Posts Tagged ‘ social action ’

Christians and Mosque Protests

Perhaps against my better judgment, I’m going to wade into some political waters briefly. That’s dangerous business, but to add stupidity to danger, I’m going to offer a perspective on a political debate I haven’t spent very much time researching or trying to get a grip on. It goes a little something like this: there’s a major debate roaring on and on about the building of a mosque near the site where the 9/11 tragedy took place. Lots of politicians and sensationalist talk show hosts have been talking on all sides of the debate, stirring up a frenzy. And the USAmerican viewing audience appears to be convinced of the critical importance of either definitely not building it, or definitely building it. From the number of Facebook links I’ve seen in my News Feed, many Christians are pretty fired up about this issue, too. I’ve talked to several friends who lament […]

The Complexity of Reconciliation

A while back, I blogged about our need for more sophisticated thinking.  Well, during my recent visit to South Africa, I had some experiences that uncovered some of my simplistic notions about things like justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, and progress.  In the 80s and 90s, it was all too easy for the world to look at the evils of apartheid, and judge white South Africans guilty, and isolate the nation as much as possible until it made the necessary changes to usher in democracy.  And once Nelson Mandela was released from prison and elected to take the new government forward, it was all too easy to celebrate and look on and think, “Well, it’s good to see that problem is behind us.  Now we can be enlightened friends with each other.” Not so fast.  The black majority may have the votes, and the control of the political systems, but who has […]

My Advent in Bangalore

As I was preparing to go to Bangalore, I was in my hotel room in Mumbai, near the airport.  Being a budget traveler, I had booked the hotel there at a cheap price, compared to most hotels in Mumbai.  The fact that it had its own bathroom and an internet connection were nice frills.  I went online to book my hotel for Bangalore, and found that the rooms are generally a good bit cheaper there, which was a relief.  I looked around, comparing properties, and finally settled on one that looked like a real bargain – what looked to be a higher-end hotel that was running a special that made it basically the same price as the other rooms in the area, and the same price as my room in Mumbai. I’m writing this post from my hotel.  Yes, these pictures are of my hotel room.  Yes, inIndia.  No, I […]

Mutual Partnerships That Work

One of my big areas of interest in taking the big trip is to explore ways of developing mutual relationships between Christians in the global South, and those in the North/Western world.  I’ve blogged before about some of the normal power dynamics and how they need to change in order for us to work well together moving forward. I got the opportunity to visit a church in an area south of San Jose, Costa Rica called Alajuelita.  The church is called Centro Christiano de Alabanza (CCA).  Upon arrival on the campus, I was a bit overwhelmed.  Dozens of school children were running around, having just gotten out of class for the day, the indoor soccer arena had a lively game going, the restaurant was bustling with noon-time business, and as I entered a very large sanctuary, I thought, “Geez, this is a full-on megachurch!”   In some ways, that’s an apt […]

Praise For A Cause I Don’t Support

I’ve been a practicing Christian my whole life.  For the vast majority of it, I have been heavily embedded in the Christian ghetto – from feel-good churches to the Jesus-junk bookstores to “positive talk radio” to being a journalist in the “contemporary Christian music” industry.  I’ve been to countless events – concert festivals, stadium evangelism gatherings, and yes, I’ve seen the Power Team live.  Some of what I’ve just written, I’m deeply embarrassed about.  Some of it is silliness that I can laugh about in the way everyone laughs at the wardrobe choices in their old high school photos as they’re preparing for their 20 year reunions.  Some of that stuff I’m actually okay with – but I won’t tell you what! Anyway, at many of these Christians Attending Ghetto Events (a.k.a. CAGEs), there is a “pitch” for a cause.  There are a number of organizations that do these pitches, […]

Playing the Power Game

After getting off the airplane in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, getting my luggage, and going through customs, I was greeted by Alfredo, who works with la Red Del Camino network here in the DR.  Specifically, he works with a program called Endeavor, which receives and deploys teams of people from outside the country who come here to do various “ministry” projects.  Previously he worked with Habitat for Humanity.  One of the distinctives of Endeavor is that when they’re contacted by a group wanting to come do a “mission trip,” they hit the pause button from the get-go.  They believe that before just jumping into a work project together, it’s much better to become friends first.  This means slowing down long enough to get to know each other and develop some mutuality in the relationship.  Sure, they’ll end up getting some important work done, but first things first. Alfredo explained that […]

My new favorite job description: chauffeur

I got a chance to attend the first annual Pentecost Seattle event this morning.  Well, part of it, anyway.  It was a good, stimulating conversation on justice that included a very wide variety of Christians.  I had to leave early, though – I was tasked with playing chauffeur today.  Not a bad assignment, though. Passenger #1 in my vehicle today: The Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney.  He has been the most significant civil rights leader in the history of this city.  He marched with MLK in Washington D.C., Selma, and Montgomery, and hosted Dr. King in his church.  I was honored to spend some time with him.  He asked if we could stop at McDonald’s for a fish sandwich on the way to his house.  Heck yeah!  I’m a part of a denomination that has an extremely poor history when it comes to civil rights, and I took the opportunity to […]

Dissertate This! pt. 2

Here’s my second post taking a trip through the dissertation that kept me busy over the past few years.  In my previous post, I talked about the rapid spread of Christianity in the global South and East, even at the same time as there has been a noted downturn in Christian practice here in the Western world.  While asking questions about what “we” in the West can learn from our sisters and brothers in other contexts, I thought it was also important to address one of the essential realities of our time – globalization.  <PAUSE: I just got THE biggest guilty pleasure inserting that link for globalization – the link is to Wikipedia.  Citing Wikipedia as a source in academia is a major no-no, so I had to do it here for kicks> Thomas Friedman brought the topic of globalization to the masses in his book The World is Flat, […]

Creativity Flows (but not accidentally)

After spending a very good weekend with family and friends (some of which has been documented here by Jason), I’m reflecting on the energy of creativity.  On Sunday, I had a chance to chat a bit with Emily and James, who were both recognized at the Ideacamp the previous weekend.  Emily and I go back several years, so it was really fun to catch up with her a little, and hear about all the great things she is pursuing now, including Bake It Forward.  James, too, is a great guy, and makes a really great point in his presentation of WikiChoice – namely that so much of the time, we dwell on issues of justice that aren’t actionable.  WikiChoice gives people the chance to do something positive, rather than just not do something negative (the website is in development, but you can watch James describe it on this video). One […]

Nickelsville Resident Poet

My friend Jeff posted the following video of his friend, Beau.  He is one of the residents of Nickelsville, and tells a little bit of his story, and shares one of his poems.  For you non-Seattlites, Nickelsville is a homeless encampment currently located in the University District, just a few blocks away from The Purple Door.  The residents have been pushed around by the city leadership, with particularly aggressive moves made by mayor Greg Nickels – so they honored him by naming their little town after him.  These are not your “typical” homeless folks – many have jobs and families. I’ve met Beau briefly, and as you’ll see from the video, he’s a pretty smart guy. [youtube=]