Archive for August, 2007


Posted: August 28, 2007 in activism

I just read a really interesting article in the Orlando Sentinel. It’s about a program that attacks hate-crime against homeless individuals by having homeless or ex-homeless people speak to youth. The idea is to break apart misconceptions about homelessness. It’s worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:

He had a "normal" life and worked as a restaurant manager in Phoenix until
he began experiencing symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, a type of
schizophrenia. His unexplained actions caused him to lose his job and his
apartment, and he started hopping trains east.

He slept on park benches, rummaged for food in garbage and stayed in
abandoned houses before heading to  Washington,  where he stayed in a shelter.

"I remember the very first night — it was earth-shattering," Pirtle said.
"It’s a completely other world when you’re standing outside in the middle of
the night and you realize you have no place to go."

He began speaking to teens last fall and said it’s amazing to see teens
change their attitudes and get out in the community to help the homeless.

"No matter what you think about people who are homeless, you are wrong," he


Jacques Ellul

Posted: August 25, 2007 in FYI

The Jesus Radicals website is about to take down all of Jacques Ellul’s works. Ellul is a political writer/theologian/philosopher/activist that writes a good deal about Marxism, Communism and Anarchism as it relates to Christianity. Jesus Radicals, the “christianity and anarchism” site, has offered Ellul’s works (full books which are out of print and impossible to find elsehwere) for free on their site. For some reason they are going to take them all down, so if you are an Ellul freak or think you could be one, you should go download them all right now. Here’s a link to the Jesus Radicals Library

The Stand-Up Economist

Posted: August 24, 2007 in FUN

Yoram Bauman, Ph.D. This guy is pretty awesome. Not all his routines are about being an economist, but if you are studying to be one or you are one, you’ll laugh a ton at some of his jokes. If your not, you’ll laugh a ton anyway. He has some political stuff and random stuff. It’s worth checking out. His videos are on his website.

In Memory of Tammy Faye

Posted: August 10, 2007 in random thoughts

On July 20, Tammy Faye Messner passed away. She had been battling cancer for a while. I have been constantly updated on her condition through her son, Jay Baker. Jay was featured on a reality TV show and pastors a church in NYC called Revolution. I get updates about the church and occasionally listen to Jay’s talks online. Through all of those means I have heard a lot about Tammy and have really gotten to like her. Why? Well, there are a lot of reasons. Some might not think that a former country singer/televangelist would be so interesting, but Tammy is a lady that shattered all those kinds of preconceptions. She was a fabulous lady, an example of stregth, and an inspiration to many. In fact one documentary about her read on the cover,”You just might be suprised how much you like her.” Here is a video of her and Jay on Larry King Live the day before she died.

I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been in Europe. I went to London for a week and then headed over to the Taize community in France. As I told the immigration people, the purpose of my trip was religious pilgrimage …that was pretty funny.

Taize is a community of brothers (monks) in France that attracts some 4,000 high school/college-aged kids each week. The mission of the community is to bring together young people from all over Europe and the world in order to promote unity and reconciliation. The community was started by Brother Roger after WWII with this intent.

I definitely experienced this unity when I was there. I’ll probably post a few stories from my time there, but I wanted to tell this one first…

Each day the community offered different workshops that focused on the more practical sides of spirituality. I went to two- one on urban development and sustainable living, and one on Islam. I think I felt a sense of unity at the one on Islam that I hadn’t experienced before. It was so substaintial because I hadn’t realized before that the ideas of religious unity that us progressives dream about here in America is common thought in many other parts of the world- especially with younger people. I suppose that I can’t say that indefinitely, but from my (maybe limited) experience of christians at Taize who are from all over, that’s what it seemed like.

The workshop consisted of a people that are pastors of Christian churches in Muslim countires. The pastors each gave a quick overview of their relationships to the Muslims in their community and a quick story to illustrate it. Then there was a Q&A time.

During the Q&A someone commented that with the three religions- Islam, Judiasm, and Christianity- unity is very reachable being that we all worship the same God. He said that we have come from the same traditions, share the same bible and prophets, and so on. To this the pastor responded with a metaphor. He told us to picture a huge mountain that is reaching towards the sky. He said that many people climb this mountain but they do it from all different sides and in all different ways. They see different aspects of the same mountain and face different complications based on the side of the mountain the have chosen, but they are all climbing one mountain and are climbing for the same purpose.

After the pastor ended the next person was called on to ask his question or give his comment. He stood up and said that he had just climbed Mt. Sinai. Apparently he had climbed it with a Jewish friend, and on the way up had met up with a Muslim man. They all climbed the mountain together. Since Mt. Sinai is significant to all three traditions, they all took out their own religious texts at one point in the climb and read the same story to each other about Mt Sinai.

I had to try not to tear up. It was so awesome to hear that. I don’t know, sometimes I think a stronger sense of unity is possible for our generation. We get it. Taize was beautiful because I have so many of these kinds of stories from there. I’ll tell some more later…