"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded.
And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager

With Ya, my Ga tutor in Mallam
The Rev. Mike Kinman
Executive Director
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Age: 38

Check out Forsyth School ...
where Robin teaches and
the boys attend.

Since you're already blowing time surfing,
why not do some cool stuff

  • Watch the Make Poverty History videos
  • Watch Sara McLachlan's "World on Fire" video
  • Take a seat at Oxfam America's Hunger Banquet
  • Look at the "Eight Ways to Change The World" photo exhibition
  • See how rich you are on the Global Rich List
  • Make a promise to do something cool -- and get people to do it with you
  • Use your computer to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases

    While you're at it, do these things
  • Join the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History
  • Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network
  • Join Amnesty International
  • Subscribe to Sojourners Online newsletter about faith, politics and culture
  • Sign the Micah Call and join other Christians in the fight against poverty
  • Subscribe to a great new magazine about women and children transforming our world

    People who show us What One Person Can Do
  • Liza Koerner (Teaching soccer and doing mission work in Costa Rica)
  • Erica Trapps (Raising money so Tanzanian children can go to school -- check out her photo gallery)

    What's happening in Sudan might
    surprise (and shock) you

  • Episcopal Diocese of Lui
  • South Sudanese Friends International
  • The Sudan Tribune
  • SudanReeves -- research, analysis and advocacy
  • Save Darfur
  • Darfur: a genocide we can stop

    For your daily fix on the irreverent...
  • Jesus of the Week
  • The Onion

    Interesting People Who Are Great To Read
  • Beth Maynard's excellent U2 sermons blog
  • Global Voices Online
  • Neha Viswanathan - poetry, commentary, humor, reflections

    Some interesting organizations and programs
  • Borgen Project - poverty reduction through political accountability
  • CARE
  • Center of Concern
  • DATA: Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa (Bono's site)
  • El Circulo de Mujeres/Circle of Women
  • Engineering Ministries International
  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship
  • Episcopal Relief and Development
  • FreshMinistries
  • Global Campaign Against Poverty
  • Global Ministries
  • Global Work Ethic Fund -- Promoting philanthropy and fundraising in developing and transition countries.
  • Karen Emergency Relief Fund
  • Magdalene House
  • The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Natural Capitalism
  • NetMarkAid - Humanitarian Entrepreneurs
  • North American Association for the Diaconate
  • Peace Child International
  • People Building Peace
  • Project Honduras
  • Results - Creating political will to end hunger
  • St. Paul's Institute
  • Stop Global AIDS
  • TakingITGlobal -- connecting youth for action in local and global communities
  • Tanzania Educational AIDS Mission
  • TEAR (Transformation, Empowerment, Advocacy, Relief) - An Australian Christian anti-poverty movement
  • Working For Change
  • Xigi.net -- an open-source tool to aid discovery in the capital markets that fund good.

    Some Episcopal churches and dioceses doing cool things
  • Companions of Swaziland - Diocese of Iowa's Companion Relationship
  • International Development Missions -- St. Paul's Church, Sparks, NV
  • The Malaria Villages Project - St. Paul's Church, West Whiteland, PA

    Must-read books and websites about them
  • What Can One Person Do: faith to heal a broken world -- Sabina Alkire & Edmund Newell
  • The End of Poverty -- Jeffrey Sachs

    Learn more about things you really should know more about
  • UN Millenium Development Goals
  • The Millennium Campaign
  • AIDS Matters - a resource for global AIDS professionals
  • Christian Aid's in-depth report: "Millennium Lottery: Who lives and who dies in an age of third world debt?"
  • Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Poverty Mapping
  • Solutions for a water-short world
  • Transparency International: The global coalition against corruption
  • UNICEF's State of The World's Children report 2005

    General cool and/or goofy stuff
  • Alicebot chat robot
  • Bono Quotes -- but what's really wild is that it's from a page on Boycottliberalism.com!
  • Buffy Slanguage
  • Big Bunny

    Useful web tools
  • Gcast - make your own podcast
  • Podzinger - podcast search engine
  • Orb - streaming digital media

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    Listed on Blogwise
  • Sunday, July 25, 2004

    David preached this morning at Holy Communion on the Gospel reading from Luke 11:

    "He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ 2He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.’ 5And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.” 7And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. 9‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

    In the Gospel, Jesus talks of the friend who will not get up (but eventually does) as the image of God -- and then goes on to talk about how we should ask God for what we need because God will provide.

    It's always struck me as a weird image of God -- God as someone who would just as soon tell us to go away, except that we are so annoying that God eventually responds.

    As David was preaching, he twisted it and cast us in the position of the householder ... which I feel is much more accurate.

    The "Mine!" at the top is, as some of you might have guessed, a quote from "Finding Nemo." A group of characters in that film are seagulls who only say one word over and over again as they are looking for food:

    Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

    It's funny in the movie, and my children have picked up on it. "Mine" is an early favorite word of most children. The time that many of them become verbal is also the time that many of them become differentiated enough to be possessive and jealous!

    There's poetry to the fact that "mine" is a four-letter word. It's perhaps one of the most dangerous words to a Christian -- because if we really look at what we do in baptism, it is a word that should never, ever be used by us or apply to us.

    That's because as a Christian, nothing is mine. I own nothing. I possess nothing. Everything in my life, including my life itself, is a gift from God. Beverly Van Horne reminded me today what Terry Parsons (stewardship officer at the National Church Center) defines stewardship as -- using the gifts God has given us to do the work God has given us to do.

    That's what we are supposed to be all about. Everything that we "have" has been given to us by God for one purpose -- to do the work God has given us to do. It's all on loan. And when we say "mine" ... we are missing the point altogether. It's all God's.

    This sounds nice and it looks good on a stewardship brochure ... but the implications of it are liberating and terrifying. Not only does it mean that all of "my possessions" ... including this nifty computer I'm writing on ... are not really mine but only here for me to use to do the work God has given me. It also means that my very life is not my own. Even further, my children are not really "mine" -- I am to love them and care for them and raise them because God has in mind for me to do that as ministry. That means I have to be willing to let go ... of everything.

    What it comes down to is trust. That's what the "give us this day our daily bread" is about. It's about letting go of everything and trusting that God will provide each moment what we need. It's about practicing non-possession of everything ... even our own lives, even the lives of those who mean the most to us.

    Two examples of this ... from people who I'm sure would consider themselves very imperfect practitioners of this art ... stand out as inspiration for me.

    The first is James. As I lived with James in Ghana, I became aware of two things. First, that he and CENCOSAD were perpetually in financial crisis. Second, that people were continually coming to him in real need asking for his help. If there was ever someone who could have circled the wagons and said no to them, it was James ... after all, he's living without insurance or a pension plan and has sunk his whole financial and physical life into keeping this NGO afloat so that it can benefit others. But he doesn't. Whenver someone comes, he gives all he has ... because he knows whatever it is is not his, but God's ... and who is he to block God's generosity.

    I used to think I was a generous and giving person until I lived with James ... and then I realized how completely tight-fisted I really am!

    The second is Leine and Tom McNeely. When their daughter and my student Julia died, I could not understand how they could be so calm and unshaken even as they were in the midst of deep grief. In my conversations with Leine, she continually talked (without using these exact words, but this was the sense) about how Julia was never really theirs but God's, and just as God saw fit to bless their lives with her, God saw fit to move her on.

    There were ways I fought with Leine on this point. I couldn't understand what I on the surface took as such a passive attitude of acceptance -- at the same time I knew they were deeply grieving. I see now that they were right ... and even beyond that. The purest form of love is non-possessive love. Loving without holding on too tightly (is that what Jesus meant in the garden on Easter when he told Mary not to hold tightly to him?). When we love non-possessively, we love in ways that can be purely altruistic and purely without concern for ourselves.

    When we commit to the baptismal covenant we claim Christ as our savior and say that we put our whole trust in his grace and love. That means complete non-possession. Complete trust that God will provide, that God will care for those whom we care for with all our heart. That, in the words of Luke's Gospel, if we "know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

    I have plenty of excuses not to give. Plenty of excuses to say "mine!" I worked hard for it. I have to take care of it for my families sake. Whatever "it" is, I can build up wonderful rational frameworks that justify saying "mine" and even convince myself it is the purest, most loving thing.

    Only the truth is, it's not. "Mine" is a dangerous word. "Mine" is a four-letter word. It has the power to divide us from each other and to separate us from the God who is yearning for us.

    We believe we have a God who provides for us. What we need to recognize is that we also have a God who uses us as partners in that process. And if we don't live up to our part of the partnership ... if we say "mine" with tightly clenched fists instead of "God's" with open hands ... then we prevent the work of love God is about from being done.

    Mike at 7/25/2004 11:17:00 PM

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    Episcopalians for
    Global Reconciliation

    EGR is an organization resourcing a grassroots movement of spiritual transformation in the Episcopal Church to end extreme poverty on this planet.

    The structure for this movement is the Millennium Development Goals -- 8 goals committed to by all member nations of the UN and a unique partnership of governments and civil society to:

    *End extreme poverty
    *Achieve universal
    primary education

    *Promote gender equalty
    *Improve maternal health
    *Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    *Promote environmental sustainability
    *Build a global partnership for development

    EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.

    Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.

    "Christ's example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here. If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't, it will be irrelevant."
    - Bono


    What I'm Reading
    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin