"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

    July 2003August 2003November 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007September 2007October 2007December 2007February 2008July 2008December 2008April 2009

    Listed on Blogwise
  • Sunday, February 11, 2007
    What Will We Talk About Today, You and I?

    A sermon (basically) that I preached at Christ Church Cathedral this morning. It is the family worship service, which is more informal (I preached without a text and this is what it would have been with a text). Also, we are not bound to the lectionary at this service, so at the suggestion of the Rev. Susan Nanny, I split the Lukan Beatitudes up into two weeks. I'll deal with the "woes" next week. It's a service that has a lot of children in it, so I did some background explaining of things that I won't include here -- and also edited some of the langauge (you'll know what I'm talking about when you get to it). This will be the "over 16" version. Oh, and because of the wonders of the internet I've edited things to be read instead of heard. Got it? Anyway, enough introduction.

    What will we talk about today, you and I?

    I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, and it was Gandhi's fault.

    Well, not exactly Gandhi's fault ... but Richard Attenborough's Gandhi's fault. I was flipping through the channels trying to find something that would lull me to sleep and instead I found that movie, one of my favorites of all time.

    And it got to the point in the movie where Gandhi is sitting at a table in the government council room. With him are Patel, Nehru, Jinnah and Azad. On the British side are the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, several generals, and a senior civil servant, Kinnoch. And Gandhi says:
    We think it is time you recognized that you are masters in someone else's home. Despite the best intentions of the best of you, you must, in the nature of things, humiliate us to control us. General Dyer is but an extreme example of the principle. It is time you left.
    Now, the British are stunned almost to speechlessness – the audacity, the impossibility of it – and from Gandhi of all people. The senior civil servant, Kinnoch, is the first to recover.
    "With respect, Mr. Gandhi, without British administration, this country would be reduced to chaos."
    To which Gandhi responds, gently and patiently:
    Mr. Kinnoch, I beg you to accept that there is no people on earth who would not prefer their own bad government to the "good" government of an alien power.
    I sat there watching this and my mouth dropped open. Gandhi's words were so elegant and gentle ... and timeless. And I could think of nothing else than our own occupation of Iraq as his words echoed in my ears.

    Let me play devil's advocate for a second. Let me take the current administration completely at its word and accept all its best intentions -- even as that word has changed from time to time, but no matter. Let's accept that we went into Iraq as liberators to save the people from a cruel tyrant. Let's say we came to bring peace and establish order. Even if that is true, there is no escaping the current reality.

    You can't get any decent news of what is happening in Iraq from the major networks or major media. You have to look elsewhere. One place I look is several excellent online diaries written by people on the ground there. This morning, I read an account from a young man named Mohammed Ibn Laith, who lives in Al-Sadriya, Baghdad. It was poetry and tragedy. I want to share an excerpt from it with you;
    When I heard the bomb explode last Saturday the first thing I did was telephone my father. But there was no reply. Again and again and again I tried to phone him. My fingers hurt I stabbed them onto the buttons on my phone so hard. I fell onto the floor and prayed please let him not be dead. Please let it be that he died quick if he is dead.

    And my heart was sick inside me.

    What will we talk about today you and I? I do not want to talk about last Saturday. Shall we talk about peace? I would like to talk about peace. I love the word. No, perhaps we are not ready to talk of peace yet you and I, we are not at peace, we are not even at truce.

    My father is one of the organisers for the men who protect the people in our neighbourhood who have fled here from the death squads. When they go to get food we go to the market with them my father, my brother, myself, some of the men in our neighbourhood.

    They do the same for us.

    What will we talk about today you and I? I do not want to talk about last Saturday. Shall we talk about peace? I would like to talk about peace. I love the word. No, perhaps we are not ready to talk of peace yet you and I, we are not at peace, we are not even at truce.

    Does “peace” mean that your aunt does not weep as she talks of how the young couples she serves ask her after the X-Ray

    Well is it a child or is it a monster?

    And how she curses the Americans who littered our land with Uranium munitions and then denied us the cancer drugs. Because we needed to be,


    We sand niggers who had been abandoned to the tyrant you had supported for years needed to be,


    And though it was hard for you, though compassion swelled in your noble and peaceful heart we sand niggers needed to be,


    For my own good. I needed to be,


    The new world order and the peace dividend required that the sand niggers be contained, and you assured the world, that I was indeed,


    You told me that though it was hard for you :

    We think the price is worth it.

    Shall we talk about peace you and I? I would like to talk about peace. I love the word. No, perhaps we are not ready to talk of peace yet you and I, we are not at peace, we are not even at truce.

    Will we talk about how the Americans urged our people to rise against the tyrant? Will we talk about that you and I? Will we talk about what happened to the men who believed the American lies and rose?

    What shall we talk about you and I?

    History speaks to us -- if we have the ears to hear. And if we don't, it will gently, powerfully repeat itself until we get the message.

    Two thousand years ago there was a great empire, beginning in Rome and stretching as far across the world they knew as any empire they had ever known. And they believed the gods were with them -- and that their great success in conquest was a sign of the gods blessing on them, a sign of divine providence.

    And that empire had a story -- a governing myth that they told themselves and they told the people they conquered. They were there to bring peace and order. Pax Romana they called it -- the peace of Rome.

    Yet the people knew then what Gandhi knew in India, what Mohammed knows today -- that there is no people on earth who would not prefer their own bad government to the "good" government of an alien power.

    And it was in this empire, in a small backwater of this empire that a teacher arose named Jesus. Now the people were looking for a leader. They were looking for a hero. They were looking for someone to rise up and smack down the Romans, to defeat them and send them back to Rome so that they might have home rule, control over the land they believe was destined for them. And as Jesus' teaching began to draw crowds and stories of his signs and wonders began to sweep across the countryside, some began to wonder if he was the one -- the one who would lead them out of oppression.

    But that's not the leader Jesus was. Jesus was not there to overthrow the Romans by force of might, but eventually he would lead to the downfall of that Empire with a question.

    Where is God in this? Where is God's favor in this life to which we are resigned?

    And Luke's Gospel tells us that a huge throng followed him and crowded around him, drawn by his power. And he lifted up his eyes and said:

    Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God

    Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.

    Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.

    Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
    Where is God's favor? With the poor, the hungry, the weeping, the outcast. Jesus was not going to mount an army and defeat the Romans, but no matter -- the war was already won. For the Romans' strength was not a sign of divine favor, but the Jews' poverty.

    My friends, this passage is not about us.

    Yes, there are times when we relative to others we think we are poor, times we feel hungry, times when we are deeply grieved and times when we endure the hatred of others ... but not like this. This passage is not to be read in the context of our lives but in the context of life on this planet. Jesus' words play out in places like Iraq, like Darfur ... and on the cold streets of our own city every night.

    The word "bless" literally means "to speak well of." Whom does God side with? Whom does God speak up for and speak well of. It is those. It is Mohammed and his family. It is not us.

    But if we are not the blessed, then there is but one question for us to ask:

    How can we be part of the blessing?

    When we see the face of the poor,the hungry, the bereaved, the hated. When we read Mohammed's words. When we read Nick Kristof's missives from Darfur. When we hear Deb Goldfeder tell of our daughters and sons in Lui who can't go to school because there is no water for the makeshift schoolhouse. When we hear and read and see these people, we know that they are the blessed, not us. And so what God leaves for us is not reward but privilege:

    How can we be part of the blessing? How can God speak well of them through us?

    What will we have to say to them. What will we have to say for them, on their behalf, in the halls of power their voices cannot reach.

    What shall we talk about, today you and I?
    Mike at 2/11/2007 08:39:00 PM

    What shall we talk about today, you and I?

    We shall discuss political organizing, non-violent resistance and non-cooperation with evil, the fundamental tenets of the Satyagraha, Gandhiji's truth warriors.

    When I read Mohammed's comments, I found your sermon, and I left your words like a thirsty man at a well where there is no bucket, and the water is just a bit too deep for me to grasp with my hands.

    This injustice leaves an angry fire in my stomach that needs quelling, and I am somewhat hamstrung by current a political situation in my own life, brought about my anti-war protests.

    We shall talk about uniting people of like minds and inspiring them to action, actions like forcing Congress to pass a binding resolution against the war in Iraq in Iraq and a binding resolution preventing any attack on Iran.

    American citizens have the power to end injustice. We have to take the steps to stop this war in Iraq, we have to make sacrifices in order to restrain the demon war machine. That is what we shall talk about today.
    Rev. Mike I appreciated what you have said in part. I appreciate the call to peace. I was struck by the elloquence of Muhammed. It reminded me of many conversations I had with my counterparts and interpeters, all learned men. I enjoyed the Ghandi story as well, truly a remarkable man in remarkable and yet similar situation even now.
    I am however doubtful of Muhammed, not because I spent a year in Iraq, on the contrary. It is because I spent a year there, I know that finding a 16 year old that speaks much less writes English well is a rarity. To find one with the elloquence and historical knowledge of this is unheard of. Not that it couldn't happen, it is not likely.
    What is likely is that Muhammed is a Muslim and opposed to Christianaity and peace. IF he is in fact a citizen of Iraq he surely is a patriot in the best way he knows how to be one via the Internet. He may or may not have a little brother named Ali who may have died from shrapnel wounds.
    The U.S. Military operates under numerous rules including a set called the rules of engagement which allow for Soldiers to defend themselves. If you attack my postion, my Soldiers, me I will use a graduated scale of force to rebuff or remove the threat. A missle strike is not defensive nor is is part of the graduated scale. Clearly the phrase "missle strike" is meant to show aggression of U.S. Soldiers, when the Soldiers were in a passive or defensive posture until attacked. I am highly dubious that Soldiers would shoot at a person rendering aid to the injured, it is morally wrong and against numerious regulaitons and codes. Not that it could not happen in the heat of battle but it is not likely.
    I am concerned that your value of human life is misguided. Is it a tragic loss that someone was purpotedly killed in a country wroght with violence? Certainly. Is it a loss that a life was cut short at a tender age? Certainly. Have you devalued the person who defneds the freedoms that allow you to speak as you? Again, certainly. The Soldier is the arm of decision, not the head (Romans 12:4). Do not berate the arm for what the head does?
    Reverand, I would be in err if I did not point out that the United States Military is at war. The United States of America is not. That IS your fault. You didn’t stop it. “You the people” were so blind with revenge (Deuteronomy 32:35). You the people were so engraged and grieved at loss you thought nothing of pulling the blade from it’s scabbard. You thought nothing of cocking the hammer back and letting lose the dogs of war.
    A minor but not insignifcant point good sir, is that if you truly value the people and nation of Iraq, spell it correctly.
    Post a Comment
    Subscribe in a reader
    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