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November 28, 2008

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Christmas: Set the pace for peace

November 25, 2008

The last weekend of November marks the beginning of the Advent, setting time for all of us to expectantly wait for the blessings of the Christmas season. While there are many opportunities this upcoming month to worship, serve and celebrate with friends and family; I’d like to suggest that this Advent season we should consider ways of setting a pace for peace.

When researching the word pace, I came across an image of a flag used by an Italian peace organization established in 1961. I discovered that the Italian word for “pace” is our word for “peace”.

“The Italian PEACE flag was inspired by the flag of Anglo-Saxon pacifists who marched in Aldermaston for an anti-nuclear protest, led by Bertrand Russell. Mr. Capitini asked some housewives from Perugia, who were friends of him, to sew with all possible speed some colored stripes to form a flag to be shown during the march. The women choose to sew the background of the flag in the colors of the rainbow in remembrance of the story of the Flood. God provided the rainbow after the flood as a seal of his alliance with humans and nature, promising that will never be another Flood. So the rainbow became the symbol of peace between the Earth and Heaven, therefore these ladies felt it was a good reminder of peace to humankind, making it their flag’s foundation.

The Advent and Christmas season, is one where the words, “Peace on earth” are commonly seen on cards and heard on television commercials amidst the mass of commerce-driven advertisements. It might be possible for us to grasp peace as a reality this advent, if we are intentional in setting a calmer pace in our celebrations and traditions we take part in.

Just one of the ways that American families sometimes participate in the hectic pace of the holiday season revolves around November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving. This day is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year and has earned the title of “Black Friday” due to the stress-filled accounts of early morning sales, over-crowded stores and a hectic paced shopping atmosphere.

In reaction to consumer-driven chaos of “Black Friday” a campaign called, “Buy nothing day” was set for November 28th to encourage people to not buy anything for 24 hours and begin thinking of ways to celebrate the holiday season that don’t revolve around what can be purchased. This year, the campaign has taken on a new twist and has been coined, “Make something day!” Instead of spending the traditional shopping day at the mall, what if we spent the day with our family and friends, making gifts from previously collected craft supplies or thrift store items? In this small way, we would make gifts and memories with and for the people we are closest too and take a step to set a pace for peace this holiday season. Without peace or pace – life is chaos!

While holiday shopping is one way we all celebrate this season of giving, we might be surprised by the joy that a “Make something day” could add to our treasury of holiday traditions. I encourage you and your family to find ways of celebrating this season of wonder by taking part in traditions that foster peace, joy and love in anticipation of Christmas morning having gained a greater understanding of the priceless gift God gives though Jesus.

Peace on earth and good will to humankind,

Tara

(For more information on Make Something Day go to: www.makesomethingday.org

Set your pace

Setting a pace is not the same as running full tilt desperately trying to win a race.
Setting a pace allows for breathing, for seeing, and energy for kicking it when the finish is almost reaching.

Work in movement and take the time to stretch, to sing and even to rhyme.
We need so badly to check out and play: with dreams, paint and even some clay.

In setting a pace I will strive to succeed, avoiding frenzy - panic - and always having somewhere to be.

I need to create, express and to see - makes a much better person than hurry tries to force me to be.

Opening my eyes and unplugging my ears, will give me more wisdom and stay off frustrated tears.

Set the pace, allow some space, set the place, write it down and make the time.
Set your pace.

Poem by: T.L. Eastman 2008

Author Bio:: Tara Lamont Eastman is a youth worker, blogger, poet and songwriter. She lives in Western NY with her husband and two children.

Politics, religion and sex

November 11, 2008

It’s a fairly established fact: politics, religion and sex are The Big Three. They’re the topics we’re not supposed to bring up at big family events or parties–the ones that make people sit up and take notice or squirm (or both). They each carry a lot of weight individually; when they’re combined into a single discussion it’s explosive.

That’s probably why I haven’t been able to stop thinking about a New Yorker article I just read: “Red Sex, Blue Sex: Why do so many evangelical teenagers become pregnant?”

While I’m not an evangelical, I am a Christian, and I know a thing or two about how religion shapes our earliest understanding of our sexuality. I also know something about the kinds of consequences those perspective can have down the road. I actually blame my divorce, in part, on some of those understandings, but I’ll get into that later.

Being the mother of three girls, ages 8, 10 and 12, also makes me extremely interested in this subject. Our youngest began asking questions about how babies were made more than a year ago, soon after Jason and I got married. Her logic was “you’re married so that must mean you’re going to have babies soon.” She’s a scientifically-minded girl, so we decided it was time to get technical in our explanation of baby-making and birth control.

At any rate, all three of our girls are inquisitive and somehow exceptionally cute, so Jason and I are already bracing ourselves for when they’re 12, 14 and 16. We do not take the subject of sex education lightly, and we’re convinced there must be a better paradigm for sexuality than the one most Christian children are inheriting from their parents.

Pregnancy & marriage statistics are tied to red & blue states…

What I found so fascinating about the New Yorker article was how clearly the statistics back up what I’ve long suspected. The five states with the highest divorce rates, the youngest marriage age, and the most teen pregnancies are all traditionally red states (by traditionally red, I mean pre-Obama, 2008). When you reverse the statistics, you get all blue states, with the exception of North Dakota, which had one of the five lowest teen pregnancy rates.

Here’s how the article’s author, Margaret Talbot, summarizes the red state-blue state divide when it comes to teenagers, sex and pregnancy:

Social liberals in the country’s ‘blue states’ tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in ‘red states’ generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.

My own story, and the one I want for my daughters…

As someone who grew up in a blue state and a “blue family” that went to church every Sunday, my own experience fell somewhere in between the extremes. The biggest problem, looking back, was that sex simply wasn’t discussed much–at church, home, or school for that matter.

I knew, though, that my parents would be greatly disappointed in me if they knew I had sex before I was married. I also connected that viewpoint to their religious beliefs.

It follows, of course, that living with my college boyfriend after we graduated was also not going to be OK, which is the main reason I got married at 22. How long can healthy young adults be expected to exist without sex? Or how long can they sneak around trying to hide the fact they’re having sex, whichever the case might be?

I know LOTS of people who married young for essentially the same reason–they were either tired of waiting to have sex or they were tired of living a lie and feeling guilty about it. My second husband, Jason, is one of those people, too. Unfortunately, as the New Yorker article points out, “women who marry before their mid-twenties are significantly more likely to divorce than those who marry later.”

That doesn’t mean everyone who gets married too young gets a divorce, or that I directly blame my parents or our religious beliefs for my early marriage and divorce. It does mean, though, that encouraging my daughters to not get married too young is a greater priority to me than encouraging them to hang on to their virginity, at all costs.

Encouraging waiting, while proclaiming: “sex is good!”

It is also very important to me that our kids understand their sexuality as a good thing, not a bad thing. When parents pound the “sex is bad” idea into their kids’ heads, in an attempt to convince them to avoid it, it can seriously backfire. Not only does it not keep them from having sex, but it develops in them a deep sense of shame and guilt in relationship to their sexuality. I suspect that issue played a complex, negative role in the problems in my first marriage, too. It’s time for churches to break the guilt-spreading cycle!

There’s no doubt that this issue is more complex even than it was when I was growing up. Here’s another good summary of the problem from the “Red Sex, Blue Sex” article:

Like other American teens, young evangelicals live in a world of Internet porn, celebrity sex scandals, and raunchy reality TV, and they have the same hormonal urges that their peers have. Yet they come from families and communities in which sexual life is supposed to be forestalled until the first night of a transcendent honeymoon.

It’s confusing. I do really want my daughters to wait–to respect their bodies and their sexuality, and to take every decision they make very seriously. I want them to be extremely cautious and safe. I don’t, however, want them to mess themselves up in the process of waiting.

So I’m not sure how I’ll tackle the problem with my girls in the coming years. What I do know for certain, though, is that not talking about it is not the answer. Continuing to blindly present sex to our kids in the same way it was presented to us in our churches and homes and schools is not the answer, either.

Honesty and lots of information are always good places to start, as parents. Maybe I’ll just say to my girls something like this: “I love you so much, and I want the best for you. It’s really complicated. There are so many angles to consider, some which will affect you now, and some which will affect you down the road. Here’s how I messed up, and what I learned. Here’s a vision of the hopes I have for you.”

And then maybe I’ll let them read this post, too. Is there anything to lose in that?

Author Bio:: Kristin Tennant is in the business of daily defying what it means to be a divorced-Christian-liberal-remarried- Midwestern-mommy-writer.

She is a freelance writer and author of the blog Halfway to Normal. She and her husband and their three daughters live in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

Electing for Change

November 3, 2008

The only time I’ve had someone question my commitment to Jesus (at least to my face) was when I said that I was intentionally not-voting. And, indeed, the most oft-viewed and oft-debated articles on Jesus Manifesto tend to be ones that advocate a non-voting position. 

I’ve received dozens (perhaps hundreds) of blog comments, emails, Facebook messages, etc that challenge this position of mine as being “unintelligent” or “moronic” or “lame” or “stupid” or “un-American” or “un-Christian” etc. As far as I can tell, the only one of these adjectives that fit me is the one about being “un-American.” 

Unless the election is closer than we think, all of this talk about non-voting will soon be over–at least until the next major election. This post is intended as my final post about this issue for the election season. So take it for what its worth.

Electing Not to Vote

One of the more interesting political books this season is Electing Not to Vote, edited by Ted Lewis from Wipf and Stock. The book includes chapters from a variety of folks (Catholic, Anabaptist, and Pentecostal) exploring the viability of non-voting. As you can imagine, most of the reviews have been negative. Like this recent review from Christianity today:

No, this is primarily a book about feelings—the essayists’ feelings, their strenuous moral wrestling, their evolution to their present stage of enlightenment. I read a lot of books. I can’t remember the last time I read a book as smug as this one.

The whole review continues in this theme. John Wilson, reviewer, never actually engages the ideas. Instead he acts as though it has no intellectual merit and attacks it for being too “emotive.” Interesting. The review is actually reminiscent of a Sojourners review from Lauren Winner who, in an uncharacteristic lack of intellectual honesty, seems to have written a review that doesn’t actually engage the ideas in the book. Instead she dismisses the whole book as advocating a withdrawal from political engagement:

The contributors to this volume see not voting as a compelling act of faithfulness, witness, and politics. But, especially in a world where love of neighbor is tied to citizenship, not voting may be equally seen as a kind of quietism—quietism that a Christian who must be active in the world cannot afford.  

If you’re interested in a rather scathing response to Ms. Winner’s review, check out what Halden has to say here. 

So far, I’ve only found one positive review from the mainstream sources. William Willamon wrote a generally positive review of the book on Christian Century:

Even more troubling for Christians, voting attenuates the church’s political imagination and deludes us into thinking that we have actually performed some worthy social action when we have pestered church members to get out and vote. If voting is not a definite evil, argue a number of these authors, it is at best the weakest and most ineffective form of Christian political action…

Sadly, this book has robbed me of any theological rationale for my furtive actions in November; I just vote out of habit. It’s what people in my economic bracket do. My church even encourages me in it.

I agree with most of the authors who warn that voting only encourages the functionaries of the modern state to think that the people (who are now the functional equivalent of God) have given them some sort of popular mandate to do as they please to defend the state and its power. For the most part, I found their arguments to be biblically radical and curiously compelling.

Still, despite the wonderfully biblical and theological arguments of the essays in this little book, I confess that I expect to slither secretly into a voting booth in November and cast my ballot.

The most interesting thing for me this election has been the amount of anger I’ve received. People often assume that I’m getting itno people’s faces about this. I am not. Just for the record, almost everyone in my intentional community is voting–including my wife. It isn’t something I get frothy-mouthed over. In fact, it isn’t even something that I’m all that passionate about in the grand scheme of things.

Why do I keep writing about it? Because it raises all sorts of interesting issues. For example, I find it interesting that people often tell me that “if I don’t vote, then I have no right to complain.” This sort of sentiment reveals the myth that voting is the primary, most effective way of bringing about change. Folks almost ALWAYS make a leap in their thinking from non-voting to disengagement. That is why in the Winner article I referenced above, she mistakenly assumes that non-voting is a quietist position. 

If someone didn’t know I was a non-voter, they might draw the conclusion that I’m very politically active. After all, protesting against ATK (who makes clusterbombs) is one of my weekly rituals. I also talk about politics a fair amount–often challenging people to rethink what it means to bring change in society. And Missio Dei is increasingly involved in neighborhood political and justice issues. In the future, I see myself taking increasinly proactive positions on poverty, homelessness, war, and immigration. But my primary way of doing this will never (I hope and pray) be voting. 

Voting isn’t the most direct or effective way of electing for change. 

Sure, but that doesn’t equal non-voting

Some folks tend to be very sympathetic to my political sensibilities. But many of them (like the folks at Missio Dei, my faith community) are still planning to vote. If someone wants to vote as a lesser “weapon” in their arsenal of political engagement, I’m not goint to gripe about it too much. In my mind, voting is an American sacrament that affirms a fallen system that often stands in opposition to the reign of Christ. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is idolatrous or sinful. 

Some of my friends have argued that the most socially just way to vote is to vote for third parties. In fact, when my friend Becky Garrison visited, she raised this point several times, suggesting that the Green Party (which has multi-ethnic female runningmates) is much more prophetic choice. 

Meanwhile, my economist friend (who also has theological training) dlw advocates a New Kind of Third Party. He argues that local third party movements are a great way for Christian Radicals and Christian Anarchist types to engage the system. In a recent forum discussion on Christarchy, he writes:

This is the sort of decentralization of authority that is feasible in our world and, as a Christian, I believe that the early Christians were political outsiders, not unlike how third parties in a two-party dominated system are outsiders and so that should be our preferred location for political activism as a critical but not central part of our holistic witness to others.

He argues for strategic voting, seeking to create third party places, decentralizing the political system, and finding ways to organize local communities around third parties that resist the dominance of the two party system. If I were to become a voter again, this is the sort of approach I’d take. In fact, it tends to be the way I think about local engagement (see dlw…you have made at least SOME impact in my thinking). :)

If you’re going to engage the political system through voting, make sure you’re being shrewd as a serpent. Don’t buy into the hype. Be informed. And don’t be deceived–voting is indirect, ineffective, imagination-stealing, and often takes up more of our energy than its worth. 

For another interesting take on voting, check out Shane’s thoughts on the God’s Politics blog.

Wednesday Ballot

October 31, 2008

Lots of people are going to vote on Tuesday. I am not. I have decided to wait until Wednesday to “cast my ballot.”

Among the reasons people will cite for voting are concerns about particular issues, and how each candidate lines up with their own positions. Many will vote for McCain, based on their views of abortion. Some will vote for Obama, due to his stance on the war in Iraq. Individuals will vote for various senators or congressional representatives based on similar criteria, or more likely on name recognition, or how well an incumbent has brought home the bacon. The fight over the billy-club of the state, the privilege of employing force for one’s own interests, will commence relatively peacefully, through the voting process. While comparatively this process is to be commended, we could have warlords fighting in the streets over such power, yet the effectiveness of voting is also in question.

Voting is hailed as the definitive political action for most individuals. It is the only time they participate in the political process, and they thus consider it an enormous responsibility. Unfortunately, the process of voting has the actual effect of making their voices meaningless. Due to the aggregation of votes, the bundling of issues by candidates, and the secrecy of ballots, voters communicate virtually nothing to the candidates they elect. First, due to the secrecy of the ballot, the elected candidate will never know how anyone voted. He will never have a reason to care what any particular voter thinks. Second, due to the bundling of issues by candidates, voters who favor one candidate on some issues but another candidate on other issues will not have a way to communicate their actual concerns. Successful candidates will merely throw all their votes in a bag together as supportive of their overall agenda. Finally, the calculus of large numbers in respect to voting renders each individual vote virtually meaningless. Gordon Tullock and Walter Williams, among economists, cite this as the reason they will not vote. They say that if no one else voted, they would, because then their vote would count.

So I have decided that I will instead spend the time I would have spent driving to my polling place, standing in line, and driving back to school again writing a few letters to the people who will be elected. Call this my Wednesday ballot.

I will make the letters generic enough to be applicable to whichever candidate is elected. I will write about the issues which I think are most important and most closely related to the office each politician is set to occupy, and I will be able to “unbundle” any set of those issues to particulars, demonstrating the relevance of each. My vote will be specific, personal, and intentional. The amount of information communicated in this way will far surpass even that of several hundred election-day ballots.

Finally, the chances that the elected candidate will read a hand written letter from me are much greater than the chances that they will consider my vote. I will have the opportunity to explain how I feel about things, what I think is rational, the unintended consequences of most political actions which concern me, and they will know who it came from.

The morning after election-day I will mail in my Wednesday ballot. Anytime we can communicate specifically and personally to people in positions of power, our voices will heard so much the louder. I find this a much more important way to be involved in the political process, and much more effective.

Don’t forget to vote – on Wednesday.

Author Bio:: Nathanael Snow is a Ph.D. student in Economics at George Mason University. He will not be voting on Tuesday

Africa is not a hospice

October 17, 2008

Over the last few weeks governments around the world have been clamouring to rush money into failing financial systems in order to stave off the impending “economic crisis”. The American government passed a US$700 billion bill to try to sure up liquidity in credit markets.

It would only cost $82 billion (for 5 years) to meet all of the millennium development goals.

Almost half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day ($730 a year). The “economic crisis” is already here, and it has been here for a long time.

I would like to see world leaders justify their respective bail-out plans (or wars, unjust import tariffs, etc) to a child whose dying of an easily curable disease, to a prostitute desperate to scrap food together for her children, or to a wandering refugee forced out of his home because of international apathy.

The state of the world is a mess. The fact that we continue to build our mega-projects and quest after ever increasing supplies of wealth in the face of such extreme poverty is a disgrace. It is a blight on the human race that highlights so clearly our love of money and, therefore, hatred of fellow man.

Our only truly moral option is to bankrupt ourselves to fix this mess. Yet there is not one political leader in any party in the world who is willing to make a significant difference. We treat Africa like a hospice.

When will the west grow a spine? If we don’t arrive at the future together we wont arrive there at all.

We are an evil people. It’s not like we can plead ignorance. In our interconnected world we all have access to the evidence. Also, several noteworthy non-profit organisations are making sure we don’t miss it. The reality is that we are all insatiably greedy. We are willing to buy a bigger house, get a nicer car, and watch brand new blue rays on our extra large TVs, in a fruitless search for happiness or meaning, whilst billions of people die because they lack the most basic necessities: clean water, food, shelter, medicine, peace, and love.

So why not do something about it? There is no time for further excuses. God’s economy is built upon love rather than greed. It is selfless rather than selfish. That means that one day we will all be rich when the latent potential of every human is fully realised. But for today it means we will be poor.

We all spend money on useless things - daily coffee, DVDs, and books that we only read once. It is time we stopped wasting our money. We also all have things we don’t use or don’t need. Our houses are jammed full of stuff. It is time we sold it. That way we could raise ever increasing amounts of money to give to the dyeing.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out that you can’t buy happiness after all - but you can give it away.

Author Bio:: Adam is an ordinary programmer from Australia trying to discover what it means to truly “take up your cross” and follow Christ whilst living in the middle of empire. He has a blog at Army of Priests.

Reputable Peace

October 7, 2008

tibet Read more

Economic Matters: Socializing the Risk or Capitalizing the Reward?

September 25, 2008

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Homoemergicus Maximus

September 25, 2008

Call me homoemergicus maximus. I’m white, 32, and male. And chances are, so are you. We are slightly overweight, own way too many CDs, spend entirely too much time on blogs, and we like to think that we are eccentric.

So, why are we all so similar? Why homoemergicus? Two answers might buy most of the solution, and the third is hard to accept.

A final dilemma may be discouraging.

First, the fact that we have the time to spend on blogs reveals our privileged position in society. White guys on average earn more than any other demographic, and many of these high-income jobs come equipped with internet-ready computers. So we blog. We are also slightly better educated than most other demographics, so we think we have something to blog about. Finally, we are yet in our youths, so we are willing to be risky about what we write and share, more so as males, and more so as members of groups who will help to catch us if we fall.

Second, we are narcissistic. We like ourselves. A lot. And we like other people who are like us. Self-selecting groups often sort out this way. According to the magic that is statistics it can be shown that self-selection occurs even when preferences are very slight. Suppose you have a 51% preference for spending time with homoemergici and a 49% preference for spending time with other folks. Each time you are presented with the option of spending time with either of these two you will choose the homoemergicus. Though your preference is slight, the result is large.

These two reasons are spontaneously emerging in the non-homoemergicus sense. There is nothing anyone can do to stop them. Where there are injustices which prevent other groups from attaining higher education and incomes, we ought to protest and work for justice, but underprivileged groups are also self-selecting, and there is little we can do (short of becoming annoying do-gooders) about it.

Thankfully, there is one area where we can make active improvement, though it is costly. We can sign off and sign up. Homoemergicus tends to have chameleon-like qualities, and changing his environment can vastly adjust his appearance. Consider sitting on your hands and letting someone else comment on a post for a change. Consider limiting your screen-time to a certain amount of time per day. Then get involved somewhere less homogeneous. The ideal location is your local college or university. Seek out international students, you’ll soon be able to impress your friends with your knowledge of world geography (where is Slovakia, anyway?), and you will have the opportunity to make room for the gospel in a land it would have cost you 10 times as much to travel to yourself. Volunteer in the inner city, at a tutoring center, or the boys and girls club. You get the idea. Once the blue computer-screen-induced glow fades from homoemergicus’ face he is well on the road to recovery.

Our homoemergency can be dealt with, to a degree. Unfortunately, there are other impediments to diversity. Those who are not among the privileged class will find it much harder to adopt a pacifist ethic. While many recognize the privilege as the crime, fewer hope that the privilege can be removed. Most believe the only path to justice is expansion of franchises. To reject this strategy as inaugurating of empire leaves the outcast dejected. To this dilemma I find no solution, only God’s sovereignty.

Author Bio:: Nathanael Snow is an Economics Ph.D. student at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He worked for eight years at Agape Corner, an inner-city boarding school in Durham, NC. After graduation he plans to develop tools to teach the nexus of Economics, Common Law, and the Christian Ethic.

The Man and The Couch

September 23, 2008

There is a man. And we’re sitting on his back.

Not directly on his back; but the couch we’re on does sit on his back. And since we’re on the couch, we’re sitting on his back.

I’m not sure how he got to where he is. Maybe I put him underneath, maybe you did, maybe someone long ago did. Whoever it was that first made him carry this couch doesn’t matter; we’re still on his back.

Who needs to argue history here?

Maybe there is more then one person carrying the couch we sit on. It could just be this guy though.

However, I’m sure comfortable up here. I really appreciate what that he carries us from here to there. But mostly I forget that he’s down on the ground,

with a couch on his back.

One day someone was missing from the couch. I couldn’t figure out where he went. Then I saw another set of feet by the man who carries our couch. So I decided to jump off and figure out what was going on.

“Why are you down here?” I asked my fellow couch potato.

“Well, while everyone was sleeping I saw this man crying. I couldn’t sleep with this noise, so I decided to find out what was the matter. He told me that every now and then his back really hurt from carrying this couch. Some days he can ignore it pretty well, others not so well. I figured since I haven’t stretched my legs in a while it might be a good to get some exercise, so I decided to help carry the couch. Then I realized that it was a lot of work to carry it and this man’s back must hurt quite a bit. So I stayed here.”

“Does it really hurt that bad?” I asked the man who carries the couch.

“Some days the pain is unbearable. Other days I can ignore it. But most days just fly by like a blur.”

So I decided to stay and help him carry the couch as well. It makes me sad when people cry.

After a few days of carrying the couch I decided that I needed a break. My friend had already gotten back up on the couch to rest a few times.

Why can’t I?

While I was resting upon the couch I told all of my friends of the adventures I had carrying this couch. I told them of the mans plight. And we all came to the conclusion that we must do something.

“Why does there need to be a couch?” A couchling asked. “We shouldn’t burden the man simply by providing an object for our own comfort. We can do away with it and simply sit on him. When we do this, then we will be able to better see the path he walks.”

I found this to be a great idea. We can all be enlightened as to the hardships others go through for our own comfort.

But soon the boniness of the man’s back began to make us all uncomfortable.

“Must I sit here, watching this man toil, it makes me uncomfortable. His back is awfully hard and when we consider it, we really haven’t helped him all that much. Maybe we should build a better couch, a couch that will not harm him so much. Maybe even one that will help him eat better!”

So we did. And we reflected upon the times when we helped carry the load, when we sacrificed our comforts for this man’s journey. We felt proud of ourselves, but soon forgot about the man.

I think of him from time to time. Some of us go down, a few at a time to help him carry the load. Give him new clothes. Even some new shoes from time to time. And we felt good about ourselves.

But all the while, the man continued to stumble on, with a couch upon his back.

Author Bio:: Nate is a Pentecostal who recently realize that he’s living in exile. He occasionally like to play shoegaze, write science fiction, and rant about things he doesn’t quite understand.

Image by David Austria.

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