Inside Joke

This, and many others (like it and not) can be found at PostSecret, blog that lets people get it out in a way they likely wouldn’t otherwise…which is kind of an indictment on our mental health system. But this icon is an indictment on church and being in ministry…


The Short List

In thinking a lot about poverty these days (and in what to write about for a social psychology paper), I have a short list of books to read that deal with how to address global poverty. What I really need to do, is check out local (i.e., American) poverty to see what sort of an impact it has on our education system and the programs we develop or the way we structure schools as we redistrict in crazy ways in this county. Either way, you may be interested to see what’s in the queue:

The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts the Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good–William Easterly

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time–Jeffrey Sachs

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty–Muhammah Yunus

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism–Muhammad Yunus

If you know of others or if you’ve read these, feel free to comment. I have no idea how they will be, but there are some interesting ideas put out by these different individuals…More to come as I get into it further.

Divisions in the Mirror

The notorious shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist was received his sentence in court. And the verdict was met with mixed reactions

What I find interesting is that the sentiments among the Iraqi people regarding the US invasion and occupation of their country oddly mirrors our own. People in both countries oppose the war. People in both countries support it. 

With that kind of division, how can we expect there to be a positive outcome? How can we expect there to be no price to pay…on either end? And how can we help a nation–which we put in their current position–heal and move forward? After all, we started it. Perhaps we should find a way to help finish it.

Canned Goods and Condoms

Yep…the two are related. Apparently, they are among the top sellers of products in this recession. People are stocking up and they don’t want an extra mouth to feed. 

It’s interesting to see this new “back-to-basics” psyche we’ve got going on. It would be nice to see it hang around for a lot longer than the recession…because we consume a whole lot more than we really need. I’m not pulling for Depression residual pack-ratting, but long term lower consumption might not be a bad idea. Maybe then more people in the world will get what they need, too. Maybe then, there really will be enough to go around.

We Are Not Alone

Things are pretty crappy and uncertain around here these days, what with the economy going down the tubes and unemployment going through the roof. At the same time, though, it could be worse. And it is worse in many other places. Check out the latest post from our friend in Ukraine:

Many of you were aware of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia over gas prices at the beginning of the year. It’s only gotten worse…though now it’s across the board. 

So, yes, while things aren’t great in our country, we still have it pretty good. May we all take a minute to look around and appreciate what we have…and find ways to supports our friends and neighbors…both at home and abroad.

So What About That?

Apparently, this is no longer a Christian nation, and things aren’t so black and white. 

A couple of recent (as in today) stories floating around out there caught my attention…because I wonder what the religious right would have to say about either/both of them.

This from USAToday: Most religious groups in USA have lost ground, survey finds

And this from the BBC (though it’s all over the news on all major (and many minor) news networks): Obama ends stem cell funding ban

One of the more interesting quotes from the USAToday article is this: 

“‘The piety gap defines the primary sides in the culture wars,’ Kosmin says.

‘It’s about gay marriage and abortion and stem cells and the family. If a personal God says, ‘Thou shalt not’ or ‘Thou shalt’ see these a certain way, you’d take it very seriously. Meanwhile, three in 10 people aren’t listening to that God,’ he says.” 

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some would link these two stories, saying that because of the “falling away” from Christianity, we, the people, are more prone to be accepting of things such as lifting the ban on stem-cell research…which is just not allowed according to their God. 

I wonder at the right’s opinion, because I’d really like to engage the dialog. What do people (conservative and/or evangelical Christians) think about the movement away from God? About movement away from organized religion? And what do you think is the appropriate response? 



The Latest in Excommunication

I was hoping for a lighter subject for my 100th post…but I saw this story and just couldn’t keep it to myself.

A nine-year-old and her family…and a few doctors…were recently excommunicated from their Catholic church in Brazil. The little girl was at the center of the issue. Turns out, she had an abortion. 

Think about that for a minute.

For a nine year old girl to have an abortion, that means she would have to have been pregnant. 

That means, as affirmed by the story, she was not pregnant by choice. In fact, she was pregnant with twins. Thanks to her stepfather who raped her.

Some local doctors performed the abortion that, according to Brazilian law, was a legal procedure: “Abortion is illegal in Brazil except in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is in danger, both of which apply in this case. (The girl’s immature hips would have made labor dangerous; the Catholic opinion was that she could have had a cesarean section.)” 

The Catholic opinion was extended to this: “God’s laws,” said the archbishop, dictate that abortion is a sin and that transgressors are no longer welcome in the Roman Catholic Church. “They took the life of an innocent,” Sobrinho told TIME in a telephone interview. “Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult. An adult may or may not be an innocent, but an unborn child is most definitely innocent. Taking that life cannot be ignored.”

Can we talk for a minute about the other innocent life that was taken? Until this horrific act by her stepfather, she was an innocent life herself. She is innocent no more, and will have a long road of healing from that alone–to say nothing of the healing from the church and her family situation. This little girl also lost her innocent life. Just as the Catholics are unwilling to ignore the taking of innocent life when it applies to a fetus, I am unwilling to ignore the taking of THIS girl’s innocent life. To me, THAT is the bigger issue.

Once again, though, the church misses the boat and finds a way to bar the door from someone who needs the Jesus inside more than ever. Thank God Jesus is not found solely in the building we call church. My hope is that the people we call church will offer their support, regardless of the Catholic opinion. Otherwise, there is no justice and no peace for this innocent life.