"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
  • Thursday, December 23, 2004

    I've got two boys ... a two year old and a six year old -- Hayden and Schroedter.

    Like most parents, I live under the false assumption that the English I am speaking and the English they are hearing is the same language! I can tell them something. I can tell it to them with great urgency. I can tell it to them crouching down to their level, making sure they are looking me in the eye. I can tell it softly, lovingly, sharply, with great exasperation, with wonderful analogies that I am just sure will hit home with them and with such brevity and clarity that there is no way they can possibly miss what I'm getting at.

    They will even nod their heads and say "yes, I heard you" ... and Schroedter will even parrot my own words back to me.

    ...and then ten minutes later, Schroedter is once again running through the dining room and Hayden is sitting in front of the open refrigerator shouting "Eggs!" with great glee as he takes them out of the carton, throws them on the floor and watches the dog gobble up the raw goo inside.

    Of course, I really don't think it's that they don't understand the language I'm speaking. They may even really want to heed my words. But whether it's forgetfulness or willful disobedience, the desire they have to do whatever it is they shouldn't be doing at that moment trumps any knowledge they have that they shouldn't be doing it.

    Even though it's weird to talk about it in this term ... well, it's sin. It's part of our broken nature as human beings. When it's manifested in children careening around the dining room table or a toddler making a floor omelet, even though it's exasperating, I can laugh, shake my head and try again.

    The problem is, even though we grow up, we never really grow out of our brokenness. It's why we need Jesus ... why we need God entering into our brokenness in the most intimate way possible -- taking God's best shot at speaking a language that we can understand, pulling out all his best analogies and parables, talking to us softly, lovingly, sharply, and sometimes with great exasperation. As Linus says, "that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

    And still, we don't listen. It's like we don't hear or understand. We may even really want to heed Christ's words ... but whether it's forgetfulness or willful disobedience, our desire to do whatever it is we shouldn't be doing from moment to moment trumps any knowledge we have that we shouldn't be doing it.

    It's sin. It's part of our broken nature as human beings. And getting beyond it is so, so hard. We have Christ to show us the way through it ... but we have our baptism to bind us to the task and to bind us to each other in doing it -- because there is no way we can do it on our own.

    Mary Miller, a friend of mine and colleague on the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns, sent me an editorial from the New York Times this morning. It's full of words we've all heard before ... words about what Christ tells us in very plain language that we should be about -- feeding the hungry, healing the sick, laying down our lives for our sisters and brothers, walking the self-sacrificial way of the cross. Words that we all hear but somehow in our brokenness manage to ignore.

    Words like this:

    "Almost a third of the way into (the U.N. Millennium Development Goals program), the latest available figures show that the percentage of United States income going to poor countries remains near rock bottom: 0.14 percent (out of a promised 0.7 percent). Britain is at 0.34 percent, and France at 0.41 percent. (Norway and Sweden, to no one's surprise, are already exceeding the goal, at 0.92 percent and 0.79 percent.)"

    "We learned this week that in the last two months, the Bush administration has reduced its contributions to global food aid programs aimed at helping hungry nations become self-sufficient, and it has told charities like Save the Children and Catholic Relief Services that it won't honor earlier promises. Instead, administration officials said that most of the country's emergency food aid would go to places where there were immediate crises."

    "The administration has cited the federal budget deficit as the reason for its cutback in donations to help the hungry feed themselves. In fact, the amount involved is a pittance within the federal budget when compared with our $412 billion deficit, which has been fueled by war and tax cuts. The administration can conjure up $87 billion for the fighting in Iraq, but can it really not come up with more than $15.6 billion - our overall spending on development assistance in 2002 - to help stop an 8-year-old AIDS orphan in Cameroon from drinking sewer water or to buy a mosquito net for an infant in Sierra Leone?"

    This isn't aimed at slamming the current administration ... God knows all administrations -- Democrat and Republican -- have fallen way short of what we should be doing. It's about us being the children who can't obey ... only it's not funny and it's not cute.

    It's killing people, and it's costing us our souls.

    CNN reported that in 2003, Americans charged $97.9 billion on credit and debit cards over the holidays. That's not total spending, just how much we charged. This year, it's expected to rocket way over $100 billion. Conservatively, we charge seven times more on Christmas gifts than we spend helping the poorest people in the world.

    Jesus says "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these members of my family, you did it to me." ... then proceeds to have some firey words for those who did not bother to tend to Christ in ways befitting discipleship.

    There's no debate here. No argument over what the passage really means. No argument over context. For all the parsing and interpreting of scripture we do, I challenge anyone to translate Matthew 25 in any other way than that we are supposed to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and in prison.

    And that in doing so, we find our salvation -- we find and come most fully into God's presence.

    And that in not, we lose it -- and cause a chasm to form between us and the divine.

    On the latest U2 CD, there's a great song called "Miracle Drug". Part of the lyrics are:

    I am you and you are mine
    Love makes nonsense of space
    And time...will disappear
    Love and logic keep us clear
    Reason is on our side, love...

    The songs are in your eyes
    I see them when you smile
    I've seen enough of romantic love
    I'd give it up, yeah, I'd give it up
    For a miracle, a miracle drug, a miracle drug

    God I need your help tonight

    Beneath the noise
    Below the din
    I hear a voice
    It's whispering
    In science and in medicine
    "I was a stranger
    You took me in"

    When we read editorials like this, when we watch the news, when we look at all the problems in the world they can be absolutely paralyzing. It can seem like nothing can solve them short of a miracle so why try.

    Only we have the miracle ... it's called the incarnation. We ARE the miracle ... it's called the Body of Christ. We are the miracle drug. Christ working through us is the miracle drug. When we look across town and around the world at our sisters and brothers and say "I am you and you are mine" love does make nonsense of space and time. We have the resources. We have the money. We have the technology. We have the delivery systems. We have everything we need to heal this planet ... all we need is the will. All we need is a discipleship in Christ that compels us to heed the words he is speaking to us.

    I hesitate to write this ... and I recognize that most readers have stopped reading already. I hesitate because missives like this are easy to dismiss. It's words that either sound good or not ... but they are just words. Hell, the Gospel says it plainly enough and if we aren't listening to the Gospel, why should anyone listen to me!

    Except I believe. I believe in the power of Christ. I believe in the power of the Church to be Christ's body. But I also believe in the urgency -- the urgency to save a planet that is literally dying, the urgency of the American Church to maintain a fast-slipping-away air of integrity and relevancy in the face of that death and the urgency of us to let Christ work through us not just to save the world but our own souls.

    Earlier in the song, Bono sings:

    Freedom has a scent
    Like the top of a new born baby's head

    The top of a baby's head, that soft spot, is where the child is most vulnerable. Kiss and caress it, cover it with one of those little caps to keep it warm and the child will grow up knowing love. Strike it too hard and the child will die.

    Our freedom is in that newborn child this Christmas. Our everlasting belief and hope that no matter what has come before, God hasn't given up on us yet.

    But it's more than that. Our freedom is in what we do with that most vulnerable part ... with the 1 billion of our sisters and brothers who live in abject poverty. Will we kiss and caress and care for them? Or will we ignore them and strike them down? Will we as individuals, as congregations, as an Episcopal Church and as an Anglican Communion take up the challenge of discipleship and get on with the missio dei? Or will we pretend our Savior's words plainly spoken aren't as important as what we want to do.

    Will we preach this Gospel from our pulpits and around our dinner tables and take our people out of our homes and churches into the streets and around the world and live it? Or will we let another day, week, month and year pass. Let more people suffer and die. Let rock stars and NGOs continue to preach Christ's gospel more eloquently and powerfully than we the church have for years?

    This isn't Schroedter running through the dining room. This isn't Hayden being cute and making a mess on the kitchen floor. It's time for us to grow up. It's time for us to hear and heed. It's time for us to put aside our childish ways, brush up on our baptismal covenant, band together and really be that miracle drug that is the Body of Christ.

    Beneath the noise
    Below the din
    I hear a voice
    it's whispering

    "I was a stranger
    You took me in"

    Freedom has a scent
    Like the top of a new born baby's head

    The newborn child bears our freedom and our sin.

    Can we hear his voice?

    Will we heed it?

    Mike at 12/23/2004 10:59:00 AM

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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