Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cargo Train | Engines | LEGO Shop

Cargo Train | Engines | LEGO Shop

Can anyone say Christmas?

Sir Ken

Sir Ken was clued into Robinson because of an interview in ReadyMade magazine with the content advisor for I'm increasingly interested in the function of creativity and the building of trust in our individual lives, families, and communities, and this is a fascinating entree into the discussion.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Advocate Today! You Make a difference!

Lutheran World Relief:

Tell Congress to Help Fill the Well too!

LWR Water Project in Bolivia

On September 20, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World 2010 Act, thanks to people just like you who stood up, took action and demanded that everyone deserves clean water.

Now, we need your help to tell your representatives join in the movement.

Passage of this bill would mean first-time, sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for more than 100 million people by 2015!

Clean water is essential for lasting development, yet one out of every five people in the world lacks access to it, with children suffering the most. Organizations like LWR are already doing great work ensuring that communities have potable water available and passage of this bi-partisan bill would ensure that millions more obtain this basic need.

Take a moment right now to send a message to your member of Congress and ask that they support this important and life-saving piece of legislation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

npn360: free resources to support ELCA World Hunger

Apparently ELCA World Hunger is now using an awesome print and ordering resource, npn360 to distribute their educational materials and offering envelopes. Worth registering and checking out!

Couple Checkup

When is the last time you have taken a Couple Checkup. I regularly use this material with premarital couples, couple retreats, and marriage counseling. This is a resource you can do on your own or in a group, and I recommend it highly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How Lutherans Helped Make Peace Possible in Uganada

A great full color brochure that helps all of us know how we are connected to the advocacy and relief work of LWR. Beautifully done and very educational!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Four by Four

This post is probably de trop. However, I think it will function as a helpful reminder and challenge for myself, and maybe like an early fall books missive, so here goes:

Sci-fi books I hope to read by the end of the year, that I already own:

1. The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
2. Zero History, by William Gibson
3. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Francis Chu
4. Kraken, by China Mieville

Works of theology or church history that are very thick but I intend to tackle anyway:

1. Eccentric Existence: A Theological Anthropology, by David Kelsey
2. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, by Diarmaid McCulloch
3. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas
4. On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene, by Ernst Käsemann

Literary fiction that my spouse has inspired me to read:

1. Freedom, by David Franzen
2. The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachmann
3. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob Dezoet, by David Mitchell
4. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese

Albums of 2010 that have amazed me enough that they'll be in the top ten at year end:

1. High Violet, by The National
2. Treats, by Sleigh Bells
3. Irm, by Charlotte Gainsbourg
4. Here Lies Love, by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vision 2015: The LIRS Strategic Plan - Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service - NEW

Vision 2015: The LIRS Strategic Plan is a really great launch of a new mission/vision statement for the organization. It's one I commend as a model, and one I definitely include myself in.

I especially like the invitation on the site to pray for clear and bold vision, to pray each day for a month about one area of LIRS's ministry, to give monthly, and to take the LIRS Action-a-Month challenge.

Thanks, LIRS, for the great invitation to participate in mission with you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Muzzle of Bees � Wisco: A Tribute To Wilco’s Summerteeth

Muzzle of Bees � Wisco: A Tribute To Wilco’s Summerteeth

Mind - Research Upends Traditional Thinking on Study Habits -

In this brief news article on how we learn, the author says that the idea of us having "learning styles" (like visual or auditory) or left-brain/right-brain, is pretty much completely unfounded.

Furthermore, when studying, we should move around to different space, and vary the type of material we are studying in one sitting. Anybody who teaches should read this brief article...

September 11, 9 Years Later, by Stephen Bouman

“You shall be called repairers of the breach, restorers of streets to live in.” Isaiah 58:14

This morning, nine years later, at 8:46 am., the time of the first attack, I do what I have done every year since that day. I listen to Brahms Requiem. I am quiet. I remember. Later tonight, I will listen to Bruce Springsteen’s album, The Rising, and toast the end of the day and the new day to come. I am still haunted, as if it were yesterday, by the images, the smoke rising downtown, visible from my office window. The second plane roaring down the Hudson right past our office. The stricken looks on hundreds of people’s faces as we gathered for prayer at noon at the Interchurch Center in Manhattan. I remember dialing the phone frantically, trying to find family, pastors, those we knew who worked in the towers. I remember the collision of feelings and images, the helplessness, the growing terrible panic, best described by this line from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass: “how easily things are broken.”

In the petty squabbles over who can pray at Ground Zero, in the self righteous cruelty of a so-called religious leader threatening to desecrate the resting place of thousands of our neighbors and particular people I have loved by burning a book holy to billions of our neighbors on this planet, I am overcome with anger and powerlessness. Even the good name of the faith I hold dear, is trashed and desecrated at Ground Zero.

I have different memories of this sacred space of obscene suffering, yet sacred struggle. And I have different memories of who should be able to pray where and why. Two things come to mind and I offer them today. First, when the towers fell, we in New York did, by instinct, what people did all over the world. The spiritual dna hardwired into what it means to be human expressed itself naturally and deeply. We prayed. We prayed together. We prayed in as wide a way as possible. We wanted to talk to our Maker, and wanted the comfort of human solidarity. St. Augustine was right: the soul was made for God, and will not find its rest until it rests in God.

Peter DeVries put this prayerful solidarity beautifully in his book “the Blood of the Lamb”:

the recognition of how long, how very long, is the mourner’s bench upon which we sit, arms linked in undeluded friendship-all of us, brief links ourselves, in the eternal pity.”

On Wednesday evening, September 13, there was an emotional reunion of religious leaders in New York City at Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem. Pastor Calvin Butts, chair of the Council of Churches of the City of New York had put the interfaith service together. Imams, rabbis, pastors hugged and shared news of loss and nascent efforts at response. As we walked together toward the sanctuary I saw the bright television lights and Robin Williams of Good Morning America interviewing Don Taylor, the Episcopal bishop who is vicar for New York City. We were funneled in that direction by the tv flacks. I just continued to walk toward the sanctuary, empty of any wisdom for the next day’s breakfast. The singing at the liturgy was powerful, the remarks by leaders moving. As I gave a brief homily it occurred to me that Dietrich Bonhoeffer had preached from this pulpit for his friend Adam Clayton Powell. Bonhoeffer himself was a victim of bogus Christianity, a twisted version of spiritual warfare. Later, on the street, I saw some members of our synod and we embraced. I cried for the first time. Prayer enabled that.

Second, Ground zero became a house of prayer for all people. I often saw the holy respect for life at that awful place. When word began to circulate that human remains were found, the word would spread quickly. People would stop what they were doing. The site would gentle down to silence. Hats were removed. People knew that this was holy ground. One of the fire fighters in whose memorial I had participated, was lifted from the ground by his father and brother, both firemen. How dare anyone politicize, pontificate, harass or demonize the prayers of anyone near this sacred site! “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers,” said Jesus at another sacred site.

I am remembering that Muslim and Arab neighbors in Brooklyn brought their children to Salaam Arabic Lutheran Church and our neighborhood Lutheran schools for safety. I am remembering that for every broken window or graffiti covered wall of an Arab establishment there were a hundred flowers.

As I watched this morning the names of our brothers and sisters being read at Ground Zero I am proud of my Lutheran family and how we served together with many interfaith and public and private efforts. Our collective work of disaster response started the association of victim’s families. As the last faith based group still attending to 9-11 for the past several years, LDRNY accompanied the families at this sacred space on every anniversary, a “house of prayer for all people.”

For me, this day will always be a day of Lamentations. Kathleen O’Conner put beautifully the deep meaning of lamenting our losses.

"Lamentations is an act of resistance. It teaches us to lament and to become agents in our relationship with God, even if our fidelity only takes the form of telling God and one another our truth….Lamentations crushes false images, smashes syrupy pictures, destroys narrow theologies. It pours cold water upon theologies of a God who prospers us in all things, on a God who cares only about us, on a God who blesses our nation and punishes our enemies, as if we were God’s only people.”

Our Lamentations are not the isolation and depression of wounded entitlement or private grief, but the community at the foot of the Cross moving outward in solidarity and love toward the sorrow of the world God loves.

Stephen Paul Bouman
Chicago, September 11, 2010

Taken Out of Context

Great dissertation on American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics (social networks like Facebook, etc.)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Luther's 1543 Preface to Quran - LutheranWiki

Historical contextualization is often helpful. Consider reading this short wiki on Luther's 1543 Preface to Quran.

Luther encouraged the translation of the Quran into Latin, so that it might be studied and debated. Those of us who are Christian and in dialogue with Muslims may come to different conclusions about why the Quran should be published and studied by Christians than Luther did. I know I do. However, no one who is a Christian can come helpfully to the conclusion that the Quran should be burned. We are called to engage our neighbors and love them enough to be in serious dialogue with them, as well as the texts they hold sacred. That is the Christian norm.

Out of the Waters: Resisting the Power of Fear

Check out the new LIRS bible study by the Reverend David Vasquez, at the Online Store - Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service

Sunday, September 05, 2010

God and Politics and Obama

The NY Times article on God and Politics describes Obama as influenced both by Rauschenbusch and Niebuhr, almost in equal measure. Interestingly, the author thinks the current malaise around Obama's presidency is related to his lack of connection to the middle class. He's got a poverty pedigree (community organizing), and upper class distinction (Ivy League), but lacks the connection to the middle class. Similarly, his religion is less connected to middle class Protestantism and evangelicalism, than to high church liberalism, which is what has folks like Glen Beck up in arms.

Seems like an apt assessment... Personally, I wish he'd tend more toward Rauschenbusch and less toward Niebuhr...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Refugee Advocacy Update

As part of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service's Stand for Welcome campaign, I took action to support a critical financial lifeline for refugees and other migrants who are elderly or have disabilities. Please take a few minutes to do the same! Our voices to our elected officials are integral for urging them to support fair and humane policies for newcomers.

You may also be interested in signing up for Stand for Welcome, the LIRS campaign for immigration reform. Thanks in advance for joining your voice on these important issues!

Contextual Learning - Ministry in Context newsletter

Contextual Learning - Ministry in Context newsletter

Thrivent Choice - Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Thrivent Choice - Thrivent Financial for Lutherans: "800-847-4836"

If you haven't already done so, direct your Thrivent Choice dollars to your mission of your choice.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010