Archive for May, 2007

What in the world does Incarnational Living mean? You are about to find out!

Continuing the review of ESA’s March/April Prism Magazine, the second article is Reimagining Relocation: Can Christians walk with the poor without leaving their neighborhood? by Eric T. Iverson.

Webster defines the adjective Incarnate as: 1 a : invested with bodily and especially human nature and form b : made manifest or comprehensible : EMBODIED <a fiend incarnate> but the verb form of Incarnate is: : to make incarnate: as a : to give bodily form and substance to <incarnates the devil as a serpent> b (1) : to give a concrete or actual form to : ACTUALIZE (2) : to constitute an embodiment or type of <no one culture incarnates every important human value — Denis Goulet>

BLAH BLAH BLAH what does it really mean?

Incarnation is usually referred to Jesus becoming human and living on earth for thirty years.  The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) uses the word Relocation in their 8 component philosophy. Incarnational living is just another way of saying that you are investing and moving yourself into a new area, becoming a part of your new neighborhood.

Back to the Article at hand.  Iverson’s main premise for the article is that while all Christians might not feel called to relocate or move into a more “urban neighborhood”  can still help impact those neighborhoods:

I worry that too many assume that picking up and moving to places like Lawndale [a CCDA community in Chicago] is the only way to be involved in the principle of relocation. I fear that many Christians use relocation as the bullet to shoot down the entire message of the CCDA: “If I have to move to the ghetto to build the kingdom they’re talking about, then I’m gonna find somebody else to listen to, ’cause I ain’t moving’.”

Iverson uses the example of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 to illustrate his point.  He draws five points from the story:

  1. Went to the person in need
  2. Recognized there was a problem
  3. Decided it was important enough to act
  4. Met the need
  5. Walked with him

He continues by saying:

I know a lot of people performing steps one through four, but it is number five that many struggle with.  Walking alongside those in need can lead to real change and healing for all parties involved. (When you walk beside the poor, they walk beside you, too.) But walking with the poor physically – for those who choose to move – is only one option.  Walking with the poor spiritually – for those who won’t or can’t just yet – is another.

He later interchanges the idea of walking with the poor spiritually and walking with them mentally.  I think spiritually we should pray and intercede with God on their behalf, but mentally is the more practical stuff that we can do each day.  Iverson uses the illustration of purchasing a new SUV.  Typically its an easy mathematical and mechanical decision on which car to purchase, “Can I afford this car, that is brand new and meets my needs?”.  Iverson adds into the equation the thought process that the cost of the car might equal someone’s yearly wages or even their wages for 5 years.  He would argue that we should purchase a used SUV and then take the extra $10,000 or so saved and use it to help the poor among us.

He closes with some practical applications, and so will I:

  • Relocate, or work to create a livable wage for the poor

  • Relocate, or stop for a minute before yu hire someone from within your network. Is there a group of people not represented in your workplace?

  • Relocate, or think about the purchases you make – How will this purchase impact the poor?

  • Relocate, or support someone who has

  • Relocate, or send somebody else’s kids to college

  • Relocate, or help someone make a down-payment on a house.

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“…there should be no poor among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God…” Deuteronomy 15:4-5

Awhile back I heard Ron Sider from Evangelicals for Social Action speak at Anderson University.  I have read him and used the organization as a resource for various times in the past several years and also receive ESA’s weekly e-newsletter called the E-Pistle.  I highly recommend looking into it if you want to learn more about Biblical Social Justice.  I don’t like everything they say nor do I read every article, but overall worth the time to get their e-mail!

Anyway, when I heard Ron speak they gave out free copies of their magazine called Prism. Same as the newsletter they occasionally have really good articles/issues. The March/April 2007 issue happened to be one of the really good issues.  So I’m going to highlight some of the articles for your indulgence over the next days!

First, Globalization and the Poor: Reflections of a Christian Economist by Bruce Wydick

Wydick begins by outlining three Globalization and Biblical Principles.  These are:

  1. God cares about the poor and about the response of the rich to the poor among them.
  2. Interdependence between people is a community ideal.
  3. God is not a patriot

With those premises he moves on to discuss fairness and exploitation and how the discussion about globalization has only reflected the interests of the wealthy. By no means an isolationist, Wydick sees the need for a global economy and supports such as long as it does produce benefits for everyone.

Some good quotes:

Here is how trade affects the poor across the world today: Trade typically hurts poor workers in rich countries like the United States, and helps poor workers in developing countries. This would seem to then create an ethically ambiguous effect of trade based on biblical principle #1, but this is where biblical principle #3 comes into play. As Christians, we cannot oppose economic globalization because we favor the well-being of our workers over workers in other countries.
As such “Buy America” campaigns are inconsistent with a Biblical view of justice. On the contrary, because workers in other countries are poorer than even the poorest of our displaced workers, we should welcome new opportunities that arise for workers in the developing countries, while supporting a strong social safety net and generous re-training and educational programs for our own displaced workers at home.  We should also advocate for the humane treatment of workers everywhere through political pressure and being wise about the products we buy.  Low wages in developing countries do not have to equal human degradation.

Wydick concludes the article talking about barriers to Fair Trade around the world.  One stark example, which I’ve discussed before is agricultural subsidies:

One of the more appalling examples is the $4 billion in agricultural subsidies 25,000 U.S. cotton farmers receive to grow $3 billion worth of cotton. According to the International Cotton Advisory Committee, an international consulting organization, these U.S. cotton subsidies have caused a 26% decline in world cotton prices.

The massive subsidy greatly depresses world prices for cotton, helping to keep 15 million cotton farmers mired in poverty from some of the poorest countries in West Africa, including Benin, Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso. Notice that if farming costs for cotton farmers in these countries are, say, one-half of revenues, this means that U.S. cotton subsidies cut household income by more than half for these rural families! Such policies clearly contradict Biblical principles #1 and #2, but are supported by the “Bible Belt” states
of the Midwest.

I think I would agree with Wydick on this issue.  Globalization does not have to be a bad thing for anyone.  I’ve written before about US Policy that is killing millions of our brothers and sisters in the developing world.  It seems impossible that a congressional representative from the Midwest would have the desire to remove these subsidies, but it is something that needs to be addressed at some point.

  1. Support Fair Trade enterprises
  2. Support organizations that are working in the developing world, helping provide opportunities to lift people out of poverty.
  3. Pray!

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Yes, you read the title correctly for this post!

Friday night Christy and I went to see Joey Martin in Concert (with Rory Feek and Wynn Varble) at the Anderson Paramount Theatre benefiting Families Forever Ministry.

Above is a picture of the theater from the stage.  Click here to see some more amazing pictures of this facility.  Their brochure says:

An Eberson designed atmospheric theater (1 of 12 left in US & Canada)

The 1,458 wine-colored velvet covered seats replicated to historical accuracy.

Forty-one paint colors and a fortune in gold leaf were used in the Theatre restoration.

The Grande PAGE Organ is a three manual, twelve rank instrument (1 of 3 such theatre organs in the US).

I don’t really know what all that means but it is a phenomenal setting!  Christy said the setting made up for her lack of (but growing) appreciation of country music.

Rory and Wynn are best known as songwriters but the setting was relaxed and with just their acoustic guitars it made for some pure country music and great stories! Both have several #1 songs with artists including Randy Travis, Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks, Darryl Worley, Brad Paisley, and many, many more.

Families Forever is a neat ministry in Anderson providing FREE counseling to anyone who needs it for any reason.  They are trying to expand into prevention work as well but that is taking some time!

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Today’s race was much more low key.  It was the Mercy Foundation 5K Walk/Run.  They said correctly that it is a walk/run because well over half the participants did the walk.  It was supported by Ken Long Associates.

I guess Mercy Foundation was in charge of supplying volunteers and marking the course, they only had the first mile marked and the third (which I didn’t see!).

But I ran 6:08, 14:18, which is a 6:35 pace for a total time of 20:27 which also got me 5th place overall!

Not too bad but also not where I’d like to be, it is still early!  It is my slowest 5K that I have records of!

* I’ll try and post my race times and such so you can help me stay motivated and maybe vice versa I can motivate you!

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Indy Mini 7:56,7:17,7:26,7:19,7:28,7:38,7:45,7:44,7:47,7:49,8:01,8:19,8:40,0:39

for a total time of 1:41:53. My half-marathon (13.1 miles) PR is 1:34.

I wish I could look like this:

But will settle with this: (I really wish they’d take more pictures towards the beginning!)

We potted some flowers Monday, another gorgeous sunny day.

We planted:
“Buff Pixie” Asiatic Lily
Sunny Border Blue Speedwell
Coriander Cilantro

One of the many advantages of Gmail? They read your message and detect that you forgot to attach a file. No more embarrassing moments where you send out a second message with the actual attachment!

I recreated the message, I got the original error with the “attached is my resume” line in a longer e-mail.

Is it scary that Gmail scans my messages? I guess I forgot about it, because gmail scans every message and gives you appropriate text ads on the side column. Those are more latent instances I suppose!

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