Thursday, September 25, 2008

World MDG Blog Day

As I thought about what I would post for World MDG Blog Day, I came up with many ideas about how to express both the progress we've made and the long way we have yet to go on the Millennium Development Goals--the eight goals agreed to by the United Nations member states designed to improve the quality of life for the developing world.

Then I ran across the following letter originally posted by Micah Challenge from leaders in the Global South to the church in the United States. You can download a copy here. And to find out what you can do to use your voice go to


 August, 2008


As the Church of the Lord in what is known as the "Southern" part of the world, moved by the Holy Spirit to fight for the abundant life that Jesus Christ offers, we address our Christian family in the United States, a Church of the same covenant, faith and love. Grace and Peace to all of our brothers and sisters.

We know your works of love; these works have allowed millions of human beings for many generations in our countries in the South to receive the gospel, the Grace of Jesus Christ and the power of His Salvation. The U.S. church's untiring missionary effort planted in our lands Hope in Him who came to reconcile EVERYTHING.

Nevertheless, the political, social and economic situation in the places where this hope has been announced is increasingly distressing. Millions of people in the global South are dying of hunger, violence and injustice. These situations of poverty and pain are not simply the product of the internal functions of our countries; rather they are the results of the international policies of the governments that wield global power.

Therefore, we have this against you, brothers and sisters, that along with this powerful announcing of the Gospel, the Church from the United States has not also raised its voice in protest against the injustices that powerful governments and institutions are inflicting on the global South - injustices that afflict the lives and ecosystems of millions of people who, centuries after the proclamation of the Gospel, still have not seen the sweat of their brow turned into bread.

The worsening inequality and poverty in the South is alarming. Seven years since the United States and 191 other nations publicly promised to cut extreme global poverty in half by the year 2015 through the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), your country has made only a little progress towards fulfilling its commitments.

The MDGs should stir us to action because they echo the calls of the biblical prophets for justice and equity. Further, they are achievable and measurable markers on the roadmap to end extreme global poverty.

And so we ask you as sisters and brothers, citizens of the wealthiest most powerful nation on earth, to publicly challenge your candidates and political leaders - now and after the elections are over - to lead the world in the struggle to cut global poverty in half by 2015. If you who know the Truth will not speak for us who will?

The Church in the United States has the opportunity today to be faithful to the Hope that it preaches. We urge you to remember that the Hope to which you were called as a messenger demands that you seek first the Kingdom of God and God's justice.

Out of love for us, the global Church, in holiness, use your citizenship responsibly for the benefit of the entire world; it is for this very reason that the Lord poured out His life on the Cross.

All who have ears, let them hear what the Lord says to His Church.

Ndaba Mazabane
Association of Evangelicals in Southern Africa

Bishop Gerry Seale
General Secretary/CEO
Evangelical Association of the Caribbean

Dr. Richard Howell
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India

Rev Moss Ntlha
General Secretary
Evangelical Alliance of South Africa

C. Rene Padilla
Kairos (Peru)

Pastor Owen Isaacs
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana

Bishop Efraim Tendero
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches

Rev Heng Cheng
General Secretary/CEO
Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia

Bishop Paul Mususu
Executive Director/CEO
Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia

Rev Bambang Semedi
General Secretary
Southern Part Sumatera Christian Church

Dr. Reynaldo R. Avante
National Coordinator
Micah Challenge Philippines

Bishop Mano Rumalshah
Diocese of Peshawar (Pakistan)

Alfonso Weiland
Paz y Esperanza (Peru)

Erika Izquierdo
Paz y Esperanza (Peru)

Lawrence Tempfwe
National Facilitator
Micah Challenge Zambia

Rev Joe Simfukwe
Bible College of Central Africa

João Pedro Martins
National Coordinator
Micah Challenge Portugal

Rev Soleman Batti
The Toraja Church (Indonesia)

Rev Untung S.K. Wijayaputra
The Toraja Mamasa Church (Indonesia)

d'Karlo Pyrba
YABIMA Foundation (Indonesia)

Semuel Takajanji
Kuda Putih Sejahtera Foundation (Indonesia)

Rev Iskandar Saher
Executive Director
Center for the Development of Holistic Ministry (Indonesia)

Gahungu Bunini*
General Secretary
Evangelical Alliance of Rwanda

*Signed on with the names of 16 pastors in the Evangelical Alliance of Rwanda

Bishop Mano Rumalshah
Diocese of Peshawar (Pakistan)

Rev Michael Dasey
Gungahlin Anglican Church (Australia)

Rev Geoffrey Taylor
SoulSupply (Australia)

Rev. Paul Craig
Senior Pastor
Diamond Valley Baptist Church (Australia)

Rev Greg Templeton
Sydenham Baptist Church (Australia)

Morris Alex
Souls Outreach Church

Captain Robert Casburn
Commanding Officer
The salvation Army Northern Waves Fellowship (Australia)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nothing But Nets

Have $10? Want to spend it on something worthwhile? Check out Rick Reilly on Colbert.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Where's Walt When You Need Him?

Whatever happened to the animated movie?

Yesterday my sister and I took my nephew to see the latest installment of CG animated movies, Fly Me to the Moon. Its box office draw, 3D animation. I can't say that I went with great expectation, but I was hoping for mild entertainment and a few surprises in 3D. Disappointed on both counts.

With many animated movies over recent years, I consistently find myself leaving the theater or shutting off the DVD disappointed. Since the arrival of Toy Story, movie studios have been riding a wave of CG animation. Special effects in live action films are a cheap thrill that come a dime a dozen. And CG animated movies often have weak plots with varying degrees of quality animation. (Notable exceptions for many of the Pixar movies and a few from Dreamworks.)

But the thing I miss most is the magic of an animated movie. I distinctly remember the first time I saw Beauty and the Beast. It was a fantastical experience that made me go home and imagine for days that I was Belle. There is a magic associated with hand-drawn animation that is lost in the CG world. I miss the experience and the magic. And wonder whether it is really worth it for movie studios to sacrifice that magic and quality for the cheap, reproducible formula of today's animated movie. Somehow I don't think that this was the visioin of Walt Disney or his contemporaries.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Peace Corps Update

I have received my medical and dental qualification for the Peace Corps. I am now awaiting word from the Office of Placement about my assignment. I should here something soon and will let you know.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Taking Issue with the Issues

It's a debate that cannot be avoided--education, abortion, environmentalism, gay marriage, poverty, energy, taxation, war...and a host of others. These are the issues we bring to the table in the political debate. Hot-button words that have specific associations and specific opinions for each person. A candidate's stance on one or many of these issues will dictate how we vote. These issues will be what we campaign for with our representatives on the local, state and national levels. Some will spurn letter writing campaigns and phone calls to congress. Some will gain national note through the media. They are the issues of the day in American politics and society.

Yet, in the debate I am beginning to take issue with the word "issue." I'm wondering if as Christians we should allow ourselves to be narrowed into a particular set of issues. Aren't we called to be a more wholistic people than that?

For instance, the hot-button topic of abortion. A good portion of this country is either passionately for or against abortion. But as a believer, I find that pro-life has to mean a lot more than an anti-abortion stance. Pro-life has to mean that I care about the quality of life a person will have throughout their life not just whether or not they are born. It means that if I am a proponent for adoption that I care about the state of the foster care system. It means that I care that people receive adequate nutrition, have access to health care, and have access to quality education. It also means that I care about decreasing unwanted pregnancies in the first place. And it means that I care about the health of the women who will continue to have abortions illegally if abortion is criminalized.

The wholistic approach is the example that Christ gave us. The woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery. The infighting between the Sadducees and the Pharisees over resurrection. The questions over Caesar's taxes. Christ didn't narrow any of these down to a specific issue but rather opened up the debate to look beyond into a bigger picture--into a redeemed creation.

Neither political party in this country has a hold on the Christian agenda. And it's not because there are not issues out there that we as Christian's should care about, but because Christianity is bigger than an agenda. Being a disciple of Christ means radically following a man who taught the armies that followed him to lay down their swords in order to break bread with one another, breaking bread notibly through the power of a miracle of loaves and fishes. We are called not to create our own political agenda but to live counter-cultural lives that dispel political agenda. We are called to be good stewards of our citizenship not for the sake of our country but for the sake of our Kingdom. When we enter the political realm and express opinion on the issues, we must strive to be wholistic people looking into the hope of a redeemed creation.