The battle over a proposed sale of American evangelism’s ‘Missions Pentagon’ raises questions of missionary strategy and nonprofit accountability. What responsibility do ministries have to their founder’s vision—and to those who sacrificed to fund it?
Journals Metro Minute
A New York moment:
Last week my friend and I were planning to go to the top of One World Trade Center (1 WTC). He has a family member who was killed in the attacks, which meant he could visit 1 WTC and the 9/11 Museum for free. Turned out it wasn’t that simple, due to the layers of companies and authorities who operate the 9/11 Memorial area. First we went to the National September 11 Museum, which is where he was originally told to get a family member pass for the WTC Observatory. Staffers ushered him to the front of the line, as a family member, where the box office staffer told him he needed to go to the Observatory ticket office.
We walked across the big, open memorial space—with the two gaping memorial pools set in the footprints of the buildings, where tourists were taking selfies—to the first floor of One World Trade Center. There, after a few more conversations, a staffer directed us down to “guest services.” The man at guest services said no, he doesn’t handle family members—we had to go several blocks south to the 9/11 Tribute Museum, a separate, smaller museum from the official National September 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero.
So back we trekked across the memorial, then down Greenwich Street. At the box office of the 9/11 Tribute Museum, the first staffer didn’t know how family members could get tickets. She called in her supervisor, who said family members had to reserve tickets online, and that it would take about a week to get approval for tickets. Then, he said, once my friend reserved online, he would need to come back to the 9/11 Tribute Museum (not the National 9/11 Museum!) to pick up the ticket. We left, defeated—for that day.
Worth your time:
One Chinese company sells phones with high-powered cameras, but the cameras are only front-facing—a feature of China’s extreme selfie culture. We see these trends in the United States, just in a different form.
This week I learned:
That a New York elementary school can’t have a father-daughter dance because it runs afoul of the city’s new prohibition on gender-based events at schools. The city’s Department of Education, postponing the dance, said the school will instead have a dance next month for “kids and caregivers of any gender.”
A court case you might not know about:
Doctors in Ontario, Canada, must make referrals for abortions or assisted suicide even if they conscientiously object, according to a unanimous ruling from an Ontario court. The judges said the requirements “represent reasonable limits on religious freedom.”
Culture I am consuming:
Facing Darkness, a documentary about the medical staffers at the Liberian mission hospital ELWA who contracted Ebola in 2014. Samaritan’s Purse produced the documentary, so it’s not coming from an objective outsider, but it’s so well-done. The story is gripping—it will make you weep for the devastation the disease caused in the country, and it will make you thankful for the missionaries who were willing to give up everything to serve where no one else would serve. Facing Darkness is available on Netflix.
Postscript: Email me with tips, story ideas, and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.