Magazine article The Christian Century

Century Marks

Magazine article The Christian Century

Century Marks

Article excerpt

GOOD SAMARITANS: Christian Peacemaker Teams has had a delegation in Baghdad, visiting hospitals and bombsites and documenting Iraqi suffering. When part of the Baghdad team was expelled from the country, the members took three cars, with Iraqi drivers, across the desert to Amman, Jordan. They drove at a high speed, trying to avoid the bombing. The last car in the convoy had a tire blow out and landed in a ten-foot ditch, injuring several of the CPT members. An Iraqi stopped to help and took them to a small clinic in a nearby town that had been bombed by coalition forces three days earlier, destroying a children's hospital, among other things. The doctor apologized for a lack of medicine, due to the embargo against Iraq, but he did what he could to help, and then refused to accept payment. "We treat everyone in our clinic: Muslim, Christian, Iraqi or American. We all are part of the same family, you know," the doctor said (www.prairienet.org/cpt/).

DOWN WITH DIRTY HARRY: Ample research has demonstrated a correlation between TV violence and aggression in children. Based on a longitudinal study which followed children to adulthood, researchers from the University of Michigan argue that exposure to media violence encourages aggressive behavior in adulthood among both males and females without respect to socioeconomic status or family considerations. Making an enduring impression on children are: violent characters with whom they identify, violent scenes believed to be realistic and scenes of perpetrators of violence being rewarded for their behavior (Developmental Psychology, March).

DRINK TO THIS: From field research in Africa, anthropologist John Blacking concluded that all people have an innate musical ability and that most societies encourage it; it is only in recent centuries in the West that professionalization has suppressed popular musical expression. "Before the professionals came to dominate, all music was folk music in the sense that it was a form of communication and interaction between different members of a society," says Ian Green. Given this innate interest in music, it should not be surprising that popular religious movements use "folk music" (that is, the music popular with the masses) as a vehicle of expression. "Martin Luther keyed into the existing German tradition of folk hymns and secular folk songs, with great success," blurring the line between secular and sacred music: "... soon his hymns were ... being sung in workshops, market places, streets, fields, and even in bathhouses and inns." One bishop complained that the psalms were even being sung in ale-houses (Ian Green in Christianity and Community in the West, edited by Simon Ditchfield [Ashgate]). …

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