Monday, November 20, 2006


Does anyone know about the documentary BlackGold? The documentary is being shown at CMU on the 2nd and 10th of December. Rumor has it that after the showing there will be some prominent people presenting the counter argument of the documentary and how it is a false representation of the coffee market/trade. I could be wrong on that, and have not found proof. Here is a blog that talks more about the festival that will be going on.

If anyone is interested or has any further information please let me know.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

O' The Joys of Giving

I went to Church this Sunday, one of the many Sundays where I continue to search for a place to settle into to find some community, only to be slightly disappointed. Now, to set the record straight (even if it's for my own benefit), I have seen and been in some pretty "healthy" churches. Places, despite their failures, where I have seen their ultimate goal and direction and I desire to be apart of the community. I have seen churches also fall apart and set out for the worst.

Now on this particular Sunday I found myself sitting in the church pew and gratefully greeted by an elderly women that sat next to me. In this moment I settled contently into the church pew. Now granted there was a special speaker, a man who actually grew up in the church. He told story after story about the "hilarity" of giving. About how it is a blessing/hilarious to give an offering to the church. He told good stories...

He went into a story about a family in Africa who was pushing the plow by hand, when most families use an ox. A missionary family, watching them turn up the soil, asked why they did not have an ox to do this labor. The interpreter informed them that the family belonged to the local church and as an offering they recognized they had nothing to give, so they gave their only ox as a tithe to the church that year. The missionary couple said to the family, "what a sacrifice this must have been for you" and the family said " it was not a sacrifice but a blessing!"

The preacher pulled out the verse from 2 Corinthians stating that " God loveth a cheerful giver." In this he mentioned that the original root meaning of "cheerful" is hilarity/hilarious. How are we to be hilarious givers today...?

After this they set two huge metal jugs at the bottom of the podium and asked people to come up to the front of the church with their extra "stewardly" offering as we closed with a hymn. (understand that the offering plate was already passed around early in the service).

Is this manipulative? Is it wrong to use a story to touch the heart and give people one verse from the bible and capture the hilarity of giving?

First off, I believe that using a story from Africa, as such, is way off base. We are not from Africa and we do not have an ox in our family. We live in a culture that shoves materialism in our face everyday and we accept it! What about stripping this passage down and recognizing that HERE in America, all this "stuff" that we have is not ours to begin with. To recognize there is a deeper context here than just being a hilarious giver but being a deep giver. A person that understands the bigger picture of life, rather than just giving your extra stewardly offering that day/week/month. I think the stories were good and touching, but yet I believe one word in 2 Corinthians should not be the only hard truth that I walk away with on a Sunday. Where are we developing a people to understand the depths of scripture, to get more out of the text and it's surrounding than what we can find in our daily devotionals that we buy at the local Christian book store. How are we changing and shaping a community in the context of where they are at, and causing transformation and action?

I was a little upset, as you can tell, especially the more I talk about it and marinate on the whole situation. Finding a church is really hard, which is strange in a town that dominates in churches and bars.

(granted, if you gave me a church, I would not be able to develop what I long for. It is not that I am looking for the perfect church, but a church that amidst its imperfections it is directed toward pushing its congregation to see the bigger picture and not settle into the familiarity of how things are)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Today in History

On this date in:

Montana became the 41st state.

Former President Grover Cleveland beat incumbent Benjamin Harrison, becoming the only president to win non-consecutive terms in the White House.

Adolf Hitler launched his first attempt to seize power with a failed coup in Munich, Germany, that came to be known as the Beer-Hall Putsch.

New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover for the presidency.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civil Works Administration, designed to create jobs for more than 4 million unemployed.

American and British forces landed in French North Africa during World War II.

Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard M. Nixon for the presidency.

President-elect John F. Kennedy

Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts became the first black to be elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote.

The rock band Led Zeppelin released its album ''Led Zeppelin IV.''

A bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded as crowds gathered in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, for a ceremony honoring Britain's war dead, killing 11 people.

Vice President George H.W. Bush won the presidential election, defeating Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years and won a majority in the Senate in midterm elections.

Chinese engineers diverted the Yangtze River to make way for the Three Gorges Dam.

A statewide recount of presidential election ballots began in Florida. Vice President Al Gore telephoned Texas Gov. George W. Bush to concede the election, but called back about an hour later to retract his concession.

Waco special counsel John C. Danforth released his final report absolving the government of wrongdoing in the 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Texas.

Thousands of U.S. troops attacked the toughest strongholds of Sunni insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq, launching a long-awaited offensive aimed at putting an end to guerrilla control of the city.

French President Jacques Chirac declared a 12-day state of emergency to halt France's worst civil unrest in nearly four decades.

Gunmen assassinated a second lawyer in the Saddam Hussein trial in Baghdad.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dreaming Dreams

We spoke about the gifts tonight...spiritual gifts that is. The question was posed: are the gifts used in the same capacity that they were in the early church.

Paul talks about them in Corinthians, as we know, and John in Revelation talks about the two prophets who will go prophesize and then be destroyed...and after three days have air breathed back into them by God and ascend to heaven.

Can tongues still exist in full? Does speaking in tongues mean a different language, one language where all understand, or is it a prayer language? Maybe those are all different and very real.

I wonder most about dreams. About what Joel the Old Testament prophet states, and Peter restates in Acts 2 to the people that men will dream dreams and see vision. I dream...lots of dreams and I love them. They are beautiful as much as they are significant. Colors that have never existed before and parallels that are obviously more than my midnight pizza talking. Do I snub this off as my vivid imagination or do I recognize and discern what God is and has done?

There is much more to be stated here about cultural barriers to these truths and the actual "evil" power at work. Often times I believe that our nation (America) is sitting in front of a big TV and slowly forgetting what else is happening around us. Why would the enemy tear the army from the TV ceasing any action? Sounds like a good plan.

Anyway, these are undigested and un-thorough thoughts at this moment.