Mission Week backlash

first_imgOxford students have complained of excessive promotion by members of the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, as part of ‘Mission Week’.A student at Exeter College described a “constant stream” of religious literature posted to students, and told Cherwell that he suspected his atheism and involvement with the LGBT may have had a role to play in his targeting. “I had a seventh copy of the gospels of St. John forced upon me today,” he explained, and added, “The misdirected resources of Mission Week have had no impact on me.”Robbie Strachan, President of the OICCU, stressed the inclusivity of the society, encouraging students of any denomination or faith to attend lunch-time talks and events running throughout fourth week at the town hall. He told Cherwell “’This is Jesus’ is a week of events for every single student in the university to engage with the real Jesus. That means that meetings are open for all students to attend, irrespective of their personal convictions.”He added, “We’d encourage people to come and see what all the fuss is about.”In response to OICCU’s campaign tactics some students have produced rival posters and fliers with varying degrees of gravity. One particularly contentious poster listed several different gods with the “This is…” tag and featured quotes from prominent atheists claiming that organised religion is synonymous with “misogyny, genocide and homophobia.”  The more light-hearted responses to the CU campaign include a list of cheeses entitled “This is cheesus” which was distributed in all University College toilets, and a series of labels found around St Hugh’s with declarations such as “this is kitchen” and “this is lamp.”Regent’s Park College, a PPH affiliated with the Christian Baptist Ministry, reportedly had a ‘This is Jesus’ poster graffitied to read, ‘This is SPARTA’ in their JCR. Other parodies featured on Facebook show that students have gone so far as to create ‘This is Penis’ parodies of the poster complete with a silhouetted phallus. Second year PPEist Ben Deaner, creator of the ‘This is Penis’ meme told Cherwell of his motives, claiming, ‘As an atheist I have not yet ‘found God’ and as such you can imagine my excitement upon finding a poster labeled ‘This is Jesus’. After some enthusiastic shouting about how I had at last encountered my Lord and Savior I was politely informed that the object was in fact a poster and that the message was some kind of metaphor. In my disappointment and anger I created the ‘This is Penis’ poster.’Not all are offended by the efforts of OICCU however with one anonymous student claiming, ‘I like that they’re making the effort to reach out to us, even if it can be a little over-enthusiastic at times. They mean well and I find the appeal of free lunches and toasties on demand pretty convincing in return for a half hour of pleasant talk.’A first year student at New College commented, “Although I understand that the Christian Union is well meaning, the indiscriminate dissemination of ‘This is Jesus’ books seems to be nothing other than an explicit attempt to convert non-believers. I – and almost all others to whom I have spoken – have reacted against this, as it seems inappropriate in a diverse society in which we should all be entitled to our own views and beliefs.“As someone who is Jewish and is open about this, I find really quite offensive the insinuation in the quotation attached to the book that “the truth will set you free,” implying that as a non-Christian I am somehow in chains, not emancipated, and destined for hell. Once again, I realise that there is no malicious intent behind the actions of the CU, and in general most people appreciate the philanthropic works of the Union, but I felt this was somewhat misguided.”Second year Alexander Lynchehaun remarked, “Christians are annoying at the best of times, but this week has been something else.”last_img read more

04 Challenging weeds

first_img Volume XXVIII Number 1 Page 4 Annual weeds sprout, grow to maturity, go to seed and die out in one year. They’re relatively easy to pull up and don’t leave persistent roots behind. But they get even by scattering seeds for future plants.Many bothersome weeds were introduced to North America as food sources. It’s possible to add young tender dandelions, chickweed, pepper cress or shepherd’s purse to salads.Eating them, while interesting, doesn’t provide a reliable way to control weeds. Munching on them does have psychological and ecological value. It reminds us that every plant we eat or use was developed from a wild plant.All naturalNo scientist has ever created a food plant in a lab. But many have worked to enhance the edible and useful characteristics of thousands of wild plants. We owe our lives to weeds.Of course, that fact may not be very comforting when you’re looking at an overgrown garden.Two problems confront gardeners when controlling annual weeds. The seeds persist for a long time in soil, and they come up at irregular intervals. Both traits make them hard to control.Annual weeds grow seeds in prodigious quantities. Then the wind, birds and animals and the plant’s own ability to expel and propel the seeds distributes them everywhere. The scattered seeds will germinate and new plants grow from them whenever the soil is dug or disturbed.Many gardeners have been frustrated by the flush of green across a newly-raked garden. Clean it off, turn the soil over, and within a week, hundreds of weed seeds will germinate.Persistence and method together, though, will help control annual weeds.Meet the enemy face-to-faceThe main enemy is the seed production — that’s the annual weed’s primary weapon. If you can keep it from producing seeds, by some method of weed birth control, you can reduce, if not eliminate, this continuing problem.No, you’ll never really eliminate weeds. But all weeds, no matter what their life cycles, are easier to control as small, immature plants.The first key is mechanical scuffling of the soil to kill newly-emerged plants. To control weeds by some form of hoeing, you need to keep watch and hoe as often as needed to keep the emerging weeds down before they go to seed.A weekly “weed walk” through the garden with a scuffling tool in hand can reduce time and effort later. The old saying, “One year’s seeds, seven years’ weeds,” reflects the persistence of weed seeds.Annual weeds — all weeds — tend to hide out under plants or disguise themselves as garden ornamentals. Lift plant edges and look closely for sneaky seedlings.Besides hoeing, another way to control weeds is to smother them. This removes chances for the hidden seeds to get to light and germinate.Using ground-cover plants in a garden is a good way to reduce weed problems. A well-established stand of low perennial plants will shade out weeds.But ground covers must be weeded as they fill in, and it may take three years of persistent care before their branches offer substantial weed protection.Covering the ground with 2 to 3 inches of any organic mulch, such as compost, leaves, aged sawdust or commercial compost, will help keep thousands of annual weed seedlings from coming up.It’s possible, too, to use one of the weed-prevention geotextiles made of a woven, synthetic fiber. These allow water and air to penetrate but won’t allow light to the weeds.Put mulch on top of these textiles for best appearance. They last for years if not torn by careless digging.These textiles work more to the advantage of ornamental plants than solid black plastic does. Black plastic doesn’t allow air or water to penetrate. This can damage the plant roots’ health. By Wayne McLaurin University of Georgialast_img read more