Archive for January, 2008

Blessed are the Meek

Posted: January 29, 2008 in theology

I had dinner at the Gainesville Catholic Worker House tonight, and stayed around for their weekly scripture study. This semester they are reading through the Sermon on the Mount, a series of teachings that are considered by many to be Jesus’ most important, practical, and radical teachings. Gandhi is said to have carried around the Bagavita in one hand and the Sermon of the Mount in the other as he led his peaceful movements.

We came across one sentence in the sermon that really struck a chord in me. I have read the sermon and this sentence many times, but this obvious reading of the text that I discovered had never occurred to me until Johnny, the CWH’s founder, pointed it out.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.”

The meek- or the humble, the soft-spirited, soft-spoken people- will be the ones that will inherit the land. In the time of Jesus, land was synonymous with riches. Land was the important asset of one who was “well-off.” So Jesus was saying that the meek are the ones who will make it- not those will power, glamour, or influence, but those with nothing to offer.

Something to think about.

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Relational Tithe

Posted: January 29, 2008 in emerging church

Hmm… this is interesting. The “Relational Tithe” website was just launched. It seems to be an experiment of sorts, prompting people to “tithe”- or give their offering- through relationships.

Give it a look.

Happy FL Primary day… if you believe in voting, then go vote!

So Mitt Romney chilled with some black folk over the MLK holiday. Apparently he felt the need to fit-in by referencing pop-culture stereotypes of black people. Here’s what AlterNet had to report:

“In his dress shirt and tie, and with his unwavering smile, he walked over and posed for photographs with a group of black youngsters. Putting his arm around a teenage girl, he waved to the cameras and offered, “Who let the dogs out?” He added a tepid “woof woof.”

…Later, Mr. Romney admired a child’s gold necklace and said, “Oh, you’ve got some bling-bling here.”

I don’t know what he was thinking, but I have a feeling he just wasn’t. I really don’t want another president who companies can make millions off of simply by quoting on tee-shirts and stickers. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk or make Romney some enemy, but I think this situation has a lot to tell about the white elite’s isolation from the minorities of America- and not just minorities, but lower-class people. The Republican’s promise of better days for the lower-class through excessive spending and free-market capitalism is a sad excuse for complete separation between classes. While the rich throw their scraps to the poor in hopes of sending them spiraling upward into prosperity, a darkly impersonal society is created.

Watch the video here.

Again I don’t mean to demonize Romney. It’s slightly humorous and quite sad, but I;m sure he is a good guy. Really.

Happy MLK day!

I am missing a MLK vigil right now because I didn’t plan out my day well enough, though the unexpected is hard to plan. Yet I did go to a MLK march yesterday that takes place every year in downtown Gainesville. The parade starts right in the heart of downtown. If you have ever been to Gainesville, you know how beautiful it is with trees almost everywhere you look, and buildings that don’t rise above them. If you’ve been to Gainesville you also know that it’s packed full of homeless people. What you might not know though, unless you’ve spent a decent amount of time here, is that we are also the “meanest city in America” when it comes to policies regarding the homeless. Almost all the homeless people in Gainesville take up residency in the woods, or in the downtown plaza, where the MLK parade starts. This is the backdrop of yesterdays festivities enhanced with the smell of bbq, blaring reggae music, politicians campaigning for city elections, and tons of smiles.

It was a good day. But as I was marching I could not help but notice an irony- The march was being escorted by the police. Now this is a good thing, and some would rightfully call it progress, but I just couldn’t shake the thought that not too long ago in America- and in Gainesville particularly- sirens and cop cars would send chills down the backs of black people and of activists. They would not first think that the cars are helping them civilly walk through the streets, but that the police were there with the pepper spray, bats, and guns. After listening to this thought play in my mind and listening to Dr. King’s speech on civil disobedience play over the loudspeakers it occurred to me that one of the marchers in the parade was shot for marching the same “parade” in Gainesville as a white pastor during the 60’s.

Many things go on in the downtown plaza. The city organizes community gatherings, radio stations put on free concerts, activists feed the homeless and hungry daily, street and commercial artists sell their work, and festivals take peoples minds off the realities of life. Some of the events seem to be attended better than others, such as the MLK parade. Some things are left for smaller crowds, such as protests and the daily food distribution to the homeless. Perhaps thirty or forty years from now these less attended events will gather the same crowd as the MLK parade does. Perhaps the homeless will march in thankfulness of the city’s well- earned kindness. Perhaps the plaza will be a place only for bbq and reggae music, and not the only place that a homeless girl can find to lay her head.

Perhaps one day.

What’s the Purpose?

Posted: January 18, 2008 in random thoughts

Strikingly relevant paraphrase of Amos 5. 21-24.

This is understood as God speaking:

“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” (Amos 5.21-24, The Message.)

Paris Hilton

Posted: January 13, 2008 in post modernism

This is a work of Banksy, the british artist known for his subversive graffiti
art seen in the streets of London. I think the Jewish commandment printed on the bottom shows a new kind of relevance that religious symbols can have in the 21st century.

Banskyparishilton

Everything Must Change Tour

Posted: January 4, 2008 in emerging church

Brian McLaren’s tour for his latest book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis, and a Revolution of Hope will be starting to travel the country soon. It is going to be an interesting kind of tour, full with guided prayer and meditation, contemplative art, resource exchanging and conversational programing. The tour starts in Charlotte, NC in four weeks and will travel to 10 other cities across the US. Here is a little blurb from the tour website:

A DEEP SHIFT

A time of transition
rethinking
re-imagining
and re-envisioning

A time for asking new questions
and seeking answers
that are both new and old
fresh and seasoned
surprising and familiar

What does it mean, in today’s world, to be a follower of God in the way of Jesus?
What does it mean to be a faith community engaged in the holistic, integral mission of God in our world today?
How do we, as individuals and organizations, respond faithfully to the crises facing our world?
What is our duty to God, ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our enemies, and our planet in light of Jesus’ radical message of the kingdom of God?
How can we engage in personal formation and theological reformulation for global transformation?