"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
  • Friday, April 14, 2006

    Station IX - Jesus Falls for the Third Time

    In the numerology of scripture, three is an important number. Something done three times raises it to its utmost. It's why we say "Holy, Holy Holy" in the Sanctus -- it takes holiness and raises it to its highest level. It's also why 666 is the sign of the beast in Revelation (seven is the number of perfection, so you take the number that is less than perfection and raise it to it's highest level -- 666 -- bingo! The antiChrist!).

    When Jesus fell once, I talked about failure. When Jesus fell twice, I talked about persistence.

    Jesus falling a third time is about total devastation.

    A question I get all the time is why I am so concerned about poverty in the developing world when we have poverty here at home. Doesn't that "count"?

    I understand the question, but it also saddens and just plain annoys me. Because it represents two key misconceptions.

    The first is that it's an either/or situation. Why in a nation of such overabundance and overprivilege do we have to choose between healing poverty at home and healing poverty abroad? Why is this not the no-brainer both/and of all time? Why? Because we live with such a twisted and selective definition of scarcity that we can find money in appropriations bills for wars without end but when it comes to education and poverty we dole it out with an eyedropper.

    The second is that in this country we have no clue what extreme poverty really is.

    Extreme in America is a marketing gimmick. It's skateboarders who swig Mountain Dew and Red Bull and populate latenight on ESPN2. In terms of poverty, with the exception of the devastation left by Katrina and life on certain Native reservations, we have no concept of what extreme is at all.

    Extreme poverty is utter devastation. It is having absolutely no hope of even making it to a subsistance level without some assistance. Even Jesus had Simon to help him carry the cross part of the way -- these people have nothing.

    Jesus falling the third time is the face of Christ in the children of Northern Uganda, who flee nightly for their lives lest they be captured and sentenced to a life of kill-or-be-killed. It is the face of Christ in the people of Darfur, who sit starving in virtual concentration camps waiting for bands of janjaweed to come and rape and murder them. It is the face of Christ on the people of the Congo, where the tales are so terrible and the cover of darkness so great that the reports of what horrendous evil takes place there are sketchy at best.

    Jesus falling for the third time is the kind of devastation where any reasonable person would have given up hope. And yet in Jesus, we have the embodiment of hope. And that is who we are to be as Christ's Body on earth - -the embodiment of hope in unity with the utterly hopeless.

    Christianity in America has become a consumer religion ... and the church has become just another purveyor of goods and services -- in this case spiritual goods and services. Churches advertise and market themselves about what they can do for their parishioners ... what people will "find for themselves and their families" there. There is an entire consulting industry that tells churches how to market themselves.

    Problem is, in any competitive marketplace, you are more likely to tell prospective customers exactly what they want to hear and less likely to tell them anything that will be disturbing. And that's what American suburban Christianity has become. Perhaps spiritually, we have fallen for the third time as well.

    What would it look like if we got up? What would it look like if we asked ourselves not how church feeds us or makes us feel better ... but how being a part of Christ's body changes us, challenges us -- transforms us into the embodiment of hope, not just or even primarily for ourselves, but for the hopeless, the devastated, those so low they cannot go lower.

    I think we'd look a lot different as a church. A lot less marketable. A lot scarier.

    ... and a lot more like Jesus.

    Station X -- Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

    If you go into a church that has an actual crucifix instead of just a cross (the difference being Jesus' likeness actually being up there), chances are he's wearing a nice little loincloth to "preserve his modesty" (not to mention a belief that some parts of the body aren't to be displayed in public!).

    Of course, this shield is for us, not for Christ. Jesus was naked on the cross. Ultimately vulnerable. Ultimately humiliated.

    This is the last stage before crucifixion, before death -- vulnerability and humiliation.

    Arguably the most vulnerable and humiliated people on the planet are refugees - for they do not even have the mental and spiritual security of feeling at home -- even if home is a place they do not own and can never hope to.

    Being refugees is what makes the tragedy of the lives of those being raped and murdered in Darfur and fleeing across the border to Chad even more stark. Being a refugee is about having nothing -- not even the sense of control that comes from feeling at home in your surroundings. It is being naked and staring up at the cross.

    I got an email this morning from Stephanie Rhodes, who is spending a semester in the occupied territories of Palestine. Here's what she wrote:

    Here's a link to the website (www.lajee.org) for a center at the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. It's a really bad situation in that they're surrounded by the wall; there are constant incursions by soldiers; and there's soon to be a new Israeli settlement going up just outside the camp. Anyway, one of my friends here, a British photographer named Rich Wiles, is desperately trying to set up some kind of "twinning" arrangement between the camp and a city, organization, whatever in the West.

    Can you think of anyone who would be interested in getting behind this?
    The children of Aida have no control. They are pawns at best and targets at worst. Like all refugees, they have no home, no freedom from anxiety. They are virtual prisoners. And in the midst of it, there are people who are trying to bring a sense of hope. There are people who are trying to give Jesus back his clothes so he can stand with dignity.

    When Jesus talked about clothing the naked as a way of serving him, he wasn't just talking about meeting a level of Maslow's hierarchy. He was talking about what we say in our baptismal covenant -- respecting the dignity of every human being. You can't respect dignity without working to restore dignity where it has been taken away.

    It's Good Friday -- the day Jesus hung naked on the cross. What are you doing today to bring dignity to those who have been stripped? What can you do for the children of Aida?
    Mike at 4/14/2006 08:55:00 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