Biased media coverage of Kenya

David Zarembka critiques a few news reports on the situation in his Report 17 — Hoodwinked: International Coverage of the Crisis in Kenya

If this story had been true, it would have been one of the biggest massacres in the current violence in Kenya. Even though the story was fabricated, it was passed on by at least CNN and Time. I have never seen any reference to it in the Kenyan media.

This ought to be a red flag not only for coverage of the recent events in Kenya, but overall coverage by the international media in Africa.

Pray for Kenya

Carol, blogging at among Friends has a number of posts about the situation in Kenya, including a message from Friends United Meeting staff yesterday:

The country Kenya is now in chaos now and many people are dying and properties destroyed as a reaction to the announcement of the results. We are appealing for prayers that calmness may come to our country.
Peace and unity may prevail in our country. We are all safe wherever we are. Pray for Kenya!! Pray for Kenya!!!

God bless

John Muhanji

There is a also a press release from Friends United Meeting.

Encountering the Living God

Well, I’ve cherry-picked the best part of Paul’s post: Showers of Blessings: La Natividad: Year 2

The most touching part for me happens at St. Paul’s when, through a nice bit of stagecraft, the masked José y Maria are replaced with a flesh-and-blood couple holding a real baby. The switcheroo can’t be seen by the audience until the right moment when the adoring animals and wise men part, and when they realize what’s happened and see the living actors and baby there’s a spontaneous “ohhhh” that fills the church. I tear up every time. I realized tonight that this is what happens whenever we are able to break through the masquerade of religion and illusion and encounter the Living God on the other side.

But how better to note his beautiful image of breaking through illusion to the Living God.

Quakers and privilege

Via QuakerQuaker and Martin Kelley, I found Jeanne’s Social Class & Quakers blog and her blog game on class. As she says,

It’s based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. . . . The exercise developers hold the copyright but have given me permission to post it here and ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

Go on over to Jeanne’s blog for a link to the creators, in addition to wonderful comments and links (in the comments) to others who have done the exercise.

Bold items are advantages I received.

  • Father went to college
  • Father finished college
  • Mother went to college
  • Mother finished college
  • Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
  • Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers (my father owned a business)
  • Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
  • Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
  • Were read children’s books by a parent
  • Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 (oil painting)
  • Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
  • The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
  • Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
  • Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
  • Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs (to put it in context, I went to a land-grant institution with no tuition for in-state students)
  • Went to a private high school
  • Went to summer camp
  • Had a private tutor before you turned 18
  • Family vacations involved staying at hotels (the first family vacation we took was the summer before I started college)
  • Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
  • Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
  • There was original art in your house when you were a child (painted by my Grandma Sutton)
  • Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
  • You and your family lived in a single family house
  • Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
  • You had your own room as a child (eventually)
  • Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (not to brag, but I was my class valedictorian; if I had needed such a prep course, I could and would have taken one)
  • Had your own TV in your room in High School
  • Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
  • Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 (my mother, sister, and I flew to the East Coast to visit D.C., Philadelphia, and my Aunt Martha in N.Y. state the summer I turned 13; and I flew to Europe for a FFA program the summer I turned 16)
  • Went on a cruise with your family
  • Went on more than one cruise with your family
  • Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
  • You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family (more to the point, I was unaware of cooling costs)

Jeanne adds:

To participate in this blog game, copy and paste the above list into your blog, and bold the items that are true for you. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to post your responses in the comments. Once enough people participate in this little game, I’ll do a Part II post about what all this has to do with Friends. (And you can, in your blog post, ponder what it means to Friends).

Go on over to Jeanne’s blog if you do this exercise, and let her know.

Teasing out Harry Potter’s Christian elements

I’d love to quote the conclusion of Nancy’s Apology: Harry Potter and the Eerie Silence, but that just wouldn’t be cool. It’s longish for a blog post, and worth every moment spent.

I don’t think it was the pagan or magic aspects of the Potter books that drove the conservatives nutty: I think it was the Christian elements.

Rowling, who is not a professed Christian, took 2000 years of christendom–in the form of symbols, legends, archetypes, allegories, and values–and put it into a new story.

(Hat tip to Johan Maurer and

Faces of Faith panel discussion

Yesterday I was on a panel in Second Life for a University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism fellowship program project. The fellows had researched and created reports on “Faces of Faith: God Sex Family” and decided to bring their reports into Second Life. As part of their weeklong exhibit, they organized this panel of SL religious figures (video). It was a real privilege to be on the panel.