Tuesday, February 28, 2006



Video Sharing at DropShots.com

Jonas' thoughts on dodgeball here


This is a post that I did this time last year on "Lent" and thought it might be good to re-visit it. It's amazing how as I look back on this post from last year that it is speaking to me in a profound way tonight. WOW. So, here we go:

Journey through the field of temptation into the desert of abandonment. Posted by Hello

Lent: "spring," the time of the lengthening of the days. Lent is one of the six seasons of the church year and is the forty-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). The period is actually 46 days, but since Sundays are feast days, they are never included in the count. Lent is intended to be a period of preparation and penitence marked by fasting, meditation and sobriety. Lent is widely associated with denial -- "giving something up for Lent." - http://www.holycross.net/anonline.htm

In my tradition within the United Methodist Church, Lent is celebrated and looked forward to every year. Since I've become a Christian Lent has become my favorite time of year. It's probably because I tend to be an introspective type of person. I identify with the idea of Jesus going into the wilderness to fast and discern God's will. I identify with giving something up/denial and spending time in prayer. Every year I look forward to taking that journey to the wilderness with Jesus and listening for God's direction in my own life.

This week the focus is on temptation. Our spirituality is based around Jesus' temptation in the wilderness and Adam and Eve's temptation to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden.

Wow, temptation is all around for everyone. I'm not even really talking about the temptations we think of as "the bad stuff" in life- cheating, stealing, infidelity, etc... but even the everyday choices of life. Daily I am tempted to be less than who I am. Do I give full concern and care to those people in my life that God has called my to be a steward of? Do I show love and compassion to those in need who somehow find their way into my life, even for a brief moment on the street? Do I choose to get up and take care of my body by exercising regularly or does sleeping in seem like a better choice at the moment?

These are my daily struggles- these are the sins of the daily life that I share with every other human on the face of the planet. These are the temptations and choices that create habits of character or vices.

When I follow Jesus to the desert I have nothing around me except all this "mess" to deal with and focus on. I am left alone to pray for strength, to surrender it to God, and realize that I am needy. When I follow Jesus to the desert I realize that there are angels all around me waiting for me to empty myself so that they may attend to my needs.

Wandering, wandering
Feeling my way... dry earth
Hot, weary
Sweaty, scared
Alone, afraid
Of what I might find
In myself
Denial, want

I follow him
into the desert storm
Wind, sand, dust
Scars my skin
fills my throat
cuts, raw, fierce

But then the wind subsides
I'm left alone
tired, cold and hot at the same time
these rocks won't change into water
so I wait for You
To speak to me
To give drink to my
thristy soul...

Friday, February 24, 2006


Despite the rumors, I did make it back from the mountains of North Carolina this week. My first BIG trip with my youth group went great. It was lots o' fun and we even had snow on Saturday.

I've had every intention of blogging this week but I've been exhausted and needing to play catch up. Starting next week I'll be back in blogging action, I promise.

Oh and I have good news- I AM THE OWNER OF A NEW LAPTOP!!! On Wed. I took my laptop to get looked at and wouldn't you know it- the motherboard was messed up. Soooo, instead of spending the moolah on replacing a motherboard I bought a Compaq Presario V2508 and I'M LOVING IT!!!

have a great weekend peeps,


Friday, February 17, 2006


Sorry I haven't posted anything new this week. My laptop is still down and I've been getting ready for a ski trip with our youth group- 60 Youth and 9 Adults. Please keep us in prayers as we travel this weekend and ski at Lake Junaluska.


Saturday, February 11, 2006


I know, I know I throw out a lot of theological ideas on my blog and many who come probably think- blah blah blah blah..... that's fun to think about but it really doesn't say anything practical in the REAL LIFE CHURCH.

I've thought alot about this over the last couple of days.

You know, you're right!! We don't need theology.... and we don't need, as Christians to learn to think theologically... and we don't need as Christians to be able to speak thelogical to one another IF:

Theology doesn't move from the head to the heart, doesn't move from thought to action; doesn't move us toward loving God more, doesn't move us toward loving our neighbor more, doesn't challenge us to move to a deeper faith and knowledge of God, ourselves and others; doesn't open up the possibility of the Kingdom of God NOW....

My hope here, even when I do a very poor job, is to spark a conversation, never a fight, to engage new friendships where they may not have existed before, to challenge myself and the friends who visit to not just accept the moden worldview of Church, faith and doctrine that was handed down by our liberal/conservative forefathers and mothers who have gifted us with a polarized worldview that is not as helpful for postmodernity.

So, yes, I DO BELIEVE THAT THEOLOGY IS IMPORTANT for ALL CHRISTIANS to engage in- not as an academic duty but as a communal practice that cultivates a deeper spiritual life and life with God. Scripture is sufficient, but theological conversation gives it the flavor and lens to engage it in community. That's why I write what I write.

Lord, may the words of my mouth
and the meditations of all of our hearts
be acceptable in your sight
Our strength and redeemer.


Friday, February 10, 2006


I got tagged by Jonathan Marlowe!! Thanks J-man this was a lot of fun. Soooo:

Four Jobs I've had:
1. Chick-Fil-A (my first high school job)
2. Bud's Corner Market (a family business that my grand dad started back in the mid 1950's)
3. Springhouse Golf Club (college years, worked as a caddy/cart boy)
4. PooperScooper (part of my weekly chores around the house, we had a rottweiler)

Four Movies to watch over and over:
1. Star Wars (any of the original 3)
2. Amadeus
3. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (The Gene Wilder version)
4. Airplane

Four Places I've lived:
1. Mt. Juliet, TN (lived in a trailer in the middle of NOTHING for first 11 years of life)
2. Inglewood/East Nashville (aka Ingle'hood; welcome to da ghetto)
3. West side of Nashville
4. Back to da east side

Four TV shows I love to Watch
1. 24
2. Jack Bauer
3. Prison Break
4. That show on fox that comes on after wife swap

Four Places I've been on Vacation:
1. Alyeska, Alaska (spent every spring break there during college years)
2. Cumberland Island (jen and i have twice now done 3-4 day backpacking/camping trips there)
3. Savannah Georgia (one of my favorite places in the world)
4. St. Clemente California (part of a 2 week cross country camping trip that jen and i did several years back)

Four Websites I visit Daily
1. Gavoweb
2. Google
3. My Space
4. Textweek

Four Favorite Foods:
1. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
2. The Fountainhead
3. Brave New World
4. A Community of Character

Four Places I'd rather be right now:
1. In a hammock in Hawaii
2. In a hammock in the Keys
3. In a hammock in the Bahammas
4. Hiking through Europe on pilgrimage looking for old old abbys with hammocks.

Four People I'm tagging:
1. Steve Manskar
2. John Wilkes
3. Cole Wakefield
4. Theresa

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Over at Gavin's blog guest blogger, Michael Williams, did a piece about his experience at the Emergent Theological discussion this week. In it he writes about Brian Mclaren's discussion on the atonement, which I found interesting since I am spending some time on my blog with that very topic.

Our wiley friend Rabbit John from Locust and Honey commented with:
"These are interesting questions posed by McLaren, but ultimately pointless. The better question is "What does the Bible say of atonement?" Let's have a look.

Romans 3:21-25
Romans 5:8-11
Hebrews 9:11-18
2 Corinthians 5:14-21

So the Penal Substitutionary Theory of Atonement is correct."

John, you know I love you and all, but you also know that I call it where I see it, and I SEE IT and it doesn't smell very good. In fact, I stepped in it and before I knew it I had commented with way more than I had anticipated saying. But I thought since it is what I've been dealing with this week that it was worth posting here too.

So I said,
"John if I may take you to task on what you have stated:

1. You have stated only what Paul has said about atonement and not "The Bible". You left out John and Peter's voices.

2. In the Romans 3: 21-25 passage, Paul states that Jesus has been displayed by God as a "propiation". If you take it back to the greek it reads as "hilasterion" which is a reference to the "mercy seat" upon which sacrifices where made yearly during Yom Kippur for the sins of Israel. So Paul is actually saying that God has used Christ as the "mercy seat" upon which the sacrifice or atonement may happen, not the atonement itself. "Hilasterion" always designates the location of atonement.

3. 2 Cor. 5: 14-21: In this passage Paul uses the ritual of the Scapegoat to explain Christ's atoning death. In this ritual there is a role reversal, obviously- Jesus takes on the sins of the world and we the world are made right with God. This passage suggests that Christ is not a blood sacrifice but a scapegoat that takes our sins upon himself and then leaves.

4. Romans 5:9-10: deals with Christ dying for us and being justified by his blood.

but there are several ways paul uses the expression Christ "died for us":
1. he died to save us (martyr)

2. he died in our place (penal substitution)

3. he paid the price to buy our freedom (ransom)

4. he died as the new place of atonement (sacrifice)

5. he took on our curse and bore away our sins (scapegoat)

Do you not think that just saying "So the Penal Substitutionary Theory of Atonement is correct" sells Paul short?

Paul does not have one view of what was going on in the atonement, he uses multiple metaphors:
1. A Mercy Seat (the location where atonement takes place)

2. Scapegoat (one who takes on our sins, not as a blood sacrifice but as a ritual of reversal)

3. A sacrificial death (with multiple expressions by Paul).

So, what else does the Bible say John?


John, I hope you don't take offense (since we've been blogging buds for a while now, I know that you typically don't). But I do hope that this can engage some further dialogue.

So I ask this to everyone- WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL MODEL FOR ATONEMENT? IS THERE JUST ONE FLAVOR? Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE ON THE SANCTUS FRANCISCUS SYMPOSIUM NEXT MONDAY NIGHT: Well, now my laptop is giving me problems and I'm gonna have to take it in to the shop tomorrow, which is why it is 10:02pm and I'm still at church (sucks). So I doubt that I'll have the laptop back by Monday evening. Soooo: THE SYMPOSIUM DISCUSSION will be postponed to a LATER DATE. Sorry y'all, I was looking forward to it!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Noted theologian/author, Justo González, is a retired member of the Río Grande Conference of the United Methodist Church, has published more than 90 books, including The History of Christian Thought from Abingdon Press, has this to say about early church theologian, Anselm:

"Anselm was without any doubt the greatest theologian of his time. He paved the way for the greatest scholastics of the thirteenth century... With Anselm a new era began in the history of Christian thought".(1)

Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury in the late 10th century, coined what has become the dominant view of atonement for modern times: THE SATISFACTION THEORY OF ATONEMENT.

Anselm thought the dominant theory of his time, the ransom theory, to be an insult to God. So Anselm sought an explanation of the atonement that would explain why Jesus Christ had to be both truly human and truly divine and that would be both rational and fully consistent with scripture and Church tradition.

In essence, Anselm's theory states that "Christ paid a debt that all humanity owes to God because of disobedience. God's justice demands payment of a satisfaction or else the order of the universe would be disrupted. The needed satisfaction is like a debt to God's honor that humanity must repay, but humanity is incapable to repaying it without suffering complete loss in hell. God in God's mercy provides a perfect substitutionary sacrifice that satisfies God's own honor and preserves the moral orderof the universe."(2)

This theory has much significence to us today because there was this guy named John Calvin who adopted it and interpreted in a completely biblical model- which is now known as "THE PENAL SUBSTITUION THEORY". After the Protestant Reformation this model pretty much dominated all others to the extent that most people today see what happened to Jesus on the cross in terms of this theory.

1. Does this idea take the Trinity seriously?
2. I'm struggling with the the idea that God (the Father) is so at odds with humanity, however God (the buddy christ) is the compassionate friend who will do anything it takes for his friends. Does this make God too schizophrenic? Does this make God (the father) abusive towards God's son?
3. Why did God have to have a blood sacrifice to appease God's honor, wrath, disconnect with humanity?

I have questions right now but no actual formal thoughts on this right now. Sorry. Feel free to chime in though and let me know what you are thinking. Maybe it's because this has been what I've grown up thinking that I feel the need to question it a bit more closely, or maybe it's simply because I'm a borderline heretic. :)



UPDATE ON THE SANCTUS FRANCISCUS SYMPOSIUM NEXT MONDAY NIGHT: I'll be meeting with the Staff Parish at Blakemore UMC next Monday evening between 7-8pm to discuss candidacy process and gain their recommendation to Charge Conference. So the symposium will now be from 9-10pm (central standard time). I hope you'll drop in.

works cited:
1. Gonzalez, Justo, The History of Christian Thought, vol. 1; (Abingdon Press, 1987)
2. Olson, Roger, The Story of Christian Theology, (InterVarsity Press, 1999)


If you head over to Gavin's blog, you may notice some strange guy filling in for him. Not to worry- Gavin's blog has not been hijacked or anything like that. Michael Williams, whom you've heard me write about on many occasions if you've been a faithful reader of the PofSP, is filling in for Gavin while Gavo is away at the Abby of Gethsemani on sabbath this week, chillin wit da monks.

Michael, who happens to be one of my closest friends (besides Gavo), and mentor is a wonderful writer, pastor/theologian, professor at Wesley Theological with their extension site here in Nashville, and senior pastor at First UMC Hendersonville, where Gavin is Youth Director. He happens to be at the Emergent Theological Conversation this week at Yale Divinity School soaking in Miroslav Volf. Check out what he has to say. Jay Voorhees is also there representin' the Metho/Mergent Bloggers in full fashion. Have fun guys, I wish I were there!!

One of the things that Michael quotes Volf saying that I love is, "Theology is how faith gets traction."

I've heard some methodist pastors who blog say things like- "so much talk about theology does nothing for us. what is needed in the methodist church is a return to a scripturally based church and pastors who are rooted in scripture." Although I agree with statements such as that as it relates to being scripturally rooted, I also think that in some ways that line of thinking is a cop out and lazy approach to what I think is a passion for most of us. Theology ought to be an exercise for all Christians that keeps us open to God's continuing revelation through scripture fresh and exciting for the Church.

Michael and Jay- have a great week and keep sharing what's going on!!!

Sunday, February 05, 2006



In medieval times the common view of "the atonement", or what transpired through Jesus' death on the cross, was known as the "RANSOM THEORY". Pope Gregory "The Great" laid out its clearest form around 600 CE. Gregory used many images to explain the effect of Christ's death on the cross upon humanity, but his favorite one was the cross as the "fishook" upon which God placed the "bait" of Jesus Christ in order to snare the devil and free humanity held captive by him. According to Gregory,

".... matching deceit with deceit, Christ frees man by tricking the devil into overstepping his authority. Christ becomes a "fishhook": his humanity is the bait, his divinity the hook, and Leviathan [Satan] is snared. Because the devil is proud, he cannot understand Christ's humility and so believes he tempts and kills a mere man. But in inflicting a sinless man with death, the devil loses his rights over man from his "excess of presumption," Christ conquers the devil's kingdom of sin, liberating captives from the devil's tyranny. Order is reinstated when man returns when man returns to serve God, his true master."

My initial thought about this theory is, does God really have to take on the persona of "The Trickster" to "outwit" Satan? Is it me or does this theory seem to bring God down to Satan's level- "I have to result to deceit to deceive the great deceiver."

What are your thoughts?

UPDATE ON THE SANCTUS FRANCISCUS SYMPOSIUM NEXT MONDAY NIGHT: I'll be meeting with the Staff Parish at Blakemore UMC next Monday evening between 7-8pm to discuss candidacy process and gain their recommendation to Charge Conference. So the symposium will now be from 9-10pm (central standard time). I hope you'll drop in.

Friday, February 03, 2006


BONO stirred things up a bit at the 54th National Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Washington Hotel yesterday, as the keynote speaker. The prayer breakfast, begun during the Eisenhower administration, historically draws 3,600 attendees from 155 nations, including heads of state. A low-profile group commonly known as Fellowship Foundation sponsors the annual event. The group's well-connected members around the world work behind the scenes to provide members of Congress and foreign dignitaries with spiritual encouragement and fellowship. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minnesota, who co-chaired the breakfast with Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, is the event's first Jewish chair.

Bono's keynote presentation in full (its long but a really good read) :

Thank you.

Mr. President, First Lady, King Abdullah, Other heads of State, Members of Congress, distinguished guests…Please join me in praying that I don’t say something we’ll all regret.

That was for the FCC. If you’re wondering what I’m doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I’m certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It’s certainly not because I’m a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I’m here because I’ve got a messianic complex. Yes, it’s true. And for anyone who knows me, it’s hardly a revelation. Well, I’m the first to admit that there’s something unnatural… something unseemly… about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the South of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed up at a U2 concert… but this is really weird, isn’t it? You know, one of the things I love about this country is its separation of church and state. Although I have to say: in inviting me here, both church and state have been separated from something else completely: their mind.

Mr. President, are you sure about this? It’s very humbling and I will try to keep my homily brief. But be warned—I’m Irish. I’d like to talk about the laws of man, here in this city where those laws are written. And I’d like to talk about higher laws. It would be great to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man serve these higher laws… but of course, they don’t always. And I presume that, in a sense, is why you’re here. I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here—Muslims, Jews, Christians—all are searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God. I know I am. Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.

Yes, it’s odd, having a rock star here—but maybe it’s odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line. Where the line between church and state was… well, a little blurry, and hard to see. I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God. For me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native land… and in this country, seeing God’s second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels, offering indulgences for cash… in fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishment… I must confess, I changed the channel. I wanted my MTV. Even though I was a believer. Perhaps because I was a believer. I was cynical… not about God, but about God’s politics.

Then, in 1997, a couple of eccentric, septuagenarian British Christians went and ruined my shtick—my reproachfulness. They did it by describing the Millennium, the year 2000, as a Jubilee year, as an opportunity to cancel the chronic debts of the world’s poorest people. They had the audacity to renew the Lord’s call—and were joined by Pope John Paul II, who, from an Irish half-Catholic’s point of view, may have had a more direct line to the Almighty.

‘Jubilee’—why ‘Jubilee’? What was this year of Jubilee, this year of our Lords favor? I’d always read the Scriptures, even the obscure stuff. There it was in Leviticus (25:35)…‘If your brother becomes poor,’ the Scriptures say, ‘and cannot maintain himself… you shall maintain him… You shall not lend him your money at interest, not give him your food for profit.’ It is such an important idea, Jubilee, that Jesus begins his ministry with this. Jesus is a young man, he’s met with the rabbis, impressed everyone, people are talking. The elders say, he’s a clever guy, this Jesus, but he hasn’t done much… yet. He hasn’t spoken in public before…When he does, is first words are from Isaiah: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,’ he says, ‘because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.’ And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord’s favour, the year of Jubilee. (Luke 4:18). What he was really talking about was an era of grace—and we’re still in it.

So fast-forward 2,000 years. That same thought, grace, was made incarnate—in a movement of all kinds of people. It wasn’t a bless-me club… it wasn’t a holy huddle. These religious guys were willing to get out in the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow their convictions with actions… making it really hard for people like me to keep their distance. It was amazing. I almost started to like these church people. But then my cynicism got another helping hand. It was what Colin Powell, a five-star general, called the greatest W.M.D. of them all: a tiny little virus called A.I.D.S. And the religious community, in large part, missed it. The one’s that didn’t miss it could only see it as divine retribution for bad behaviour. Even on children… Even fastest growing group of HIV infections were married, faithful women. Aha, there they go again! I thought to myself Judgmentalism is back! But in truth, I was wrong again.

The church was slow but the church got busy on this the leprosy of our age. Love was on the move. Mercy was on the move. God was on the move. Moving people of all kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have cared to meet… Conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen for the gay community, all singing off the same hymn sheet on AIDS… Soccer moms and quarterbacks… hip-hop stars and country stars… This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens! Popes were seen wearing sunglasses!Jesse Helms was seen with a ghetto blaster! Crazy stuff. Evidence of the spirit. It was breathtaking. Literally. It stopped the world in its tracks. When churches started demonstrating on debt, governments listened—and acted. When churches starting organising, petitioning, and even—that most unholy of acts today, God forbid, lobbying… on AIDS and global health, governments listened—and acted.

I’m here today in all humility to say: you changed minds; you changed policy; you changed the world. Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives. Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone. I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill… I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuff… maybe, maybe not… But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house… God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives… God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war… God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. “If you remove the yolk from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places”. It’s not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident. That’s a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. [You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.] ‘As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.’ (Matthew 25:40).

As I say, good news to the poor. Here’s some good news for the President. After 9-11 we were told America would have no time for the World’s poor. America would be taken up with its own problems of safety. And it’s true these are dangerous times, but America has not drawn the blinds and double-locked the doors. In fact, you have double aid to Africa. You have tripled funding for global health. Mr. President, your emergency plan for AIDS relief and support for the Global Fund—you and Congress—have put 700,000 people onto life-saving anti-retroviral drugs and provided 8 million bed nets to protect children from malaria. Outstanding human achievements. Counterintuitive. Historic. Be very, very proud. But here’s the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There’s is much more to do. There’s a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.

And finally, it’s not about charity after all, is it? It’s about justice. Let me repeat that: It’s not about charity, it’s about justice. And that’s too bad. Because you’re good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can’t afford it. But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment. 6,500 Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about Justice and Equality. Because there's no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn’t accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the Tsunami. 150, 000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, “mother nature”. In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it’s a completely avoidable catastrophe. It’s annoying but justice and equality are mates. Aren’t they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain. You know, think of those Jewish sheep-herders going to meet the Pharaoh, mud on their shoes, and the Pharaoh says, “Equal?” A preposterous idea: rich and poor are equal? And they say, “Yeah, ‘equal,’ that’s what it says here in this book. We’re all made in the image of God.” And eventually the Pharaoh says, “OK, I can accept that. I can accept the Jews—but not the blacks.” “Not the women. Not the gays. Not the Irish. No way, man.” So on we go with our journey of equality. On we go in the pursuit of justice.

We hear that call in the ONE Campaign, a growing movement of more than two million Americans… left and right together… united in the belief that where you live should no longer determine whether you live. We hear that call even more powerfully today, as we mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King—mother of a movement for equality, one that changed the world but is only just getting started. These issues are as alive as they ever were; they just change shape and cross the seas. Preventing the poorest of the poor from selling their products while we sing the virtues of the free market… that’s a justice issue. Holding children to ransom for the debts of their grandparents… That’s a justice issue. Withholding life-saving medicines out of deference to the Office of Patents… that’s a justice issue. And while the law is what we say it is, God is not silent on the subject. That’s why I say there’s the law of the land… and then there is a higher standard. There’s the law of the land, and we can hire experts to write them so they benefit us, so the laws say it’s OK to protect our agriculture but it’s not OK for African farmers to do the same, to earn a living? As the laws of man are written, that’s what they say. God will not accept that. Mine won’t, at least. Will yours? I close this morning on … very… thin… ice. This is a dangerous idea I’ve put on the table: my God vs. your God, their God vs. our God… vs. no God.

It is very easy, in these times, to see religion as a force for division rather than unity. And this is a town—Washington—that knows something of division. But the reason I am here, and the reason I keep coming back to Washington, is because this is a town that is proving it can come together on behalf of what the Scriptures call the least of these. This is not a Republican idea. It is not a Democratic idea. It is not even, with all due respect, an American idea. Nor it is unique to any one faith. Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:30). Jesus says that, ‘Righteousness is this: that one should… give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the emancipation of the captives.’ The Koran says that (2.177) "Thus sayeth the Lord: ‘Bring the homeless poor into the house, when you see the naked, cover him, then your light will break out like the dawn and your recovery will speedily spring fourth, then your Lord will be your rear guard.’ The jewish scripture says that, Isaiah 58 again that is a powerful incentive: ‘The Lord will watch your back.’ Sounds like a good deal to me, right now. A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after it… I have a family, please look after them… I have this crazy idea…And this wise man said: stop. He said, stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing—because it’s already blessed. Well, God, as I said, is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing. And that is what He’s calling us to do.

I was amazed when I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers tithe. Up to ten percent of the family budget. Well, how does that compare the federal budget, the budget for the entire American family? How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world? Less than one percent. Mr. President, Congress, people of faith, people of America: I want to suggest to you today that you see the flow of effective foreign assistance as tithing…. Which, to be truly meaningful, will mean an additional one percent of the federal budget tithed to the poor. What is one percent? One percent is not merely a number on a balance sheet. One percent is the girl in Africa who gets to go to school, thanks to you. One percent is the AIDS patient who gets her medicine, thanks to you. One percent is the African entrepreneur who can start a small family business thanks to you. One percent is not redecorating presidential palaces or money flowing down a rat hole. This one percent is digging waterholes to provide clean water. One percent is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism towards Africa, where increased assistance flows toward improved governance and initiatives with proven track records and away from boondoggles and white elephants of every description. America gives less than one percent now. Were asking for an extra one percent to change the world, to transform millions of lives—but not just that and I say this to the military men now – to transform the way that they see us. One percent is national security, enlightened economic self interest, and a better safer world rolled into one.

Sounds to me that in this town of deals and compromises, one percent is the best bargain around. These goals—clean water for all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end to extreme and senseless poverty—these are not just any goals; they are the Millennium Development goals, which this country supports. And they are more than that. They are the Beatitudes for a Globalised World. Now, I’m very lucky. I don’t have to sit on any budget committees. And I certainly don’t have to sit where you do, Mr. President. I don’t have to make the tough choices. But I can tell you this: To give one percent more is right. It’s smart. And it’s blessed. There is a continent—Africa—being consumed by flames. I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did—or did not to—to put the fire out in Africa.

History, like God, is watching what we do. Thank you. Thank you, America, and God bless you all.


Jonas talking about "Dodge Ball":

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Remembering Coretta Scott King

"I believe that there is a plan and a purpose for each person's life and that there are forces working in the universe to bring about good and to create a community of love and brotherhood. Those who can attune themselves to these forces - to God's purpose - can become special instruments of his will."

- The late Coretta Scott King, in her 1969 autobiography My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr