Monday, April 28, 2008

Early Morning Web Stops on Shot Day

Ellen Stevens on Worship Manipulation
Nathan Finn - Does the SBC Have a Future?
Paul Krugman - Bush Made Permanent
The Washington Post - Food: The New Gold

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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Enemy of my Enemy...

More on the World Food Crisis

From the April 17 edition of The Economist. The Silent Tsunami.

Pictures of hunger usually show passive eyes and swollen bellies. The harvest fails because of war or strife; the onset of crisis is sudden and localised. Its burden falls on those already at the margin.

Today's pictures are different. “This is a silent tsunami,” says Josette Sheeran of the World Food Programme, a United Nations agency. A wave of food-price inflation is moving through the world, leaving riots and shaken governments in its wake. For the first time in 30 years, food protests are erupting in many places at once.

Famine traditionally means mass starvation. The measures of today's crisis are misery and malnutrition. The middle classes in poor countries are giving up health care and cutting out meat so they can eat three meals a day. The middling poor, those on $2 a day, are pulling children from school and cutting back on vegetables so they can still afford rice. Those on $1 a day are cutting back on meat, vegetables and one or two meals, so they can afford one bowl. The desperate—those on 50 cents a day—face disaster.

Roughly a billion people live on $1 a day. If, on a conservative estimate, the cost of their food rises 20% (and in some places, it has risen a lot more), 100m people could be forced back to this level, the common measure of absolute poverty.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Yolen Jeunky, 45, collects dried mud cookies to sell in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince on Nov. 29, 2007. Rising prices and food shortages threaten the nation's fragile stability, and the mud cookies are one of very few options the poorest people have to stave off hunger. msnbc.com


"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'" Matthew 25:44-45

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The World Food Crisis

Quotes from a NY Times editorial from April 10:
Most Americans take food for granted. Even the poorest fifth of households in the United States spend only 16 percent of their budget on food. In many other countries, it is less of a given. Nigerian families spend 73 percent of their budgets to eat, Vietnamese 65 percent, Indonesians half. They are in trouble.

33 nations are at risk of social unrest because of the rising prices of food. “For countries where food comprises from half to three-quarters of consumption, there is no margin for survival.

The rise in food prices is partly because of uncontrollable forces — including rising energy costs and the growth of the middle class in China and India. This has increased demand for animal protein, which requires large amounts of grain.

But the rich world is exacerbating these effects by supporting the production of biofuels.

Overseas aid by rich countries fell 8.4 percent last year from 2006. Developed nations would have to increase their aid budgets by 35 percent over the next three years just to meet the commitments they made in 2005.

Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
at the head of every street.
Lamentations 2:19



And in the US?

As the point person in the benevolence ministry of our church, a growing number of those I am working with are hard working people who are less and less able to meet their bills.

Today, CNN confirms that I am not alone in that observation.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Serendipity

Look at what I found while looking for something else --- the poetry of Cheri Henderson

ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACK
I’ve long been searching for a church where the Holy Spirit flows,
where worship is free and spontaneous and goes and goes and goes;
but do I worship that way - every chance that I get - when I’m at home alone?
The answer to the question I’m sad to say is no, quite simply, no.

I’ve long been searching for a church with a passion for the lost,
one with servant-evangelism programs galore, soup kitchens and the like.
A place where everyone can fully be used to spread the gospel to the lost,
but in my personal life – every chance that I get - do I share the love of Christ?

I’ve long been searching for a church with a good children’s ministry,
one where the little ones are nurtured in Christ and learn of spiritual things.
But at home the secular television blares, we don’t pray at length, worship or sing.
Could it be that spiritual ministry to my child is really up to me?

I’ve long been searching for a church with an equal balance of everything -
evangelism, discipleship, prophecy, worship, deliverance, intercession, healing.
And finding none, there isn’t one that offers all these things,
I express my opinion with arrogance, grab my hat and quickly leave.

I’ve often thought the time has come to take the church out to the streets,
where the power of God can be displayed to the ones who have the need.
So if the Spirit of God is in me, why aren’t I out there doing this thing???
All talk, no action - with regard to the church, I’m armchair quarterbacking.

An armchair quarterback, I think I know all the perfect ins and outs,
but I’m starting to realize the perfect one isn’t you or me - it’s God.
And the bottom line question for all of us is: Have we truly made Jesus our Lord?
If you say yes and I say yes, then guess what? We’re in one accord.

I’m done with all the criticism, the opinionism, and self-righteous judging;
God’s looking down and shaking His head as we’re accomplishing nothing
except immobilizing ourselves as we analyze each other with all our petty nitpicking.
And a lost world stays lost, the sick remain sick, and the dead all around us are dying.


THE RIDE
(A Little Lesson from Matthew 21)

If the Lord can use a donkey,
he most certainly can use me -
all he wants is obedience and availability.

But if I resist and buck the Lord
and trot off to my "stall" to hide,
he'll move on to a usable "donkey" . . .

and I will miss the ride.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hallelujah!

Good news for people with MS who LOVE coffee!

The money quote:
"Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders."


Tuesday, April 01, 2008