Archive for November, 2011

NY Times Article on Refugee Resettlement Moratorium

November 29, 2011

Here is an article in the NY Times about Mayor Gatsas’ demands for a temporary stop to new arrivals of refugees in Manchester. What do you think the biblical response is to this issue? We are to accept the alien and foreigner, but at the same time we are to ensure that they can be protected and provide for themselves. Here’s the link:


Musicians for a Cause

November 23, 2011

I attended the annual fundraising breakfast for New Horizons for New Hampshire, Manchester’s main shelter/soup kitchen/food pantry. While there, I heard this song by a woman named Angel Smythe through an organization called “Musicians for a Cause.” They are trying to bring attention to homelessness through music. I noticed the biblical allusions in her song, and was reminded how mercy is a bridge to the gospel not primarily to get people to listen, but to point them to the desire deep in the human heart to help others in need. Here’s the link to her song:
Happy Thanksgiving, and if you have an opportunity to help New Horizons provide Thanksgiving meals, take it.

Amazing story on Martin Rinkart…Thanksgiving!

November 16, 2011

German pastor Martin Rinkart served in the walled town of Eilenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648. Eilenburg became an overcrowded refuge for the surrounding area. The fugitives suffered from epidemic and famine. At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg. But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two. As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day – some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services. Yet living in a world dominated by death, Pastor Rinkart wrote the following prayer for his children to offer to the Lord:

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

Copyright 2000 by the author or Christianity Today International/Men of Integrity

Harry Genet

Apps to teach…

November 11, 2011

I’m just entering the world of mobile phone access to the internet, having bought an android model several weeks ago. Just wanted to share a couple of “apps” (applications, for newbies like me) that are available free for download with lots of beneficial stuff. Redeemer PCA in Manhattan has an app for iphones and androids with sermons, testimonies and other info about the church. There are several of Tim Keller’s sermons available and updated regularly. Another I found is for Mars Hill Church, pastored by Mark Driscoll. Their app has music, sermons and lots of other great stuff. Just go to the android market link on your phone and search “Redeemer” and “Mars Hill.”
Now we just need to get a CTR app…

Pics from storm

November 3, 2011

Good article from Jim Wallis on upcoming election

November 3, 2011

Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine is part of the “Christian Left.” He participated in a forum with Richard Land of the SBC, often considered on the “Christian Right.” Here is a good description of their discussion of the upcoming election by Wallis.

Jim Wallis and Richard Land: Join the Great Conversation

Last night, at the National Press Club here in Washington D.C., the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Sojourners co-sponsored a conversation between Richard Land and me on what the religious and moral issues will and should be in the upcoming election year — about one year out from voting day.

The packed room of reporters demonstrated a high degree of interest in what the faith community’s role might be in the upcoming election, at least in the opinion of two Christian leaders who are usually on different sides of politics, but who still call each other friends.

Amy Sullivan, of Time magazine, was our moderator and posed a series of questions to us before the audience joined in. Amy started by asking each of us what the primary issue/s would be for the faith community and what we would like them to be.

Richard said “the economy” would be the key issue and I agreed, pointing to the rising poverty rates and the basic questions about inequality raised by the Occupy movement. We differed over who was most responsible for the economic crisis — I pointed to Wall Street and he blamed Washington (actually both bear responsibility); but we both spoke of poverty as a fundamental Christian concern.

We also agreed on the need for comprehensive immigration reform, having both addressed a conference on that imperative just last week, at an evangelical Christian college in the Midwest. Undocumented immigrants are in the biblical category of “the stranger” for Christians, and we are obligated to treat them as Jesus taught us to.

Land said it is “shameful” the way both political parties are using the issue for their own agendas. I noted that Leith Anderson, of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in the New York Times this week that the treatment of immigrants will be an issue that Christians will be watching in this election.

When Richard called for a “Manhattan Project” to remove the nation from dependence on fossil fuels and create a “clean energy nuclear future” I almost jumped out of my seat to say I agree with nearly all that — except for the “nuclear” part. We agreed to discuss that in greater depth at a later time.

I suggested that evangelical Christians should unite in defense of the low-cost, but very cost-effective, foreign aid that feeds millions of hungry people around the world, keeps hundreds of thousands of infants from being born with HIV/AIDS, vaccinates millions against life-threatening diseases, and provides tens of millions of malaria bed nets that save lives in the global south.

Richard lifted up specific programs such as PEPFAR and the Millennium Development Accounts, which were developed under President George W. Bush and have enjoyed wide bi-partisan support, but are now in great jeopardy in the deficit reduction process. Some cuts can kill, we agreed.

Both of us talked about the broken system in Washington, now being protested by both the tea party and the Occupy movement, and the need for people of faith to hold our political and economic leaders accountable.

We disagreed on nuclear weapons policy, as on the causes of the 2008 recession, and the safety and sustainability of nuclear power plants. But, when the issue of Herman Cain’s problems with accusations of sexual harassment came up, we both affirmed the deep connections between personal integrity and public leadership.

And we both agreed that Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion should not be a factor in the election. Rather, we instead should examine a candidate’s moral compass and policy positions.

One of the most interesting things about last night’s event were the issues that did not come up: abortion and gay marriage.

Both are issues Richard and I care about, even if we have different solutions and perspectives on how to address them. And yet the topics simply never arose, neither in any of the questions from Sullivan or the audience, nor in our responses to them.

Abortion and gay marriage are the two subjects that have dominated discussions of religion and politics for many years. But they weren’t even on the radar during our public conversation at the National Press Club Wednesday evening.

Richard raised the subject of marriage as an important antidote to poverty, another point on which we agree. And we both know that reducing poverty reduces the number of abortions, something we both support. Still, neither gay marriage nor abortion was mentioned.

People of faith — including evangelical Christians — will be voting both ways in the upcoming election. It is simply not true that they will be voting only on one or two issues.

And, if evangelicals focus on many of the issues central to their faith, rather than becoming partisan cheerleaders, they might be able to raise some critical issues in this election and to hold both sides more accountable, even in a campaign that both Richard and I suspect will be one of the ugliest in U.S. history.

At the end of the evening, Amy remarked that if the upcoming election debates were as civil and substantive as this evening was, we would all be very grateful.

Richard and I disagree about some things and agree about others, yet we were able to model respectful and dynamic public discourse.

Even if we end up canceling out each other’s votes a year from now on Election Day 2012, if in the intervening months more evangelicals and people of faith join the Great Conversation, we all win.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery, and CEO of Sojourners. He blogs at Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.