April 2007

So, if you look at this blog at all, you know we talk about money sometimes.  Well, here’s another way to look at it.  Click here.  It’s the Global Rich List…and, hopefully, you won’t be worrying about how much you make compared to your next door neighbor anymore…


Pray these children go home!The LRA and Uganda are set to begin talks again on Thursday (April 24th).  An LRA spokesman, Godfrey Ayoo, said, “We really think this is a good chance for peace.”  This phase of talks will focus on the humanitarian problem of displaced families, which means refugees may get to soon go home.  Also, the issue of war crimes will be addressed…which, unsurprisingly, is a bit of a touchy issue.  Joseph Kony and four other LRA leaders have been charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes.  The LRA wants the charges dropped.  But, the ICC is a fairly new entity and wants to establish itself.

Pray for a peaceful and speedy ending to this conflict.  Progress is being made, and pray that it continues, and that families can go home in peace and safety.

The U.S. Senate proposed a bill today that would limit U.S. military assistance to governments that use child soldiers. The bill, introduced by Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) would cut military assistance to countries that use child soldiers. Rewards, of additional assistance and professionalization of the military would be given to countries that comply. This bill would ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars don’t support any country that uses child soldiers. Yahoo!

Joseph Mettimano, of World Vision, has strongly supported the bill and urged lawmakers to fund rehabilitation for child soldiers, and bring rebel leaders to justice who kidnap and employ child soldiers.

This bill is a great step in the right direction. For more info, click on this link on Alert Net. Let’s continue to pray for relief for child soldiers, an estimated 250,000 in Africa today, and urge our lawmakers to support this bill!

La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'”  Genesis 1.26

I was just looking at pictures of Brazilian rainforest, and where it had been affected by slash-and-burn cutting.  See it here.  I know that we can change lives by advocating for peace, by giving to the poor.  We’ve tried to cover some of what you can do on this blog.  But, we can also change lives by advocating for environmental change.  A New York Times article came out recently describing how the poorest nations in the world will bear the brunt of global warming (you need to be a member to see it…but it’s free).  Drought and climate change in Africa could be catastrophic, and as oceans rise the large, crowded deltas of the continent will be underwater.  Africa has accounted for 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions since 1900. 

Everything is connected.  Environmental problems translate to social concerns.  We believe that, as Christians, we must play a part in protecting the environment.  Genesis 1.26 tells us how God gave humankind authority over the environment.  With authority comes responsibility.

The first step?  Love. 

Fall back in love with nature.  You won’t care to protect it unless you do.  Take a walk outside.  Without any agenda.  Listen to the sound of the birds.  Watch a thunderstorm roll in.  Go to the zoo.  Point at every animal like a kindergartener.  Find the closest waterfall to your house and go there; journal or draw or just stare at it for an hour.  Buy a National Geographic.  Go on a picnic.  Whatever it takes, make it a discipline.  A discipline to fall in love with nature.

If we have authority, we must also have love…

Stamp Out Hunger!An easy way to help…the United States Postal Service (letter carriers, unite!) is hosting a drive to help food banks. On Saturday, May 12th put some bags of nonperishable food items next to your mailbox, and it will be donated to a local food bank. For more info, check out helpstampouthunger.com. I know we all have some cans of soup, or noodles, or something that’s been sitting at the back of the pantry for awhile. You don’t even have to drive anywhere! Yahoo!

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Ephesians 5.25

I am tired. It’s Monday evening, and I really have no excuse to be tired, but I am.

At The Gathering yesterday we talked about faithfulness. God’s faithfulness to us, and our faithfulness to others. Faithfulness is hard. It is hard when you’re tired. We talked about faithfulness in the context, especially, of marriage.

I just finished reading and reflecting with the Bible. Part of my reading happened to be Ephesians 5, the chapter on Wives and Husbands, as my bible labels it. Already thinking about faithfulness in relationships, I read how a husband ought to love his wife as Christ loved the church.

Christ was beaten and mocked, stripped naked and whipped; he gave himself up for the church. By “gave himself up” I believe the bible means put aside who he was, put aside his rights as the Son of God, as God himself. Ephesians goes on to say that Christ gave himself up so that he could sanctify the church, to present the church to himself in splendor and holiness. Christ put aside who he was and endured the mocking and beating and dying because he loved the church. He wanted to be able to be with the church, to present it to himself as holy and without blemish. He loved the church.

So, what of marriage? My wife isn’t home from work, yet. How do I give myself up as Christ did for the church? I don’t think it means dying for her, at least not tonight. I’ve already emptied the trash and put it out for tomorrow — two things my wife deplores doing.

What I see at the heart of what Christ did is pursuit. He pursued the church. It meant putting aside his status as God and becoming human, even a human subject to brutal torture and death. And I think that much of my responding to my wife in a like-Christ manner means pursuing her: it means maybe putting aside my desire to watch a little television to clean the kitchen, or to write her a love note, or to make her dinner when she gets home. It means pursuing her not only when I feel tired, but when I feel distant or offended by her. It means, in an argument, giving up my ground so that I can bring her back
to myself.

I hope to love my wife as Christ did the church, to give myself up for her, to pursue her for the rest of my days.

Just an update: LRA rebels in Uganda and the government have signed a new cease-fire. This new deal comes a few months after the old cease fire expired, and brings much optimism. Still pending is the issue of what will happen with five LRA leaders indicted on war crimes by an international court. They want — not surprisingly — the charges dropped. But, for now there is peace in northern Uganda.

Continue to pray for peace, and work for it. Both sides accused each other of breaking the last peace agreement, and we obviously don’t want that to happen this time.

For more info on the Ugandan crisis, and on humanitarian efforst around the world, check out Alert Net. It’s a great place to get news that the major networks in the states don’t broadcast.

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