hot topic: Hobby Lobby

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Christian for profit corporations in America have been holding their breath, waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case related to the Affordable Care Act & contraception.  This topic has been hotly contested saying that women’s reproductive rights have been infringed upon and others advocating that the government should not have the power to govern decisions of for profit organizations pertaining to the corporations religious beliefs, specifically related to contraception.

This is an interesting topic for me as I just returned from India to look at expanding nightcare with Saving Moses to our 2nd country.  I visited a few red light districts and learned that even though some sex workers have unionized and are putting pressure on the clients to use condoms, the individual sex worker is still largely at the mercy of her economic condition, being able to earn more money through unprotected sex rather than requiring her clients to wear this protection.  On the heels of trying to wrap my head around the daily survival efforts of sex workers in India, I’m home in the US and we are grappling with forcing private businesses to comply with government regulations that oppose their religious convictions.  We live in an interesting world and my take away on this, at this point isn’t very sophisticated nor intellectually engaging – my take away is that I want to genuinely love well 🙂

Walking through brothels & red light districts

Today, we walked through a few red light districts in India, doing some research for our nightcare program with Saving Moses. We’re coming to the end of our day & I find myself having some very mixed emotions. The women in these red light districts ranged in age from very young to very old, some with a seemingly sweet innocence & some very hardened, detached & icy cold. We happened upon a preschool community centre that looks after toddlers & preschoolers for a few hours a day – sweet, rambunctious & vivacious kids.
Exploring these red light areas is a very eye opening experience & I find myself needing to process some of the days sights, experiences & feelings. More to follow

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Hello from India

I’m back in India having been here about 3 years ago & I’m looking forward to another adventure. Three years ago (maybe 4), I came here for the purpose of starting nightcare with saving Moses. My first attempt was almost comical now that I have some hindsight. I had some very grandiose plans in my thinking & they quickly evaporated into thin but very humid air.
Now that I’m back, I still have it in my heart to start nightcare here & I’m praying for God to direct our steps, relationships & the time we have here.
For the ideas & dreams that God has put in your heart, here is some encouragement (feel free to forward to anyone discouraged):
*dont quit – it’s easy to be discouraged with set backs, but make the decision not to quit
*let God help you grow in the process of achieving these dreams – be a better & not bitter person through the process
*trust God – lets fully embrace the truth that God is good & loving, causing all things to work together for our good as we stay in love with God 🙂

extra

It seems like we all want the “extra” perk – we buy the shampoo that has 25%more for the same price, we look for the value meal, we look for the guy who serves ice cream with a little extra on his scoops, . . . . extra time, more roi, . . . . extra.

Let’s also look at the little ways that we can add some “extra”:

  • extra patience with the person learning to use the new computer system,
  • extra grace for the phone agent with the heavy accent,
  • extra forgiveness for our mate who unknowingly said something hurtful,
  • extra time on the parking meter for the person who will take our spot,
  • extra friendly to the cranky check out person at the grocery store

Let’s go the “extra mile” 🙂

hot topic: Meriam Ibrahim

_75747908_75742756 I’ve been keeping up a little bit here & there about Meriam Ibrahim, a young woman in Sudan who was sentenced in May to hang for renouncing Islam, as she had married a Christian man.  Earlier this year, she delivered a baby while in prison, awaiting her execution.  Thankfully, the Sudanese government agreed to release Mrs Ibrahim and when she tried to fly out of Sudan yesterday, she was detained along with her husband and two children.  The Sudanese gov’t is saying that she doesn’t have the proper paperwork & it seems that no one has heard from her since being detained yesterday.

My point in bringing Mrs Ibrahim to your attention is to ask you to pray for her & her family – for protection, for favor & safety.  As a follower of Jesus, she’s  part of our family & it’s super important to keep each other in our prayers!

boomslang

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Happy Monday to you!  So you don’t think I’ve taken up cussing as my side hobby, a boomslang is a poisonous snake in Africa.  When it bites it’s victim, it’s venom is highly toxic and disables any blood clotting.  As a result, if a boomslang bites you, unless you receive a healthy dose of anti venom, you’ll die from bleeding out within probably 24-48 hours – gory & gruesome!

In my thinking, the devil is alot like a boomslang – slithery, slippery, sneaky & cunning.  I think that one of the primary “bites” the devil uses to poison us isn’t like the overt attack of a lion or a bear making an outright offensive leap.  Instead, I think the devil more often attempts to use a boomslang poison on us, someone offending us.

People can say / do things that can be very offensive (both intentionally & unintentionally).  What people say & do to us isn’t nearly as important as our reaction.  Ingesting unforgiveness is like letting the boomslang venom pump through our veins without any anti-venom.  Eventually, we bleedout & our relationships fall apart.  Forgivness is the anti-venom that we need to readily & generously apply.  Don’t let the venom of unforgiveness settle into your heart!

Magnify

I’ve been thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mom, and how she had a pretty tough road to walk, being pregnant out of wedlock in a culture that strongly frowned on “that type of thing”. If you think about Mary’s situation, she went through a pretty tricky season.
In different but also similar ways to Mary, we all have lots of challenges & difficulties. So if I look at the what Mary said in her season of unwed pregnancy, it helps me to know how to manage my own struggles. Simply put, Mary said, “My soul magnifies The Lord”. We can magnify the problem or we can magnify The Lord, let’s chose wisely 🙂

Are clones evidence of unity?

Scientists have been working for many years to create clones – sheep, monkeys, birds, etc. When they announced that they had cloned a sheep & named her Dolly, it was considered an amazing scientific achievement.
In my thinking, the whole idea of clones is nothing less than creepy & anti-creation. It only takes a second to look around & see that God digs diversity. Everywhere, all the time there’s creative expression happening & I think that’s crazy cool. What gets me even more excited is when I think about how much God enjoys not only such creative diversity but even more how God has hardwired into creation synergy, unity & teamwork. In Jesus’ last meal with His followers, He prayed no less than 4times that His followers would walk in unity – not clones but unity:
*teamwork,
*complementary rather than competing strengths,
*mutual building up,
*improvement through diversity more than division 🙂

masterpiece

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There’s been some interesting news lately about Pablo Picasso & one of his famous paintings, Blue Room.  In this painting, Picasso painted a woman, but art experts have found another painting behind the surface painting.  The image behind the woman is a portrait of a bearded man & experts are trying to figure out who the man was, along with many other mysterious & important details.  It appears that Picasso used his canvass for more than one painting (not an uncommon practice with artists).

Perhaps this is also true with the greatest Artist of all, our Creator.  Perhaps God has not only made the external masterpiece that we can all see on the outside of each other & maybe there’s also an internal masterpiece inside of us that God has also created.  Let’s be careful that we don’t get stuck in looking at the outside of people, but let’s allow God to show us the masterpiece inside someone & not merely the external painting 🙂

hot topic: world cup!!!

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Yea baby!!!!  The US won their match against Ghana – congrats to the US team 🙂

One of the things that I love about soccer / football / futbol is how it is accessible to everyone.  Wherever I go around the world, I see evidence of this sport in some fashion or shape (wobbly goals from tree branches, balls made from tape and cut up tires, lines in the sand for field markers, etc).  I also love that almost anyone can play it, regardless of age, experience, gender, financial status, educational experience, etc. – I even recently put my name on a list to possibly play in some recreational league (no call yet).

In my thinking, Jesus is a little bit like soccer / football / futbol:

  • He plays well with others,
  • He is universally appealing,
  • He has the power to unify people to noble living &
  • He is relevant to all of us, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, educational background, financial status, experience, etc.

Happy World Cup & don’t forget the international coffee ,)