Monday, April 30, 2007
Peace of Christ,
The first is Sojourners/Call to Renewal's Pentecost 2007. For more than ten years they have been convening a major conference of church leaders, service providers, anti-poverty advocates and "emerging leaders" from across the country to mobilize the church in the fight against poverty. This year Pentecost 2007: Taking Vision to the Streets will be held from June 3 – 6 at National City Christian Church in Washington D.C.
There will be a presidential candidates forum with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton & John Edwards at the event (candidates are not doing bi-partisan events yet, so a forum with the Republican candidates will be later in the year). This year they've also added an emerging leaders track with special guest Shane Claiborne.
Then, the following week (June 9-12), also in Washington D.C., Bread for the World will be hosting their annual Gathering: Sowing Seeds - Growing a Movement. From their site:
Activists with decades of experience will join with young people just beginning their public life and political involvement. Rural leaders—newly energized with a heart to help hungry people—will meet longtime urban anti-poverty workers. Parents will bring their children to show them that anyone has the chance—and the responsibility—to speak to their representatives in Congress.
Campaign leaders from developing countries will meet with development practitioners, to share stories and successes in fighting poverty worldwide. People will reach out across the religious spectrum—evangelical and Catholic, ecumenical Protestant and historic African American denominations, Latino Christians and other people of faith—and join hands with other people of faith at the Interfaith Convocation.
Everyone has a story to offer. Visionaries, theologians, academics, church social action directors, and leaders from student, grassroots and national movements are coming together to build and to strengthen relationships, and to learn from one another.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Annie Gill-Bloyer's presentation this past Monday at up/rooted was informative and challenging. As we talked about the reality of extreme poverty and what we can do about it, I was personally struck by the simplicity of the solutions. For a relatively tiny fraction of our federal budget we can save the lives of millions. Over 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day, and thousands die every day from the effects of poverty, hunger and disease. And these things are entirely preventable!
One of the key points that we discussed the other night was that the solutions to extreme poverty have to include both governmental and faith-based involvement. We all expressed our desire to see the church lead the way with giving and service and compassion for the poor. However, Annie also made the point that governments are too powerful of a tool to leave out of the equation - not to mention the fact that when it comes to things like debt relief and trade justice, there are certain structural/systemic things that have to be changed on the national and international level beyond what individuals and churches are able to do. As we learned, the Millenium Development Goals, which are the United Nations' blueprint for eliminating extreme poverty by 2015, include both issues of charity and justice - i.e. addressing both structural injustices and material needs. The eight Goals are:
|Target 1: Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day|
|Target 2: Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger|
|Target 3: Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling|
|Target 4: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015|
Goal 4. Reduce child mortality
|Target 5: Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five|
Goal 5. Improve maternal health
|Target 6: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio|
|Target 7: Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS|
|Target 8: Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases|
|Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources|
|Target 10: Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water|
|Target 11: Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020 |
Target 12. Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system Includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction — both nationally and internationally
Target 13. Address the special needs of the least developed countries Includes: tariff and quota free access for least developed countries’ exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for HIPCs and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous ODA for countries committed to poverty reduction
Target 14. Address the special needs of landlocked countries and small island developing States
Target 15. Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term.
Target 16: In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth.
Target 17: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
Target 18: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications
To achieve these goals, every member of the United Nations (including the United States) pledged a certain portion of their national budget towards these projects. The ONE Campaign's purpose is simply to hold the United States accountable for actually doing what we said we would do, which is to devote an additional 1% of our federal budget towards these goals. (Right now less than 1/2 of one percent is given towards global poverty reduction.)
The good news is that even if you weren't at up/rooted this past Monday, you can still get involved simply by going to ONE.org and signing the petition to our government, as well as making your own personal contributions towards the goal of ending extreme poverty in our lifetimes. You can also obtain resources to inform others at your church or school about these issues at Bread for the World.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Invites You to Hear
D.K. Pearsons Professor of Politics
Lake Forest College
The Challenges of Assimilation”
Please join us for an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the ancient religion of Islam and a greater appreciation for the challenges faced by the American Muslim community in coping with the pressures of a secular and multi-ethnic society and outside calls for reform. Learn what life is really like for most Muslims, particularly women, in a world dominated by religious laws and strict traditions. Grow in your awareness of the common goals we must seek together to achieve a world where all views are tolerated and respected.
Community Church of Wilmette
1020 Forest Avenue
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Finally, an emerging church conference is coming right here to Chicago! This summer up/rooted (with the help of several other Midwestern Emergent cohorts) will be hosting the first-ever Midwest Emergent Gathering. Here's what we said about it on the website:
A church of 10,000 people that meets in a mall...
A small urban community that meets in an art gallery...
An African-American church on the south-side of Chicago...
Web communities that connect tens of thousands of people...
What do all of these have in common? They are all emerging faith communities discovering what it means to be missional in their own unique context. AND they will all be represented at the first annual Midwest Emergent Gathering, July 20-21 in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. Come learn from Tony Jones (Emergent Village), Denise Van Eck (Mars Hill Bible Church), Spencer Burke (theOoze.com), Nanette Sawyer (Wicker Park Grace), Doug Pagitt (Solomon's Porch), and Alise Barrymore & James King (The Emmaus Community) and many other missional practitioners from a wide diversity of backgrounds as we learn together about "Creating Missional Communities".
Contribute to the conversation as we discuss, network, and learn in community together via fast-paced mainstage sessions, interactive workshops, and unstructured times for dialogue with old or new friends. Whether mainline or evangelical, emerging or traditional, high church or de-churched, you will find inspiration and ideas to help you and your faith community become more effective agents for the mission of God in this hurting world.
I hope all of you with up/rooted will consider attending. Cost is only $40 before June 1st and $60 after that.
Also, if any of you would like to be involved with helping us make this conference happen, please let me know, as we'll need plenty of volunteers during the event and before.
And please help us spread the word. Email other pastors and friends who might be interested, tell people at your church, and post an announcement and banner ad at your own blog/website. (You can get the code for our banner ads by clicking here.) We also have a poster/flyer available if you'd like to put it up at your church or school. Just let me know and I'll email you a .pdf to print.
Click Here to Register for the Midwest Emergent Gathering!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
What's so big about it? I'm glad you asked. We've invited Annie Gill-Bloyer from Bread for the World and the ONE Campaign to join us and speak to us about how we can all be involved in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty. Over a billion people still live on less than a dollar a day, and millions are dying of the AIDS pandemic every year. These are issues that we can't afford to ignore as people who claim to follow the risen Christ. And you can't afford to miss this presentation if you want to learn more about the issues and more specifically about how to get involved.
In an effort to make this gathering as accessible to as many as possible, we've gotten permission to meet at Northern Seminary on Butterfield Rd. in Lombard, conveniently located off of I-88 & I-355. The presentation will be in the chapel at Kern Hall at 7pm.
Even if you rarely make it out to up/rooted gatherings, I hope you make it to this one. See you there!
Monday, April 09, 2007
(this man must be taken seriously!!!)
Mark is also a consistent blogger at jesusmanifesto.com. I encourage you to check out a bit what he has to say.
Mark will be speaking on the Jesus Manifesto (and Manifesting Jesus), concerning how the church lives a missional, incarnate, and political (in the broader sense) community of Christ. So if you are interested in the life of the church as a missional, incarnational, and political community (is anyone not?), come and join us. Bring your experience, your critical ideas, and your idealistic hopes. It should be a fantastic time together!
(Also, don’t forget the joint up/rooted on April 23rd. It’s a full week for us!)
Saturday, April 07, 2007
There is an upcoming event at SAIC called Re-Enchantment that is all about the relationship between contemporary art and religious conviction. Some of the people in Uprooted might be interested in checking it out. There are two major events, a talk by the art historian and theorist David Elkins on Monday, April 16 (he wrote a great book called On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art), and then there is also a roundtable on the 17th from 10:00am-4:00pm with a panel of artists and guests talking about this topic. Anyway, just another possibility for those who are interested.