December 21, 2012 will mark "the ending of time as we know it," according to The Mayan Factor. This 1987 book sparked a frenzy that will only grow in the coming year. When the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar ends on that date, some say Planet X will collide with us or otherwise wreak havoc. Others predict a geomagnetic reversal of the north and south poles, with dire consequences. Still others warn that the star Betelgeuse will explode and cause catastrophes on our planet.
The Crystal Cathedral was once the best-known church in America. Rev. Robert H. Schuller's "Hour of Power" was watched by millions on television each Sunday. The church's glass structure in southern California is an architectural marvel. When I visited several years ago, I was awed by its beauty and sophistication.
I met Christopher Hitchens when we participated in a public debate on the existence of God and the relevance of faith nearly three years ago. Hitchens was one of the best-known atheists in the world. Before his death last Thursday, I often wondered how I would respond if given another opportunity to engage him.
America's military presence in Iraq has officially ended. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has told the troops, "Your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to cast tyranny aside and to offer hope for prosperity and peace to this country's future generations."
Sometimes good guys finish first. Saturday night, Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy, college football's highest award. His unlikely story is worth reflection this morning.
Should I wish you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is in the morning news. He released a statement this week announcing that he will host "the annual State House holiday tree lighting." When critics complained about his depiction of Christmas trees, he urged them to volunteer to help Rhode Island's needy instead.
Is war in the Middle East imminent? The International Atomic Energy Agency recently reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran will soon have the capacity to build nuclear warheads. Iran may already possess enough nuclear material for four bombs.
Americans are safer than we were yesterday. According to this morning's New York Times, Anwar al-Awlaki was just killed. While this news won't receive the same media attention as the death of Osama bin Laden, it is just as significant for our nation. Why?