Four Articles and a Poem

8:02 AM

Every week, I share links to four articles that I found significant, accompanied by a poem. Our lives are enriched by seeing better. One article comes from the world of photography, a discipline intent upon shaping how we see. Another article takes up technology, hence seeing something of the future. Another takes up an aspect of our common life, seeing more clearly together. Another article refers to faith, seeing the unseen. Finally, the weekly post concludes with a poem, because poetry is about seeing words whose arrangement allows us to see anew.

This week, we will look at what role faith may play in reducing gun violence. We will examine the science around soil loss and the politics of climate change in Paris. We will look at a photographer who documents gun violence in life-giving ways. Finally, we will hear from Rudyard Kipling as he mourns his son.
  1. Can Faith-Based Organizing for Gun Control Work? With the San Bernardino tragedy this week, on top of so many, and the #thoughtsandprayers meme (politicians offer thoughts and prayers and nothing more after these shootings), I saw Sarah Posner's article. Posner, an investigative journalist, author, and expert on the intersection of religion and politics, articulates a way that one might organize he faith-based community around firearms and violence.
  2. Global soil loss a rising threat to food production - scientists. Chris Arsenault of Thomson Reuters provides a summary of the problem that Wes Jackson and The Land Institute here in Salina have been working on for more than 40 years.
  3. COP21 Paris climate talks: a beginner’s guide. Another unfortunate impact of the San Bernardino shooting is that it deflects any attention that would otherwise be paid to the Paris Climate Talks. In fact, most of the coverage regarding President Obama's visit to Paris was in light of ISIS and gun violence. The Financial Times' Pilita Clark offers a helpful introduction to this important meeting.
  4. Shot. In 2013, Kathy Shorr began shooting (pardon the irony of the word) portraits of subjects who have been shot by guns — the victims and survivors of gun violence from around the United States. The ongoing project is titled “SHOT” and now contains over 50 portraits. Here is another description of her project.
This week, we will conclude, given such sad news, with a mournful poem from Rudyard Kipling. Kipling's son, John (or Jack), died in World War I. This poem was written in his loss.

"My Boy Jack"
by Rudyard Kipling

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

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