Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blessed are the Meek

I am currently doing a study on The Sermon on the Mount. In the study, there were different attributes of God we were to study. The first one was "God is sovereign; God is in control." I must confess that I have trouble with the statement God is in control. I especially have trouble with this statement when I read this verse "He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap (1 Samuel 2:8)." My questioning is if God is "in control" than why are still a billion people still living on only a dollar a day and over 2 billion without access to clean water. Why has God not lifted these poor people up?

Then I think about the Beatitudes and Matthew 5:5 that says, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." Meek in Hebrew means humble, afflicted, poor, oppressed. So here is Jesus challenging ME to help the poor and oppressed to inherit the earth. So maybe God is "in control" in the sense that He has empowered me to live out these challenges of Jesus.

So maybe all 6 billion of us on the planet can't make a difference but many of us can. We have one life that God has entrusted to us and we can either give back to His creation or we can live each day just for ourself. I am thankful for something I learned about today. Bill Clinton has begun the Clinton Global Initiative (and by the way, if you are a Republican, please get over the fact that this was a democratic president heading it up). Today marks the fifth day of the United Nations General Assembly meeting and the day that the Clinton Global Initiative is meeting with 1600 leaders around the world. Many have already made commitments and many more today will be made. You don't even have to be at the meeting to make a commitment. This initiative focuses on four areas: education, alleviating poverty, energy and climate change, and global health. To read more about it go to this link:


Thursday, September 20, 2007

What the World Eats

Check out this interesting photo essay produced by Time Magazine, entitled "What the World Eats". Pictured above is The Aboubakar family in Chad, who spend $1.23 per week. Now - How does that compare to what you spend on food per week? >carrie.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wall Street Money Drop w Shane Claiborne

If you read the Irresistable Revolution and, like me, wondered what the money drop on Wall Street looked it is.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mark Your Calendars

Mark your calendars for October 6th and 7th for the Celebration of Cultures! The event is FREE and will be at Centennnial Park. The Celebration will include musice performers, exotic foods, world market booths, and children's activities (including the Nashville Zoo, urban wildlife, and others). This year they are adding a section called The Villages (not like the movie, sorry) that will share a typical day in other parts of the world.

Also, on October 6th before the Celebration of Cultures begins, there will be a "Walk As One" that will begin at 9am.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dark Night of the Soul

"..Jesus retreated periodically to lonely and abandoned places to find refreshment and strength in intimacy with God, and invited his disciples to do the same. In the garden and on the cross, he experienced the deceptive feeling of abandonment which is the shadow side of desert experience and the "dark night of the soul" that comes before the dawn of the promised New Day experienced by everyone called to seek God alone." (Source: School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism)

I have experienced this "dark night of the soul" on two occasions. The first was when David and I relocated to Kenya. It was in the first few weeks while we were adjusting to our new life that we confronted this feeling of abandonment. The feeling of "what have we done?" I believe we felt this the most on a night when the electricity had gone out (again) and we were struggling to cook a meal in our home that at the time had big, black rats that came out in the dark, and we realized that our friends and family were no where near.

The second occasion was also a time of relocation when we decided to move downtown to a more diverse neighborhood. Again, I felt this abandonment that we had chosen to live in an area far from friends and family and in a neighborhood that took time to overcome preconceived fears.

"Relocation expresses conversion and commitment, the decision to resist imperial pressures and rewards of conformity to the way of all empires: pride, power, and reduction of all values to the "bottom line." It is a coming out from under, a liberation, and a real challenge." (Source: School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism)

Looking back at these two occasions I can now see how these relocations gave me liberation and real challenge! Both have given me a new focus in life and have caused me to want to live out a life of compassion and service for the kingdom of God.

Have any of you had a "dark night of the soul" that at first look felt like abandonment but with time and commitment became an experience of new focus?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reduce Your Exposure

"[I]f you consume canned soups, beans and soft drinks, organic or not, you also may be swallowing residues of a controversial chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) that can leak out of the can linings into your food. Nearly all can liners contain BPA, says Geoff Cullen, director of government relations at the Can Manufacturers Institute. BPA has also been found to migrate, under some conditions, from polycarbonate plastic water bottles.
Plastic water and baby bottles, food and beverage can linings and dental sealants are the most commonly encountered uses of this chemical. Unfortunately, it doesn't stay put. BPA has been found to leach from bottles into babies' milk or formula; it migrates from can liners into foods and soda and from epoxy resin-lined vats into wine; and it is found in the mouths of people who've recently had their teeth sealed. Ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have the chemical in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."
8 Ways to Avoid Harmful Chemicals in Plastics and Cans
1. If you already own polycarbonate bottles, including the Nalgene bottles popular on college campuses, labeled #7 on the bottom, wash them by hand with mild dishwashing soap, not in the dishwasher, to avoid degrading the plastic and increasing leaching of BPA (see
2. Even plastic does not last forever. Look for cracks or cloudiness on your reusable clear plastic bottles. See The Green Guide's survey,
3. Use glass baby bottles or plastic bag inserts, which are made of polyethyelene, or switch to polypropylene bottles that are labeled #5 and come in colors or are milky rather than clear.
4. Choose soups, milk and soy milk packaged in cardboard "brick" cartons, by Tetra Pak and SIG Combibloc, which are made of safer layers of aluminum and polyethylene (#2) and also recyclable.
5. Choose canned foods from makers who don't use BPA, such as Eden Foods (
, which sells certified organic canned beans and other foods.
6. Eat fresh foods in season and save the canned foods for convenience or emergencies. The exception is some canned fruit such as that found in smaller fruit-cocktail cans, which do not require a liner, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.
7. Buy or can your own fruits and vegetables in safe glass jars.
8. Some wines have been found to contain up to six times the BPA of canned foods. While most wines probably don't, it's another good reason to drink in moderation.
(Source: "The Bisphenol-A Debate: A Suspect Chemical in Plastic Bottles and Cans"
by Catherine Zandonella, M.P.H)
Here are a few more helpful sights:
or from:
Soulutions to reduce plastic and toxic exposures:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reducing Junk Mail

This is an explanation on how to reduce unwanted mail. It should take 10 minutes tops for you and within 6-10 weeks your mail should be reduced by 70-80% if I remember correctly. It will save a tree, reduce waste and reduce the risk of stolen personal information. - Lance

DMA (Direct Mail Association)
E-mail address opt-out - Does not apply to business addresses and you must reply to an e-mail they will send you or it doesn’t stick.
Mailing address opt-out - Lasts 5 years and you must do it for every new address. It also costs $1.
Pre-screened credit card offers opt-out - I opted out for 5 years. To opt out permanently, you have to print something and mail it in.
Really helpful overview

4 Credit Companies (Equifax, etc.)
Credit Reporting Companies Removal (firm offers of credit and insurance)- May be the same as the credit card removal above. Super creepy auto system but takes only 2 minutes. 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)

ADVO - I opted out for 5 years.

Epsilon’s Abacus Cooperative Database
- Send email to:
Text of e-mail: Please remove me from your list and do not sell my addresses (and then proceed with any applicable address).

Monday, September 3, 2007


The UN estimates that approximately 1 billion people around the world live in slums. By 2050, the UN says, there may be 3.5 billion slum dwellers, out of a total urban population of about six billion. Cities around the world are growing at an unprecedented rate and much of the growth is attributable to people moving from rural to urban areas, lured by the promise of new opportunities. Unfortunately, though, many of these new arrivals end up in living in the slum areas, steeped in dire poverty. For example, of the 500,000 people who migrate to Delhi, India each year, it is estimated that 400,000 end up in slums (Mike Davis, Planet of Slums, p. 18, 2006).

Slums are typically not found in the developed world, as evidenced by the map below. They are characterized by conditions far less habitable than "projects" or government housing -- slums are evidenced by severe overcrowding, inadequate access to safe water and sanitation and insecurity of tenure. In the sums of Kolkata (Calcutta), India, an average of 13.4 people are crammed together into a single room and, in the Dharavi slum of Mumbai (Bombay), India, an incredible 18,000 people per acre somehow dwell in 10-by-15-foot rooms stacked on top of one another.
I wonder how many people could comfortably live in our house. Sometimes we feel cramped here with just 3 of us; and we even have air conditioning, reliable electricity, 3 bathrooms and a refrigerator. I know that at least 1 billion people would love to trade places with me.