Resources for Evangelicals on Refugees

Going along with this post at the main page today, I wanted to put together a resource for people to use to learn more about opportunities to serve with refugees in the USA.

The Immigration Council has put together a great fact sheet for people needing a basic introduction to how refugees arrive in the United States. You can also find a fairly similar post here that has additional intro-level information.

This chart shows the top 20 metros as of 2000 for refugees resettled in the United States. You can find the chart and more information here.


AlJazeera has a piece on the largest refugee groups to come to America recently.

The HHS website has official data on refugee arrivals for 2012, 2013, and 2014.

If you want to help refugees in your area, but don’t know where to begin use this list to find a refugee resettlement organization in your area. They will be able to tell you where to go. (Some of the states are not listed in alphabetical order for some reason so if you don’t see your state at first, do a ctrl+f and find it that way.)

When the End of the World is Your Day Job

Via Esquire:

The incident was small, but Jason Box doesn’t want to talk about it. He’s been skittish about the media since it happened. This was last summer, as he was reading the cheery blog posts transmitted by the chief scientist on the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which was exploring the Arctic for an international expedition led by Stockholm University. “Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented . . . we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites…. The weather Gods are still on our side as we steam through a now ice-free Laptev Sea….”

As a leading climatologist who spent many years studying the Arctic at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State, Box knew that this breezy scientific detachment described one of the nightmare long-shot climate scenarios: a feedback loop where warming seas release methane that causes warming that releases more methane that causes more warming, on and on until the planet is incompatible with human life. And he knew there were similar methane releases occurring in the area. On impulse, he sent out a tweet.

The State of Red America

Sad reading:

In the fall of 1969, Merle Haggard topped the Billboard country charts for four weeks with “Okie from Muskogee,” the song that quickly became the anthem of red America, even before we called it that.

“We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee, we don’t take our trips on LSD, we don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street, we like livin’ right and bein’ free,” Haggard declared. “We don’t make a party out of lovin’, we like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo.”

Times have changed.

Today Muskogee, Okla., a city of 38,863, has nine drug treatment centers and acourt specifically devoted to drug offenders. A search for “methamphetamine arrest” on the website of the Muskogee Phoenix, the local newspaper, produces 316 hits.

In 2013 just under two-thirds of the births in the city of Muskogee, 62.6 percent, were to unwed mothers, including 48.3 percent of the births to white mothers. The teenage birthrate in Oklahoma was 47.3 per 1,000; in Muskogee, it’s 59.2, almost twice the national rate, which is 29.7.

How to Keep the NSA from Turning Phone Conversations Into Text

Via the Intercept:

As soon as my article about how NSA computers can now turn phone conversations into searchable text came out on Tuesday, people started asking me: What should I do if I don’t want them doing that to mine?

The solution, as it is to so many other outrageously invasive U.S. government tactics exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is, of course, Congressional legislation.

I kid, I kid.

No, the real solution is end-to-end encryption, preferably of the unbreakable kind.

How Schools Ruin Recess

From the WaPo:

“You are wasting your breath,” a colleague once told me after overhearing my conversation with a parent regarding the importance of free play on that child’s health. “I’ve been telling parents this for years and no one everunderstands me. I’ve learned to keep quiet. You’ll see. People just don’t get it.” Her faith in people was lost. I, on the other hand, would not give up that easily.

Fast forward five years, and I’m halfway across the world, in the beautiful country of New Zealand. Rolling green hills surround us at every turn. Here in the small patch of woods, the children are at a TimberNook camp enjoying their freshly cooked popcorn in their bare feet, while sheep wander through the trees nearby. A child suddenly spies the sheep and puts away her snack. “Can I have some rope and scissors please?” The child politely asks. With no questions asked, the young girl is given ample rope and a pair of scissors.

The Last Days of Football

Stephen Squibb:

WHEN THE FUTURE LOOKS QUIZZICALLY BACK at our own benighted era in search of the exact moment when the institutionalized incompetence, nepotism, and greed of the NFL pushed football into obscurity once and for all, the strange weeks between the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl 49 will surely be a leading candidate. The furor over the amount of air pressure in the footballs used by the New England Patriots’ offense in their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts has been described as a circus, but that is an insult to the hard-working men and women of big top showbiz. No clown show, with or without elephants, has ever been as disorganized, as clumsy, or as hopelessly burdened with misallocated moral righteousness as the carnival now unfolding.

Are the Patriots actually guilty? I have an answer and I’ll get to it. But the more interesting question, at least to me, is why a league threatened with obsolescence should be so eager to discuss the question of the pounds-per-square-inch of Tom Brady’s footballs in the lead-up to its most popular annual game. One day last week, Deflategate led the three network evening news broadcasts. A number of former players, commentators, and general managers have added fuel to the fire, with former quarterback Mark Brunell going so far as to tear up on camera over Brady’s ostensible perfidy. The NFL meanwhile has continuously leaked rumors about the investigation to reporters, feeding the ESPN round-the-clock news machine. Some commentators have suggested the debate over the footballs is actually a relief. But a relief from what, and why?

Nebraska’s Natural Beauty

From the WaPo:

After 30 years of working as an award-winning photographer for Sports Illustrated,Bill Frakes traded basketball courts and football fields for the open ranges and expansive landscape of his native Nebraska. Frakes began sharing photographs of sunbursts cutting through bright blue skies and mighty clouds rolling over red clay rocks via Facebook, and today–along with partner Laura Heald– launches a year’s worth of photographs he has amassed on a Web site called The Nebraska Project. In the excerpt below, Frakes describes for In Sight his work and his lasting love for Nebraska’s natural beauty.

And here is the NYT giving my home some love:

In 1954, as an impetuous, irascible 16-year-old, I got my first view quite by accident of Nebraska’s Sand Hills. In my sophomore year of high school it had occurred to me that the lakes and forests of Michigan were too small for my burgeoning personality. I was an athlete of sorts, a student leader, but also an addict of Faulkner and James Joyce. Throw in Rimbaud and Dostoyevsky and I was an absurdly premature powder keg and felt I should look in a far field.

With the help of the only teacher who didn’t think I was nuts, I wangled a job at a resort in Colorado by saying I was a college student, a small fib. My mother gave a resounding “no” to my trip. My father, however, said “yes,” and that was my trump card. He was a government agronomist but had a somewhat shaky youth. At my age he was working as a shovel man on a cross-Michigan pipeline, camping out even in winter. I often think of this hardship compared with my own rather flimsy problems.

Over an arduously goofy summer in which I discovered that college girls necked more intensely than the high school girls back home, the most memorable event was slopping coffee all over the saucer of Earl Warren, the chief justice of the Supreme Court at the time. I was embarrassed, but then I had never seen a famous person in real life.

Faith and Fears in Wendell Berry’s Kentucky

From Grist:

Wendell Berry’s mind is preoccupied with four dead sheep. I join the 80-year-old food movement sage for a drink and a visit in the kitchen of his neat white house on the top of the hill in Henry County. The talk meanders, picks up steam, and tapers off until the hum of the refrigerator fills the air, but the conversation always circles back to those missing animals.

Berry has four fewer sheep, but there were only two carcasses. The others disappeared without a trace. It’s coyotes, according to a trapper who knows the beasts and how to get rid of them. Berry has never heard of coyotes doing such a thing — not the stealing of sheep, for which they have an established reputation, but for doing such a clean job of it. No telltale chunks of hide or dried blood. I can tell that the mystery rattles around in his thoughts even as we trade stories of hunters being hunted, my home state of Montana, and women who tell dirty jokes.

Berry’s mind is one of the most famous and respected in environmentalism. The farming poet has been writing since the ’60s, and has more than 50 books to his name. His timeless tomes show a deep love of nature and rich understanding of the power of community. Described as the “modern-day Thoreau,” Berry holds up the simple, good things in the world while decrying the forces of greed and globalization that sully them. The man knows how to pack a punch in just a few words: “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.’’

A Berry sentence — “eating is an agricultural act” — set Michael Pollan off in his own storied explorations. The National Humanities Medal winner has influenced everyone from baby boomer farmers to presidents to our 23-year-old intern who, upon hearing about my trip, exclaimed, “Wendell Berry is my Leonardo DiCaprio!”

We’re All Chumps Now

Freddie De Boer:

There is no such thing as practical knowledge, and so there is no such thing as a practical major. This country graduates 350,000 business majors a year. The metrics for those degrees are generally awful. But nobody ever includes them in their arguments about impractical majors, despite those bad numbers. And if you’re some 19 year old, out to choose a career path, business sure sounds practical. So they graduate with those degrees and flood the market with identical resumes and nobody will hire them. Meanwhile, they lost the opportunity to explore fields that they might have enjoyed, that might have deepened the information acquisition and evaluation skills that would allow them to adapt to a whole host of jobs, and that might have provided a civic and moral education. All to satisfy a vision of practicality that has no connection to replicable, reliable economic advantage.

What’s most depressing of all is that these changes of fortune for particular fields is always seen as worthy of mockery and not sympathy. I searched around for that New Republic article on social media and found plenty of people laughing at these kids and calling them chumps for following an educational fad. You just can’t win: if you pursue a field you actually like, they mock you for your impracticality. If you pursue a field out of a desire to chase the money, and you get unlucky, they mock you for choosing poorly. Whatever it takes to convince you that your unemployment is your own fault and not the fault of an economic system that serves only the 1%.