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When I hear the stock market has fallen,
I say, “Long live gravity!  Long live
stupidity, error, and greed in the palaces
of fantasy capitalism!”  I think
an economy should be based on thrift,
on taking care of things, not on theft,
usury, seduction, waste, and ruin.
-from Some Further Words by Wendell Berry

I’ve been mulling these words over for the past week.  These words are abrupt and forceful, yet I find them captivating.  What do you think?

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God,

I just got home from a benefit concert hosted by Deliver Darfur.  100% of the money raised tonight was going to be donated to the International Rescue Committee.  We watched a short video that explained a bit of the genocide that Darfur is experiencing.  We also listed to some good music; overall it was a good evening.  Here’s the thing, God, I don’t mean to minimize the tragedy that is going on in that country, but I am finding it hard to find a response to that situation that will be in line with how you feel about it.  They are your children that have chosen to pick up weapons against each other.  They are your children left without home or family or food or hope or peace.  I know that you love your children deeply, but I’m having trouble know how I should love them too.  The thing is, so many of your children are hurting and being hurt by other people, and I’m afraid that I don’t have enough compassion for all of them.  But how can I care for all of the honest causes that are shown to me?  I don’t have enough energy or money or love for the genocide in Darfur, the young girls in Thailand sold as sex slaves, the Mexican kids caught up in running drugs and guns, and the millions of people throughout the world that are dying of malnutrition and starvation.  How can I care for all of the people who need help?  It so easy to see why people become numb to the reality of life in most of the world.  What can I do?  Should I pick one thing that pulls at my heart and throw myself completely into it?  Or is it better to spread out my abilities and resources to as many as I hear about?  Is it heartless for me to say that I am sad about what is going on in Darfur but not do anything about it?  But really…what can I do?  Is it really my job to do anything?  I mean, you’re GOD.  You are the creator of the cosmos.  You don’t need me for anything.  But if I’m trying to shape my life after yours then I feel like I should do something about it.  I feel a bit helpless myself.  I don’t want to become the type of person who just tosses some money at a cause expecting that to be all that can be done either.  I realize that in most of these cases money isn’t going to fix the deep-rooted problems, but what else do I have to offer? I know I’m babbeling on here, God, but this is really stuck on my heart right now.  I need help to see where and how to help.  Give me some vision to see what I can do.  I don’t want to become calous to the brokeness around me and the world, but I feel like if I don’t do anything soon my heart will start to grow hard and I’ll just feel overwhelmed by everything.  I’m trying to listen for your voice and I’m sorry for all the crap I listen to before I listen to you.  I need help to shut things down and listen, really listen.  Teach me about compassion.  Show me what it looks like and why you care about it.  I need to know that compassion is really better than numbness, because sometimes I’m not so sure it it.

Less of me, God, more of you. Amen. +

Today I have the day off. It’s been great. Is it wrong that I feel slightly bad for having such a good day when I know that my wife’s day is going far from great? If I could trade my great day for her bad, I would. If there was a way to give her part of my great to balance both of our days out I would do that too. Does anyone know how to make that happen?

This morning I played soccer, which quickly reminded me how out of shape I am. After picking myself off of our apartment floor I went to hang out with Greg at the YWAM base. Because I don’t have many days off, I wanted to take the time to spend with people who I don’t see often. Greg’s morning duties involve getting lunch ready, so I offered my onion cutting skills, and he took me up on it. It was good to hang out with him in the kitchen. We spent a lot of the morning talking about tithing and raising support. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I’ve been thinking about how we as a small church tithe well. We don’t have a building to spend money on. Which is what the majority of church tithes go toward. Would we set up a checking account? Would any of the tithe stay within the church? Would we support people? Other ministries? How would we choose what would be the best use of the money we tithe together?

And then there’s the question of raising support. I know that God has called me into full time ministry, but I don’t see myself working for a traditional church right now. I’ve gone back and forth on the idea of asking people to support Lauren and I so that I could dedicate my time to ministry. I told Greg today that being able to do ministry full time would feel like cheating in a way. It would feel a bit strange to have people support me to do something that I would do for free (if the bills would pay themselves). There’s also the question of whether I would like support for is worthy of people supporting me. I suppose that in a way, that’s not my question to answer. I would have to account for my time, and I feel ok with that. If you were supporting me would you feel ok about me spending my day the way I am? Wake up at 5:15 to spend some time with God, help Lauren get ready for work from 6-6:30, soccer at 7, time with Greg (and other YWAMers ) in the kitchen from 9-2, talk on the phone with Lauren during her lunch, updating this blog for a while I am studying for this Sunday’s wrap up of the Sermon on the Mount, meeting with someone else at 4, then back to the apartment to clean and cook dinner before Lauren gets home. Well that’s about it I guess. I did go to the bathroom a few times. Is this a good use of my time? What if this was every day? I could go on and on in my questions. But I throw that out there.

Throughout my day I’ve been singing song from The Cobalt Season. I’ve recently started listening to them. You should check them out. I’m trying to convince Ryan to come out and play a house show or two, so maybe if you all buy an album or two he will realize that he should come out and hang out with us.

In Search of Unified TheoryCheck them out. Ryan’s wife Holly does the art work. Take the time to read the lyrics. It’s good stuff. One of my favorite lines is “Well Mom, I only wanted to be like Jesus, but it seems that I keep fucking up, and Dad, don’t write me off just yet I think I might be onto something here.”

Well that’s it for today. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on any of this stuff.
peace

Good news TBN fans, it is telethon season. I don’t have too much to say about TBN as a whole. I don’t know enough about it to really throw my two cents in, but I do know what I saw today. I get caught up in their shows sometimes because it’s hard to look away. I find myself mesmerized by the whiteness of some guy’s hair or how massive some broaches can be and still be attached to clothes. Sometimes I try to guess what I think they will say next. I try to guess how long it will be before they ask for another donation.

Normally, I wouldn’t feel compelled to post a comment about TBN, but today I saw something that I wanted to share. I’m going to try to contain my rant as best as possible. Deep breathes. You too. Deep breathes.

Let me just set the stage for you. It’s filled with people. Those in the fore ground are sitting in chairs or standing on the stage, engaged in the speaker’s words. Those in the background were dancing and jumping around. There was a mix of preaching and singing. The music was great. It was a lot of gospel music. I dig that.

On the screen was the needed information for making that all-important phone call. US and Canada numbers. One for the international callers. Here’s my favorite part. They would flash verses up on the screen to encourage people to give. The one that caught my attention said this:

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. Luke 21:1

I know this verse, and I find myself passing from astonishment to anger. This words that are used to encourage people to “sew into this ministry so they will receive their blessing in full,” are words that are followed by these words:

He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” [Jesus] said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

I would think that if they really wanted to hit home with some people they would flash up the part about giving out of her poverty. I’m sure there are people watching that could resonate with that. I would find some verses that have anything to do with giving up everything. But I would leave out the parts that having to do with not expecting things in return for giving. I would use a lot of verses about people in the old testament times giving to the construction of the temple. For sure. There are a lot of verses about people bringing their gold and silver. It’s too bad that I’ve never been asked to pick out scripture to flash up on a screen during a telethon for TBN.

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