids.

Our world is filled with news about racist and ethnic violence, war, and people having to leave their homes for the unknown. The following are 7 facts about refugees that can help us understand them better. Read the rest at Seedbed.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Wednesday, June 22, 2016
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