A Small Town Perspective on City Growth

May 2007 article from the Economist still seems like one of the better surveys of urban growth that I have read.
 
With that said, let me give a bit of a personal perspective and see if this resonates with anyone. Until I was 17 years old, I lived in a town of less than 5000 people in Northern Illinois. No one asked what school I went to, there was only one option. The only major fast food chain was Hardee's and Main Street was truly the main street. Over the years, I have seen the exodus of people my age and younger leave to head to Chicago, the nearest big city or to the four cornes of the earth. Why? First, two major factories shut down. The General Electric and Ethan Allen factories, which used to employ about a third of the town, each closed.
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Going on a Short-Term Mission Trip this Summer?

Don’t blink. Summer is a mere 3 weeks away officially although I’d venture to say many of you have already ushered in thoughts of summer vacation, warmer weather and more daylight in a day.

Summer is not only a great time for BBQ’s, beach volley ball and dozing off in the afternoon sun, it’s also the busiest time of the year for American churches to send out their teams of short-term missionaries on trips around the world.

Groups will be building homes, restoring others, teaching VBS lessons, playing soccer with children at orphanages and singing songs of praise in a number of dialects and languages unknown.

Recently I stumbled across a presentation I gave to a handful of short-term mission teams headed out to a number of different countries in the summer of 2005.

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514 Bonded Labor Slaves Freed in India!

In April of this year, International Justice Mission hosted their annual National Prayer Gathering in Washington, DC. This prayer gathering was not unlike the others in the year's preceding it. Field office directors from their offices around the world, IJM headquarters leaders and volunteers and interns from across the nation gathered to seek God's face and direction as they work to bring an end to the world's slavery.

This April, the gathering felt an overwhelming need to focus their prayers and conversations on India. India is home to millions to slaves, many who find themselves working without end in sight in labor mills. In such cases the slavery is generational so that the children born in such violent and oppressive environments will work their days enslaved and paying off the debt of their parents and grandparents. The slave owners have created a corrupt system that makes it incredibly impossible to ever be freed from the debt owed. In the most violent cases, the women are regularly raped by the slave masters and the men and children are beaten sometimes daily.

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Where in the World is Samaria?

Recently I heard Brenda Salter McNeil say that Samaria is the place where you do not want to go. It’s the place where the people who you despise live. Samarians are hostile. Samaria is the place we build freeways around so we don’t have to drive through.

There are two significant passages of red letter scripture where Jesus is clear as newly washed glass windows regarding a place called Samaria and a people group called Samarians.

The first is the all too famous story of Jesus` encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus is fully present with the woman at the well. He goes straight to her heart and penetrates her deepest well of her soul. The Samaritan woman is then quick to determine Jesus is who he says he is. Jesus is a credible witness to her in her life.

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Grace, Love & Murder?

Grace, Love & Murder?

May 20, 2011

Christian Buckley  

Some questions, or rather problems, are too big for my head to get around.  I try my hardest to work through and dissect them – but my mind just gives out.  It is like when you ask an old computer to do too many things at the same time and it just locks up and stares at you with indignation.  That’s what happens to me when I try to figure out something like how Grace, Love, and Murder  - a specific murder – fit together. Brain lock. 

A couple of preface notes to what follows are in order. 

--     This is a horrible post and will unsettle you – I hope – assuming you have a soul.

--      I, unlike I would venture to say 99.9999% of you, have first hand deep experience in this topic.  I go to death row in California every couple of months because I represent men there who have murdered people.  That work takes me through dark places, lives, and realities I didn’t know existed and still wish I didn’t.  That doesn’t make me special – it just gives you some background and probably gives me a different view of the topic.

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Can Congregational Churches be Missional?

Can congregational churches be missional? Mark Driscoll, in a newish audio clip of a Q&A session with Driscoll in Belfast, Ireland (click here to open the MP3). What do we think of Driscoll's answer? Does he offer any legitimate reason for thinking that congregational churches will struggle to be missional? Does he understand what a congregational government even is? Take a minute and reflect on the response to Driscoll by noted Baptist theologian, a professor of theology at St. Andrews (St. Andrews, Scotland), and an advocate of congregational churches that are missional. 

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Advocating For Orphans As Busy Moms

Today I will be leading a panel at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit about how to be an advocate as a busy mom.  I’m already feeling inspired by the things that busy moms have done.  Yesterday morning I went to a session on the socio-political aspects of adoption, and I heard the story of McLane Layton, a mom who adopted three children from Easter Europe only to discover that her children did not get citizenship after being adopted.  She started lobbying that adopted children be treated as relatives instead of as immigrants, and in 2000 helped put together the Child Citizenship Act.

I heard the story of another mom who was in the process of adopting 9 siblings from the Philipinnes, only to find out that an error made in the Hague Convention prohibited the adoption on siblings over age 16.  In the sibling set she was trying to adopt, two children were over 16. She contacted her senator and they worked to ratify this point.

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Taunt not the foe (a response to a death)

Taunt  not the foe
perceived or otherwise
taunt not the monster
with the cold blood heart
slain villains
felled cretans
murdered murderers
may have well deserved what came
but life is life
and her violent end
though justified
cannot be celebrated 

Death & The Neo-Politics of Bad Guys in Post 9/11 America

So, what do we celebrate when a social villain is killed? I got the news on my phone while I was running around Chuck E Cheese (A local video/ mini-amusement restaurant) with my four year old: Osama Bin Laden Dead; Killed by U.S. Forces. My initial reaction was nothing. What could I feel? A man, who had allegedly done all these horrific things to our country, was now killed. What did that mean to me? Not a damn thing. During the Vietnam war era, hundreds of African Americans carried signs that stated: No Vietnamese Ever Called Me A Nigger!” I have to, in context, say the same thing in regards to Bin Laden: What did he do to me? The nine police officers that brutally murdered friends of mine during the late 80’s are still alive—and well I might add. The police officers that shot and killed a bi-polar elderly African American man because he wouldn’t come down off his roof are still alive and were never brought to trial. The people and entities who brought crack cocaine into my neighborhood and addicted millions for decades to come…are still alive. Therefore, what should I celebrate? The death of an entity? That ideology is still very much alive and well. Moreover, part of that ideology was created in the “heat of passion” when the U.S. was making love with members of guerilla Afghans who would in turn, kill the infidel Soviet Union soldiers, so that we could avoid World War III during the late 70’s and early 80’s and still flex our military muscle—using Bin Laden and his merry men as grunts.
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When the Will of God is Scary

True or false? “God yearns to rescue people so that they know God is good.”

Awhile back I visited a mini conference in the Los Angeles area with Gary Haugen as the speaker. Gary Haugen is founder and president of International Justice Mission, a DC based organization that works in a number of countries to combat slavery and ultimately wipe it out completely.

Immediately following the quote above, Gary said, “We are called to help rescue people.” I agree with Gary. As I continue to seek in the Bible what God would have of me in this life, I am more and more convinced that it is the work of justice. In fact, God doesn’t even want my offering and worship to him if I’m not obeying his commands to care and serve those in need. Read Isaiah 58 and you'll see what I mean.

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