I pray, O God, especially —
for all who are valiant for truth:
for all who are working for purer and juster laws:
for all who are working for peace between the nations:
for all who are engaged in healing disease:
for all who are engaged in the relief of poverty:
for all who are engaged in the rescue of the fallen:
for all who are working towards the restoration of the broken unity of Thy Holy Church:
for all who preach the gospel:
for all who bear witness to Christ in foreign lands:
for all who suffer for righteousness’ sake.
Last week’s Repaso was a day late and a little on the light side, but I think I’ve made up for it here. This week, a dizzying array of cool stuff. Ten items, in fact. Please enjoy, and comment with any thoughts.
1. Remembering Rich Mullins
Veteran Christian singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson has a reflection for The Rabbit Room about the late great Rich Mullins, who passed away 14 years ago this week. Rich’s record A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Raggamuffin Band is in my all-time top five albums. It is sheer magic.
We rounded the bend at sunset and there before us stood those craggy Tetons, all gray stone with white snow tucked into the fissures. The clouds were gold with sunlight and long, misty fingers of rain dangled from them, caressing the peaks and the aspen- and fir-covered shoulders of the range. Who else but Rich Mullins could write music that would adequately suit a scene like that? I demanded the iPod, selected A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band, and we drove the next forty-five minutes without speaking. We weren’t speaking because we were being spoken to.
My task as pastor was to show how the Bible got lived. Of course it’s important to show that the Bible is true, but we have theologians and apologists for that. I just accepted the fact it was true and didn’t bother much about that. I needed to be a witness to people in my congregation that everything in the Bible is livable and to try to avoid abstractions about big truths, big doctrines. I wanted to know how these ideas got lived in the immediate circumstances of people’s lives at work, in the town, and in the family. The role of the pastor is to embody the gospel. And of course to get it embodied, which you can only do with individuals, not in the abstract. And so that’s why, for me, a small congregation was so essential. It enabled me to know the people I was preaching to, teaching, and praying with.
3. FoxNews visits Lancaster
If we needed any “fair and balanced” convincing that Lancaster really is a hip destination (if Lady Gaga’s visit didn’t do it for you), here you go! My roommate’s mom even gets a shout-out for good measure.
It’s a Saturday afternoon in the Prince Street Cafe, a coffee-and-sandwich spot in Lancaster, Pa. A couple in their 20s canoodle on a plush leather couch by the fireplace. A 30-something in thick, black-framed glasses punches away on a laptop between bites of a green salad topped with quinoa, and a college-age girl with a brunette pixie doodles in her sketchpad. It comes as a bit of a surprise, then, when you wander upstairs to artist Julia Swartz’s gallery and find a series of portraits depicting local Amish men-straw hats, serious-looking black suits, and all. Here at the Prince Street Cafe, it’s easy to forget you’re in Amish Country.
A plastic school might sound like it’s better suited for Barbies than for people, but the technology—developed by the Guatemalan nonprofit Pura Vida—is actually quite clever and allows for schools to be built for less than $10,000. The plastic bottles are stuffed with trash, tucked between supportive chicken wire, and coated in layers of concrete to form walls between the framing. The bottles make up the insulation, while more structurally sound materials like wood posts are used for the framing.
If, as Jews, we replace the old caricature of hayseed fundamentalist mobs carrying torches and pitchforks with one of dark conspirators trying to worm their way back into political power at the highest levels, we run the risk of accusing them of doing to others what we are doing to them: demonizing. We didn’t like it when people said we had horns and tails, ate the blood of Christian children and poisoned the wells of Europe with plague, much less conspired to rule the world through our Protocols. “Evangelicals in the main want the same kind of common-sense solutions and moral integrity as other Americans,” [Rev. Joel] Hunter says. “We do not want to use political means for our faith’s advancement; we just want to vote our values and leave it at that.”
Entrepreneurs behave just like most Americans when it comes to religion — but with one spiritual twist. They’re significantly more likely to pray several times a day or to meditate, says sociologist Kevin Dougherty, a co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey. The survey can’t answer whether prayerful, peaceful folks are more likely to take a business risk or whether the stress of a start-up drives folks to their knees or to the lotus position, Dougherty says.
7. Nicaragua and the Ortega family
One of my favorite places to go for news and commentary on Latin America is the Central American Politics Blog by Mike, a professor at the University of Scranton right here in Pennsylvania. He shared this video from Univision about how Daniel Ortega’s family and the Sandinista party have taken control of the Nicaraguan media, and by extension, have ensured they will be in control after November’s elections and for the foreseeable future.
8. Social networks in Latin America
Stephanie Garlow, who runs GlobalPost’s Latin America blog, has some interesting info on social media popularity in the region:
There’s a whole wide world of social networks out there, and Latin America isn’t missing out on the party.
More than 95 percent of internet users in Latin America now use social networks, up 16 percent from a year ago, according to a study by internet analysts comScore.
9. Jewish support for immigration reform
M. Daniel Carroll R., a Guatemalan-American professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary and author of the important book Christians at the Border, has a blog post on the increasing participation of the Jewish community in working for immigration reform and their reasons for involvement:
As I have spoken to these Jews about their reasons for joining the “cause,” two primary reasons have been given me. One is that their own history for many centuries as a people has been one of migration and persecution, so it is fitting that they come alongside of other immigrants. Second, they have a long experience with discrimination, caricatures, and hate speech, and they are seeing that phenomena surface now against immigrants. They feel that they cannot defend their own rights if they do not speak out for others, who are experiencing the same thing.
10. Andy Kristian’s micro-finance video
I’m meeting with my friend Andy this morning to discuss a cool project he’s working on. This is some rough (but beautiful!) footage he put together during a recent trip to Northern Uganda. Can’t wait to see the finished product.