Friday, February 22, 2008

some good thoughts from a wise man

Wendell Berry writes all about justice, though he doesn't always refer to it as such. but caring for the earth, refusing to bow to corporate interest and consumerism, love of people...these are all acts of justice. so here's a manifesto regarding such things:

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Water for the Weary

this past weekend i had the opportunity to attend the Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Jubilee is run by the CCO, an incredible organization that ministers to college students that i have the joy of serving as Associate Staff. Jubilee does better than most conferences at giving students practical, vocational training at how to integrate their faith with their jobs. i love their holistic view of life, work, and spirituality. there were a number of highlights from the weekend for me, which hopefully i'll be able to reflect on over the next several days on here.

one piece of the main sessions each meeting was some time set aside to highlight 4 very solid organizations. this included Compassion International, who most people have heard of, International Justice Mission, for whom I have an immense amount of respect, an indigenous orphanage ministry who's name i can't remember and Blood:Water Mission, the AIDS organization founded by Jars of Clay.

Blood:Water Mission's primary mode of working in the AIDS crisis is to provide clean water, which directly impacts the spread not only of AIDS but of a variety of diseases. they have a goal of providing 1000 wells in communities all over Africa. the story of the woman who's running it, who's younger than i am, was very encouraging to hear. i have a small understanding of the need for accessible water from my time in Mozambique. when i was there i had a pretty incredible experience retrieving water one day...i wrote about it for Relevant Magazine...take a look.

one of the things she mentioned was that for just $1, you can provide clean water for an African for a year. $1. wow. our host for the weekend brought that right to home when he mentioned that he'd drank three years worth of clean water with his Starbuck's latte that morning. surely we have much to do, much to give, much to change in ourselves to pursue a just world where everyone can have drinkable water.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

i'm back...

after a two month hiatus, i'm back to blogging on justice. between the holidays in december and a fairly extensive speaking schedule in January, my time for writing was somewhat cramped. however, i keep stumbling across articles, web sites, conversations, and people who speak, need, and seek justice. and i can't help but desire to share them, so here we go again...

first off, here's an interesting, honest take on intentional community that was published in January in the LA Times. cheers to the Times for covering the topic.

i can relate to much of what was written. reading the frustrations and difficulties, along with small glimpses of a great goodness of intentional community, i felt a deep affinity. the past year of living in my house with Malone undergrads has been much the same. at times i've questioned why i thought this was a good idea. at times i've been stoked to see solid growth and partake in worthwhile conversations. i think it has been worth it, but it's not been without its sacrifices.

if you're unaware, we're currently facing some difficulties with the city regarding zoning issues and what it means to live as a single family unit. i'm taken aback by city officials who seem to miss that intentional communities add to the great community, not detract from it. i'm reminded of the need to live out what we're talking about not just among ourselves, but in our neighborhood. if we were serving our neighbors whole-heartedly, i'm pretty sure this wouldn't be an issue. but we're still sorting out what it means to serve. i watched the movie Michael Clayton last night, and at one point one of the main characters is asked how she finds balance between work and personal life. she laughs it off, saying that if you love what you do, that is balance. i'm constantly struck by this conundrum...trying to figure out how to balance life and ministry when really they're one and the same.

well, there's a nice rambling post to get us started again. more to come...