Saturday, September 22, 2007

Support the GROWTH Act

Support the GROWTH Act by writing your members of congress. Here is the letter i submitted:

I am a constituent and member of ONE, as well as a local pastor. I am writing so that you will consider supporting the Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive Act.

In many ways women are the backbone of our society and world. i never knew my biological father, and the guy i did call dad walked out when i was very young. It was my mother who supported and raised us. This is the story of many American and international children.

Women care about families and are willing to work hard to provide for them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Let's give them all the support we can by sponsoring the GROWTH Act.

Thank you for considering this request, and i look forward to your response.

Rev. Keith J. Foisy
Branch, MI

Lectionary Reflections 1 Tim 2:1-7

There are no good guys and bad guys when it comes to humanity, there are simply people in need of God's saving grace.

There are no Christian political parties, simply a need to pray for all who govern. In Romans 13 we learn that governments were meant to be God's servants. In Revelation 13 we learn that they are also able to serve the devil. Governments can be used for good or evil, so we are called to pray for them, and not just them, but all people, because God desires that all humanity be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-7 we are called to pray for peace. It is when we seek peace, not war, that we are seeking godliness.

(Lectionary reading based on the Revised Common Lectionary)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Catch 22


Capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth.

Socialism is the equal distribution of poverty.

- Winston Churchill

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Orthodoxy = Mydoxy

i still believe in the prophets. Not just that they existed, but that they continue to exist. i believe that God has prophets speaking on his behalf today. i don't think we call them by that name, but it is their gifting. And i believe they are causing the same type of stir amongst the religious folk today as they did among those in the days of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Perhaps you wonder what i am talking about. You haven't heard of any modern day prophets. Perhaps you would more readily recognize them under their more common modern day name... "Heretics"

i had to laugh when CNN introduced Greg Boyd as "The Heretic" in their recent program "God's Warriors". i know Greg, and he's anything but. He has a prophetic gifting, and prophets have always been hated by the religious.

There is a movement that has been underway for nearly a decade, and it is gaining steam and bringing about change. Not without resistance of course. i want to give a shout out to these heretics (i mean prophets) for making us ask the tough questions and question the pat answers. Thanks for not shrinking back:

Greg Boyd, Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Doug Pagitt, Scot McKnight, Tony Jones, Spencer Burke, Leonard Sweet, Ann Lamott, Rob Bell, Jim Wallis, Phyllis Tickle, N.T. Wright and the countless others who are not nationally recognized but play the vital role of effecting their local communities!

They've all been called heretics, but what prophet hasn't? It's a title to wear with pride. And as a well respected professor once told me, "Orthodoxy = Mydoxy".

Take a moment to remember those who have died as martyrs for Christ, many at the hands of the Church.

Can you think of some names that need to be added to the list of contemporary prophets?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Living vs. Believing

i came across a statement which inferred Ghandi was a Christian. Not because Ghandi held fundamental Christian perspectives, but because he followed in the way of Christ. That is, he lived a life of redemption, loving God and others.

This got me thinking...

i wasn't sure i could disagree. Who is more of a Christian, the one who believes the right way or the one who lives according to the "Way"?

Perhaps i offer a false dichotomy. Maybe the solution is knitting the two together.

Even so, i began second guessing myself some months back when i shared a message from Matthew 25 where Jesus paints a picture of the final judgment. In this judgment scene the sheep are separated from the goats. What is the criteria? Not belief. Belief is never mentioned.

"For in as much as you gave a cup of water to one of the least of these, you did so onto me"
"For in as much as you did not give a cup of water to one of the least of these, you did not do it onto me"

The sheep are separated from the goats based on the failure or success of showing compassion onto others.

What is more important, believing the right way or living the way?

Compassion


If you want others to be happy,
practice compassion.
If you want to be happy,
practice compassion.
-The Dalai Lama

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lessons from 9/11

One of the lessons i've learned from 9/11 is the need to listen to other people. i find myself sitting in a little boat singing to the tune of "It's a small world after all". There are other people in the world, and even though they don't get as many satellite channels as we do, they don't consider themselves inferior. Suppressed, yes, but inferior, no.

What is it they are saying? Are we listening?

Why was the World Trade Center attacked? What was the motive? Did we ever think to ask?

You can't barter with a fundamentalist. i know religion...it's my job. But you can gain insight into their perspectives. Understanding is the first step to bridging a gap.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Conversation About The Farm Bill

6 comments on this post
Guest Post By Katie Andrews

The House passed its version of the bill on July 27, 2007. The Senate is to take up debate in the coming weeks. Kate Andrews is a Field Organizer for the One Campaign. You may remember the One Campaign from celebrities wearing white wrist bands. She is pictured speaking at The Ohio State University.
Katie AndrewsFor those that are not familiar with the Farm Bill, it doesn't seem like it should be such an important issue to the majority of Americans. Although farmers are important to our country's economy and to our hard-working, rural roots, many of us don't see the impacts of the Farm Bill day-to-day - or so we think. Until I became involved with the ONE Campaign, I didn't think much of it. Now, I think about it on a daily basis along with my fellow members of the Farm Bill Working Group of Ohio which is a coalition of NGOs (Oxfam America, Sojourners, Bread for the World), local faith groups and individuals in Ohio that are working towards reform in the Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill is a very robust piece of legislation. In fact, many people would be surprised that it deals with 14 different subjects including subsidies, food stamps and conservation. Every five years the Farm Bill goes through a reauthorization process so if we don't take action now we have to wait another five years for the process to start again. During September, the Senate will be discussing the Farm Bill and we know that by building momentum in the blogosphere and throughout Ohio, the Senate will listen and take action for a better Farm Bill.

Although there are some great aspects of the Farm Bill, there are also many concerns. The Food Stamp Program, Rural Development and subsidies are just a few of the major concerns. For instance, many people have known for years that $3/Day in food stamps is not enough to provide healthy meals to those in need. In the case of rural development, a program which is drastically needed - it is also drastically under funded. The Farm Bill should work for more farmers that need the most help in the U.S. The current subsidies program not only benefits a very small portion of farmers (often big corporate farmers) but they also drive down the international price of many crops which forces many farmers around the world to sell their crop for less than it cost to produce it. The U.S. can and should develop alternative ways to support our farmers in ways that will not ruin the livelihood of international farmers trying to provide for their families and community.

You can help. The Farm Bill is not a conservative or liberal issue. It has an impact on everyone and our state should have a voice in the reform process. If you're a blogger, blog. If you are a teacher, teach. Use your talents and your connections to talk and write about the Farm Bill as much as you can so that others are educated and informed about the Farm Bill. Calling, writing and meeting with Senators Brown and Voinovich is also a great step in making sure our voices are heard in September. Take care and stay active!
- Katie Andrews

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Christ & Potter









All the best stories incorporate sacrifice and redemption. This week i finished reading the Harry Potter series and rewatched the Matrix trilogy. Both had christological allusions of sacrifice. Check out this interview with J. K. Rowling, who ironically enough is a Christian and intentionally placed Christian themes into the storyline. i'll now also recommend "Pan's Labyrinth"

The sacrifice of the One is for the good of the whole. But the sacrifice has to be a willing one. Caiaphas says, "It is better that one should die for the people than have the whole nation destroyed". In saying this, Caiaphas was unwittingly prophesying Christ's redemptive death. What he really meant was, "It is better that we murder this one person, than have Rome destroy us all." Jesus, on a macro level, had already determined that it was better that one should give up his life for the good of the many.

There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friend.

How many ways are there to lay down our lives for our friends?