Wisdom 2: 1, 12-24

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  • Disownment and the Discourse of Death

    by Jeff Liou
    While on Ignatian retreat recently, I ran across Henri Nouwen’s 1998 reflections on activism against the nuclear threat. Nouwen sees what I’m calling “disownment and the discourse of death” at work in human activities that so many of us consider ordinary. Nouwen articulates the small, formative ways in which contemptuous othering leads to larger, deadly consequences. In Peacework: Prayer and Resistance and Community, Nouwen observes this othering even among activists about whom he wrote: Many peacemakers, overwhelmed by the great threats of our time, have lost their joy and have become prophets of doom. Yet anyone who grimly announces the end of the world and then hopes to move people to peace work is not a peacemaker. Peace and joy are like brother and sister; they belong together. I cannot remember a moment of peace in my life that wasn’t also very joyful. In the Gospels, joy and peace are always found together . . . The Gospel of peace is also a Gospel of joy. Thus, peace work is joyful work...
  • The Secret of Success

    by Peter Thompson
    Jeffery Skilling was a man convinced of his own superiority. When he applied to Harvard Business School, his interviewer asked him if he was smart. His reply can’t be quoted in full from the pulpit, but suffice it to say that he let the interviewer know that he didn’t just think he was smart—he thought he was really smart. Bolstered by his fantastically sturdy ego, Skilling pushed past the competition to rise to the top of corporate America, graduating from the top 5 percent of his class at Harvard, excelling at the landmark consulting firm McKinsey and Company, and finally landing at a place repeatedly named one of America’s “best companies to work for” and “America’s most innovative company” by Fortune magazine: a little company called Enron...

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