Thursday, June 21, 2007

Heading for Africa

I am leaving for Africa today and won't return until July 3rd. I am traveling with World Vision to Zambia, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Botswana and Victoria Falls. I'm sure I will have much to blog about when I return but probably won't have computer access for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fire at Shane Claiborne's Simple Way House

Thanks to the Jobless Minister for alerting me to the fact that one of the Simple Way houses in Philly caught on fire last night. Thankfully everyone got out in time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Where's your focus?

Here's the Lilac Chaser illusion from Wikipedia. If you stare at the cross in the center of the circle for 20 seconds or so, the image seems to change and instead of a circle of lilac dots a green dot seems to chase them out of existence. Hmmm, seems life is a lot like that. Where we focus can change our perspective. In the words of the old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, by Helen Lemmel, when we focus on Jesus, "the things of earth will grow strangely dim".
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Redeeming a Needy Neighborhood

Here's a link to an interesting interview with Rev. James Meeks about Redeeming A Needy Neighborhood.
Our mission was always to build a healthy people, and that automatically means that you are concerned about what else happens on your Jericho Road. And on your Jericho Road, you not only care for the wounds of those set upon by robbers, but you go door to door telling robbers they're unwelcome.
And we get the streetlights fixed!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sojourners Candidate Forum on CNN

Sojourners hosted a CNN live broadcast of leading Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama on Monday, June 4, for A Presidential Forum on Faith, Values, and Poverty at Lisner Auditorium of The George Washington University. This video has highlights from the Candidates Forum.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quiet Riots in the African American Community

Here's a link to a CNN post by Roland Martin about Obama's comments regarding the growing despair in the African American community. Martin quotes from a speech given by Obama at the Hampton University Annual Ministers' Conference on Tuesday during which he said...
(Quiet riots) happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better.

You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home.

That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, 'not guilty' -- or a hurricane hits New Orleans -- and that despair is revealed for the world to see.

Here's what Roland Martin had to say...
What Obama spoke of I see every day. I can look out our bay window and see men and women going to work each day, trying to make ends meet, and they often don't. I see women walking their kids to school just to keep them safe, but inevitably, some don't come home, like the 31 students from Chicago Public Schools who have been murdered this year. Oh, I definitely see the urban terrorists -- gang members and drug dealers -- who tear the fabric of the black community apart with their rampant violence.

People shouldn't have to endure "quiet riots." They should be shouting from the rooftops, and we should hear their pleas.
Martin criticizes the bloggers who "know nothing about the conditions of the nation's urban poor, want to sit in their ivory towers and pretend that if you just read, write and work hard, all will be well. And there is no doubt that the work ethic and willingness to do better is paramount, and encouraged -- even by African Americans. But it's also critical to know that there are many who are working and working and working, and don't seem to be making any headway."

Here's a link to the full text of Obama's speech.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Teddy Stallard Story

Here's Tony Campolo, the consummate story teller, telling two of his great stories: the bag lady at Nordstroms, and the Teddy Stallard story. Does it matter to you that the Teddy Stallard story is not true? The story has even been made into a heartwarming video. It is actually a work of fiction created by Elizabeth Ballard (now Elizabeth Ungar). It's an urban legend. I still like listening to Tony tell a good story. And, of course, teachers can make a huge difference in the life of a child.

Cross-cultural Faux Pas

My friend Max sent me an email today with this list...
  • When Pepsi translated “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” into Chinese, they literally said, “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.”
  • Purdue Chicken's “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” in Spanish became, “It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”
  • The first attempt to translate Coke in Chinese was “Ke-kou-ke-la,” which, depending on the dialect, meant either “Bite the wax tadpole” or “Female horse stuffed with wax.”
  • Parker Pen’s “It won’t leak in your pocket & embarrass you,” in Spanish translated into, “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”
                --Sarasota Herald-Tribune - 01.19.98

Forsaken, Humiliated and Extremely Weak

I really resonated with this post on Yolanda Field's blog from yesterday. We are in the middle of a pretty intense struggle at Breakthrough and really need your prayers.

A Clean and Innocent Heart

Give me, O Lord, purity of lips, a clean and innocent heart, and rectitude of action. Give me humility, patience, abstinence, chastity, prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance. Give me the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, and of Thy fear. Make me ever to seek Thy face with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind; grant me to have a contrite and humbled heart in Thy presence--to prefer nothing to Thy love. Most high, eternal, and ineffable Wisdom, drive away from me the darkness of blindness and ignorance; most high and eternal Strength, deliver me; most high and eternal Fortitude, assist me; most high and incomprehensible Light, illuminate me; most high and infinite Mercy, have mercy on me. Amen

  --A Gallican Sacramentary, from A Guide To Prayer for All God's People