Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jim Carrey and Aung San Suu Kyi

This has just hit mainstream media outlets pretty heavy:

Read the article at CNN here

What do you know about this situation? What does it say about our country, our national mentality, ourselves that we could not know about this? That we have not done anything about it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One tall stack of cash...

The richest man in India, worth roughly $28 billion, is building a $1 billion dollar house to live in the center of Mumbai, which also happens to house Asia's largest slum (6.5 million people).

Apparently I'm not the only one who finds this innappropriate:

"In a modern, democratic society, business must realize its wider social responsibility. The time has come for the better off sections of our society - not just in organized industry but in all walks of life - to understand the need to make our growth process more inclusive; to eschew conspicuous consumption; to save more and waste less; to care for those who are less privileged and less well off; to be role models of probity, moderation and charity"
-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Read the full article on the quote and the tower.

But what really turns this on its head for me is realizing that as much as this outrageous display of oppulence is a travesty to me, wouldn't my $4 mocha be a similar display to someone who earns $4 in a week (such as the 1/3 of the world's population that lives on less than a dollar a day). So then where does the line get drawn? What does simple living really look like?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

being the church versus having church

So I'm a little bitter because this was originally my idea and someone else apparently stole it. I have an email to prove it (the idea part...not the stealing part). But I'm working on getting over that.

Seriously, though, this is (insert extremely positive adjective here). It strikes me as odd that many churches wouldn't even consider doing this because it would be too out of the ordinary, or they were afraid their people wouldn't participate, or it would interrupt their sermon series, or they would lose a week of "income." Part of me wants to know why this is even news. Shouldn't people be accustomed to church being a group of like-minded people who serve in Jesus' name? And yet, it seems as if people were surprised, both within the church and outside of the church by the response and even the idea.

If we would be less concerned about having church and be more concerned about being the church, I think we would find ourself more closely aligned with what Christ had in mind when he initially formed his body.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

a "bad" neighborhood

How does our vocabulary affect our actions? Change our behaviors? Mold our living?

When we were in Boston the other week, I often heard people mention things about "bad neighborhoods." Comments like "we should be careful," or "it feels kind of scary," or "is this safe."

(Before I go any further, let me mention that safety is right at the top of my priority list as a Jr. High youth pastor. So don't think that I'm ignoring safety in the following comments.)

I was driving through one such neighborhood by myself one evening, going to pick up a group of our students from a house. All the warnings were ringing in the back of my head. And then it struck me. The houses I was driving in front of...people lived in them. The people I was passing on their sidewalks...they were real. People considered this neighborhood home. It was where they woke up in the morning. It was a place they couldn't "avoid after dark." It was streets on which their dreams began and, yes, sometimes ended. It was where they were involved in mundane things like brushing their teeth and hoping that some girl likes them. Where they paid bills and came home from work to.

I live in a bubble. One where I get to choose when I want to be "safe" or not and how "safe" I want to be. The lives that these people may be experiencing are significantly different than mine...I watched a drug deal go down as I drove further on. But God's love isn't somehow different for these people. And, in some sense, I don't think he particularly cares about how safe I feel, but more about how much I'll embrace that love. Embrace that love by embracing others. I was struck that I don't think Christ would view a city as "safe" neighborhoods and "unsafe" neighborhoods...but more as a load of people love on. And it's hard to embrace someone fromo a distance.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

4 months from now

is World AIDS Day (December 1st, 2007).

Now this might seem like a long time. But I suppose it depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to wear a ribbon and say a prayer, check back here on November 30 for a reminder. But if you want to mobilize those around you to love, act, care, respond to this international crisis, it's probably an appropriate time to start dreaming, planning, and begin being proactive.

You might wonder where you can even begin. Well, here's some good beginnings...

Start by watching The Age of AIDS, a brilliant documentary put together by PBS that is able to be viewed in its entirety online. While long (clocking in at right around 4 hours), it is broken up into nice little 15 minute-ish chunks that you could watch on a lunch break or before you go to work or go to bed every day. Not only will you walk away with a much greater grasp of the HIV/AIDS dilemna from all angles, but it also might educate your path of response.

Next, check out the World AIDS Campaign home online, which has a host of resources and highlights the theme for this year's day: leadership.

If you desire to address the topic from a Christian worldview, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a great place to start looking for religiously themed resources and inspiration, as is Saddleback Church's efforts in this area, including a well-resourced Summit on HIV/AIDS issues at the end of November.

That's probably a good enough start for the moment. As we get closer, I'll continue to put more resources, thoughts, and discussion starters up here to spur on our thought. If you're looking for more ideas on what to do, drop me an email or leave a comment and I'll get in touch...with other online resources, with ideas from things I've tried in the past, with connections to other people pursuing this day of awareness.