Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What are we doing to the least of these?

The lack of income distribution in our country frankly scares me. It is a measure of injustice in my mind that the work of some is valued so much more than that of others and in such concrete ways. The graph above is from the Slate article "Why we can't ignore growing income inequality."
Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation's income. What caused this to happen? Over the next two weeks, I'll try to answer that question by looking at all potential explanations—race, gender, the computer revolution, immigration, trade, government policies, the decline of labor, compensation policies on Wall Street and in executive suites, and education. Then I'll explain why people who say we don't need to worry about income inequality (there aren't many of them) are wrong.
Full article.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chandler site picked for tolerance museum.

A local Jewish organization has picked Chandler over other Valley cities as the site for the nation's fifth Tolerance & Holocaust Museum. Museum will be hosting their first ever Fundraiser, Saturday, January 8th, 7pm at the Chandler Center for the Arts. Tickets for the event will be $25/ea and will go to support Museum’s continuing efforts.
The evening will consist of the Arizona premiere of the multipleaward winning documentary Rene & I. Rene and I tells the story of twins, Rene and Irene who survived experiments by Josef Mengele after being sent to Auschwitz at age 6. This is the true tale of how these twins survived the war, were separated and then amazingly were later reunited, and came to create a life and thrive in America. Rene and I is an uplifting story about overcoming adversity against all odds and is a tribute to tolerance, endurance of the human spirit, and the true triumph of good over evil.

The evening will also feature a speech by a Holocaust survivor.
Tickets to be held at will-call and can be purchased NOW by calling (480-897-0588). Tickets will be also be available for purchase on, www.evjcc.org, and at Ticketmaster.com.

Should we go as a group?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Helpful interactive Map

This map is pretty amazing. As I just posted at PropheticProgress I think it is worth a look. MAP

It 1) links parts of history I have trouble with linking to others and 2) reminds us why peace has been so long denied from the Holy Lands.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To Do List for Next Year

From our resident scholar Bob Howard:

Hating Muslims in America
By Juan Cole

Actions to take:

1) If you don't know any Muslims, seek them out. Take the time required for them to believe that you are sincerely trying to connect in meaningful ways.
2) Donate a copy of the Qur'an to the local branch of your public library. Heck, donate a copy to every branch!
3) If you are a Christian, organize an education opportunity for your community of faith -- a class, a special event hosting a speaker from a nearby mosque, etc.
4) Visit a nearby mosque, get to know the folks.
5) Oh, yeah -- read the Qur'an. And a book about Islam. Familiarize yourself with this historic religion, so you can:

6) Respond with informed truth whenever you hear bigoted comments or distortions. Juan Cole's writings are helpful in this regard.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Gestation of Joy" by Bob Howard

From my recent reading, a snippet from Thylias Moss’s poem “A Man”:

“This was a more significant time in darkness,
gestation of forty weeks, than three days in a hillside morgue; he learned maternal heartbeat”

Teetering on the edge of joy, pulled back by grasping fingers of grief, we hear that the birth was good news. Angels delivered the package labeled “Good News of Great Joy,” better than the best FedEx or UPS. And yet it lingers on our doorstep. Joy. Somehow it can seem downright offensive, intruding into the sufferings of our days. Joy? When December brings another round of the “Holiday Blues,” when many of us face the season “without you” (as Elvis reminded us)? What possible “joy” could possibly even hope to inflict the tiniest crack in our fortresses of sorrow? Joy? When, with each breath we take, somewhere some child’s final breath slips away forever? What can “joy” do but slink away in embarrassed silence in the face of such monumental human pain?

Rejoice, they said. Good News, they promised. Your God is born this day. Born.

In the silent cave of Mary’s womb, the One called “God with us” learned. “Here I am,” she said to the angelic visitor, “the servant of the Lord; let it be with me as you say” (Luke 1:38). Her heart beat with the entire mix of human emotions: dread, hope, fear, elation, resolve. In silence, He learned. “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she sang to Elizabeth, scattering the proud, bringing down the powerful, lifting up the lowly, feeding the hungry, showing mercy to rich and poor alike (Luke 1:46-55). In silence, He learned. In God’s wisdom, the “maternal heartbeat” of Mary echoed the eternal heartbeat of God.

He arrived after the usual number of weeks, born into a condition that merited anything but joy. And yet they said that he came into that precise situation, “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79). For those who must sit in darkness, he learned in darkness.

And then he arrived, to bring light into our lives. To start his work, learned from maternal heartbeat. Rejoice. Because our darkness will not last. The tears which yet sting our eyes will be wiped away. For, as the angel whispered to Mary, “nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). In those fleeting gaps of silence this Christmas, listen with ears eager to catch the eternal heartbeat of Love. Learn from Him, learn with Him, the maternal heartbeat that will sweep you into its embrace. Yes, rejoice, yes.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Economic Justice

This is a really amazing video about the change of wealth over time. It is rare data subjecct to much interpretation. I'd love to hear your thoughts.