Five Things to Like about Senator Obama

...Even If You Are Not Voting For Him

The weirdest of political creatures is the sad soul who cannot fight hard, but then go have a beer with his political opponent. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil, then the Speaker of the House, were happy to share jokes after jousting with each other over public policy.

If Senator Obama needs my vote to win, he is in trouble. I don’t think he is qualified to be president and do not agree with him on most of the major issues, but that does not mean I have to dislike the guy. Following the Reagan-O’Neil example, here are five likable things about Senator Obama even if you are not going to vote for him.

Senator Obama is an outstanding speaker. If we have to listen to the fellow for four years, at least it will be easy to do. He speaks in paragraphs and not just sound bites. At his best he is a better orator than we have seen since Reagan.
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Christians Have the Best Reasons to Be Environmentalists

I've heard from several people recently mortifying accounts of Christians not only neglecting environmental concerns, but actually attacking other Christians for speaking out in favor of making environmentalism a priority.

A truly God-centered worldview demands responsible stewardship of the earth's resources. Consider the following reasons:

Reason #1 - God created the earth and everything else, (Genesis 1-2). That's reason enough to respect creation and treat it with care.

Reason #2 - God entrusted responsibility for its care to humanity (Genesis 1-2)

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"God is Faithful"

This is Karen. (With the red bandana on). Karen is a 24-year-old woman who volunteers her time to work for an organization called Ministry of Hope. I walked with Karen through a buzzing market place in Chipoka, Malawi only 2 weeks ago. As we walked through the market place, piercing stares from the day’s merchants and consumers made their way towards our path. An entourage of young children yelling out, "Mazungu" (white person) quickly made their presence known close behind as we walked. 

It was a loud, busy market place and amidst the noise, I asked Karen a question that seemed to quiet our surroundings in an instant. "Karen, what is your story?" She immediately launched into her story as if she'd been waiting for me to ask the question from the moment we began our walk. 

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Our Dear Life in Burkina Faso

Due to slavery, Burkina Faso is one of the poorest places on the planet. The majority of the population is stripped and undergoes the stress of inflation, the continuous increase in costs for basic necessities. I will discuss and explain in a sincere manner, the effects of the high cost of living felt by the Burkinabe in their everyday lives.

Our family, like a great number of others in the region, are underdeveloped. This is visible on many levels. Since we are directly affected by inflation, living conditions are unstable. There is no guarantee that we will have something to eat each day. Even two meals a day are not assured. The food shortage is so evident that you can read it on the faces of the Burkinabe and in their skeletal bodies. They are very skinny. In addition, we cannot eat well because of the insufficient quality and quantity of our poor monotonous meals.
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The Warm Heart of Africa

 Listen to the voices of 3 sweet teenage girls, singing their national anthem...

 

I just returned from The Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi. Refer to my previous post Destination Malawi for a mini description of why I went with a team from my church. There are a lot of stories and a lot of statistics I could throw at you as a follow up. However, some of that will fade from my memory as I return to my daily routine in the states. 

The one aspect I hope never dims in my heart is the sound of the voices of the 180 Malawian teenagers I spent 4 days at camp with. These kids love to sing and they have amazing voices. They taught us a few worship songs and we attempted to keep up with their sweet dance moves. Check out this video below where Keren, a local worship leader, taught the teens I Love You Lord. Notice the teens writing. Without any prompting and as a complete surprise to us, they began to write down the lyrics and they all shared pens and paper with friends so that all of them who wanted, had the song. Later that day and into the next, we continued to hear the teens practise this song.

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The Second Worst Thing in This World

I have a quick story for you: I was at the Sundance Film Festival this past year, and my favorite film was titled: Triage, Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma. During the Rwandan Genocide, all the NGO's fled Rwanda, Dr. Orbinski's organization (Doctors without Borders) was the only one to enter the country. Orbinski's job was to number off victims. 1 meant a person needed immediate attention or they would die, 2 meant that they needed to be treated within that day, and 3 meant that they did not have a chance to make it. He decided whether victims would live or die. He also did surgery after surgery on people and the film chronicles him returning to all the countries he worked in as he prepares to write a book about his experiences. In these countries, so many people are still in tough situations, maybe not in war or genocide, but living in huge slums and struggling in extreme poverty. As he walks around the slums remembering what had happened there, people missing limbs hobble up to him and tell him thanks for saving their life. You realize this one man literally healed and saved the lives of thousands of people.
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Craig Detweiler Conversation, Part 2




Here's the second part of three conversations I had with Peter from ConversantLife.com We discussed the tension around art and images in my new book "A Purple State of Mind: Finding Middle Ground in A Divided Culture." I hope you enjoy this conversation.

Mongolia's Ex-herders Struggle For Survival In The City

In my last blog I posted a lot of population stats about Mongolia. If you didn't read them or just skimmed over them, some of the ones I really wanted to stick out to you were these:

-HALF of the population is under 23 years old.

-40% of the entire population is living in one city alone, Ulaanbaatar.

-43% of what was once a nomadic culture are now living in cities. There is a large migration from the countryside to the cities.

My dad sent me this article that puts a more personal face on those numbers.

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A small, hungry cat is tied up next to the door of this family's ger. It meows incessantly and seems eager to be free as it strains at the cord around its neck. Animals often reflect their owners.

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Shake, Rattle and Roll

There are a lot of great reasons to live in Southern California. There's the weather, the beach, Disneyland. What's not to love? Well, for one, those unsettling earthquakes we get every once in a while. And we just had one. Not a big one (certainly not the Big One), but enough of a quake to get your eyes wide open and your mind racing.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake we had just before noon on Tuesday was somewhere between 5.4 and 5.6 on the good old Richter Scale, and the epicenter was about 40 miles from the Conversantlife.com office. (Okay, so our location didn't factor into the reporting, but I thougfht you would want to know, seeing as how you are concerned for our well being and all.)

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Give A Damn? Update from Rob

Hey kids, how's things.

Tuesday morning we left for California earlier than blue jays wake up and it's been non-stop filming/ man cuddling since we left. About an hour or two after our plane landed, we were already setting up for our first interview with the founder of The Falling Whistles Project, Sean Carasso. It was amazing and we all felt that we enjoyed almost everything that he brought to the table. In the past Dan has been asking most of the interview questions, but this time I made a point of shooting a few out there. I think the best part of this interview, not to discredit Sean, would have to be that we did the interview in a warehouse, with Dan and me seated on a shop vac and a bucket respectively. I dont know about you, but shop vac chairs scream Give A Damn? to me.

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