4.30.2007

Three Dollars Per Day - Monday

Breakfast
Coffey - $0.10

Lunch
Apple - $0.75

Dinner
Two PB&J sandwiches - $0.50

Glass of milk - $0.20
Snacks
Slice of bread & butter - $0.10
Glass of Milk - $0.15
Can of Soda - $0.25

Total: $2.05

ps I drank plenty of watter for free.

Governor Challenges Oregonians to Food Stamp Challenge

“I challenge all Oregonians to experience first-hand what thousands of Oregon families go through everyday,” said Governor Kulongoski. “Budgeting just $1 a meal each day for food, and trying to make that food nutritious, is a difficult task that sadly is a reality for too many Oregonians and their families.”

“Many of us will never know what it’s like not to know where our next meal will come from or whether we’ll have enough food in the cupboard to make it through the week,” Governor Kulongoski continued. “My hope is that by participating in the food stamp challenge, Oregonians will gain a better understanding of what hundreds of thousands of Oregonians experience each month as they try to afford meet their families’ basic needs – transportation, housing, child care, health care – and food.”

Read article here.

So I think I'm going to take on this challenge of eating on three dollars per day for the next five days. It's just kind of a way for me to identify in one small way with people in need.

Wondering what one can eat for a week on three dollars per day? I'll keep you updated here on the blog.

4.29.2007

What is my obligation to those who suffer?

After I sent that e-mail to Brandon, (see previous post) we talked about what i was struggling with the next Sunday. (specifically I'm struggling with the gap between halves and halve nots, and questions on suffering. In this case I have great health and Brandon does not.)

When we had talked the previous Sunday, he wasn't so sure i owed him anything, but after reading my e-mail he could see where I was coming from. However he still had some concerns. The main one was dependency. From the disabled person's perspective, it isn't going to do much good to go around thinking that people owe them. A wow-is-me attitude is a recipe for disaster for the disabled person.

Brandon also wanted to make perfectly clear that I was never going to be able to identify with him in any real physical way. In other words i could have empathy, but never sympathy, which I completely agree with.

Brandon's other concern was a little broader, dealing with the matter of Biblical interpretation. "How does one know they are doing justice to the intentions of the original authors of the Bible and what does that have to do with the hear and now?" was essentially what Brandon was saying, in this case on the matter of suffering and sharing each others burdens. All I'll say here is: exactly.

What Brandon and I finally agreed on is that in his case maybe there is little I can or even should do for him physically speaking, but there are many that don't have the resources he does. Cyra, his wife, is an amazing woman, marrying this man in spite of the condition that has landed him in a wheal chair. (or maybe because of it, I don't know) If anyone suffers right along side Brandon, it is certainly her, setting an amazing example for all of us. Additionally, Brandon owns his own business. He's not rich by American standards, but he has what he needs. Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone who lives life from a chair on wheels. Many many people are not only poor but suffer a great deal do to physical handicaps. So my questions remains. In light of what the scriptures say (see previous post) what is my obligation to those who suffer?

4.26.2007

My Friend In a Wheal Chair

Here is a e-mail I sent to Brandon, friend of mine who is in a wheal chair. We were talking about how I (and you) can identify with people who suffer and do something about it. (sometimes)

It's just a peak into what the Bible says about suffering and some of the things I'm thinking about.

In the next post I'll share some of the things Brandon said in response.

Brandon,

Here are some of those Bible passages I mentioned in our conversation this past Sunday.

On the matter of suffering.

Paul's call to ministry explicitly mentions suffering


Acts 9:15
15
But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."


Here Paul teaches the church in Philipi that they are called to suffer.

Philippians 1:29
29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him

Here Paul says that we should expect to suffer because we are Christians. Specifically look at vs 13, wow!

1 Peter 1:12-19
12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

And the most amazing/disconcerting passage of all

Philipians 3:7-10
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.


Now if you set these side by side with the Bibles teachings on sharing each others burdens, and helping one another, and the fact that we all make up one church, one body, what are the implications for daily living?

Romans 12:14-16
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

How low do the positions need to be that i need to associate with? Is there any valid excuse not to?

Romans 12:3-5
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

1 Cor 12:24-26
But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

In what respect do I suffer with you Brandon? Honestly, I don't think that I do.

And if we put all of this in a global information society, one in which I am keenly aware of the suffering of others on a global scale, how should I respond?

What is my obligation, when Pastor Dan teaches that we should throw off everything that so easily entangles? More specifically, what is stopping me from sharing in and/or alleviating the suffering of others to a much much greater extent?!

4.25.2007

Fight over baby's life support divides ethicists

Read the story here.

This story illustrates two challenges. One is the fact that administering medicine is not always a matter of more being better. The second is that with the growing privatization of medicine in a for-profit environment, questions are raised about what the actual bottom line is, (profit or health and how are each measured) if not in practice at least in appearance.

I don't know what is actually best for the child in this situation, but one thing is true about this quote.


"Emilio's mother, Catarina Gonzales, on the other hand, is fighting to keep her son on the ventilator, allowing him to die 'naturally, the way God intended.'"

There is nothing natural about a ventilator on one hand, and on the other, I don't always want what is natural.

4.22.2007

Churches sponsor home for homeless

Very cool story you should read here. It details four rural churches creating a home for homeless people in Richland Center, a rural town of 5000 here in Wisconsin, right down the road from La Crosse.

Churches working together, the homeless, rural, all very interesting ideas.

4.16.2007

Virginia Tech Shooting

I learned of the shooting from a coworker of mine, and am now watching updates on CNN. A few weeks ago a friend of mine suggested I do a series on suffering, which seems all the more appropriate now.

4.07.2007

Questions Answers and 'Jesus Camp'

Joe's article referenced yesterday, which I thought would run on Sunday, ran today. You can read it here.

4.06.2007

An evangelical, a reporter, and a nun sat down to watch a film.

Sounds like a good joke, but actually it was just the start of a good time, especially if you a religious geek like me.

One of my friends, Joe, and one of his friends, a Catholic nun, watched a film called Jesus Camp las night. Joe, a reporter at the La Crosse Tribune, is doing an op-ed piece on it, and wanted my input, in part because I’m a kind-of evangelical, and the film purports to illustrate evangelical children. (It does show a narrow subset of evangelicals broadly defined, namely, Pentecostal fundamentalists. Some prefer to label these traditions as separate, and understandably so.) (What is an evangelical? Click here.)

On the one hand I didn’t like the film, (typical of an evangelical isn’t it?) . But on the other hand, it was what it was, it might not exactly be what some people are going to think it is, but none-the-less, the people on there were who they were. It was their own words.

One of the main questions Joe had was, is this main stream evangelicalism, or is this a fringe group? All I could say was “kind-of” (in a lot more words) . For starters, asking what are evangelicals like or what do they think, is like asking, what do black people think, or what do people from the Midwest think. On the one hand you can find some trends if you take a scientific sampling, on the other hand, nothing beats looking another person in the face and asking “what do you think?”

Last night was a good example of this. In a small apartment in La Crosse sat a white male, kind of Evangelical, from La Crosse, that spent the last two years studying theology in Los Angles (me). A young (whatever that implies) African, Roman Catholic nun, who has been in the States for two years, and who is currently studying theology at Viterbo. And a white male religion reporter who spent several years living and studying in New York City, yet appreciates the best parts of a small city, and who half of La Crosse thinks is going to hell (Love ya Joe). We all sat around talking about some controversial film and enjoying each other's company. Now if only Joe hadn’t been observing lent by abstaining from alcohol, we could have had a spectacular time! : )

Joe's article will run Sunday in the La Crosse Tribune.