That Important...but Invisible Line

A good friend of mine is the top dog in an outfit that does incredibly good things for the poor wo try to survive in the dusty folds just across our borders. He lives very modestly and drives a used four-wheel drive SUV as is apt for a mission ministry that survives off of the generosity and sacrifice of others.

A life long bachelor, he has given his years to God’s service and the needs of the poor, and as such, has deeply inspired many. So much so that one day a wealthy supporter pulled him aside and handed him the keys to fancy sports car.

“This is for you” he said, “If anyone deserves it, you do”.

For several months my friend drove this gift around, marveling at its speed, handling and luxury.

But the whole time there was a queasy feeling in his gut.

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Hope, Peace, Eek the Cat and Christmas

It’s funny how memories or experiences past find their way into present thoughts. Lately I’ve been thinking about a particular moment in my past that I have had difficulties putting reason to.

On a fall day in 2003, I found myself at a Mother Theresa hospice and orphanage called House of Peace located just outside the city walls of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. I was with a team from my local church at the time and we were there to visit with the children at the orphanage and to sit with and visit those spending their final days at the hospice. All of who had AIDS.

*

When we walked into the hospice, there were a few ill men lying on the springs of beds without mattresses.

What Can a Free $1,000 Do? Lots if You Use It.

What Can a Free $1,000 Do? Lots if You Use It.

No joke.  This post is about you and your friends giving away thousands of dollars of someone else’s money - $10 at a time.  I can’t tell you how many “thousands” (legal details blah blah blah) but its lots. 

What:

$10 free that you can invest in a humanitarian project of your choice.  Take our spare change and your spare time (its only 10 minutes) and give hope.  No strings attached.  No gimmicks. Just $10 free for you to invest in the world. No assembly required and its safe for kids.

Why:

 

About the time I started writing Humanitarian Jesus I also helped found The Glue Network – a new way of empowering people to impact need by finding new sources of funding like brands and companies to supply the money. 

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Giving Christmas Away

I cannot believe this Friday is Black Friday! Can you? This is an old post from a couple years ago that I thought I'd share again. I added a new option for gifts below and am wondering what you might add to the list.

Black Friday has begun and the flood gates of Christmas shopping are open. Last Christmas, I remember my husband and I walking through Target looking for “the perfect gifts” for our family members. We walked in, looked around for a bit and walked out empty handed.  Every year it seems like a struggle to find gifts that fit for the people we care about. Companies compete with one another by conveying messages of all of the things that our friends and family NEED this season. Commercials bombard our homes with elves busy at Sears, singing BestBuy employees and Old Navy manikins wearing the latest Christmas sweaters.

Before you get cut off in parking lots this Black Friday or wander the isles of Target in search of the perfect gift, I thought I’d offer some suggestions on ways to give, yet in a more less traditional way.

We all want to give. We were created with that desire. We were made by the hands that designed the very nature of giving. When we understand this awesome truth it becomes inevitable that we give. Who better to explain this than singing vegetables wearing ugly Christmas sweaters.


If you’ve had enough with crowded parking lots and lines, consider this Christmas season the gift of hope, freedom, food, a new start or empowerment. Giving breeds giving. Here are a few places where you can do just that.

Heifer International – Gifts of animals for breeding, farming, food purposes
IJM – Purchase a freedom package for individuals upon their rescue from slavery
Gospel for Asia – Gifts for outreach, missionaries, compassion gifts and much more
Samaritan’s Purse – Gifts for children around the world

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A Story of Forgiveness

Earlier this week I read an article on CNN's belief blog that threw me into a stewing pot of thoughts. At the core is one simple word that seems so complex to live out, even in the shallowest of circumstances.

Forgiveness.

Celebrity Portrait Photographer Jeremy Cowart set out on a mission with filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson (As We Forgive) to produce a photo series project called "Voices of Reconciliation." Cowart and Hinson went to Rwanda. They wanted to give Rwandans the opportunity to make their own statements to the world about the 1994 mass killings and uprooting that took place in their backyards.

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45 Things I Want in a Presidential Candidate


A year from now we will (very possibly) have a new president-elect in the U.S. As a registered voter in California, I will have zero influence in deciding the election. But that doesn’t keep me from having opinions about what kind of candidate I’d like to see succeed in becoming America’s 45th president. If I did happen to live in a state like Iowa, New Hampshire, or one of the other “primary” battlegrounds where my vote might feasibly matter, I would be looking to cast a vote for a presidential candidate who fit the following qualifications. Are there any good candidates out there?

We Have to Occupy Something

What exactly is the purpose of Occupy Wall Street? Apart from a vague sense of it  being the liberal progressives’ counterpart to the Tea Party, and a coalition of unionists, anti-capitalists and mad-as-hell twentysomethings angry about the rising cost of Netflix and Facebook’s infuriating shape-shifting, it’s sort of unclear.

As a “movement,” Occupy Wall Street doesn’t reveal an organized grassroots agenda as much as it represents a general climate of anger, frustration, and antagonism against the “haves”–a suspiciously narrow (1%), heartless, no good very bad group whose entrepreneurial success and capitalistic success apparently oppress the 99% of us have-nots who are being unfairly kept from sharing in the 1 percent’s riches.

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Water Like Gold (only much more valuable!)

Peter Ole Kukan is a long-time Maasai friend of ours.  He sat on our porch yesterday morning and, in the process of chewing the news, let us know that women in his village are walking 2 hours each direction for water these days.  They fill jerry cans on the backs of donkeys then begin the 2 hour journey home again. Over the next couple of days, the water is doled out like the precious commodity it is.  Not a drop is wasted.  

Have you ever seen how dirty your hands get milking a cow?  Or handling a goat?  Or just living life in a place where water doesn't flow out of taps on-demand?  

I wonder how many times I wash my hands in the course of a day...

I'd like to think I'm pretty careful with water.  I consider myself aware.  I'd like to believe I'm good about electricity, as well.  We don't leave lights on that don't actually need to be on.  We've changed most of our bulbs to energy-savers.  

Take Action Bible

Last year ConversantLife is partnered with Thomas Nelson, Inc. and World Vision in a unique and biblical campaign called "God's Word in Action." Through this comprehensive campaign, Thomas Nelson's Bible Group pledged $100,000 to World Vision to help eradicate poverty and preventable deaths among children.

As a follow up to this inspiring campaign, Thomas Nelson has introduced the Take Action Bible as a way to encourage everyday people and families to put their own faith into action by serving Jesus somwhere in the world, whether it's at home or abroad.

"If you had asked me a year ago if I would travel to a third world country to build a home for someone who did not have a home, my answer would have been, 'Not right now.' Ask me that same question today,  and my answer would be, 'Absoluely yes.'" Such is the dynamic testimony of Jason and Lisa, who traveled with seven friends to Haiti, where they built two homes in connection with a local church.

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Not Something to Cheer

A few weeks ago at the GOP presidential debate, some in the crowd cheered as Rick Perry defended his record on the death penalty. It was a horrifying thing to watch. Why is anyone cheering for the death penalty? Regardless of one’s political stance on capital punishment, it seems to me that at best it is a necessary evil–but certainly not something to be celebrated.

Perhaps sparked by the Rick Perry / audience cheering debate, the Washington Post has featured an array of columns on the issue of capital punishment in its “On Faith” column in recent weeks. Among other things, the columns have illustrated just how diverse the opinions are on this issue, even among Christians.

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