Sunday, April 30, 2006

how to save lives in Africa for $1 a year

From Jeffery Sachs in the NY Times

AMERICANS have a perfect retort to Osama Bin Laden's call for expanding the terrorism war to Sudan. We should respond by showing our abiding concern for the plight of Africans by helping to save millions of children who are at risk of death from disease. In honoring the sanctity of the lives of the least among us we have the best chance to defeat the ideologies of hate.
The rest of the article is about providing insecticide-treated bed nets for villagers in Africa that might save the lives of 200,000 kids a year who would otherwise die of malaria.
read it here.

Friday, April 28, 2006

suffer the little children

Since the day I stood in the orphanage in Fenyi and felt overwhelmed with the sense of the presence of Jesus in such a difficult place, I have felt this growing awareness of the plight of children around the world. Over the last couple of weeks, I have found myself in tears over and over again about what is happening to kids in this jacked up world. Some links.

invisible children - a documentary made by some college students about the children of Uganda who are abducted and forced into either sexual slavery or battle as soldiers. A fourteen year old boy at the end of the "rough cut" says.
“I have nothing. I don’t even have a blanket. We don’t have anything to do with food. Maybe we can eat once a day… so it is better when you kill us. And, if possible you can kill us, you kill us. For us, we don’t want now to stay. …no one taking care of us. We are not going to school...”

the children of Chernobyl - a photo essay on Slate about the children of the people exposed in the incident 20 years ago. Some of the pictures are very dificult to see, so be warned.

little league baseball - Almost every day I see these guys that C plays ball with. Some of them are desperate for approval. Some of them have such twisted around family lives that my house seems like something out of the 50s to them. Some of them live with non-stop verbal abuse. Some of them live in silence from their parents. Some of them are angry, some are hurt, some are scared, some are already "tough" - not letting anything hurt them. We play teams with kids who have had baseball as their full-time job since they were 6 who's parent's judge the value of their kids (and their own personal value btw) based on performance on the field.

Lots of people in sociology will tell me that childhood is a relatively new social construct and that the protection of a time of "innocence" when kids can just be kids isn't necessarily good or guaranteed. I say that's garbage. Kids aren't miniature adults. No, we shouldn't hide them away and keep them isolated from every bad thing that could possibly happen to them over the course of their young lives. But shouldn't we at least do what we can as parents / adults to not add to the crap they already have to work through? Shouldn't followers of Jesus be bothered about kids that are kidnapped into slavery or abandoned by the thousands or die because they don't have a $3 bed net to protect them from malaria or $1 worth of food? Isn't a response to this that does more than yawn or throw a couple of dollars at it or change the channel?
Enough, I'm raving and that's not the point. Go to the links above. Look around at the kids in your world. Find ways to be Jesus to the little ones. Even the little ones who don't look like you or live where you live. Like Peter Pan told the Lost Boys "Look after everyone smaller than you."

"let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." - Jesus (Luke 18:16)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

it's about time

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

a day in the life

Looking back at today, I understand why I am
1) very tired
2) contemplating the possibility of schizophrenia
strap in and enjoy...

7:30 - Dad guy wakes up and helps get kids ready and off to school
8:30 - Jacob's Well finiancial secretary guy pays some bills for the church
8:45 - Web Design guy catches up on some emails and types up invoices
9:15 - Student Guy leaves for the library but makes some calls for Web Design guy on the way
9:45 - Student guy settles in to do Stats homework, finish a book, and write a paper. He's again interupted by Design guy who gets a couple of emails at the library.
Noon - Guy who insists on reading things that have nothing to do with school to prove his life is still his own drops off a couple of books at the library, drives through for lunch and eats in the park while reading (this guy asserts himself often)
1:20 - Photographer guy head off to shoot several houses in a neighborhood in Yukon
4:20 - Dad Guy hangs out with the kids for a few before...
5:00 - Dad / Coach guy heads to the ballpark for 9 year old baseball
7:30 - Dad guy gets to hang out with kids until bedtime
8:30 - Husband guy sits with the wife for a few
9:15 - Web Design guy calls a client to walk through some features of his new site
9:45 - Student guy gets ready to do a take-home test but...
9:50 - Web Design guy gets a call from the previously mentioned client with one more question
10:10 - Student guy sits down to take the stats test
10:40 - Guy who wishes he could blog more sits down to whine about his day
11:05 - Freaking Web Design Guy has to get some work done tonight before bed but Cub fan guy insists on listening to the game while work goes on.
Variety is good.
I need more hats.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I said I wasn't going to get into this

I decided a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to get into the inevitable Easter marketing barrage that occurs every year and floods our mailbox with flyers for special events (egg hunts, sunrise services, musical presentations, movie showings), special sermon series (because the only reason people haven't gone to church yet is they haven't heard you compare Jesus to Jack Bauer - more on that in a second), and even special parking for guests (that's right - right up front with the pastor!!!).
So I decided to stay out of it and then 3 things happened. (I am intentionally omitting any direct information about the churches involved, but I bet you could find them if you wanted to)
1. Greg pointed out the drive-thru "Passion" at a local church and then we received an email invitation to it this morning. Fortunately, the existence of this event comments for itself, so I can move on.

2. This ad came in the mail (cropped to keep the church out of it).

As a fan of both Jesus and Jack Bauer, this bothers me on a handful of levels. Jack is just like Jesus. Except for the shooting people in the leg to get information. And the kung fu skills. And the magic PDA of infinite knowledge. And Chloe.

But the straw that finished me. . .
3. My daughter (who is 7 and in first grade) brings home this invitation from school yesterday.
Note the moral superiority. No robes or live animals or special effects this year. No sir, not this crew. They offer "something different in this presentation that addresses our common concerns in the light of an uncommon savior".

And what is that something different? Just turn it over and see...

It's ice cream! Yes kids, come to the greatest Sundae (clever) ever! Enjoy and awesome Easter story as you enjoy an awesome sundae.
So many issues.
1. What if you are one of those crazy over-prtective parents that doesn't want your kid to have ice cream at 10:15am?

2. Note the corporate sponorship of this "unplugged" and "uncommon" celebration of Easter (Rusty's if you can't read it).

3. How dare you put me in the position of having to explain to my daughter why we can't go to that church and eat ice cream because we have to go to our lame church that only celebrates the resurrection of Jesus with music and prayer and remembering the story. I know it's the hip thing these days to market to kids (note the development of disneyesque children's centers), but ice cream? If this church were in a van handing out ice cream to kids to come and go for a ride, my kids know to run away and alert the police. This doesn't feel all that different to me.

Enough. Just remember that the strawberry topping represents. . .
(ps - sorry for the bad scans. even my scanner is rebeling at this)

Monday, April 03, 2006

is this heaven?

Close, it's my living room on opening day. Sitting in the big chair, Cubs already up 1-0, wifi so I can "work" while watching the game. I'll be here until October (and into it?) if you need me.

2-0 Cubs now.