Archive for May, 2008

I always knew Rent-to-Own places were too good to be true and scams. Sadly they take advantage of poor people more than anyone else. There are probably lots of reasons why those living in poverty are more susceptible to these scams than others, but I think at one point or another we are all desperate enough to try and do anything to feel pride in ourselves and our material goods.

Take all of the newest gaming technology. You can buy a Nintendo Wii for a couple hundred dollars. Or you can rent-to-own the same product for a total cost of around $950. About 400% of the actual cost over a 12 month lease.

Sound ridiculous?? Check it out at the Consumerist. These type of deals often cater towards individuals with limited, no, or bad credit. It is cheaper to place it on a credit card and carry the balance for the year than to go to one of these stores.

This ranks right up there with Cash Advance stores on the evil factor. If we could get rid of these types of thieves we could begin to make some progress against poverty. I would venture to guess that this is pretty similar to what caused the sub-prime mortgage mess.

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We had a great evening with everyone last night. Thanks for the great food and excellent conversation.

Our next discussion will focus around an article out of this month’s Sojourner’s Magazine.

As I mentioned here is the main article for discussion: Seeking the ‘Fair Balance’ found here. But there were a lot of great articles in the magazine. Here are links to other articles in the series! I think the article Wall Street and Christian Conscience directly relates to the main article’s points as well.

SPECIAL WEB EXTRA: Serving God with Our Money, in Boom Times and Bust
How can we turn our money toward service to God and others? Get started with this guide to dozens of Web sites with nuts-and-bolts advice.

‘The Bread You Possess Belongs to the Hungry’
by St. Basil

Whom Do You Serve?
A biblical framework for understanding money’s grip on us — and how to break free. by Marva J. Dawn

Practicing Sabbath Economics
How to live in the light of God’s abundance and provision. by Matthew Colwell

Extreme Charity
For members of the philanthropic group Bolder Giving, generosity pays. by Julie Polter

Detoothing the Loan Sharks
Five ways to put the brakes on predatory lending. by Alexis Vaughan

A Gesture of Overcoming
From Dorothy Day’s letter to the treasurer of New York City, 1960. by Dorothy Day

Indigenous Economics
New investment strategies among native people help create holistic and sustainable communities. by Rebecca Adamson

Piggy Banks and God’s Abundance
Teaching our kids (and ourselves) to be smart — and generous — about money. by Susan Taylor

Wall Street and Christian Conscience
Why I’m a shareholder activist. by Susan Wennemyr

Our next gathering will be at 6:30 on May 30 at Cedar Lake, exact location TBD.

Hungry, I come to you for I know You satisfy.
I am empty, but I know Your love does not run dry.
And so I wait for You, so I wait for You.


I’m falling on my knees.
Offering all of me.
Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for.

Broken, I run to You for Your arms are open wide.
I am weary, but I know Your touch restores my life.
And so I wait for You, so I wait for You.

Hungry, Kathryn Scott, Vineyard Publishing

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This past weekend we went camping again. We had planned on going for about two weeks but the weather looked daunting. It was pouring in the Twin Cities and was supposed to rain throughout the night and a chance of snow Saturday morning. Not the best forecast for camping – but we have cold weather gear. After much deliberating we decided to flip a coin, eventually the coin told us to go camping. So we finished packing and loaded up the car.

We were headed to St Croix State Park which is less than two hours away and was far enough south that it should have missed the previous weeks snow storm. We took our time getting there through rush hour and deluges. We arrived around 8pm – checked in and headed to the campsite. Our original plan was to car camp on Friday and then backpack to some sites for Saturday night. The park only had one of three campgrounds open and had actually just turned the water on at the shower house! We got to our site and hurriedly put up the tent – this is our new 4 season backpacking tent so it is pretty easy to put up and the inside didn’t get very wet due to the limited amount of screen and the attached rain fly. I’d say in 5 minutes we were ready to go. We got back in the car to warm up a bit before making the final surge and calling it a night inside the tent!

It was a cold night in the lower 30’s but we did ok in our mummy bags. We awoke Saturday morning fearing the worst – but found clear skies and warming temperatures. An early morning drive to get warm turned into an all day adventure. We had left the gear in the car so we were able to have a picnic breakfast next to the St Croix River.

You can see from the pictures that there was a lot of standing water and rivers and streams were overflowing. We had some camera malfunctions so some of these pictures are taken with my cell phone!

It has been a busy week so I haven’t had a chance to do much else with pictures. I will try to get more ready and update you later on the rest of the weekend!

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Fresh Air/NPR Podcast:GENE ROBINSON; April 16th, 2008
The podcast that we will be discussing is an interview with Gene Robsinson, the Archbishop of Episcopal diocese in New Hampshire. I hope everyone can listen to this podcast and digest it by Friday, that the Lord would bring to mind certain biblical truths that he would want to lay upon our hearts. Take some time to pray before listening to the podcast and have your Bible handy should you want to look up a passage or two. Blessings to you all this week as we prepare to hang-out on Friday May 9th @ 6:30pm.

Beaucoup Bénédictions ,

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I liked this the other day when I saw it:

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.

I don’t want enough of him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.

I want ecstasy, not transformation.

I want the warmth of the womb not a new birth.

I want about a pound of the eternal in a paper sack.

I’d like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

The poster attributed it to Wilbur Reese.

What do you think of the poem?

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It is hard to believe that it is already May. Where has the time gone?? We are certainly enjoying Minneapolis, despite the snow! Things have been very busy and here are the highlights from April.

I ran two races on back-to-back weekends despite Coach’s advice to take 2 weeks off! First was the Earth Day Half-Marathon and then the Get in Gear 10K.

I talked several times about my new favorite country of Somalia. It is a forgotten place.
Can you add a terrorist to your prayer list? April also held Malaria Awareness Day and I played the Nothing but Net game and you should too! I finished reading A Long Way Gone and wrote a review of this excellent book.

What about your carbon footprint? At the beginning of April we went on a camping trip north of Duluth. We had a good time despite the frigid temperatures on Sunday.

I hope you had a good April and that May has much goodness and blessings in store for you!