Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ending Extreme Poverty...Just Over the Horizon?

Over at Compassion International's blog, I found this great post written by Brianne Mullins. Read it all, (especially to see that charts and stats--they are encouraging, really!) but here are a few quotes.

We used to say that 40,000 children under age 5 die every day of hunger or preventable diseases. Then about 6 to 7 years ago this number was 30,000. Today, 24,000 children under 5 die every day of hunger or preventable diseases.

These statistics show that in 20 years the number of children who die every day of hunger or preventable diseases has been cut in half. Yet, the birth rate is actually going up. The population is increasing.

“Ending extreme poverty* is a practical, achievable objective and is an objective that can be completed by our generation.”

“The wealthy church today, the American church, has been entrusted with a purse of the Kingdom. The majority of Christ’s followers live in the developing world. What do they think of us as treasurers? Are they assuming that we would put the treasuries of the Kingdom to celebrating God’s goodness or caring for the poor? How are we doing?”

The annual income of Christian American churchgoers is $5.2 trillion. The amount of money needed to end global poverty is about $74 billion a year.

Did you crunch the numbers?

Basically, 1 percent of our annual income a year is what is needed to end extreme poverty.

Can you imagine? It could be said of our generation, “And there were no needy persons among them.”

To add a little perspective, the green bar represents the amount of money Americans spend on entertainment every year. We spend ten times more on entertainment ($705 billion) than what is needed to end poverty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Top Five Albums

Over at Jesus Creed, Scot got me thinking. He asked what are your top five greatest albums of all time? Here is what I said:
Top Five? Tough. So many artists albums are uneven. But I would say:
1-U2 Joshua Tree (Why has no one else mentioned this? It should be on everyone's top five--it's a given.)
2-Bob Dylan Time Out of Mind Underappreciated, but full of Dylan soul.
3-Moby Play The only CD you really need.
4-Bruce Springsteen The Rising Full of gems. Full.
5-Jeff Johnson Brendan's Prayer (or Patrick--both great--as is everything else Johnson and his cohorts record)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Was Jesus Like Stewie Griffin?

How did this thing of Jesus being God AND human work? When did he come to consciousness of his divinity? I think a lot of us imagine Jesus was like Stewie. Stewie is extremely intelligent and has great powers of speech, but he is a baby. Is that how Jesus was? Almighty God in the body of a baby? Or did Jesus become the Son of God at some point? His baptism?
These questions of how the natures of Jesus worked are hard to answer. Why did this come up? Well, this Sunday, I am preaching on Mark 14.32-42, The Garden of Gethsemane. At Gethsemane, we see the human nature of Jesus come through more clearly than anywhere else. At Gethsemane, the struggle between the natures of Christ are revealed. Jesus did pray NOT to have to go to the cross. That prayer was not granted. Jesus did come to the point of praying "not MY will, but THY WILL be done." This Sunday, we will consider two important issues Gethsemane brings up: 1-The nature of Jesus as the Christ, and 2-How does prayer work? (Or did it not work in this case?). We will look at the Nicene Creed, since it was formulated in response to discussion and debate about the nature of Jesus. The worship bulletin is here. Join us Sunday!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Health Care Reform Would Benefit American Business

During the 8 years that George W. Bush was president, the cost to an American employer to employ an American worker rose 25%. In other words, if it cost an employer $16/hour to employ a worker in 2000, it cost them $20 in 2008. And this is not inflation cost. It is a real increase in the cost to do business. Now, this was not President Bush's fault, and his policies did not cause this. And this increase was not due to tax increases, nor were the employees just making more money. This increase was due to rising health care costs. In other words, rising health care costs are hurting American employers. Health care reform will not just make liberals feel good. It is not to benefit those who can't or won't work. HEALTH CARE REFORM IS GOOD FOR AMERICAN BUSINESS. Who knows, if we could reform health care, maybe businesses wouldn't be forced by economic realities to outsource jobs overseas.