By Melissa Wuske
Thirty Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews gathered to study and pray and seek unity—a dramatic difference from the history of conflict across groups in the region. The participants met in Cypress, sponsored by the Lausanne Initiative for Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine (LIRIP). They released a statement to solidify their unity and set an example for their respective communities.
“In times of tension and violent conflict,” the group said, “relationships suffer, while suspicion, accusation, and mutual rejection thrive. At such times it is even more essential that we who affirm our unity in the Messiah must uphold ethical standards of life that are worthy of our calling, in all our attitudes, words, and deeds.”
The statement continued by honoring their differences, even while seeking harmony in Christ: “We hold very different theological positions regarding the land, and also very different perspectives on the causes of the social, political, and economic realities that impact the daily life of all who inhabit the land. . . . We intend to listen more carefully to one another, so as to understand deeply even when we disagree.”
Good News for Germophobes
Boeing is devising a self-cleaning bathroom for airplanes that kills germs and eliminates odors using UV light. Strategically positioned lights shine for 3 seconds after a person exits the lavatory to kill 99.99 percent of germs. The system is designed to disinfect while the plane is in the air to supplement the deeper cleanings that happen between flights.
The aircraft manufacturer is also testing toilet seats that open and close automatically so that all surfaces can be cleaned by the light, and hands-free mechanisms for the faucet, trashcan, door latch, and other features, as well as an odor-fighting vacuum vent system in the floor.
Keeping the Sabbath
The United Kingdom House of Commons decided that large stores may only be open for six hours on Sundays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. They also voted that stores must close on Easter and Christmas. The rule only applies to stores more that 3,000 square feet, so smaller stores can be open all day.
Many evangelicals applaud the decision. “This is a victory for family life,” said Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance UK. The alliance supports the restriction to “protect workers, local businesses, and a vision that we’re more than our ability to consume.”
A statement from members of the Church of England and Church in Wales touts the countercultural nature of the new legislation: “The space for shared time and activities, central to human flourishing, is becoming increasingly rare. Needlessly extending Sunday opening hours will only exacerbate this trend.”
Can Happy Emotions Cause a Broken Heart?
Broken heart syndrome, also known as takotsubo syndrome (TTS), is condition where the heart’s muscles cause an expansion of the left ventricle. It’s commonly associated with negative emotional events, but researchers have found that positive emotions can also cause the condition. Of 1,750 cases studied, 485 were caused by emotional triggers. Most triggers were negative, including the death of a spouse, attending a funeral, or being in a car accident. But 20 people, 4 percent of those with emotion-caused TTS, had ailments caused by positive emotions including the birth of great-grandchildren, attending a wedding, or getting good news from a doctor.
Christian Templi, a coauthor of the study, said, “Perhaps both happy and sad life events, while inherently distinct, share final common pathways in the central nervous system output, which ultimately lead to [this condition].”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).