Monday, February 27, 2006

Article #3: Turn Off the Noise

“Loretta! Did you hear? There’s a Peepin’ Tom out!” explained my Grandma to her sister, Loretta, on the phone twenty-five years ago. The call was unnecessary; Loretta had already heard the big news. A direct, secret source linked them into the heartbeat of the Conyers crime ring. Grandma and Loretta were, and still are, faithful listeners to their police scanners.

That scanner provided our Saturday night entertainment. I spent my week eagerly counting down the days until I could go to Grandma’s. At the end of our Saturday adventures involving Barbie doll purchases at K-mart, Grandma would roll my hair in pink, sponge curlers for church. Those were the days before the endless catalog of CSI or Law & Order cop dramas. Instead, we had our scanners and our ears tuned directly into the short-wave radios of the Conyers Police Department. As soon as the news broke, Grandma, Loretta, and the rest of Conyers were already on the phone. Porch lights would flash on before sirens came thundering down the streets.

Grandma got out of the bed that night to call my parents. It seems that Peepin’ Tom was spotted in their neighborhood. My dad responded to her warning by saying, “Mother, if that Peepin’ Tom looks in our window, all he’ll get is a headache.” He never really shared our undying scanner love.

That scanner is my first memory of loving technology. That love progressed to my Speak & Spell, then Atari, and later Nintendo. Now, technology has become a drug. Cell phones, text messages, instant messages, myspace, blogs, blackberries, DVDs, TiVo, and i-pods control many of our lives. In Boundless webzine’s article titled “Against the Cell,” Lauren Winner states that 71% of American households now own a cell phone. . . . A 2004 poll found that a third of all Americans name the cell phone as the invention they most hate, but cannot live without.”

Why can’t we live without it?

We are addicted to noise. This flurry of sound fills our ears and minds, allowing no space for new life to grow. How can imagination, creativity, or even prayer fit into our minds when they are overflowing with noise?

Richard Foster tells about behaviors that have helped people connect with God for centuries. Solitude and silence made the list. Jesus repeatedly moved into quiet places to talk to God and then listen as God talked back. Foster tells, “It is the Discipline of solitude that will open the door. You are welcome to come in and ‘listen to God’s speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all-embracing silence’” (Celebration of Discipline, pp.109)

Last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday as it was, began the season of Lent. Jesus took forty days to enter the wilderness, fast, face ultimate temptation, and prepare for the mission God had designed for Him. The Lenten season was designed for early Christians to reflect on that wilderness time as they contemplated life as followers of Christ. Sarah Parsons states, “Lent presents us with time to clear and cultivate part of that wilderness, to create an open space in it” (A Clearing Season, pp.9).

How can we create more space to listen to God? I dare you to unplug the T.V., turn off the cell phone, step away from the computer, park the i-pod, and let the blackberry rest for the next 40 days. Grandma and Loretta—turn off the scanner! Just listen. In John 10:27, Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

How would we respond if we heard Him in the quiet places of our lives?

Your #1 Match: INFP

"You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world. Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships. It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close. But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop. You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist."

If I could just remember this, my life would be much easier. . . . .

the Donald


In the famous words of Dora the Explorer, "I did it! I did it!"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Are you tired?

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (From The Message by Eugene Peterson, Matthew 11:28-30)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Article: 01.18.06

It all started in April of 1987. Seventh grade at Conyers Middle School was a warm mixture of energy and trauma. We walked the halls of that school as semi-people, students searching for their real selves. However, no one could find a hint of what we were seeking. One day, our questions came booming through our radios, all tuned into Power 99. “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” stated Bono on The Joshua Tree album. His voice was our own.

U2, his band, stayed with me as I progressed to high school. Our freshman class won the Homecoming Parade float contest, even though the blasted sophomores literally ripped our 10-foot, paper mache Bart Simpson in half. My mother made my dress that year, and we shopped for weeks for shoes that did not make me look any taller. “With Or Without You” was the final song at the dance that night. Bono, once again, created our world with his words.

In 1996, I stood beside my best friend and lifted my cellphone during the Pop Mart Tour to let my then-boyfriend hear the words. “One life, one love, get together, share it.” My big brother and I drove through the Painted Desert in 2002 listening to “Bullet, the Blue Sky” as I returned from three years living in Los Angeles. He and Bono challenged me on that seemingly endless road trip to go home and change the world.

Last week, Bono was the speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Our president, national political and spiritual leaders, along with various world powers gathered that day for the specific purpose of calling out to God in prayer. “If you’re wondering what I’m doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I’m certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather,” commented Bono to his powerful audience.

At that moment, Bono made history. My great, great grandchildren will read that speech in their history books a hundred years from now. As Bono proceeded to use the Bible to explain why believers, people walking in the way of Jesus, cannot turn our eyes away from “the least of these” any longer.

Bono challenged us to make greater strides to support Africa. He explained, ““. . . there's no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn’t accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the Tsunami. 150, 000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, ‘mother nature’. In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it’s a completely avoidable catastrophe.”

Once again, I hear Bono speaking words that drive the deepest parts of my heart. Those forgotten people, the ones drifting in the margins, haunt me. They live in our own community. We hide people, so no one will find them. Look under the overpasses, in the bushes, or between the main roads. They still “live and breathe and have their being.” A friend from church recently told us her story of ministry among a socially hidden community in Conyers. The residents asked her why she came to visit them. She told of her love for Christ and that He loves them too. They told her that most people like her could not see them. Like those in Africa, have our neighbors started become invisible to us as well?

In a recent survey, I was asked a frightening question, "Who do you trust?" Howard Gardner, the highly respected psychologist out of Harvard University, is studying current cultural trends regarding trust. After reading through the list of names compiled on the survey, all reflecting current political, spiritual, educational, and journalistic voices, I had to rank them according to my own level of trust. My conclusion was horrifying. Bono is one of the only public figures that I really trust. Do not forget; he is a rock star.He has become a hero. What does that tell me about our culture? Have I officially bought in to the media's propaganda campaign? Is his PR person the real star? Or, has our world reached a stage in globalization and true consumerism where we can not take this anymore? Is Bono the only voice we hear crying out that sounds a bit like Amos, Isaiah, or Jeremiah? I'll go ahead and put my money on him to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. What happens to our world when the spiritual and political community follows a rock star? Maybe we will start walking down roads that help us find those who have been lost. What if we start to find ourselves?

My main concern is that more voices are not shouting out like Bono. Why did he seek out the church to challenge them? Should we not be the ones lifting the challenge to the world?

Bono, tells about his trip to Ethiopia made with his wife. This trip was the inspiration behind the song, “Where the Streets Have No Name.” "I remember one man, this beautiful man with a beautiful boy, his son. He was so proud. And he came up to me and said, 'Please. Will you take my son? My son will have no life if I look after him. He is sure to die. But if you take him, he is sure to live.’ . . . You had to say no. Well, it's the last time I'm saying no."

Like most 30-year-old people in America today, I can sing along to virtually all U2 songs. Sift through my old t-shirts and a few U2 concert shirts will rise to the top of the pile. However, they have left a deeper impression upon my soul. Can I as a follower of Christ say the same thing of myself? Will I leave a lasting impression?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Disgruntled Recycler



This year, I made a few resolutions. One: recycling. I have known that I should be recycling, but it seemed like such a pain. Getting bins, rinsing cans, saving paper, blah, blah, blah. However, it was implemented into my life after returning from a Gathering in New Mexico. Ever since, I have been astonished. I hardly have any trash!

On an average week, my kitchen trash can is about 1/4 full. Unbelievable! It filled about three times a week before. Even though I am single, people are at my house all the time. So, trash piled up. Now, all of those folks are getting the hang of it. Like me, they started out very disgruntled and annoyed. It was such a bother. Instead of just dropping something into the trash, you had to take the extra five steps into the laundry room. Now, no one even notices the bother anymore.

Yesterday, I took a literal carload of materials to the recycling center. It is amazing how much can be reprocessed. Here is my observation: the people in my life who recycle and seem generally concerned about ecological issues are my non-christian friends. Many christians are arguing about the myth called global warming.

If those desert fathers and mothers lived in our time, would we celebrate recycling as a spiritual discipline. Could it qualify as a behavior we add to our lives to connect with God? Is it one of our most effective and simple ways to help take care of creation?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Headshot/ Mugshot

So, I'm walking out the door to my next appointment. They are taking a headshot for the local paper. They will be running a column of mine (my very first one!) in the Religion section every Saturday.

My friend made a funny comment yesterday. She asked if they had taken my "mugshot" yet. What if they ran a mugshot of me, taken at the local jail, by the column. Have you ever stopped to imagine what you might look like in those horrible pictures?

Anyway, pray that I don't need a mugshot after the column runs. I am taking a great risk in this. The whole town could love me or they could all decide to burn my house down. Say a prayer, please!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Donald Miller Hits the ATL


Lawrenceville, GeorgiaFebruary 26, 2006 - Crossroads Community Church
6pm church service - open to public
For directions and service times, visit: www.crossroadsconnect.com

Is it possible to get a crush on some guy that wrote a book? Aren't we supposed to save those for rock stars and people on Entertainment Tonight? Well--I'm crushing on Donald Miller. Watch out world! He's coming to town!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

World Vision Devotions

World Vision has been sending me these daily devotions. Two guys decided to spend a year living on the streets. These devotions are the fruit of that time.

Daily Devotions: Day 18
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." Hebrews 10:24

One of the most exciting aspects of human relationships is that we really do affect one another. While on the streets, Sam and I spent so much time together that whatever mood we were in, regardless of whether it was good or bad, really did move the other person in the same direction. If I was frustrated about not having any food, Sam would usually become frustrated too. If Sam was stoked about something that he read in the Bible that morning, I would usually become excited about it too. We met a few guys one Sunday morning who asked if they could cook us lunch at their house. As we were all hanging out, one of the guys burst into tears and explained how skeptical he had been at the beginning but how he now saw what an impact something as simple as lunch and conversation could have on two homeless guys. His friends’ faithfulness to reach out to us in need helped to spur this man on towards love and good works. Do you realize the impact you have on the people around you? Are you willing to take the risks necessary to live a life of faith and thus encourage others to do the same? Think of at least five ways to "stir up" those people you encounter every day to live lives more full of faith. Volunteer with a group of friends at the local Rescue Mission. Pick up the tab for the old lady sitting alone at the restaurant. Convince your family to make a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning for the homeless guys who sleep in the park near your house. Make a list and commit yourself to following through.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Verse for Today

"So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" Luke 17:10

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Quote for the Day

"Often we substitute prayer for service. It's easier to pray that someone's needs are met than to supply them." -- A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Asbury Experiencing Revival

Please take a moment to stop and pray for Asbury College, my alma mater. God is moving there in a fresh way as we speak. Asbury has had a history of revival over the last 100 years. When God moves there, it seems that the world feels it. I've heard from friends in the area that it is quite beautiful.

http://www.asbury.edu/press/chapelcontinues06

Friday, February 03, 2006

BONO'S REMARKS TO THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST

Thank you.
Mr. President, First Lady, King Abdullah, Other heads of State, Members of Congress, distinguished guests…
Please join me in praying that I don’t say something we’ll all regret.
That was for the FCC.
If you’re wondering what I’m doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I’m certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It’s certainly not because I’m a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I’m here because I’ve got a messianic complex.
Yes, it’s true. And for anyone who knows me, it’s hardly a revelation.
Well, I’m the first to admit that there’s something unnatural… something unseemly… about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the South of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed up at a U2 concert… but this is really weird, isn’t it?
You know, one of the things I love about this country is its separation of church and state. Although I have to say: in inviting me here, both church and state have been separated from something else completely: their mind. .
Mr. President, are you sure about this?
It’s very humbling and I will try to keep my homily brief. But be warned—I’m Irish.
I’d like to talk about the laws of man, here in this city where those laws are written. And I’d like to talk about higher laws. It would be great to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man serve these higher laws… but of course, they don’t always. And I presume that, in a sense, is why you’re here.
I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here—Muslims, Jews, Christians—all are searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God.
I know I am. Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.
Yes, it’s odd, having a rock star here—but maybe it’s odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line. Where the line between church and state was… well, a little blurry, and hard to see.
I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.
For me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native land… and in this country, seeing God’s second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels, offering indulgences for cash… in fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishment…
I must confess, I changed the channel. I wanted my MTV.
Even though I was a believer.
Perhaps because I was a believer.
I was cynical… not about God, but about God’s politics. (There you are, Jim.)
Then, in 1997, a couple of eccentric, septuagenarian British Christians went and ruined my shtick—my reproachfulness. They did it by describing the Millennium, the year 2000, as a Jubilee year, as an opportunity to cancel the chronic debts of the world’s poorest people. They had the audacity to renew the Lord’s call—and were joined by Pope John Paul II, who, from an Irish half-Catholic’s point of view, may have had a more direct line to the Almighty.
‘Jubilee’—why ‘Jubilee’?
What was this year of Jubilee, this year of our Lords favor?
I’d always read the Scriptures, even the obscure stuff. There it was in Leviticus (25:35)…
‘If your brother becomes poor,’ the Scriptures say, ‘and cannot maintain himself… you shall maintain him… You shall not lend him your money at interest, not give him your food for profit.’
It is such an important idea, Jubilee, that Jesus begins his ministry with this. Jesus is a young man, he’s met with the rabbis, impressed everyone, people are talking. The elders say, he’s a clever guy, this Jesus, but he hasn’t done much… yet. He hasn’t spoken in public before…
When he does, is first words are from Isaiah: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,’ he says, ‘because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.’ And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord’s favour, the year of Jubilee. (Luke 4:18)
What he was really talking about was an era of grace—and we’re still in it.
So fast-forward 2,000 years. That same thought, grace, was made incarnate—in a movement of all kinds of people. It wasn’t a bless-me club… it wasn’t a holy huddle. These religious guys were willing to get out in the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow their convictions with actions… making it really hard for people like me to keep their distance. It was amazing. I almost started to like these church people.
But then my cynicism got another helping hand.
It was what Colin Powell, a five-star general, called the greatest W.M.D. of them all: a tiny little virus called A.I.D.S. And the religious community, in large part, missed it. The one’s that didn’t miss it could only see it as divine retribution for bad behaviour. Even on children… Even fastest growing group of HIV infections were married, faithful women.
Aha, there they go again! I thought to myself Judgmentalism is back!
But in truth, I was wrong again. The church was slow but the church got busy on this the leprosy of our age.
Love was on the move.
Mercy was on the move.
God was on the move.
Moving people of all kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have cared to meet… Conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen for the gay community, all singing off the same hymn sheet on AIDS… Soccer moms and quarterbacks… hip-hop stars and country stars… This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens!
Popes were seen wearing sunglasses!
Jesse Helms was seen with a ghetto blaster!
Crazy stuff. Evidence of the spirit.
It was breathtaking. Literally. It stopped the world in its tracks.
When churches started demonstrating on debt, governments listened—and acted. When churches starting organising, petitioning, and even—that most unholy of acts today, God forbid, lobbying… on AIDS and global health, governments listened—and acted.
I’m here today in all humility to say: you changed minds; you changed policy; you changed the world.
Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives.
Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone.
I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill… I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuff… maybe, maybe not… But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house… God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives… God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war… God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. “If you remove the yolk from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places”
It’s not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident. That’s a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. [You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.] ‘As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.’ (Matthew 25:40). As I say, good news to the poor.
Here’s some good news for the President. After 9-11 we were told America would have no time for the World’s poor. America would be taken up with its own problems of safety. And it’s true these are dangerous times, but America has not drawn the blinds and double-locked the doors.
In fact, you have double aid to Africa. You have tripled funding for global health. Mr. President, your emergency plan for AIDS relief and support for the Global Fund—you and Congress—have put 700,000 people onto life-saving anti-retroviral drugs and provided 8 million bed nets to protect children from malaria.
Outstanding human achievements. Counterintuitive. Historic. Be very, very proud.
But here’s the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There’s is much more to do. There’s a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.
And finally, it’s not about charity after all, is it? It’s about justice.
Let me repeat that: It’s not about charity, it’s about justice.
And that’s too bad.
Because you’re good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can’t afford it.
But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.
6,500 Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about Justice and Equality.
Because there's no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn’t accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the Tsunami. 150, 000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, “mother nature”. In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it’s a completely avoidable catastrophe.
It’s annoying but justice and equality are mates. Aren’t they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.
You know, think of those Jewish sheep-herders going to meet the Pharaoh, mud on their shoes, and the Pharaoh says, “Equal?” A preposterous idea: rich and poor are equal? And they say, “Yeah, ‘equal,’ that’s what it says here in this book. We’re all made in the image of God.”
And eventually the Pharaoh says, “OK, I can accept that. I can accept the Jews—but not the blacks.”
“Not the women. Not the gays. Not the Irish. No way, man.”
So on we go with our journey of equality.
On we go in the pursuit of justice.
We hear that call in the ONE Campaign, a growing movement of more than two million Americans… left and right together… united in the belief that where you live should no longer determine whether you live.
We hear that call even more powerfully today, as we mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King—mother of a movement for equality, one that changed the world but is only just getting started. These issues are as alive as they ever were; they just change shape and cross the seas.
Preventing the poorest of the poor from selling their products while we sing the virtues of the free market… that’s a justice issue. Holding children to ransom for the debts of their grandparents… That’s a justice issue. Withholding life-saving medicines out of deference to the Office of Patents… that’s a justice issue.
And while the law is what we say it is, God is not silent on the subject.
That’s why I say there’s the law of the land… and then there is a higher standard. There’s the law of the land, and we can hire experts to write them so they benefit us, so the laws say it’s OK to protect our agriculture but it’s not OK for African farmers to do the same, to earn a living?
As the laws of man are written, that’s what they say.
God will not accept that.
Mine won’t, at least. Will yours?
[pause]
I close this morning on … very… thin… ice.
This is a dangerous idea I’ve put on the table: my God vs. your God, their God vs. our God… vs. no God. It is very easy, in these times, to see religion as a force for division rather than unity.
And this is a town—Washington—that knows something of division.
But the reason I am here, and the reason I keep coming back to Washington, is because this is a town that is proving it can come together on behalf of what the Scriptures call the least of these.
This is not a Republican idea. It is not a Democratic idea. It is not even, with all due respect, an American idea. Nor it is unique to any one faith.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:30) Jesus says that.
‘Righteousness is this: that one should… give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the emancipation of the captives.’ The Koran says that. (2.177)
Thus sayeth the Lord: ‘Bring the homeless poor into the house, when you see the naked, cover him, then your light will break out like the dawn and your recovery will speedily spring fourth, then your Lord will be your rear guard.’ The jewish scripture says that. Isaiah 58 again.
That is a powerful incentive: ‘The Lord will watch your back.’ Sounds like a good deal to me, right now.
A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after it… I have a family, please look after them… I have this crazy idea…
And this wise man said: stop.
He said, stop asking God to bless what you’re doing.
Get involved in what God is doing—because it’s already blessed.
Well, God, as I said, is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing.
And that is what He’s calling us to do.
I was amazed when I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers tithe. Up to ten percent of the family budget. Well, how does that compare the federal budget, the budget for the entire American family? How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world? Less than one percent.
Mr. President, Congress, people of faith, people of America:
I want to suggest to you today that you see the flow of effective foreign assistance as tithing…. Which, to be truly meaningful, will mean an additional one percent of the federal budget tithed to the poor.
What is one percent?
One percent is not merely a number on a balance sheet.
One percent is the girl in Africa who gets to go to school, thanks to you. One percent is the AIDS patient who gets her medicine, thanks to you. One percent is the African entrepreneur who can start a small family business thanks to you. One percent is not redecorating presidential palaces or money flowing down a rat hole. This one percent is digging waterholes to provide clean water.
One percent is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism towards Africa, where increased assistance flows toward improved governance and initiatives with proven track records and away from boondoggles and white elephants of every description.
America gives less than one percent now. Were asking for an extra one percent to change the world. to transform millions of lives—but not just that and I say this to the military men now – to transform the way that they see us.
One percent is national security, enlightened economic self interest, and a better safer world rolled into one. Sounds to me that in this town of deals and compromises, one percent is the best bargain around.
These goals—clean water for all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end to extreme and senseless poverty—these are not just any goals; they are the Millennium Development goals, which this country supports. And they are more than that. They are the Beatitudes for a Globalised World.
Now, I’m very lucky. I don’t have to sit on any budget committees. And I certainly don’t have to sit where you do, Mr. President. I don’t have to make the tough choices.
But I can tell you this:
To give one percent more is right. It’s smart. And it’s blessed.
There is a continent—Africa—being consumed by flames.
I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did—or did not to—to put the fire out in Africa.
History, like God, is watching what we do.
Thank you. Thank you, America, and God bless you all.

Bono, the International Hero


In a statement today, Bono said: "It must be an emergency when an Irish rock star is being invited to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast and the House Democrat annual retreat all on the same day. And it is. Because in this long day 6,500 Africans will die of AIDS and 110 million kids won't get to go to school. The good news is that politicians on both sides, and more importantly the people who elect them, are all joining as ONE against AIDS and the extreme poverty in which it thrives. The great news will be when the effective programs to beat AIDS and extreme poverty are finally fully funded."

In a recent survey that Emergent sent me, I was asked a frightening question, "Who do you trust?" Howard Gardner, the highly respected psychologist out of Harvard University, is studying current cultural trends in trust. He claims it is the root of our political and spiritual leanings. He contacted Emergent to get their spin on things. After reading through the list of names, reflecting current political, spiritual, educational, and journalistic voices, I was left with one conclusion. Bono is one of the only public figure that I really trust.

Don't get me wrong, I have been a fan since I first listened to "The Joshua Tree" album as a jr. high student at Conyers Middle School. He has carried me through many relationships, long road trips, dance parties, and late nights. Zoo TV and Vertigo are two nights that I will never forget. However, Bono has become more than a rock star to me.He has become a hero. What does that tell me about our culture? Have I officially bought in to the media's propaganda campaign? Is his PR person the real star? Or, has our world reached a stage in globalization and true consumerism where we can not take this anymore? Is Bono the only voice we hear crying out that sounds a bit like Amos, Isaiah, or Jeremiah?

I'll go ahead and put my money on him to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. What happens to our world when the spiritual and political community follows a rock star?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

What Has Joshua Harris Done To Us?

http://yyyc514.backpackit.com/pub/48159

What happens when the poor guy finds her?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

We Lost A Legend Yesterday


"I believe that there is a plan and a purpose for each person's life and that there are forces working in the universe to bring about good and to create a community of love and brotherhood. Those who can attune themselves to these forces - to God's purpose - can become special instruments of his will."

- Coretta Scott King, in her 1969 autobiography My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr.