Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
this week i had the opportunity to sit through a seminar at university of kentucky about race and color discrimination in the workplace. it is an initiative hosted by the federal agency, u.s. equal employment opportunity commission, called E-RACE (eradicating racism and colorism from employment).
the report was disturbing and discouraging. most of us would believe, with hope and optimism, that we've progressed since the time of civil rights in the 60s and made great gains in the area of race in this country (although the national democratic primary is exposing otherwise). the statistics given demonstrated the opposite. last year they had 45,000 discrimination cases reported. by the same time this year, there were 72,000. discrimination based on race, color and gender is on the rise.
the speaker testified to case after federal case against major, well-known corporations that were found guilty of egregious acts of discrimination. in one case against Target, a woman of color had submitted an application. her name was kalisha white. the hiring manager was completely unresponsive to her calls and when she finally got a hold of him, he claimed he was "too busy" to set up an interview. she revised her application by changing her name to sarah brucker and putting a new address from a different part of town,a nice suburb. the manager called the next day, ready to schedule an interview immediately. she then called back the same day as kalisha only to be told he was "too busy." finally, she had a white friend call right away and ask for an interview which this man granted on the spot. needless to say, kalisha and a few others won a major suit. of course money does very little to restore dignity.
how unfortunate, in 2008 in the united states, people of color and women are repeatedly subjected to prejudice and inequity in the workplace. i was glad to know there is a federal agency advocating and educating for change. more than anything, as a christian, i felt that this is the kind of thing i need to be aware of and out of my awareness, take responsibility to live in the light of the gospel that embraces, welcomes and includes.
Monday, May 12, 2008
at the end of parker palmer's insightful and gently written work, "let your life speak," he wraps up everything with a seasonal metaphor to describe the cycles and rhythms of life. by taking this route, he dives deeply into the nature of all things around us, capturing the state of each season to describe experiences of birth, death, dormancy, renewal, joy, and loss.
as the season warms toward summer, we wait for our gardens, both personal and shared, to produce fruit. we begin to loosen ourselves from winter's grip and relax into the promise of plenty. i thought palmer's reflections on the season of summer and its characteristic abundance were are particularly fitting:
"daily i am astonished at how readily i believe that something i need is in short supply....the irony, often tragic, is that by embracing the scarcity assumption, we create the very scarcities we fear....
in the human world, abundance does not happen automatically. it is created when we have the sense to choose community, to come together to celebrate and share our common store. whether the scarce resource is money or love or power or words, the true law of life is that we generate more of whatever seems scarce by trusting its supply and passing it around. authentic abundance does not lie in secured stockpiles of food or cash or influence or affection but in belonging to a community where we can give those goods to others who need them - and receive them from others when we are in need.
here is a summertime truth: abundance is a communal act, the joint creation of an incredibly complex ecology in which each part functions on behalf of the whole and, in return, is sustained by the whole. community does not just create abundance - community is abundance. if we could learn that equation from the world of nature, the human world might be transformed.
summer is the season when all the promissory notes of autumn and winter and spring come due, and each year the debts are repaid with compound interest. in summer, it is hard to remember that we had ever doubted the natural process, had ever ceded death the last word, had ever lost faith in the powers of new life. summer is a reminder that our faith is not nearly as strong as the things we profess to have faith in - a reminder that for this single season, at least, we might cease our anxious machinations and give ourselves to the abiding and abundant grace of our common life."
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
joey koskie passed this link on....an astonishing clip of how dehumanizing advertising can be. we have been spending much time in our weekly gatherings celebrating human personhood - affirming the fact that we believe in the bodily resurrection and that our bodies are not 'baggage' dragged behind a soul. our bodies are essential to who we are and who we will become. therefore, ugliness, beauty, clean, and unclean are all important categories for us to re-imagine in light of a Jesus-inspired anthropology. but here is what each of us is up against as we are marinated in western consumer culture....http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.ca/flat2.asp?id=7134
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
as we navigate the day-to-day, privileged decisions of eating organic and buying locally, we've been inspired by the sentiment - better to eat a twinkie with friends than broccoli alone. geoff found this verse in proverbs 15:17 that tops even that:
"better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it."
Saturday, May 03, 2008
THEY work in the dead of night, armed with seed bombs, chemical weapons and pitchforks. Their aim: to beautify.
An army of self-styled Guerrilla Gardeners is growing across the world, fighting to transform urban wastelands into horticultural havens.
To document and encourage their victories, one of the movement's leaders has written a handbook. On Guerrilla Gardening, by Richard Reynolds, defines the activity as "the illicit cultivation" of someone else's land.
"Our main enemies are neglect and scarcity of land," said Mr Reynolds, 30, a former advertising employee who wrote the book after his website, guerrillagardening.org, became a global focal point for activists.
Friday, May 02, 2008
this opinion piece in the NY Times this week, entitled "dumb as we wanna be", does a great job of exposing some of the current insanity leading up to the november election. ...it reveals some of the recklessness (and probably worse) that happens when people want power more than to do good.
But here’s what’s scary: our problem is so much worse than you think. We have no energy strategy. If you are going to use tax policy to shape energy strategy then you want to raise taxes on the things you want to discourage — gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling cars — and you want to lower taxes on the things you want to encourage — new, renewable energy technologies. We are doing just the opposite.
Are you sitting down?
Few Americans know it, but for almost a year now, Congress has been bickering over whether and how to renew the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy. The bickering has been so poisonous that when Congress passed the 2007 energy bill last December, it failed to extend any stimulus for wind and solar energy production. Oil and gas kept all their credits, but those for wind and solar have been left to expire this December. I am not making this up. At a time when we should be throwing everything into clean power innovation, we are squabbling over pennies.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
"Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Mount Sinai, on a day in midwinter, Moses gave these speeches to the Israelites, telling them everything the Lord had commanded them to say."